Update 579


Christ’s First Coming—Part 1

On March 2nd, 2013, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Christ’s First Coming—Part 1.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Now Is the Time!

by Norbert Link

Truly converted members of the Church of God will soon observe the annual memorial of Passover. This year, they will assemble for this most solemn occasion on Sunday evening, March 24, 2013—following the example of Christ and His disciples.

Notice Christ’s words:

“With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).

Notice Paul’s words:

“Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). And: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

These are indeed sobering concepts… suffering, sacrifice, death.

The first Old Testament Passover was observed during a time of great turmoil, anxiety and destruction—a time of suffering, sacrifice and death.

“Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill [the Passover lamb] at twilight [between sunset and dusk or nightfall]… you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover… For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt… and… I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:6, 11-13).

Protection from the plague was granted during the Passover time—but only, when the blood of the lamb was on the two doorposts and the lintel of their houses, covering, symbolically, the body—shoulders and legs—and the head of the person (Exodus 12:7). Today, Christ’s body and blood cover and protect us from physical and spiritual death,  but only, if we discern the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:29). Otherwise, sickness, weakness and even death might still be facing us (verse 30).

Consider what this means: Discerning the Lord’s body! Understanding the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ! Appreciating His willingness to suffer and die for us! Believing it! Applying it to ourselves and embracing it! Making every effort to insure that we are behaving in a worthy manner! (verses 27-29).

The Old Testament Passover lamb was eaten by those who were to be freed from the physical slavery of Egypt—those who were about to depart and travel, with a belt on their waist, with sandals on their feet and a staff in their hand (Exodus 12:11). Christ came to free us from the spiritual slavery of sin. Are we making haste to depart from that slavery–to leave it behind quickly and to travel on the road towards the Kingdom of God?

After Judah’s return from the slavery of Babylon and the completion and dedication of the Second Temple, “the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests and Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean… then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel” (Ezra 6:19-21).

Are we—spiritual priests, Levites and God’s temple (1 Peter 2:5, 9; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20)—purifying ourselves to become spiritually clean? Are we separating ourselves from the filth of the nations? Are we truly seeking God?

We should use the coming days and weeks before Passover as a time of meditation and self-analysis.  The Israelite had to take for himself a lamb on the tenth day and keep it until the fourteenth day (Exodus 12:3, 6), knowing that he would have to kill it at the prescribed time, to be protected from death. As the entire congregation of Israel had to kill the Passover lamb, so each and every one of us is responsible for and has therefore killed Jesus Christ. But have we not accepted His Sacrifice—have we not “sanctified” or set Him aside for ourselves (1 Peter 3:15) to be protected and freed from sickness and death?
Now is the time to reflect on Him and what He did for us, and to evaluate ourselves—is He REALLY living in us and directing our path (2 Corinthians 13:5)? Is He REALLY our example whose steps we follow (1 Peter 2:21)?

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We begin with reporting about the ongoing controversies and allegations pertaining to the Catholic Church, following the Pope’s announcement to resign for health reasons; and continue with an article manifesting that church’s desire to bring Jerusalem under its control. We focus on the turmoil in Italy, where “two clowns” won the election, according to Peer Steinbrück, Germany’s former finance minister and the Social Democratic candidate for chancellor in autumn elections; and speak of Germany’s strong advocacy for European unification; show an example of German resistance in Nazi Germany before and during World War II; address the unwillingness of the USA to have any meaningful relationship with Europe; discuss the ongoing and deepening economic misery of the USA; and conclude with several articles about fraudulent mislabeling of meat, poultry and fish products.

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False and Damaging Reports about the Vatican?

Newsmax and Reuters reported on February 23:

“The Vatican on Saturday accused the Italian media of spreading ‘false and damaging’ reports in what it condemned as a deplorable attempt to influence cardinals who will meet in a secret conclave next month to elect a new pope. Since Pope Benedict announced his resignation on Feb. 11, Italian newspapers have been full of rumors about conspiracies, secret reports and lobbies in the Vatican that they say pushed the pope to abdicate, including a rumor that involved a shadowy ‘gay lobby’ within the Vatican…

“The Italian reports have painted an unflattering picture of the Vatican’s central administration, known as the Curia, depicting it as being full of prelates more concerned with their careers than serving the Church or the pope. Some Church officials, speaking privately, have said foreign cardinals coming to Rome to choose the next pope have been alarmed over reports of corruption and might be inclined to elect someone not connected with the Curia, which is predominantly Italian.”

The German mass tabloid Bild has been running a series on previous horrible scandals in the Vatican and the terrible history of certain corrupt popes in the past.

… While the Lord Was Sleeping?

The Telegraph reported on February 27:

“A day before he becomes the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years, Benedict acknowledged that his papacy had been rocked by ‘rough seas’, in an oblique reference to paedophile priest sex scandals, controversy swirling around the Vatican bank and the theft of confidential papers by his butler…

“Wearing his traditional white vestments, he told the huge crowd: ‘There were moments of joy and light but also moments that were not easy … there were moments, as there were throughout the history of the Church, when the seas were rough and the wind blew against us and it seemed that the Lord was sleeping.’”

Benedict XVI Remains “Your Holiness” and Becomes “Emeritus Pope”

The Guardian reported on February 26:

“Pope Benedict XVI will be known as ‘emeritus pope’ in his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican has announced, again fuelling concerns about potential conflicts arising from having both a reigning and a retired pope… The Vatican spokesman, the Rev Federico Lombardi, said Benedict himself had made the decision in consultation with others, settling on ‘Your Holiness Benedict XVI’ and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff as his titles following his resignation this Thursday. Lombardi said he did not know why Benedict had decided to drop his other main title: bishop of Rome…

“Benedict’s decision to call himself emeritus pope and to keep wearing white is sure to fan concern voiced privately by some cardinals about the awkward reality of having two popes, both living within the Vatican walls. Adding to the concern is that Benedict’s trusted secretary Monsignor Georg Gaänswein will be serving both pontiffs – living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household… Benedict himself has made clear he is retiring to a lifetime of prayer and meditation ‘hidden from the world’. However, he will still be very present in the tiny Vatican city state, where his new home is right next door to the Vatican Radio and looks out over the dome of St Peter’s Basilica.”

