January 4, 2019
Don’t Delay; Saul’s Demon
On January 5, 2019, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Don’t Delay,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Saul’s Demon.”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
“A Lasting Resolution”
by Robb Harris
A sense of renewal and a recommitment to past goals often goes together with the new calendar year. Likewise, jokes about how quickly people walk away from these new goals is ever present. It’s no wonder, considering how meaningless and empty the turn of the year really is.
Staying committed to one’s New Year’s resolutions is self-determined by the person making the proclamations for change. If no greater power than yourself governs your path, it is too easy to stray from your goals. Living by your own ideology does not lead to true happiness, nor to God. Paul, while talking to the Romans about God’s judgement on the self-willed of the world, states, “but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil…” (Romans 2:8-9). Only disappointment lies in wait for those who ignore God and seek their own truths.
Contrasting worldly holidays with God’s yearly cycle, we see meaning, not only for today but far into mankind’s future. The entire Plan of God is interwoven into the annual sabbaths and life itself exists to fulfill God’s great Work with man. Commitment to God’s plan has lasting meaning, something not experienced by the bulk of mankind.
Because God’s Plan is everlasting, our commitment to Him, through receiving the Holy Spirit, is also eternal. Once we take hold of this Truth, like a farmer to their plow (see Luke 9:62), we cannot let go. Too many who were once called have done just that—let go of the Truth in exchange for empty promises.
While failing a commitment to weight loss or removing some simple vices might seem inconsequential, that same attitude regarding the Truth is devastating. We must be wary to not let that kind of thinking take root in our minds. Paul warned Timothy of this attitude, “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
Our true resolution began when we arose out of our watery grave, leaving behind the passing pleasures of this world and seeking the eternal promises of God. We must make sure the pursuit of that eternal goal is always at the forefront of our hearts.
by Norbert Link
We begin with articles discussing Europe’s and Germany’s eventful past of 2018 and the outlook for 2019; addressing the Brexit debacle and its consequences for Great Britain and the rest of Europe and the USA; speak on Russia’s threat to send missiles into Israel; and point out the world’s fragile economy and America’s exclusivist politics in the areas of trade and the military (while showing that President Trump is keeping his campaign promises in this regard).
We discuss most recent poll numbers regarding the prospects of impeaching President Trump (which will not happen); and conclude with changed perceptions of standards and Christian compromise in the pursuit of political power.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
Europe’s Outlook for 2019
Euractiv wrote on December 27:
“Europeans had relied on treaties dating from the final days of the Cold War arms race, possibly thinking they are iron-cast. Not at all.
“It came rather as a shock that the United States declared it would pull out of the 1987 Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty unless Moscow withdraws its new cruise missile system 9M729… Russia’s nuclear-capable missiles are mobile, difficult to detect and can target cities in Europe with little warning. Russia seems to be unimpressed and ready to negotiate a new treaty, which could include China’s nuclear missile arsenal.
“The United States delivered Russia a 60-day ultimatum on Tuesday (4 December) to come clean about what Washington says is a violation of [an] arms control treaty that keeps missiles out of Europe… The EU, once again, is somewhere in between…
“While the ‘European army’ debate, initiated first by French President Emmanuel Macron and then German Chancellor Angela Merkel, caused animosities internally and on the other side of the Atlantic… ‘EU member states must aim to improve their military capabilities to cover the full spectrum of land, air, space, maritime and cyber spheres, in order to make the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) a credible force,’ MEPs agreed in [a] report…”
Europe will build its powerful army.
2019—Need for EU Action
The EUObserver wrote on December 31:
“Carl Bildt, the former foreign minister of Sweden, tweeted on 25 December: ‘The US president is now in open conflict with the US Congress, the US Federal Reserve, the US secretary of defence, China, the EU, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and a couple of others. Otherwise it’s OK.’
“Trump’s actions again show the US under his leadership is increasingly unreliable… It all follows a pattern of deteriorating transatlantic ties…
“More military conflict due to the power vacuum left in the Middle-East could bring higher migration flows… 2019 could be an even more turbulent year for transatlantic ties and global stability. This all the more so, given that [Trump’s] room to manoeuvre in domestic policy will be constrained after the opposition Democrats took over… the House.
“The Kremlin could be encouraged to make a new military adventure in Ukraine… Free trade also remains at risk, with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s ‘ceasefire’ with Trump likely to falter…
“Next year’s EU parliament elections could prove crucial… This requires a broad coalition of pro-EU parties from the left to the right who support a strong and united EU. It is not so much about ideology here, but about survival.
