Update 605


Our Fight for Freedom!

On September 7, 2013, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “Our Fight for Freedom!”

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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Feast Preparations

by Rene Messier (Canada)

At this time of the year, just prior to attending the Feast of Tabernacles, our minds tend to be focused on all the physical preparations which need to be done. If we are traveling by car, we want to ensure the tires and brakes are in good condition; that the oil is changed, and also taking care of any minor repairs that need to be done, so that we can make it safely to the Feast site.

We want to be certain that our clothes are clean, and we try to think of all the things we will need while being at the Feast.

We can get a bit bogged down with all the physical  preparations and in one sense develop a Martha syndrome.

When Christ was visiting Mary and Martha, Mary was sitting at Christ’s feet, listening to what He had to say, absorbing and drinking in the spiritual food, while Martha was busy with physical preparations. She was pre-occupied with all the physical things which she felt had to be done, and her sister was not helping her.

Now let us look at Luke 10:38-42 to see how Christ evaluated the situation:

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’

“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’”

Physical preparations are important,  but Mary had her priorities straight .

I recall about twenty-five years ago when we were expecting to have company and I was busy cleaning and dusting prior to the guests’ arrival, that my wife Delia said to me: “Don’t worry about a little bit of dust, what will they remember after leaving here? That they saw a little dust on the furniture or that they had a good time?”

There is an important lesson to be learned in what Christ said in regard to the spiritual things Mary was focused on. 

We need to prepare physically to attend the Feast,  but more importantly, we need to be prepared mentally and in good health to take in the  spiritual food that will be presented at the Feast. There will be more than eleven main messages plus sermonettes, as well as a Bible study–a banquet of spiritual food which is supposed to last and sustain us for close to six months until the spring Holy Days. And when we choose that good part, it will not be taken away from us.

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Our Current Events this week can be very briefly summarized with these words: The indecisive, isolated, rejected, misguided and deceived United States of America is in trouble as NEVER before.

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Persecution of German Homeschoolers, while America Refuses Asylum

Breitbart wrote on August 31:

“A team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents raided a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany Thursday, forcibly removing the family’s four children, aged 7-14. Law enforcement raided the home and seized the children solely because the parents homeschool them—in defiance of a German ban on home education. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the children of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich were taken to unknown locations. Officials reportedly told the parents they would not be seeing their children ‘anytime soon.’

“HSLDA states that it obtained and translated court documents that authorized the use of force to seize the children and remove them from their parents’ custody. The documents indicated that the only legal grounds for removal were the family’s continuation of homeschooling. Though nothing indicated that the parents were failing to provide an adequate education, the law in Germany ignores the educational progress of the child. Attendance in government schools—not learning—is the object of the German law.

“According to HSLDA, Judge Koenig, a Darmstadt family court judge, signed the order to seize the children on Wednesday. Koenig cited the parents’ failure to cooperate ‘with the authorities to send the children to school.’ In addition, the judge authorized the use of force ‘against the children’ if necessary, indicating that such force might be needed because the children had ‘adopted the parents’ opinion’ regarding homeschooling, and ‘no cooperation could be expected’ from either the parents or their children… Returning to Germany after Dirk was unable to find work in other European Union countries, the Wunderlich family was hit with a criminal truancy case within days after registering in their town. After several months, the ‘Youth Welfare Office’ was granted legal custody of the children. A court allowed the children to remain in the parents’ home, however, since they were well-treated otherwise and cared for by their parents.

“According to HSLDA, German authorities even seized the children’s passports, making it impossible for the family to flee. ‘The right to homeschool is a human right,’ said Michael Farris, HSLDA chairman and founder. ‘So is the right to freely move and to leave a country. Germany has grossly violated these rights of this family. This latest act of seizing these four beautiful, innocent children is an outrageous act of a rogue nation… The United States Constitution is not alone in upholding the right of parents to decide how to educate their children. Germany is a party to numerous human rights treaties that recognize the right of parents to provide an education distinct from the public schools so that children may be educated according to the parents’ religious convictions. Germany has simply not met its obligations under these treaties or as a liberal democracy’…

“HSLDA is also representing the Romeike family, a German homeschooling family that was granted legal asylum in the United States in 2010 by a U.S. immigration judge. The Obama administration, however, successfully appealed that decision. When the Romeikes appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, but were denied asylum, HSLDA decided to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case. If denied asylum by the Supreme Court, the Romeike family faces thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time in Germany because they have homeschooled their children.
“‘No one can understand why the White House is showing so much leniency to millions of immigrants who have come here illegally in hopes of securing better jobs, but is so determined to deport this one family who has come to America in search of freedom for themselves and their children,’ said Farris. ‘The Obama administration has argued before our federal courts that Germany’s policy is legitimate and does not violate either human rights principles generally or religious freedom specifically,’ Farris said. ‘Academic success may be present, but governments are justified in banning homeschooling for the purpose of suppressing religious minorities. That is the full position of this administration. And it is unacceptable.’”