Unconditional Obedience?

BBC News reported on February 28:

“Pope Benedict XVI has vowed ‘unconditional obedience and reverence’ to his eventual successor. He was speaking on his final day in office at the Vatican to his cardinals, one of whom will be elected next month to replace him…”

Others report that Benedict has vowed “unconditional reverence and obedience.” The difference could be great. To pledge “unconditional obedience” to any man would be a colossal mistake. And God is the only one to whom we owe “unconditional reverence.”

Archbishop of Edinburgh Resigns

The Atlantic Wire reported on February 25:

“The Archbishop of Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been forced to resign just days before the Pope Benedict XVI steps down, leaving Great Britain without a representative at the upcoming papal conclave. O’Brien, who heads the Catholic Church in Scotland and was the only British Cardinal eligible to vote for the new pope, has recently been accused of ‘inappropriate behavior’ with some of his priests. He denies all the charges, but the growing storm over the accusations had created an unwelcome distraction at a pivotal time for the [Church], and threatened to throw a cloud over the upcoming conclave. O’Brien announced that the Pope has accepted his resignation and he won’t be going to Rome next month for the vote…

“O’Brien has been a somewhat controversial figure in the majority Anglican nation, speaking out harshly against homosexuality, gay marriage, and abortion. However, he did recently state that the new pope should consider relaxing the rules on celibacy among the clergy. The Vatican said they would investigate the accusations, but it’s not known if they will drop the matter now that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted O’Brien’s resignation. He would have retired in a few weeks anyway, when he turns 75, but his participation in the selection of the next pope would have been the cap on a long and successful career…”

Britain’s influence in Europe—politically and now even religiously—is constantly declining.

German Catholic Church Approved Morning-After Pill in Rape Cases

Der Spiegel Online reported on February 22:

“In a significant reversal just one month after two Catholic hospitals refused to treat a victim of sexual assault, Germany’s bishops on Thursday approved the use of the ‘morning-after pill’ in rape cases… This time, it didn’t take the Catholic Church long to react. In mid-January, the church in Germany was blasted after two Catholic hospitals in Cologne refused treatment to a rape victim due to concerns about the provision of emergency contraception in the form of the ‘morning-after’ pill.  On Thursday, the German Bishops’ Conference completed an about-face on its approach to the treatment, saying that Catholic facilities in Germany were now free to prescribe such pills in rape cases, provided that the medication was used to prevent a pregnancy and not to abort an already fertilized egg.

“Robert Zollitsch, head of the Bishops’ Conference, announced the decision in Trier… It applies to all Catholic facilities in Germany and follows a similar change made unilaterally by Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne in the immediate wake of the scandal… Zollitsch, however, was careful to note that ‘medical or pharmaceutical methods that lead to the death of the embryo are still not permitted.’ In addition to the resolutions regarding the ‘morning-after’ pill, the Bishops’ Conference also announced its intention to increase the number of women working in church leadership positions…

“Left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung takes a broader look at what the change of course on the ‘morning-after’ pill says about the state of the Catholic Church. ‘… using the pill as a means of family planning remains forbidden as does ordination for women. That won’t be enough to confront the deep crisis facing the Catholic Church in Germany. Even conservative Catholics have lost faith in the church, and the church has distanced itself from many of the faithful. The bishops might see their faint-hearted reforms as a great step. For the public it looks at best like a purely cosmetic improvement that will do little to change the devastating image the church in Germany has developed in recent years.’”

HOWEVER, the negative image of the Catholic Church will drastically change—regardless of their teachings or practices—when a powerful miracle-working charismatic personage will become pope. The Bible warns of that individual, calling him the false prophet and the man of sin, of iniquity and lawlessness, who will appear with the power and under the directive of Satan himself (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8-10).

Catholic Church Now Has Seat on Mount Zion

Israel National News reported on February 1:

“An historic agreement has been drafted between Israel and the Vatican. The Israeli authorities have granted the Pope an official seat in the room where the Last Supper is believed to have taken place, on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, and where David and Solomon, Jewish kings of Judea, are considered by some researchers, to also be buried. It is the culmination of a long campaign by the Catholic Church to regain religious stewardship over the place where Jesus is supposed to have broken bread and drunk wine with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion.

“This is an enormous issue pushed through without any public debate. According to our sources, the agreement, which is expected to be ratified next June, gives the Pope a ‘special authority’ over the second floor of the building… The agreement constitutes Israel’s capitulation to the Vatican’s efforts to ‘Christianize’ the holy site… The Catholic Church has long wanted control over part of the area on Mt. Zion so as to turn it into an international religious center for Catholics…

“In the long term, the gesture will increase tensions between Jews and the large assets of the Vatican. The Church has long been working to reduce Jewish rights in Jerusalem and in the Old City. Now, after the Muslim Waqf authority expelled the Christians from the Temple Mount and turned it into a mosque, it’s the turn of the Vatican to lay its hands on the Jewish Jerusalem. The Custody of the Holy Land, the Franciscan order who, with Vatican approval, is in charge of the holy sites, campaigns with the Arabs against Israel.