“… the EU should continue bringing together like-minded countries… If populists and nationalists really care about national sovereignty, they ought to realise they can only maintain and leverage real sovereignty in a strong EU…”
A core Europe of somewhat “like-minded countries” will develop.
2018—The Year of Political Upheaval in Germany
Deutsche Welle wrote on December 31:
“The irony is that much of the political disruption in Germany was due to factors beyond the control of [Merkel]… It started with then-SPD Chairman Martin Schulz flip-flopping on whether Social Democrats would form another Merkel-led government and whether he himself would serve in it. As a result, he was out of a job only a year after winning the party leadership by a unanimous vote…
“… the biggest challenge to [Merkel’s view on] democracy came from within her own conservative ranks. Seehofer’s rebellion on refugee policy unfolded… the animosity over core issues like migration is at the moment unbridgeable and impervious to dialogue…
“Merkel surprised us in October by ruling out a further run for the chancellorship in 2021, or for her party’s leadership that December. In January, despite her difficulties in forming a government, the German chancellor and the European Union’s longest serving leader still seemed invincible. By the end of October, she had rung in the end of her own political career… the nimbus of inevitability of both the chancellor and her patented compromise-based centrism has been blown away…
“Grand coalitions are a thing of the past. Together, the conservatives and the SPD would be unlikely to be able to muster anywhere near a parliamentary majority… the current chancellor won’t get to lead [any type of coalition].
“2018 began with many people around the world hoping — somewhat unrealistically — that Merkel and Germany could somehow fill the hole in global leadership left by Trump’s America. But as the The New Yorker writes, correctly, ‘Angela Merkel is not the leader of the free world, nor will she be.’ And 2019 is already shaping up to be a very unpredictable year.”
It won’t be Merkel’s year for sure. But another figure will arise soon in Germany (or Austria) who will “fill the hole in global leadership.” However, it won’t be “the leader of the free world.”
Nevertheless, this does not mean that, for the time being, Merkel is shying away from expressing her disagreement with Trump’s policies, albeit in her usual subtle and subdued manner. Note the next article.
Merkel: Germany Will Play a Larger Role in the World because of Trump
The Independent wrote on January 1:
“Angela Merkel appears to have delivered a veiled rebuke to Donald Trump as she vowed Germany would in future play a larger role in the world. In her new year’s address, the German chancellor said the concept of international cooperation was ‘coming under pressure’ – which has been interpreted as a reference to strained relations with the US president.
“Merkel… devoted a large part of her speech to the benefits of bringing a multilateral approach to international problems – which she has defended in the face of Mr Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy. [She] said Germany will push for “global solutions” as it takes up a two-year seat on the UN Security Council, and she noted that the country is spending more on defence and humanitarian aid…
“She said: ‘We want to resolve all these questions in our own interest, and we can do that best if we consider the interests of others. That is the lesson from the two world wars of the last century. But this conviction is no longer shared today by everyone, and certainties of international cooperation are coming under pressure.’
“Ms Merkel added: ‘In such a situation, we must again stand up for, argue and fight more strongly for our convictions. And we must take on more responsibility in our own interests.’ It came after Ms Merkel and Mr Trump exchanged blows over foreign and domestic policies.”
President Trump Does Not Care About His Lack of Popularity in Europe
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 3:
“In his first Cabinet meeting of 2019, US President Donald Trump reflected on his lack of popularity in Europe. The president told reporters on Wednesday that he was unfazed by low approval ratings among Europeans… ‘I shouldn’t be popular in Europe. If I was popular in Europe, I wouldn’t be doing my job,’ he added…
“A Pew Research Center study released in October 2018 revealed that confidence in Trump was strikingly low in European nations. Only 10 percent of Germans… viewed Trump’s handling of world affairs in a positive light… 73 percent of Germans considered bilateral relations with the US to be bad… only 41 percent of Germans wanted more cooperation with the US…
“The US president admitted that he was aware of the studies proving his low popularity among Europeans and said he did not care about it… Trump has come under fire in the US for frequently lambasting European countries that for decades have been seen as traditional allies of the US…”
Attack of Drunken Asylum-Seekers on Germans
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 2:
“Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said asylum-seekers who commit violent crimes must leave the country, after a group of apparently drunken teenagers attacked a dozen people in the Bavarian town of Amberg. ‘If existing laws are not sufficient, they must be changed,’ Seehofer told Wednesday’s edition of Germany’s Bild newspaper…
“Police said four suspects aged 17-19 — who were asylum-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan and Iran — suddenly harassed and beat passers-by on Saturday evening while under the influence of alcohol.
“Twelve people were injured, though the injuries were mostly minor.”
This will not help those who advocate an open-door migrant policy and plays right into the hands of those who want a complete stop.