This is somewhat reminiscent of America’s shameful days when persecuted German Jews tried to find asylum in the USA, only to be rejected and turned away.

Germany Condemns Russia While Refusing to Fight with the USA

Deutsche Welle reported on August 31:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized Russia and China for failing to cooperate with the West in efforts to bring an end to the bloodshed in Syria… The two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have used their veto powers to block three separate resolutions on Syria since the conflict broke out more than two years ago. Now they are expected to block any resolution that the US, Britain and France manage to put before the Council, that would authorize the use of force against the Syrian government, following an alleged chemical weapons attack 10 days ago… 

“Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, meanwhile, used an interview… call on Russia to work with the West. ‘Those who look away despite the use of chemical weapons … encourage their use. That is why we are calling on Russia to send a signal along with the international community,’ he said… the chancellor also noted that while the alleged use of chemical weapons resulting in hundreds of deaths ‘cannot remain without consequence,’ Germany’s armed forces could not take part in any military action under the current circumstances. ‘Germany cannot participate in any military intervention without a mandate from the United Nations, NATO or the EU,’ Merkel said. ‘Therefore, there is no question of any participation by the Bundeswehr at the moment.’

“This stance appears to be in keeping with the sentiment of a majority of Germany. An opinion poll released on Thursday found that 60 percent of those asked said they were opposed to launching military strikes on Syria, while only about 33 percent supported the idea. Germans are set to go to the polls in a general election on September 22.”

Germany’s position seems to be terribly hypocritical, but it shows again how isolated America has become.

Putin Attacks Obama

The Washington Post wrote on August 31:

“Russia dramatically escalated its denunciations of American threats to attack Syrian military targets on Saturday, with President Vladimir Putin saying it would have been ‘utter nonsense’ for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons as the Obama administration alleges. The Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued before President Obama said he would seek congressional authorization before ordering strikes on Syria, said a U.S. attack would be a ‘gross violation’ of international law. Speaking out for the first time since an apparent chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, Putin called on President Obama to find a nonviolent way out of the crisis. ‘I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,’ Putin told Russian news agencies in Vladivostok during a tour of the country’s flood-stricken Far East…

“Putin said he was sure the attack was the work of rebels trying to provoke international — and especially American — involvement in the Syrian conflict. The government of Bashar al-Assad, he said, would have had no reason to use chemical weapons at a time when it had gained the upper hand in the fighting… Putin said he was surprised by the vote in Britain’s Parliament on Thursday not to join a U.S. attack on Syrian military targets. ‘It shows that there are people guided by common sense there,’ he said…

“Obama arrives in St. Petersburg for the G-20 meeting on Thursday and leaves on Friday. The purpose of the gathering is to discuss economic growth, but the White House acknowledges there will be plenty of conversation about Syria on the side. There are currently no plans for a one-on-one meeting between Putin and Obama, who earlier this month decided not to attend a Moscow summit with the Russian president. On Friday, the head of the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of parliament, Alexei Pushkov, said the Nobel committee should strip Obama of his 2009 Peace Prize if he launches an attack on Syria.”

Putin’s question as to why Assad would have used chemical weapons in the given situation does make some sense. One is terribly reminded of the false US claim of the existence of weapons of mass destruction to justify an ill-conceived and unsuccessful war against Iraq. Note the next article.

Russia Unconvinced

The Associated Press reported on September 2:

“The information the U.S. showed Moscow trying to prove that the Syrian regime was behind an alleged chemical weapons attack is ‘absolutely unconvincing,’ Russia’s foreign minister said Monday. The United States insists Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops were behind the chemical attack on Aug. 21, which they say killed over 1,400 people, and is considering strikes against his regime. Moscow is Assad’s key ally and weapons supplier, and its protector at the United Nations.