“As far back as May 2000, Yasser Arafat met Islamic and Christian clergymen at the presidential offices in Ramallah to back Palestinian Arab sovereignty over Jerusalem. Among the clergymen who attended the meeting [were] Diodoros I, patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, Torkom II, patriarch of the Armenian Orthodox Church, Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah and officials from the Custody of the Holy Land…

“The Vatican is also asking that Israel hand over to the Vatican’s control dozens of sites, 19 in Judea and Samaria and 28 in Jerusalem. The Catholic Church want to discuss some properties on [the] Mount of Olives, Har Hazeitim, which is the very history of the Jewish people. If you want to keep Jerusalem united, you have to keep Har Hazeitim. The Vatican knows that…

“Should the Vatican gain sovereignty over Mount of Zion, millions of Christian pilgrims will flock to the site, and this will threaten the Israeli presence in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter and Jewish access to the Western Wall. The Vatican wants the Jews out of the Old City and apparently Israel’s government is agreeing with them. Turning the Cenacle into an active church is also a way of desecrating the holiness of the site known as the Tomb of David…”

The Bible makes it very clear that in these end times, the Catholic Church, as “representative” of “orthodox Christianity,” will gain access to and control over the Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem.

Italy in Turmoil — Again

The New York Times wrote on February 25:

“Italian voters delivered a rousing anti-austerity message and a strong rebuke to the existing political order in national elections on Monday that threatened to plunge the country into political paralysis after early results failed to produce a clear winner. Political experts said the situation would most likely lead to a shaky coalition government and once again expose Italy and the euro zone to turmoil if financial markets question the new government’s commitment to measures that have kept the budget deficit within a tolerable 3 percent of gross domestic product.

“In an election marked by voter anger and low turnout, the center-left Democratic Party appeared to be leading in the Lower House… and in the Senate… But the results were not a clear victory, because the center-right People of Liberty Party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was leading in several populous regions that carry more Senate seats, raising the prospect of political gridlock.

“Even without a final result, the election was a victory for the Five Star Movement of the former comedian Beppe Grillo, which in its first-ever national elections appeared… to win 25 percent of the vote in the Lower House. Italians from both right and left — and the wealthier north and poorer south — were drawn to Mr. Grillo’s opposition of austerity measures and cries to oust the existing political order.  And it was a stinging defeat for the caretaker prime minister, Mario Monti, a newly minted politician whose lackluster civic movement appeared to win around 10 percent in both houses…

“When he came to power in November 2011, after Mr. Berlusconi stepped down amid intense market turmoil [and intense personal problems and accusations], Mr. Monti was praised for restoring international confidence in Italy. Although he won plaudits from European leaders and President Obama, Italians remember him for raising the retirement age and taxes. ‘Taxes, taxes and more taxes, that’s what voters remember the most from Monti,’ said Stefano Sacchi, a professor of political science at the University of Milan…”

The Washington Post added on February 25:

“Silvio Berlusconi, the three-time Italian prime minister, billionaire playboy and perpetual criminal defendant, who was all but counted out of Italian political life when a debt crisis forced his resignation in 2011, shocked the country Monday by shooting back into a position of influence. Even by the chaotic standards of Italian politics, the resurgence of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party… along with the astonishingly strong showing of a naysaying protest party led by Beppe Grillo, a seething ex-comedian opposed to the euro, has cast the Italian government into confusion…”

Der Spiegel wrote on February 26:

“An angry comedian and ‘Bunga Bunga’ Berlusconi won enough votes to block the formation of an urgently needed reform-minded government in Rome. They attracted millions of disenchanted people who feel they’ve lost out from the euro. Italy has descended into chaos and the whole of Europe will feel it… Incompetent political leadership has been running down the country for years…

“Berlusconi’s promises are outlandish, but many are intent on believing them, like one believes in the miracle cures of Catholic saints… they’re all hoping for a miracle… Germany and some other northern nations have become richer thanks to the euro but other regions, especially in the south, have become poorer…”

Deutsche Welle added on February 26:

“Italian newspapers, more or less, came to the same conclusion on the morning after the country’s parliamentary election: ‘Italy is ungovernable.’”

After the end of World War II, Italy has had an extraordinary amount of shaky governments, so the present turmoil is no exception. Heavily taxing the people is never a popular or smart move. It is also condemned in the Bible. It led to a revolt of the Israelites under King Solomon’s son, and it apparently broke the neck of Mr. Monti and his politics, as well as Italy’s present “political order.” In such circumstances, controversial and unscrupulous men capitalize from unrest, as Benito Mussolini did prior to and during World War II. However, Italy will become one of the prophesied ten European core nations or groups of nations which will comprise the final revival of the ancient Roman Empire, but under German leadership.

More Europe—A “Defense” of the European Idea

Der Spiegel Online reported on February 22:

“German President Joachim Gauck made a passionate plea on Friday for greater European integration in the most important speech of his term in office thus far. He called on Britain to remain in the EU and said that Germany does not want to impose its will on the rest of its EU partners.

“When it comes to the European Union, many in Germany and around the 27-member club think first and foremost of mind-numbing bureaucracy in Brussels and the never-ending crisis facing the Continent’s common currency. Citizens feel powerless, helpless and oftentimes ignored. Such were the sentiments that German President Joachim Gauck acknowledged right at the beginning of his highly anticipated keynote address on Europe, delivered on Friday in Berlin. It was the first major speech of his 11-month-old presidency, and it comes at a time when euro-skepticism is widespread — most notably in Britain, but also in Germany and across the EU.

“Gauck, though, quickly moved on from the laundry list of complaints that are often directed at Brussels and from the fears felt by those countries in crisis. In the rest of the speech, he delivered an eloquent and passionate defense of the European idea. ‘We can travel from the Neman (River) to the Atlantic and from Finland to Sicily without at any point having to dig out a passport,’ he said. ‘We can use one and the same currency across much of Europe, and we buy Spanish shoes and Czech cars without paying extra customs charges…. In a very positive way, more Europe has become part of our everyday lives.’… First and foremost, he said, Europe needed to develop a common identity…

“Gauck is particularly well-liked in Germany. As a pastor in East Germany, he became a leading member of the New Forum, a citizens’ movement that ultimately played a key role in the GDR’s rapid switch from communism to democracy after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989…

“On Friday, Gauck seemed well aware of the attention that would be paid to his speech. ‘European identity is not about excluding those who are different,’ he said. ‘Rather, European identity grows out of our deepening cooperation and the conviction of those who say we want to be part of this community because we share common values. More Europe means making diversity more genuinely part of our lives and allowing it to unite us.’