The Cost for Britain of Withdrawing from the EU
Project Syndicate wrote on December 27:
“Day after day, week after week, most British citizens think that the turmoil over their country’s proposed exit from the European Union cannot get any worse. But, without fail, it does. Turmoil turns into humiliating chaos; a political crisis threatens to become a constitutional crisis…
“It is fewer than 100 days until the UK leaves [the EU], and at the moment there is no deal in sight that is acceptable to both Parliament in Westminster and the European Commission and European Council in Brussels…
“A fog of political uncertainty hangs over Britain after Christmas. Only four things seem clear. First, the Conservative Party will have growing difficulty accommodating its… English nationalist wing. Second, to save the UK from disaster, Parliament will have to get a grip on the process. Third, life outside the EU will, in any case, leave Britain poorer and less influential in the world. And, lastly, whatever the outcome, Brexit will be a divisive issue for years to come…”
The Bible prophesies Britain’s downfall in these last days… economically and militarily.
Euractiv wrote on January 1:
“Historians will look back at this period of British history with open mouths and lacerating pens that a country known for its stability and pragmatism could get itself into such a mess of its own creation.”
Europe’s New Financial Capital
The Week wrote on December 12:
“Once Brexit arrives in March 2019… much of the London financial sector could jump ship. Major players like J.P. Morgan, Citibank, and Northern Trust are all either planning to move some operations already or are at least talking about doing so.
“Frankfurt is probably at the top of the list. It’s already the biggest finance hub in Germany and boasts the headquarters of the European Central Bank. But officials in Paris are also making it clear they’d love to snatch up the finance business that London loses. Milan, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Luxembourg all get honorable mentions as well…
“Initial estimates were that anything from 75,000 finance sector jobs to an eye-watering 200,000 could leave London for other parts of Europe… Now that May’s deal is on the brink of defeat, those… numbers seem increasingly likely.”
With or without a deal, Brexit will happen and London will cease to be Europe’s financial capital.
US Ambassador Warns Against May’s Brexit Deal
The Associated Press wrote on December 31:
“The U.S. ambassador to Britain [Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson] told BBC radio Monday that negotiating a ‘quick’ and ‘massive’ trade deal between the two longtime allies ‘doesn’t look like it would be possible’ under the terms of May’s proposed deal with the European Union.
“Johnson used a live radio appearance to reiterate President Donald Trump’s concerns about the proposed agreement, which faces strong opposition in Britain’s Parliament. May has said she plans to bring the plan to a vote in mid-January.
“The U.S. ambassador said he finds a ‘defeatism’ in the British attitude toward Brexit that overlooks the many positive developments leaving the EU could bring.”
It is highly unlikely anyhow that the US and the UK will enter into a massive financial trade deal.
Moldova’s Tensions with the EU, Considering to Move Embassy to Jerusalem
JTA wrote on December 31:
“Moldova’s president said his country would ‘very seriously consider’ moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem… The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May. The European Union and Arab countries were among the harshest critics of the move, which they said may be harmful to attempts to reach a permanent peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, who both claim the city’s [eastern part].
“The announcement of Moldova’s intention to consider the move comes amid heightened tensions between Moldova and the European Union, which the landlocked country bordering Romania has sought to enter. Last month, the European Parliament warned Moldova’s government that it would end the visa waiver program it has with Moldova unless more steps are made to fight corruption.
“Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries, recently received a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vehemently opposes recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
The antagonism between the EU and the US will continue, even over issues such as the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. Erdogan’s hatred towards the Jews is well-known, and Turkey will collaborate with Europe against both the USA and the state of Israel.
Russia Threatens Israel With Missile Attack
Breaking Israel News wrote on December 30:
“In response to an Israeli airstrike in Syria last Tuesday, Russia threatened to respond to further Israeli action in Syria with surface-to-surface missiles against targets inside Israel. An Israeli military intelligence website reported that one such missile was already fired last week.
“On Wednesday, Israeli authorities… confirmed… an airstrike the previous night targeting three main sites that were actively involved in Iranian arms transfers to the Hezbollah. Among the weapons targeted by the Israeli strike were GPS-guided missiles.
“Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov… claimed that… the attack created a ‘direct threat’ to [civilian] aircraft… Lebanon’s Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos confirmed Russia’s claims, saying that two civilian… airplanes in Lebanese airspace ‘narrowly’ avoided [Israeli] jets…
“[Israel claims that] the civilian air traffic was endangered by the Syrian air defenses that fired 30 missiles in response to the airstrike…”
Even though there is no indication in the Bible that Russia will launch a full-fledged military attack on Israel prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the occupation of Jerusalem through European troops, we DO read that Judah will soon receive a “wound” (Hosea 5:13); that is, a military defeat of some kind, without identifying the power which will inflict such injury on Israel.