“… Sergey Lavrov said the evidence Washington presented was not detailed. ‘Yes, they showed us some findings but there was nothing specific there: no geographic coordinates, no names, no proof that the tests were carried out by the professionals,’ Lavrov said. He did not say what tests he was referring to. ‘What our American, British and French partners showed us in the past and have showed just recently is absolutely unconvincing,’ Lavrov said. ‘And when you ask for more detailed proof they say all of this is classified so we cannot show this to you.’”

Obviously, Russia, the ancient “bear” which—in collaboration with Persia–was asked to “arise” and “devour much flesh” (Daniel 7:5), is acting because of self-serving political, military and pecuniary motives, but the questions raised still deserve scrutiny and a convincing answer.

Putin Warns—While the West Is Divided

The EUObserver wrote on September 4:

“Russian leader Vladimir Putin has warned against Western strikes on Syria on the eve of the G20 summit in St Petersburg on Thursday… he compared Syria to the Iraq war in 2003, which was based on false intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, and hinted he will deliver modern anti-air defences to the region… He added that a strike must be authorised by the UN Security Council, where he has a veto, on the basis of hard information…

“He said if Western powers go ahead, ‘we [Russia] shall think how we should act in the future, in particular regarding supplies of … sensitive weapons to certain regions of the world.’…

“The EU itself is also divided on Syria… German forces will not take part. France has said it backs the US, while also ruling out ground troops. But Italy says any strike without UN approval would be illegal. Meanwhile, the rejection of joint UK-US strikes by British MPs last week is causing political problems for French leader Francois Hollande…”

Russia’s Plan for a Eurasion Union

The following was reported by the EUObserver on September 3:

“[Armenia] wants to join a trade and political union with Russia instead of an EU alternative… The news came as a surprise to EU officials… If Armenia does become a full member of the Russian-led customs bloc, along with Belarus and Kazakhstan, it cannot sign the EU pact at the same time… Russia is Armenia’s main security guarantor in its frozen conflict with Azerbaijan over the breakaway territory…

“Russia in recent weeks has also threatened Moldova and Ukraine, two other former Soviet states which are seeking deeper ties with the EU… Putin has said he wants all former Soviet republics, except the Baltic states, which are EU members, to join his customs bloc. He plans to transform it into a political union, the Eurasian Union, in 2015.”

None of this is good news for the West.

Unusual Isolation of the USA

The New York Times wrote on August 30:

“… when Prime Minister David Cameron was unable to muster the votes in Parliament for support for a strike in Syria — even one limited to stopping the future use of chemical weapons — shock could be heard in the voices of senior White House officials who never saw the British rejection coming… Now Mr. Obama is left to cope with miscalculations on both sides of the Atlantic. If he goes ahead with the strike… he will look more isolated than any president in recent memory entering a conflict…

“Mr. Obama has done comparatively little to explain his longer-term strategy for changing the course of events in Syria without getting sucked into a war. In fact, he has argued the opposite — that a brief strike will do the trick of teaching the Syrians a lesson… The British Parliament, however, fears it will be something else: the beginning of another conflict in which the West will inevitably get sucked in.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 30:

“For United States President Barack Obama, this is a disaster. He’s been left in the lurch by Britain, Washington’s most loyal ally. What happened on Thursday in London was a historical decision.”

President Obama’s About-Face or Humiliating Retreat?

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 1:

“Even to the president’s allies, it looked like an abrupt about-face. To his enemies, Obama’s announcement at the White House on Saturday… that he would seek Congress’ approval for a missile strike on Syria was a humiliating retreat… John Pike, director of Washington think tank GlobalSecurity.org,… called Obama’s implied constitutional innovation ‘amazing.’ ‘There is simply no precedent in American history for that doctrine. [US presidents have] authorized the use of force on their own account over a hundred times.’…

“On Sunday, more than one media outlet pointed out that when Obama’s first election campaign was starting in 2007, the Illinois senator and former constitutional law professor told a reporter: ‘The president does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.’ So is Obama simply staying true to a campaign pledge, or at least worrying that statements like this might be flung in his face? This is unlikely considering the president was not shy of using his executive power in Libya in 2011. Then, Obama went to war against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime even though the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly against taking action.”