“The German president noted the difficulties currently facing the EU and warned that further integration is needed in terms of financial and economic policy as well as foreign and defense issues… Toward the end of his speech, he made a direct appeal to the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union… ‘During the Second World War, your efforts helped to save our Europe — and it is also your Europe…. More Europe cannot mean a Europe without you… I want to assure all citizens of neighboring countries that I cannot imagine any of Germany’s policymakers seeking to impose a German diktat… It is my heartfelt conviction that, in Germany, more Europe does not mean a German Europe. For us, more Europe means a European Germany.’ Gauck received a standing ovation at the end of his speech…”

The Local ran an article on February 26, which had first been published by Die Zeit. Even though much of it is objectionable and misleading, the following excerpts are worth quoting:

“Since last Friday it has been clear that Germany’s ceremonial head of state is… a convinced European with the courage to make overhauling the European project a central theme of his presidency… Gauck developed what had been painfully absent in all of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to save the euro and push forward with reform of the European Union: a vision of how the crisis-hit bloc should move forward – as a community of common values, a European civil society…

“Gauck committed himself to a further ‘internal unification’ of the EU. His view of this deeper integration involves not only a common financial and economic policy, but also a unified foreign, security and defence policy…

“Europe will fail without a common narrative, without an idea of where the European journey should lead, whether as a loose confederation of states or a federal, tight union. That is Gauck’s central message – and his warning to politicians. What is needed, as he rather passionately said, is not doubters, but banner-wavers, not hesitators, but hard workers. There is no doubt about which group Gauck would like to belong to.”

There will be more Europe, and even though German politicians may not envision or desire it, it will be led by ten Eurozone core nations or groups of nations under German leadership, and Great Britain will not be a part of it.

Britain the Big Loser

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 28:

“In a bid to address widespread public outrage over greed in the financial sector, European officials have agreed to legislation capping bankers’ bonuses at a maximum of a year’s salary. Great Britain fought to prevent the measure, but failed to rally enough support… European Parliament and member states must still formally approve the compromise…

“Wednesday’s agreement to implement what will be the world’s strictest pay cap was hard-won after months of resistance from member states. Chief among them was Great Britain, which boasts Europe’s largest financial sector… The new rules will apply to all EU financial institutions and their foreign subsidiaries. It will also apply to the subsidiaries of American or Asian bank with branches in the EU…”

The New York Times added on February 28:

“The agreement… is a blow to Britain, which partly relies on generous remuneration packages to ensure that the City of London remains the biggest financial center in Europe and the overseas base for banks from around the globe.”

Europe is ganging up on Britain… as has been prophesied in the Bible.

Resistance IS Possible

Deutsche Welle reported on February 18 about the White Rose, a peaceful resistance group of students and other younger men and women in Germany who tried to educate the people by distributing leaflets informing the readers as to what was really going on in Germany:

“Franz J. Müller was part of the White Rose resistance group that called for active opposition against the Nazi regime. In an interview with DW he recalls what happened and why the White Rose is still significant…

“‘The Führer decided whether we were to live or to die. And then, all that pseudo-militaristic stuff. And we weren’t allowed to read what we wanted, either. Fortunately we were able to listen to Swiss radio broadcasts. That wasn’t exactly the voice of freedom, but at least they had information that was not available in Germany. And, of course, we then discussed all these things, too. We knew that if Germany didn’t lose the war, the Nazis would rule Europe. Under no circumstances did we want that! In our opinion Germany HAD to lose the war! Otherwise we wouldn’t see freedom again in our lifetime…

“‘The White Rose is seen as the prominent indication that resistance in Germany was possible, that one could do something…  Hans and Sophie [Scholl, leaders of the White Rose movement] didn’t want to be heroes. They valued friendship and freedom. The students should look for information as comprehensively as possible and have discussions with friends, in order not to be easily influenced by propaganda slogans, and to show civil courage when liberties are at stake…’”

This is still true for Christians today. We are told to come out of Babylon and not to share in her sins (Revelation 18:4). Rather, we are to cry aloud and spare not and show the people their transgressions and sins (Isaiah 58:1).

USA and Europe—No More Closeness

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 25:

“The new US secretary of state is visiting Berlin on Monday. He’s promising grand things — and he has a soft spot for Europe. But John Kerry has little room for maneuver. The Old World is of little interest to people in Washington, particularly President Obama… Kerry’s boss, President Barack Obama, is perhaps the first genuine ‘non-European’ in the White House…

“Obama used Berlin in 2008 as an election stage. He hasn’t made it back to the German capital since. And during his re-election campaign last year, the president didn’t shy away from scolding Europe. Obama’s support for a planned free-trade agreement between Washington and the European Union is so half-hearted that he only added a sentence about it to his recent State of the Union address at the very last minute — and even then, it only came after statements about the implementation of a trans-Pacific trade agreement.

“Above all, though, Obama is the ultimate pragmatist when it comes to diplomacy. Vali Nasr, the influential Washington politics professor, recently came to the damning conclusion in a new book that Obama’s foreign policy isn’t based on strategic considerations, but solely on public opinion in the United States. The desire of the American people is clear. They would rather rebuild their country’s economy than focus on the rest of the world. Right now America is looking inside rather than outside, and moving forward it wants to act in the background rather than march at the front, as evidenced by its positions on Mali and Syria…

“Kerry will be unable to do anything to change that. For one, America’s political system grants the secretary of state very little influence… The office holder can only wield power if he or she has the president’s ear. Ultimately, though, it is a small circle of confidants who influence Obama’s foreign policy, and not even [Hillary] Clinton, a political superstar, was able to crack it. ‘It is incredible how little support she got from the White House,’ Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told the New York Times. ‘They want to control everything.’