The Fragile Economy
CNN Business wrote on December 31:
“… this will be the worst December since the Great Depression and the second down year for US markets since the financial meltdown of 2008. For the year, the S&P 500 is down 6.3%, the Dow is down 5.8% and the Nasdaq has fallen 3.8%…
“The market is in an historic period of volatility… Volatility has been driven by signs of a global economic slowdown, concerns about monetary policy, political dysfunction, inflation fears and worries about increased regulation of the technology sector. Fear about a global trade war… remain[s] a source of concern for markets.
“Although the US economy has been strong, some fear the Federal Reserve has been raising rates too quickly and could choke off economic growth. Some formerly high-flying US tech stocks, such as Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) are now down for the year. Fear of an economic slowdown, as well as a supply glut, spooked the oil market this year…
“Brexit’s impact on the United Kingdom and Europe also worried investors, as did a slowdown in the Chinese economy. The FTSE All-World index, which tracks thousands of stocks across a range of markets, plummeted 12% this year. It’s the index’s worst performance since the global financial crisis, and a sharp reversal from a gain of nearly 25% in 2017.”
The Week wrote on January 2:
“The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 350 points as markets opened Wednesday, the first trading day of 2019. Asian and European markets also opened down, sparking fears of a ‘global slowdown.’
“The Dow dropped 5.6 percent throughout 2018 while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also saw overall drops, marking the worst year for stocks in a decade. That same trend continued Wednesday…”
CNBC added on January 3, 2019:
“U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday following a dire quarterly warning from Apple. The iPhone maker blamed a slowing Chinese economy for the shortfall, intensifying fears that the global economy may be slowing down because of the ongoing trade war.
“A weaker-than-expected reading on U.S. manufacturing added to those fears. The [Dow Jones] dropped 660.02 points, or 2.8 percent, to 22,686.22 as Apple shares led the decline…”
USA Outside Looking In
CNN wrote on December 29:
“A major 11-country agreement goes into effect Sunday, reshaping trade rules among economic powerhouses like Japan, Canada, Mexico and Australia — but the United States won’t be a part of it… Japan will offer similar tariff relief to the European Union, in a separate trade deal set to go into effect on February 1.
“Withdrawing from the TPP fulfilled a campaign pledge for Trump… He’s also renegotiated the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, replacing it with… the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which still needs congressional approval before it can take effect. And the Trump administration is currently pursuing bilateral accords with the European Union as well as with Japan.
“The stakes will be even higher now that the Trans-Pacific deal is going into effect — especially for American farmers who were eager to take advantage of more open markets abroad… the most important element of the CPTPP may be its new rules for digital trade. Some of which were included in Trump’s renegotiated North America Free Trade Agreement, but won’t apply to US trade beyond Mexico and Canada for now.”
The current US policy of exceptionalism and exclusivism won’t fare too well for America’s economy.
Trump Responds to Criticism on Troop Withdrawal from Syria
Newsmax wrote on December 31:
“President Donald Trump Monday, in a series of tweets, defended his decision to pull troops out of Syria… ‘If anybody but Donald Trump did what I did in Syria, which was an ISIS loaded mess when I became President, they would be a national hero,’ the president said. ‘ISIS is mostly gone, we’re slowly sending our troops back home to be with their families, while at the same time fighting ISIS remnants.’ ‘I campaigned on getting out of Syria and other places,’ Trump continued.
“‘Now when I start getting out the Fake News Media, or some failed Generals who were unable to do the job before I arrived, like to complain about me & my tactics, which are working. Just doing what I said I was going to do! Except the results are FAR BETTER than I ever said they were going to be! I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!’
“On Sunday, retired four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal… disagreed with Trump’s claims that ISIS had been defeated… ‘There’s a lot of intelligence that says there are actually more ISIS fighters around the world now than there were a couple of years ago.’ Trump returned to the topic an hour later, expressing frustration: ‘I am the only person in America who could say that, “I’m bringing our great troops back home, with victory,” and get BAD press. It is Fake News and Pundits who have FAILED for years that are doing the complaining. If I stayed in Endless Wars forever, they would still be unhappy!’”
Withdrawing from the TTP and other treaties and removing US troops from foreign war-torn countries were indeed part of Donald Trump’s campaign promises. Most in both parties did not take them seriously, but they now begin to see their naivety and miscalculation.