Kerry’s Struggle to Defend the President’s Actions

Breitbart reported on September 1:

“Secretary of State John Kerry struggled to defend President Obama’s plan for Syria when he appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. On Saturday, Obama said he would seek Congressional approval for military strikes on Syria. Wallace asked Kerry why Obama decided not to call back Congress to debate on Syria. Lawmakers will not reconvene until September 9 from their August recess. Kerry could not provide a simple answer…

“To make matters worse, Obama’s speech completely contradicted Kerry’s Friday speech where he said action should be taken now against Syria. Wallace told Kerry it appears that Obama’s plan of action was the direction from the beginning and nothing like the points Kerry made on Friday. Kerry responded by reminding that the President can throw out the advice of his advisers entirely…

“Kerry insisted America’s credibility is on the line and he hopes Congress will vote with Obama… Kerry stated that tests from hair and blood samples prove sarin gas was used against civilians in the August 21 attack. The chemical weapons attack killed 1,400 people, including almost 500 children.”

As we pointed out in previous Updates, even though John Kerry might want to take a stronger and more decisive stance in certain international matters, he won’t be supported in this by the President and his administration. But it’s not only the Obama administration which puts on some breaks, as the next article shows.

US Congress–Will Britain Repeat Itself?

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 1:

“Members of Congress from across the political spectrum reacted with deep skepticism Sunday to President Obama’s bid for approval of strikes against Syria, with lawmakers raising doubts about whether a vote would succeed. Few of the approximately 100 members of Congress who returned to Washington for a classified intelligence briefing Sunday said they would support the administration’s request to authorize the use of force, even though they showed little doubt that Syrian President Basher Assad’s government was behind the alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21.

“The administration now appears to face a two-front battle to win the support of Congress, needing to convince skeptical representatives of a war-weary public on the one hand and more hawkish lawmakers seeking an even tougher response on the other. And it has just more than a week to do so… Assad has joined Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler as the only individuals to have used chemical weapons against their own people, Kerry said as he made the case for Congress to support a resolution authorizing force…”

In the meantime, House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that he would support President Barack Obama’s call for a limited military strike against Syria. On the other hand, Senator John McCain (who was caught playing a phone game of poker at a Senate hearing about Syria) and former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, stated that such a limited strike would not be sufficient, while others are opposed to any strike, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senator Rand Paul. So, the division could not be any greater. In addition, to save face, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and later President Obama presented the new and rather concocted idea that the President had not drawn a red line in the sand regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons, but that Congress and the world community had done so, by outlawing chemical warfare, and that “the credibility of Congress, the United States and the international community as a whole is at stake” (Washington Post and Washington Times, September 4).

Even Syrian Opposition Critical of US Strike

Deutsche Welle reported on September 4:

“The West is fretting about whether to intervene in the Syrian war, and the opposition is also split…

“Omar Hossino, a Syrian-American researcher based in Washington, says the split in the opposition is identifiable: ‘The al-Qaeda-linked groups and other radical Salafist groups are very much opposed to the strike, because they want to be the ones that save the Syrian people, and they are assuming the strikes will target them,’ he said. ‘The more mainstream rebel groups seem to mostly favor strikes, although they’ve been saying that this strike is not really going to do anything.’…

“Another question – the nature and size of a potential strike – is just as much of a controversy…  In a statement released on Sunday (01.09.2013), the Syrian opposition’s ‘Local Coordination Committees in Syria,’ condemned a minimal approach. ‘A limited strike to merely warn Assad will lead to nothing but increase in his violence, as well as to his complete confidence that no one would prevent him from killing.’

“Echoing the view of many analysts, the statement continued, ‘Apparently, the main concern of the West in this regard is based on international balance and interests, not on the serious attempt to rescue a people who are striving for freedom and dignity, and dying for that, every day.’ In other words, Obama’s cruise missile attack was simply saving face to back up his ‘red line’ warning about chemical weapons. ‘Most of the mainstream groups are against a strike unless it can actually be a game-changer and change the dynamic on the ground against Assad,’ said Hossino, before adding that he doubted whether CIA training operations would have any effect, and if they do, they would take months.”

Now the Pope Speaks…

JTA reported on September 2:

“Pope Francis in a meeting with Jewish leaders sent Rosh Hashanah greetings to Jews worldwide and expressed ‘concern’ at the ban on kosher slaughter in Poland… Francis met with a WJC [World Jewish Congress] delegation headed by the organization’s president, Ronald Lauder…

“A WJC statement said the pontiff and Lauder spoke about the situation in Syria ‘and agreed to speak out against attacks on religious minorities, such as Coptic Christians in Egypt and against trends to restrict well-established religious practices such as circumcision.’… Referring to the conflict in Syria, ‘the pope called the killing of human beings unacceptable and said world leaders must do everything to avoid war,’ according to the WJC.”