“Besides, Kerry wasn’t even Obama’s first choice for the post. US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was initially supposed to be secretary of state, but that fell through after the scandal surrounding the US diplomats killed in Libya made her untenable for the position. Secondly, from Obama’s perspective, there is no alternative to America’s new foreign-policy restraint.

“The United States no longer wants to be the ‘irreplaceable nation’ that Madeleine Albright once touted. And even if the country wanted that role again, it is unlikely that it would suddenly increase its focus and pay more attention to Europe, as former NATO commander Wesley Clark recently reminded German listeners during a speech. When the Americans actually do look to Europe, it will only be when working together actually pays dividends, as with the planned free-trade agreement… Someone now just has to explain that to Kerry.”

The Atlantic Wire added on February 26:

“Brand-new Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech Tuesday proudly defending Americans’ ‘right to be stupid’ in front of the very people who are most likely to think Americans are stupid, Europeans. ‘People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another,’ Kerry told students in Berlin, according to Reuters, which notes the remark prompted laughter.

“‘The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid — if you want to be.’ Kerry explained to the German students that the freedom from brains is a good thing. ‘Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for… The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view.’”

The relationship between the USA and Europe is prophesied to consistently deteriorate, until open hostility will be the result. Even Germany’s former euphoria for the Obamas is fading. The left-liberal magazine, Der Stern, wrote that the Oscar celebrations on Sunday were ok, but what on earth was Michelle Obama doing, announcing a reward for a movie from the White House. It was felt that she was totally out-of-place. As the next article shows, America is recognizing Germany’s strong leadership role in Europe. But this might not be good news for the USA.

Kerry Praises Germany’s Leadership Role in Europe

The EUObserver wrote on February 27:

“On his first trip to Berlin as US foreign secretary John Kerry on Tuesday… praised Germany’s leadership in Europe and made a strong case for an EU-US free trade agreement… ‘What you’re doing now in Germany is so remarkable in terms of leading Europe and expressing a vision about where we can go together,’ Kerry told the young audience [of German students.] He repeated the compliment when meeting Merkel, thanking ‘Germany’s exemplary leadership.’…

“Kerry also underlined the importance of signing a free trade agreement between the US and the EU… The trade deal will help raise standards for products and food all across the world and break tariff barriers, he added. ‘One of the difficulties with the Asian marketplace has been that they’re engaged in capitalism and they’re pursuing pretty intensive market opportunities, but they’re not always playing by the same rules,’ Kerry said.”

As the previous section points out, President Obama may not attach the same importance to the trade agreement. But it will increase Europe’s wealth.

Chuck Hagel Sworn In… but John Brennan Still Under Review

BBC News reported on February 27:

“Shortly after his swearing-in as defence secretary, Chuck Hagel has said the US should engage with the world rather than dictate to it… Mr Hagel was confirmed by a 58-41 vote after Republicans stalled his nomination, questioning his past positions on Israel and Iran and his qualification for the job… Hagel has stirred up a sudden storm in a chai glass, with past suggestions that India has been using Afghanistan as a ‘second front’ against its old rival Pakistan… 

“Also on Wednesday, the Senate intelligence committee delayed a vote on White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, whom Mr Obama has nominated as the next director of the CIA… some Democrats have expressed concern over the government’s use of unmanned drones to carry out ‘targeted killings’; and have suggested a vote on Mr Brennan should be delayed until the committee can review certain secret documents relating to the programme.”

And Republicans oppose the confirmation “unless the Obama administration turns over more Benghazi documentation.”

Breitbart added on February 26:

“An unprecedented 41 Senators voted against Hagel’s nomination. In the history of the Republic, no other Defense Secretary had been approved with more than 11 votes in opposition. Hagel now has the job title, but he doesn’t have the political authority necessary to be successful. He won confirmation, but he failed his nomination…

“Hagel was always an odd choice for the job… he admitted he didn’t know a lot about specific military programs, but would be able to learn quickly on the job…

“The Pentagon is famously bureaucratic. In addition to tensions between uniformed and civilian employees, there is competition between the different services… With 41 votes against his confirmation, Hagel has [no] authority. Because of this, Hagel is a failed nominee. He won the office, but the questions raised during his confirmation debate have neutered him within the Department. America has never had a Defense Secretary who didn’t enjoy broad bi-partisan support on The Hill. Hagel’s confirmation is historic, but for all the wrong reasons.”

Big Banks a Threat to Global Economy?

Bloomberg reported on February 20:

“…  what if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers? Granted, it’s a hard concept to swallow. It’s also crucial to understanding why the big banks present such a threat to the global economy… The larger they are, the more disastrous their failure would be and the more certain they can be of a government bailout in an emergency. The result is an implicit subsidy: The banks that are potentially the most dangerous can borrow at lower rates, because creditors perceive them as too big to fail.

“Lately, economists have tried to pin down exactly how much the subsidy lowers big banks’ borrowing costs… Multiplied by the total liabilities of the 10 largest U.S. banks by assets, it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy of $83 billion a year. To put the figure in perspective, it’s tantamount to the government giving the banks about 3 cents of every tax dollar collected.

“… the banks occupying the commanding heights of the U.S. financial industry — with almost $9 trillion in assets, more than half the size of the U.S. economy — would just about break even in the absence of corporate welfare. In large part, the profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to their shareholders.

“Neither bank executives nor shareholders have much incentive to change the situation. On the contrary, the financial industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle on campaign donations and lobbying, much of which is aimed at maintaining the subsidy… the superbanks could ultimately require bailouts that exceed the government’s resources. Picture a meltdown in which the Treasury is helpless to step in as it did in 2008 and 2009…”

Frightening and scary indeed! Add to this our entitlement problems, our broken healthcare system, our unparalleled public debts and the myriads of other man-made economic dangers, coupled with our paralyzed government, we should not have to think twice to be able to comprehend that our economy is in grave danger, just waiting to collapse.

The Sequester–Is America Committing Suicide?