At the same time, Trump gave mixed signals, allegedly saying that the withdrawal of the US troops from Syria would not happen immediately. Newsmax wrote on January 3:
“President Trump reportedly told the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria late last week that the 2,000 troops stationed there could be withdrawn over several months versus the 30 days he initially announced.”
Newsmax and the Associated Press wrote on January 2:
“Republican congressional leaders say the president has asked them and top Democrats to return to the White House on Friday for a second briefing on border security as the partial government shutdown continues…
“[It] began on Dec. 22 after Trump refused to sign a budget deal that didn’t include billions of dollars for his long-promised and long-stalled southern border wall.”
The Week added on January 2:
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell… said ‘I don’t think any particular progress was made’ at the meeting, but that he was ‘hopeful that in the coming days and weeks we’ll be able to reach an agreement’… Senate Republicans say they won’t allow a vote on any bill that Trump doesn’t support.”
Most Diverse Congress in US History… Deepened Gridlock a Certainty
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 3:
“Nancy Pelosi has become the first person to be elected Speaker of the House twice…
“The overwhelming number of Democrats who won seats in the House in the November elections marks a dramatic power shift and the end of Trump’s one-party rule in Washington.
“Meanwhile, a partial federal governmental shutdown over Trump’s insistence that lawmakers fund a southern border wall neared the two-week mark. The US president continues to stick to his demand that Congress approve a $5-billion (€4.4 billion) plan to construct a US-Mexico border wall aimed at thwarting illegal immigration. At the moment it appears that Democrats are unlikely to appease him.
“And while the ‘blue wave’ swept dozens of House Republicans out of Congress last November, Trump’s party managed to… expand its majority in the Senate to 53-47, meaning Washington gridlock is almost certain to deepen.
“This will be the most diverse Congress in history. One hundred House freshmen will take the oath of office, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 29 is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Also in the chamber will be the first two Native American women and the first two Muslim women to be elected. Women will make up a record one in four members of Congress…”
Divided Majority Wants Trump Impeached or Removed or Censured
The Hill wrote on December 28:
“Nearly 60 percent of U.S. voters… say President Trump should be either impeached and removed from office or formally censured… though they are divided on how far lawmakers should go…
“39 percent of respondents said Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Impeachment would require a majority vote by the House — a possibility with a Democratic majority, though leadership in the party have been cautious on the topic. Conviction in the Senate would require a two- thirds vote, something unlikely in a body that will have 53 Republicans.
“Twenty percent of poll respondents said lawmakers should vote to formally censure the president. Forty-one percent of respondents said Congress should take no action against the president…
“Forty-nine percent of voters polled said they favor trying to impeach Trump over the allegations [of financial voting violations], while slightly more — 51 percent — said that doing so would return the country to 1998, when then-President Clinton faced impeachment proceedings on two charges related to an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern…
“U.S. voters are also evenly split on whether they believe special counsel Robert Mueller has uncovered evidence that Trump campaign officials coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they believe he has, while another 39 percent say that he has not. Twenty- two percent said they don’t know whether such evidence has been discovered.
“… voters are also divided on just how long the special counsel investigation should continue, with 31 percent of respondents saying that it should end immediately and 32 percent saying that it should continue indefinitely. Despite that split, a majority of U.S. voters surveyed — 59 percent — said that the special counsel investigation is ‘hurting the country,’ compared to 41 percent that said it is ‘helping’ it…”
Trump won’t be impeached and removed, and he won’t resign either. In addition, there is no question that the Mueller investigation hurts the country… especially in the eyes of the world. What these figures show is how DIVIDED the UNITED States of America is.
Romney Critical of Trump’s Character
On January 1, the Washington Post published the following critical commentary of Mitt Romney regarding President Trump, explaining that “Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah and the party’s 2012 nominee for president, will be sworn into the U.S. Senate on Thursday”:
“It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office…
“To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us… A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect…
“Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world… The world needs American leadership…
“I will act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not. I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
Speculation runs high on Romney’s motives for his scathing remarks. Regardless, his stated concerns are shared by many, including by House Republicans; however, most may not be willing to express them openly.
Newsmax added on January 2:
“Mitt Romney… said Wednesday [on CNN] he will work with President Donald Trump on things like funding a border wall, but he will push back on other issues where they disagree… Where Trump needs to improve, Romney said, is his character. ‘I do believe that a president, like any leader . . . has an impact not just on policies, but also on the character of the people who get to watch that person,’ he said.”
A person in high office ought to show good character traits, in public and in private. Please read our Q&A on the issue, titled, “Does it matter what a political leader does in private as long as he does his “public” job effectively?”
Christians Selling Out?