Zenit added on September 4 that “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, has scheduled a special briefing for ambassadors accredited to the Holy See to speak with them about the importance of the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria, which the Pope has called for Saturday.”

The Associated Press added on September 5 that “Pope Francis urged the Group of 20 leaders on Thursday to abandon the ‘futile pursuit’ of a military solution in Syria as the Vatican laid out its case for a negotiated settlement that guarantees rights for all Syrians, including minority Christians.”

The Humanitarian Catastrophe of Syrian Refugees

Deutsche Welle wrote on September 4:

“As Obama contemplates a military strike against Assad, more than 5,000 Syrians are fleeing the country every day. Many, including the UN, are calling the situation a ‘humanitarian catastrophe.’…

“Syria’s 20-million citizens are so distressed that many of them have decided to flee the country regardless of the hardship and risks. Ever since President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents engaged in a relentless, bloody war, more than 2 million people have fled Syria, according to the United Nations. Every tenth Syrian is currently on the run…

“Lebanon alone registered more than 700,000 Syrian refugees by the end of August. Jordan has accepted slightly more than half a million and Turkey slightly less than half a million. Around 160,000 Syrians are now living in Iraq and more than 100,000 have managed to flee to Egypt. According to the UN, countries in the region have accepted 97 percent of Syrian refugees… Housing, employment, medical care and, ideally, education are among the services these countries are expected to provide. But the refugee numbers are so large that they pose a challenge to local social structures. For example, Lebanon’s population has grown by nearly 20 percent as a result of the refugees. This increase has led to social tension and rising rents…

“The EU also warns of a destabilization of Syria’s neighboring countries… The prospects for the millions of refugees to return to their homes are difficult to assess, given the rising violence in Syria. And there are no signs of an imminent solution to end the war between the Assad regime and the Syrian opposition…”

What Will Happen After Assad?

The Huffington Post wrote on September 1:

“Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday portrayed the current conflict in Syria as one between the government of President Bashar Al Assad, who Paul said ‘has protected Christians for a number of decades,’ and ‘Islamic rebels,’ who Paul said ‘have been attacking Christians’ and are aligned with Al Qaeda. ‘I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians, and all of a sudden we’ll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted,’ Paul said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’

“Paul was likely referring to a string of incidents in Egypt in recent weeks, where supporters of the deposed government of former president Mohamed Morsi have burned Coptic Christian churches to protest what they see as Christian backing for the military overthrow of Morsi’s government…

“Paul, a first-term senator and vocal opponent of U.S. intervention overseas… said the U.S. should pursue a negotiated settlement where ‘Assad is gone, but some of the same people [from Assad’s regime] remain stable,’ because, he said, ‘that would also be good for the Christians.’… Paul also said that U.S. intervention would imperil U.S. allies in the region, including Jordan and Israel…”

It is a fact that Christians were somewhat protected or at least tolerated in Egypt under Mubarak, in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and in Syria under Bashar Al Assad. With new Islamic governments taking over, violent hostility and persecution against Christians have been increasing.

Our Hypocritical Media

Breitbart wrote on September 1:

“In the years since the United States first went to war in Iraq, liberal groups and commentators have accused many media outlets of not asking the right or critical questions of the Bush administration…This time around, under President Obama, as the US has engaged in military action in Libya, launched an unprecedented number of unmanned aerial drone strikes around the world and threatened military ‘punishment’ in Syria… [is] the media… completely falling asleep on the job?” 

This appears to be the case.

Now it’s Morsi’s Turn…

The Associated Press reported on September 1:

“Egypt’s top prosecutor… ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to trial on charges of inciting the killing of opponents protesting outside his palace while he was in office, the state news agency said… No date was announced for the trial. Morsi will be tried, along with 14 members of his Muslim Brotherhood, in a criminal court for allegedly committing acts of violence, and inciting the killing of at least 10 people…

“Those referred to trial with Morsi include the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s political party, Essam el-Erian, currently in hiding. They also include leading Brotherhood member Mohammed el-Beltagy, arrested this week, as well as leading pro-Brotherhood youth leaders who were video-taped during the street clashes on the front lines.

“Since Morsi’s ouster, authorities have waged an intensive security crackdown on members of his group. The crackdown followed a violent breakup of a sit-in held by Morsi supporters for weeks demanding his reinstatement that left hundreds killed.”