Deutsche Welle reported on February 27:

“With a series of automatic spending cuts set to take effect on Friday, Democrats and Republicans are playing a game of political chicken, with neither party willing to compromise in the latest round of America’s 18-month-old fiscal drama…The $85 billion (65 billion euros) in across-the-board cuts for fiscal year 2013, called sequestration, would equally impact both defense and social spending.

“… with hopes of a deal fading, both sides of the political aisle are pointing fingers as Washington prepares to fall on its own sword… As the world watches America go through these self-manufactured crises, to what extent does this say to the rest of the world, these guys in Washington may run the world because they have the biggest army and they have the biggest economy, but their disfunctionality is becoming really dangerous to us all…”

Bob Woodward vs. Barack Obama

Reuters reported on February 27:

“Journalist Bob Woodward on Wednesday criticized Barack Obama’s handling of the automatic U.S. budget cuts set to take effect this week, calling the president’s decision to hold back on military deployments ‘madness.’ His comments continued what has become a running dispute between Woodward, perhaps the country’s best-known print journalist, and the Democratic White House over who is responsible for the across-the-board cuts scheduled to begin on Friday…

“Woodward… first gained fame in the 1970s from exposing the Watergate scandal during the administration of President Richard Nixon…

“On Wednesday he attacked Obama for drawing national security into the budget debate. ‘So we now have the president going out (saying) “Because of this piece of paper and this agreement, I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country.” That’s a kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time’ Woodward told MSNBC on Wednesday… Obama’s decision to drag the military into the budget fight likely would not have happened in previous administrations, Republican or Democratic, Woodward added…”

The Business Insider reported on February 27:

“Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a ‘very senior person’ at the White House warned him in an email that he would ‘regret doing this,’ the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester. CNN host Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.”

The White House is becoming desperate. But renowned journalist Bob Woodward will not be an easy target. Subsequently, the White House was anxious to downplay the incident, and CNN jumped on the bandwagon, but the fact remains that a hot phone discussion had taken place between Woodward and a senior official at the White House, followed by an “apologetic” email by that senior person at the White House—apparently Gene Sperling, a top economic aide–containing the above-quoted statement which Woodward interpreted as a threat. It was also stated by Ari Fleischer, a former White House Press Secretary, during an interview with CNN that other journalists had allegedly received similar threats from current officials at the White House.

Will It Be Avoided?

The Washington Post wrote on February 27:

“President Obama will meet with congressional leaders Friday at the White House to discuss a way to avoid the fallout of deep spending cuts, amid intensifying warnings that they could affect the daily lives of Americans in a variety of ways. Obama’s meeting with the top four Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate is scheduled for the day the so-called ‘sequester’ cuts begin to take effect…

“Among the sequester’s possible impacts… are major flight delays and the closure of hundreds of air traffic control towers at smaller airports across the country…  the sequester would wreak havoc on air travel across the country… increased delays, higher costs and lags in air-traffic upgrades would be felt by travelers, pilots, airlines, business and the military… the greatest impact of the cuts may be felt during the spring break and summer travel seasons when airports are busiest…

“The White House meeting Friday will be the first between Obama and congressional leaders on the issue… [House Speaker John] Boehner spokesman Michael Steel confirmed the meeting while complaining that it was scheduled too late. ‘At this point, the Obama administration isn’t even pretending to try to stop the sequester,’ he said in a statement. While the sequester technically begins Friday, its effects will not be felt for several weeks, as they are implemented… Both sides are hoping to resolve the battle by late March…

“Obama has said the $85 billion in cuts in domestic and defense spending would have a devastating impact on the government and harm the economy. Republican leaders agree that an alternative to the sequester is necessary. But the two sides have clashed over whether new tax revenue should be part of the solution. Senate Democrats and Republicans are expected to advance dueling proposals Thursday to resolve the sequester, but neither is expected to get the votes necessary to pass…”

Iran—Just Says “No”

The Los Angeles Times wrote on February 26:

“Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been doubling down on his hard-line message that all but rules out the possibility of direct talks with the United States… Khamenei characterized the latest efforts by the Obama administration to negotiate directly with Iran as ‘a marketing ploy’ designed to convince Islamic countries around the world that if the Islamic Republic, with its long history of resistance and endurance, finally relented and negotiated, then what hope would they have standing up against the West. The real aim of Western powers, Khamenei declared, was not good-faith negotiations but forcing Iran’s ‘surrender.’…

“Simply put, normalization of relations between Iran and the United States would deprive Khamenei and the deeply invested cohort of radical ideologues around him of a powerful justification for their arbitrary rule. Continued enmity with the United States has time and again proved to be a convenient excuse for silencing the reformist opposition…

“The difficult dilemma facing the Obama administration, therefore, is not simply one concerning the rights or responsibilities of Iran under the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty… The implementation of an unprecedented regime of economic and political sanctions against Iran has been a godsend to Khamenei, because it presents him with a tangible set of grievances against American ‘arrogance’ and ‘hypocrisy.’

“Khamenei ended his latest speech with a telling observation. ‘The sanctions,’ he said, ‘did not in fact put any distance between the people and the Islamic Republic. They merely proved the point that belief in Islam and resilient leadership can help solve any problems. Surrender to the enemies [of the Islamic Republic] will not solve anything.’”

And so, Iran proves to be another irremovable thorn in the flesh of America’s botched up foreign policy.

More Horsemeat in Europe

The website of npr.org reported on February 25:

“Bad news for those whose shopping trips at Ikea are partly motivated by the allure of the store’s famous meatballs: The giant Swedish furniture retailer on Monday said it had recalled a batch of frozen meatballs sent to more than a dozen European countries after tests detected traces of horse meat… Ikea says it has pulled frozen meatballs from the same batch that were sent to its stores in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, the U.K., Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Cyprus, Greece, Spain and Belgium, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“The product was also removed from Ikea stores in Sweden… Ikea is the latest retailer to be swept up in the ever-widening European horse meat scandal. Horse meat has been detected in a wide array of products, from frozen lasagnas to burger meat sold to Burger King’s U.K. operations, and in a meat pasta sauce sold by Wal-Mart’s U.K. supermarket chain, Asda.”