The Huffington Post wrote on December 29:
“It has become more and more clear that some Christians will go to any length to gain and maintain political power, sacrificing Jesus’ values…
“Jesus warned against gaining the world and losing your soul, but some Christians have sold out the real Jesus in exchange for American political prestige and acclaim. Until they believe that Jesus himself is worth more than their ideas about him… Christians [will move] toward the death of their integrity…”
True Christianity and political power or misguided nationalism do not harmonize. One cannot serve God and Mammon.
First LGBTQ Rose Parade Queen
JTA wrote on December 30:
“Louise Deser Siskel, a high school senior who will preside over the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade, says she is the first Jewish Rose queen in the parade’s… history. Siskel, 18, also told the local media that she is the first LGBTQ queen…
“‘What was important to me throughout the interview process was that I was completely transparent about who I was, about the things that I value, and about the things that I advocate for,’ she told the Pasadena Star News in an interview last week. ‘I feel lucky that I was selected by the committee for those reasons…’ she said.”
Times and perceptions change, but godly values never will.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
How can we know that Christ’s return is near? (Part 5)
One of the most striking and convincing events proving that Christ’s return is indeed very near is the last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire, which is happening today, in front of our very eyes.
The book of Daniel describes four world-ruling empires, identified as Babylon (compare Daniel 2:38; 7:17), Medo-Persia (compare Daniel 2:39; 7:17; 8:20), Greece (compare Daniel 2:39; 7:17; 8:21) and Rome (compare Daniel 2:40-43; 7:17).
John’s description of a beast in Revelation 13:1 parallels with the four beasts that Daniel saw in Daniel 7—the first beast in Daniel’s vision was like a lion, the second like a bear and the third like a leopard. Here John sees only one beast, but it has combined elements of all the beasts that Daniel saw—a lion, a bear, and a leopard. In addition, John’s beast had seven heads. Taken together, Daniel’s beasts had seven heads too—that of a lion, of a bear, four heads of the leopard (Daniel 7:6), and the head of the fourth beast. John’s beast had ten horns, and the fourth beast Daniel saw in Daniel 7:7 had ten horns as well.
John’s beast represents the Roman Empire. He saw it as one composite beast, as it had swallowed up the previous three kingdoms. The Babylonian, Medo-Persian and Greek empires had already come and gone, but their territory and characteristics had been absorbed by Rome.
The Roman Empire was to be divided into Eastern and Western Rome, and the Western part would fall, but it was to be revived ten times and would endure until the time of Jesus Christ’s return.
When the Roman Empire fell, the world believed it would never rise again (symbolized by the deadly wound of John’s beast, compare Revelation 13:3). But it was to be revived ten times, symbolized by the ten horns of John’s beast.
According to Daniel 7:24, ten kings were to arise from or out of the ancient Roman Empire. The beast or the Roman Empire would have ten successive resurrections or revivals. Revelation 17:8 confirms this—the beast described there, which is similar to the beast of Revelation 13, is described as one that “was, and is not, and will ascend…,” showing the successive nature of the revivals.
After the destruction of Rome, three so-called “barbarian” powers, who were all followers of unorthodox Arianism, revived the Roman Empire, constituting its first three resurrections. This happened under King Gaiseric of the Vandals, under King Odoacer of the Heruli, and under King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths. These are the first three horns of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 (compare Daniel 7:7-8, 24) and of the beast in Revelation 13.
The fourth resurrection occurred under Justinian in A.D. 554. Known in history as the Imperial Restoration, this is the biblical “healing of the deadly wound” (compare Revelation 13:3) the Roman Empire had received from the barbarian powers.
The fifth resurrection occurred under Charlemagne (Charles the Great) in A.D. 800; the sixth under Otto the Great in A.D. 962; the seventh under Charles V of Hapsburg in 1530; the eighth under Napoleon Bonaparte (ruling from 1804 until 1814); and the ninth under Mussolini and Hitler. Mussolini declared publically that he had revived the ancient Roman Empire, saying: “Raise on high your emblems, your arms and your hearts to salute, after fifteen centuries, the reappearance of the Empire on the fateful hills of Rome.” What is happening right now in Europe is leading to the tenth and final resurrection of that same Roman Empire.
This tenth resurrection will be a collaborating entity, commonly referred to as “core Europe,” consisting of ten European nations or groups of nations which will only exist for a very short time. They might have different ideas, but they will be a strong unified military power, and they will be united in their rebellion against God.
In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream a great image, with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and with feet partly of iron and partly of clay. He also saw in that dream that a stone (symbolizing the returning Jesus Christ) struck the image on its feet or its ten toes. These ten toes are identical with the ten horns or ten kings in Revelation 17:3, 7, 12-14. They will rule together at the very end before the return of Christ and will attempt to fight Him, but Christ will of course defeat them.
Out of the current EU (consisting of 28 member states or “countries,” with the UK soon leaving the bloc) and out of the current Eurozone member states (consisting of 19 “countries,” which have adopted the euro), ten nations or groups of nations will emerge. They will receive authority for one prophetic hour (Revelation 17:12) together with the end-time “beast”—a charismatic political and military leader. In the Bible, the “beast” can refer to the political and military power bloc and/or to the end-time leader of that bloc.
When that political leader manifests himself, THEN the ten kings receive power at the same time, which they will then turn over to the beast. The mighty and powerful Babylonian system—“Babylon the Great”—will continue to exist, and so will the euro—the common European currency which glues the Eurozone states together. The concept is biblically untenable that the euro will fail and that the European core nations will return to individual national currencies.
The Bible speaks of ten horns or kings in the book of Revelation and ten toes in the book of Daniel. These kings, kingdoms or toes (powers) do not have to correspond to humanly devised geographical borders, designed by political ambitions. That is why we refer to ten nations or groups of nations.
Note that currently, the EU member states consist of the following 28 EU “countries”:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
Currently, the 19 Eurozone member states are designated as follows:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
God is not viewing some of those “countries” as single and independent entities. Some of the “countries” might be grouped together and are to be viewed as “one” in biblical terminology. For instance, Germany and Austria would be one entity or one group, even though man lists them as two nations. Little islands like Malta or Cyprus (if they were among the final ten “kings” or “kingdoms”) would not constitute individual countries or nations in God’s eyes; in all likelihood, Malta would be considered as part of either Italy or France, and Cyprus might be viewed as part of Greece. (This is not to say that the current Eurozone configuration constitutes the prophesied ten nations or groups of nations.)
In addition to Great Britain’s Brexit, other Israelite nations in Europe might leave the Eurozone and even the EU. Some Nordic countries (descendants of the ancient House of Israel) might form a trading bloc in competition to the Eurozone.
In addition to the political and military revival of the ancient Roman Empire, note should be taken of the fact that the last seven of those ten revivals will also see and include a revival of a religious power, which will work together with the political power.
In Revelation 17, John is given a vision of a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns. It is ridden by a fallen woman—a harlot. Revelation 17:5 identifies the woman as “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.” This woman is depicted in verse 6 as “drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” In verse 18, the woman is also identified as “that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth,” the city that is built and sits on seven mountains or hills (verse 9)—Rome.
The heads of the beast in Revelation 17 depict the seven last resurrections of the ancient Roman Empire. The fallen woman sits on these last seven resurrections of the beast. The first three revivals of the ancient Roman Empire occurred under leaders with a different religion, that of Arianism, which was labeled a heresy by the Roman Catholic Church.
As we will recall, the first of the seven last resurrections of the Roman Empire occurred under Justinian in A.D. 554. He was mainly responsible for wiping out the barbarian tribes, but he did so at the behest of a succession of Roman popes. At that time, lands of the old West Roman Empire were taken back. Justinian also restored the rule of “orthodox” Roman Catholicism to the West. The second of the seven last resurrections occurred under Christian Emperor
Charlemagne or Charles the Great, who was crowned in A.D. 800 by Pope Leo III, and who is commonly referred to as the “European Unifier.”
The third of the seven last resurrections occurred under Otto the Great, under whose name the “Roman Empire of the German Nation” was coined. He was crowned in 962 by Pope John XII. The fourth of the seven last resurrections occurred under Charles V Habsburg, who was crowned in 1530 by Pope Clement VII. By this time, the name “Holy Roman Empire” was in popular usage because of the close contact between the state and the so-called Holy Roman Church. The fifth of the last seven resurrections occurred under Napoleon Bonaparte, who was also crowned by a pope.
The sixth of the last seven resurrections occurred under Hitler and Mussolini, both Catholics. Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with the papacy in 1929, establishing papal sovereignty over Vatican City. This event affirmed Roman Catholicism as the only religion of Italy and, in turn, the papacy officially recognized Mussolini as the rightful Italian governor. Also, the Vatican signed a concordat with Hitler in 1933, protecting the rights of the church under the Nazi regime. This gave Hitler’s government an outward semblance of legitimacy.
The seventh and last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire is already beginning. As with the previous six resurrections, the woman—the papal city of Rome—will “ride” or work with and to an extent direct the activities of the seventh resurrection as well.
We read in Revelation 17:11 that the beast “that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.” The phrase, “is not” refers to the short-lived ninth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire under Mussolini and Hitler. Even though “it was” (verse 8: “… is not, and yet is”), it really was not, by comparison, such an all-encompassing and consequential revival as the previous ones, and as the tenth and last revival will be.