Horsemeat is not fit for human consumption. Rather, it is dangerous for human health, if you believe the Bible.

No Tuna in Tuna

The Atlantic wrote on February 22:

“Nonprofit ocean protection group Oceana took 1,215 samples of fish from across the United States and genetically tested them in order to bring us the following astonishing facts: 59% of the fish labeled ‘tuna’ sold at restaurants and grocery stores in the US is not tuna. Sushi restaurants were far more likely to mislabel their fish than grocery stores or other restaurants. In Chicago, Austin, New York, and Washington DC, every single sushi restaurant sampled sold mislabeled tuna.

“84% of fish samples labeled ‘white tuna’ were actually escolar, a fish that can cause prolonged, uncontrollable, oily anal leakage. The only fish more likely to be misrepresented than tuna was snapper, which was mislabeled 87% of the time, and was in actuality any of six different species. If you’ve ever wondered why the sushi in the display case is so affordable, given the dire state of the world’s tuna supply, well, now you know.”

Free-Range and Organic Chicken and their Eggs Neither Free-Range Nor Organic

The Local wrote on February 25:

“Prosecutors are investigating around 200 German egg farmers suspected of falsely labelling their produce as organic or free-range, in what has been described as fraud on a massive scale. It would seem that millions of eggs had been sold under false pretences over the last few years, exploiting the willingness of some customers to pay extra for produce from more humanely kept birds…

“Those under suspicion were largely conventional farms, but some organic farms were also affected. Chickens and their eggs can only be described as free-range if each animal has access to at least four square metres of space, while the description organic, or ‘bio’ in German, requires further specific conditions.”

Donkey and Pork Found in South African Meat Products

The Guardian wrote on February 26:

“South African food scientists say there is water buffalo, donkey and goat meat in mislabelled South African foods including beefburgers and sausages. A study published by three professors at Stellenbosch University found that 99 of 139 samples contained species not declared on the product label, with the highest incidence in sausages, burgers and deli meats. The study found soya and gluten were not labelled in 28% of products tested, undeclared pork in 37% and chicken in 23%.

“Co-author Professor Louwrens C Hoffman said: “This study confirms that the mislabelling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labelling regulations but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts.’”

Big and small governmentally-run or -subsidized, as well as private companies and businesses constantly defraud the people and may contribute to or even be responsible for sicknesses and ultimately, for their physical destruction. But God will soon send back His Son Jesus Christ to “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18).

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Who will build the Temple of Ezekiel? (Part 3)

Jerusalem is designated to be the royal city of Jesus Christ’s reign on the earth. Ezekiel’s presentation of the Temple he saw has its setting in the future—and in the City of Jerusalem: “In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city” (Ezekiel 40:2).

Other prophecies also speak of Jesus Christ establishing Jerusalem as the place of His future rule:

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2-4; compare Psalms 45 through 48; Micah 4:1-3; Isaiah 56:7;  Zechariah 14:16).

In these and additional writings about the Messianic age, we are able to view the future as though it has already happened! Remarkable revelations found in the Book of Zechariah give us great insight into Jerusalem’s future—and facts that support the building of a physical House of God just before the return of Jesus Christ:

“Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, ‘O LORD of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?’ And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words. So the angel who spoke with me said to me, ‘Proclaim, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Jerusalem And for Zion with great zeal. I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; For I was a little angry, And they helped–but with evil intent.’ “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.’”  ‘Again proclaim, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The LORD will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem’”’” (Zechariah 1:12-17).

The LORD’s return to Jerusalem is described further:

“’Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the LORD. ‘Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem’” (Zechariah 2:10-12).

The time settings throughout the chapters of Zechariah have events occurring immediately before, during and following the return of Jesus Christ. Joshua and Zerubbabel led the rebuilding of the Temple of God following the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity after the “seventy years”; however, they also serve as prophetic types—representative of individuals who will live and accomplish God’s will in the future.

In chapter 3 of Zechariah, “Joshua” is cleansed and restored, and note that this has to do with his priestly role in the “house” or Temple of God:

“Then the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,  ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here. Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH”’” (Zechariah 3:6-8). 

As we point out in our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah—Prophecies for Today,” pages 31 to 37, the references to the Temple of God in the context of Joshua refer primarily to the spiritual Temple—the Church of God (compare 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and many additional references, proving that God’s Church is called the Temple or the House of God). However, they may also refer to the building of a physical Temple just prior to Christ’s return.

In chapter 4 of Zechariah, “Zerubbabel” is promised that he will both start and finish the building of the Temple:

“So he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” ‘ Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you’” (Zechariah 4:6-9).

However, let us also consider what is said about the “BRANCH” regarding the Temple, in Zechariah 6:12-13:

“Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both [margin: both offices].”’”

The One called the “BRANCH” is the Messiah—the One who will return to occupy the Temple of God (as we will see in Ezekiel). From other references in this series of Q&A’s, we noted that God gave the plans for the Tabernacle’s construction and of the Temple built by Solomon—which served to also guide those in Zerubbabel’s time. The future Temple will be built according to the plans given in Ezekiel’s description along with what is recorded about the previous houses of God.

In “The Book of Zechariah—Prophecies for Today,” page 42, we state:

“Even though the vision is talking about the construction of a physical temple at the time of Zerubbabel, it also applies to the end time. As explained above, one application must be seen in the reference to the spiritual temple—the Church. But it is also possible that another physical temple will be built prior to Christ’s return—and that a modern ‘Zerubbabel’ will be used in some way for the accomplishment of that task.”

In this context, we find an additional striking proclamation:

“’Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the LORD. Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God’” (Zechariah 6:15).


“’Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, You who have been hearing in these days These words by the mouth of the prophets, Who spoke in the day the foundation was laid For the house of the LORD of hosts, That the temple might be built”’” (Zechariah 8:9).