Verse 11 tells us that the beast himself is the “eighth, and is of the seven.” This could be a reference to the individual beast—the end-time military leader who will rule and be a part of the seventh revival of the Holy Roman Empire.
The influencing power of the Roman Catholic Church was prophesied in Daniel’s vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7—with the fourth beast having ten horns. The ten horns picture the ten resurrections of the ancient Roman Empire. Daniel 7:7 deals with the first three of these resurrections. Then, in verse 8, Daniel says, “I was considering the [ten] horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots.”
An angel explained in verse 24 that the little (religious) horn, which would be different from the other (political) horns, would “subdue three kings.” This little horn, the religious power synonymous with the woman in Revelation 17, riding the scarlet beast, would also change times and law, or rather, change the law regarding holy times.
We saw earlier that the beast (the political and military leader of the European power bloc) will persecute the saints. In Revelation 17, we are told that the woman riding the beast power will participate in the persecution of the saints. It will be a combined joint effort between church and state, which it has been so many times before.
We read in Revelation 13:16–17 that the second (religious) beast will cause people to accept “a mark” of the first (political) beast “on their right hand” or “on their foreheads.” Without it, they cannot buy or sell (compare Revelation 14:9). The mark of the beast means general participation in the worship system of the revived Roman Empire. In particular, it is clearly associated with the violation of God’s weekly and annual Sabbath commandments [the time from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset and during the times of seven annual Holy Days, which likewise begin at sunset]. In the Bible, the “right hand” is associated with work (Psalm 137:5). The “forehead” is the seat of thoughts (Ezekiel 3:8; 9:4; Revelation 7:3). God has commanded to keep certain times holy and, during these holy times, one is not to concentrate on and engage in commercial activities.
The little horn (in Daniel 7:25, referring to a religious power) persecuted God’s people who did not accept its change from God’s weekly Sabbath and His annual Holy Days to man-made holidays, such as Sunday, Christmas and Easter. Under the Code of Justinian, who constituted the first resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire, orthodox Christianity became the only lawful religion. It acknowledged the ecclesiastical leadership of the Roman Church, and ordered all Christian groups to submit to her authority. Those who were not orthodox Catholics were forbidden from buying and selling—i.e. conducting business. Indeed, those branded “heretics” faced a death sentence. In general, Christians were many times branded by orthodox Christianity as those who were “Judaizing,” and they were put to death for such practice.
The little horn changed the holy times ordained by God and replaced them with times designated by man to be holy. Today, most Christians follow human traditions, rather than godly injunctions. The little horn, the woman riding the beast, will cause people to accept the mark of the beast under pain of death.
As in the past, the woman, under its coming leader, the “false prophet,” will influence the political power of the revived Roman Empire to command people, via “legislation,” to work during God’s holy times, while prohibiting work at times proclaimed by her to be “holy.” As true Christians cannot and will not abide by the political power’s legislative demands, the woman, by her influence and her teaching, will “cause” the death of true Christians (compare Revelation 13:15).
When we see that the final revival of the ancient Holy Roman Empire is manifesting in Europe— a mighty power bloc of ten nations or groups of nations under the leadership of a political and military leader (the beast) in collaboration with a religious leader (the false prophet)—then we will know that Christ’s return is imminent.
(To be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“2019 in Prophecy!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
What will 2019 bring? This program sets forth some of the events which newscasters expect to occur, and compares them with biblical prophecy, covering such diverse topics as new challenges for Europe; the desire to build a European army in light of American unreliability and threats from Russia; the power vacuum in the Middle East; Russia’s threats towards Israel; the lack of leadership in Germany; the Brexit; the disastrous stock market and the fragile American economy.
“2019 in der Prophezeiung!” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program in which Norbert Link presents the same topic as described above—in German.
“Der dritte Tempel kommt bald!” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Third Temple Will Arrive Soon!”
“Are We Standing Our Ground?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris is now posted. Here is a summary:
The posturing of a divided U.S. government has reached a point to cause another partial government shutdown. Appearance based upon shallow values, as usual, is the crux of why political parties draw lines in the sand and make their ideological stands. As Christians, we cannot allow misguided principles to become the root of our beliefs because they will lead us away from the truth.
“Everyone,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The plan of God is vastly inclusive in the way that everyone has either had an opportunity, or will have an opportunity to be part of His glorious family and live eternally. The justice built into God’s plan is amazing!
“Mein Kampf” (in English: “My Struggle”), the German sermonette presented last Sabbath by Johann Schell, is now posted.
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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