Again, we point out in “The Book of Zechariah—Prophecies for Today,” pages 62-63, that the building of the Temple could refer to the spiritual Temple of the Church or the physical Temple in the Millennium. However, we continue to state on page 64:

“It is also possible that the reference to a future temple, which will be built by the BRANCH, could relate to a physical temple still to be built in Jerusalem—just prior to the return of Christ. We know from Scripture that the Jews will bring sacrifices to Jerusalem. If there is a physical temple, then these sacrifices would be brought to that temple, until they are—temporarily—abolished by a European power.

“As we discussed in our free booklet, ‘Is That in the Bible?—The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation?,’ … strong biblical evidence exists for the rebuilding of a temple in the modern Jewish nation of Israel.

“It would also be possible that it is THAT temple which will survive the partial end-time destruction of the city of Jerusalem, which is described as the millennial temple in the book of Ezekiel.”

In the Book of Haggai, a prophecy is given which still has to find its fulfillment, and it may be in a physical Temple of God which must yet materialize:

“‘For thus says the LORD of hosts: “Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,” says the LORD of hosts. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,” says the LORD of hosts. “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,” says the LORD of hosts. “And in this place I will give peace,” says the LORD of hosts”’” (Haggai 2:6-9).

In what way will “the glory of this latter temple… be greater than the former”? It will be because the glorified LORD, Jesus Christ, will come to this Temple:

“’Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the LORD, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness’” (Malachi 3:1-3).

As we have understood for a long time, the above-quoted references in the books of Haggai and Malachi refer foremost to Christ’s Second Coming to His spiritual Temple—the Church. However, purifying the sons of Levi will go hand-in-hand with a ceremonial cleansing of the altar in the Temple of God, which is prophesied to take place AFTER Jesus Christ has returned to the earth (compare Ezekiel 43:18-27)! In fact, in the vision given to Ezekiel, it is the LORD who delegates the purging of the Temple and who rebukes those who have defiled His House:

“And He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. When they set their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore I have consumed them in My anger. Now let them put their harlotry and the carcasses of their kings far away from Me, and I will dwell in their midst forever’” (Ezekiel 43:7-9).

Now carefully note what the LORD says about what has been allowed to take place in the Temple of God:

“Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the LORD God: “O house of Israel, let us have no more of all your abominations. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it–My house–and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations. And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.” Thus says the LORD God: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel”’” (Ezekiel 44:6-9).

This recounting of the detestable shame which will have happened to the Temple finds its parallel in the prophecies of Jesus from Matthew 24 and that of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2—as we have already shown. It appears that some influential Jews will allow the man of sin to occupy the Temple of God. The purging of the Temple at the time of the Millennium proves that prior desecration must have occurred in an existing physical Temple, prior to Christ’s Second Coming. These Scriptures—along with the many others we have cited—point to the fact that a Temple of God will be built BEFORE and NOT AFTER Christ’s appearance!

There is no clear implication that the modern Church of God will have a direct involvement in this endeavor. However, every indication—both by precedence and by the reality of having a restored Jewish nation in the State of Israel—is that the Jews and the Levites with them will find a way to once again erect the Temple of God—the very one that is so meticulously revealed in the Book of Ezekiel!

Considering the precarious situation of the State of Israel, we can understand that there will be violent resistance to any effort to build a Temple to God—especially, on the biblically revealed area now known as the Temple Mount and occupied by the Dome of the Rock along with the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Exactly how circumstances may play out, we don’t precisely know! What we do know and believe is that this will unquestionably take place—and that through the providence of God!

Lead Writer: Dave Harris

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

An initial, verbal agreement has been reached for a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles location in Vail, Colorado, following an on-site tour of the facility by David and Peggy Harris. We will let everyone know more details following completion of a contract.

Our new booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever,” has been posted on the Web. Hard copies for distribution will be sent next week to our offices in Canada and the United Kingdom. Hard copies will also be sent out next week to our subscribers in the USA, together with the new member letter for March.

Norbert and Johanna Link are scheduled to fly to Germany on March 10th, 2013. They will visit with the attorney commissioned to register the Church in Germany, inspect the Feast site in the Black Forest and finalize the arrangements with the hotel, and visit with new people who have shown interest in the Church. Baptism counseling for several prospective members have been scheduled, and new baptisms are anticipated. A public indoor pool has been reserved for this purpose. During their stay in Germany, Norbert will conduct Passover services as well as services on the three weekly Sabbaths and on the two Holy Days. It is also planned to video-record the Sabbath and Holy Day services for subsequent posting on the Web. Norbert and Johanna are scheduled to return on April 2.

Brian and Jill Gale will be leaving England to arrive in California on March 19th, 2013, to visit the brethren in Southern California. Mr. Gale will conduct Passover services in Ramona, California, as well as give sermons during his stay–which will be until April 23rd.

Rene and Delia Messier are traveling from Canada to Woodburn, Oregon. Mr. Messier will conduct Passover services and give a sermon on the First Day of Unleavened Bread.

As previously announced, our annual Church conference will be conducted in Colorado, from April 12 until April 16, 2013.

“Easter Customs and Jesus Christ,” is the title of our newest StandingWatch program–presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary: What is the origin of Easter and its customs? What do Easter eggs and the Easter bunny have to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? When did Christ die, and when was He resurrected? Did you know that Easter is not only a pagan festival, but closely connected with a belief in communication with demons?

This program will also be broadcast on radio for two weeks, beginning Saturday, March 23.

“Neu! Christi Erstes Kommen, Teil 1,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. It’s the first part of a two-part series on Christ’s First Coming. It covers His birth, the death of Herod, Christ in the temple as a 12 year-old boy, and Christ’s public ministry, discussing events from 27 AD until 30 AD. The second part will cover the events in 31 AD. (These two sermons will also be given in English during the next two Sabbath services in the U.S.).

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God