First Mubarak is charged, now it’s Morsi, and when is it going to be the military and the present government of Egypt, which is purportedly guilty of committing similar atrocities? And while all of this is going on, America supports first Mubarak, then Morsi, and now the military. And the people of Egypt don’t like it a bit. And “Leviathan,” the “fleeing [and] twisted serpent” of Egypt—“the reptile that is in the sea” or river, will turn around and bite America (compare Isaiah 27:1).

Fukushima Radiation Set to Hit the U.S. by 2014

Salon reported on August 29:

“Unless you were one of the 160,000 thousand people in the near vicinity of the Fukushima disaster who evacuated their homes in 2011, the ongoing nuclear crisis on Japan’s shore can seem awfully far away. It’s worth remembering, though, that the radioactive waste leaking from the plant has been making its way into the Pacific Ocean, and from there, to the rest of the world. According to new research from the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, the radioactive ocean plume from the original disaster will reach the west coast of the U.S. by 2014, 3 years after it was first released.

“… it’s important to understand how pollutants are carried throughout the world’s oceans, especially since Japan is still trying to figure out what to do with its 132 Olympic pools worth of radioactive water.. [It will] hit Oregon first, and then California by 2016… its 30-year half-life means it’s not just going to disappear anytime soon.”

We are being assured that the radioactive fallout will pose no health risk or dangers to Americans. The same false assurances were given years ago to Europeans when the disaster of Chernobyl wiped out entire regions and killed many people.

BBC News added on September 4 that “Radiation levels around tanks storing contaminated water at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have risen by a fifth to a new high, officials say.”

Fukushima Radiation—“Much Worse Than You Think”

CNN wrote on August 30:

“While the amount of radioactivity released into the environment in March 2011 has been estimated as between 10 percent and 50 percent of the fallout from the Chernobyl accident, the 400,000 tons of contaminated water stored on the Fukushima site contain more than 2.5 times the amount of radioactive cesium dispersed during the 1986 catastrophe in Ukraine. So, where has this huge amount of highly contaminated water – enough to fill 160 Olympic-size swimming pools – come from? In the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the reactor cores of units 1, 2 and 3 melted through the reactor vessels into the concrete. Nobody knows how far the molten fuel went through the containment – radiation levels in the reactor buildings are lethal, while robots got stuck in the rubble and some never came back out.

“The molten fuel still needs to be cooled constantly and the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), injects about 400 tons of water into the perforated reactor vessels every day. That water washes out radioactive elements and runs straight through into the basements that were flooded during the tsunami. By 2015, over 600,000 tons of highly radioactive liquid are expected to have accumulated in temporary tanks, some underground, many bolted rather than welded together, and none ever conceived to hold this kind of liquid over the long term. The dangerous fluid is pumped around in four kilometer long makeshift tubes, many of them made of vinyl rather than steel, and plagued with numerous leaks in the winter when the above ground lines get hit by frost.

“TEPCO’s account of the discovery this month of the leak of 300 tons of highly radioactive water showed a frightening level of amateurism… The tank leak is just the latest in a long list of signs that things are going fundamentally wrong at the site of what could still turn out to be the most serious radiological event in history. And the situation could still get a lot worse. A massive spent fuel fire would likely dwarf the current dimensions of the catastrophe and could exceed the radioactivity releases of Chernobyl dozens of times. First, the pool walls could leak beyond the capacity to deliver cooling water or a reactor building could collapse following one of the hundreds of aftershocks. Then, the fuel cladding could ignite spontaneously releasing its entire radioactive inventory…

“The fact is that the Fukushima Daiichi site represents challenges of unprecedented complexity. Maintaining the cooling of three molten reactor cores and five spent fuel pools in a disaster zone is a job of titanic proportions…”

Merkel: Trust Between USA and Germany Lost

The EUObserver wrote on September 2:

“A 90-minute TV debate between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Social Democrat rival Peer Steinbrueck on Sunday (1 September) mostly revolved around domestic topics, with some tense exchanges on the US spying scandal and the eurozone crisis.  Seen by 12 million Germans, the debate was the first and last before the 22 September elections and the only chance for Steinbrueck, who trails Merkel in the polls, to score some points. If anything, the debate put Steinbrueck on an even footing with Merkel… ‘If I would have been chancellor, I wouldn’t have called a press conference about the US mass surveillance of Germans only to say: “Let’s wait”’,  Steinbrueck said.

“Merkel… said she has ‘no reason not to trust the National Security Agency’ – the US secret service behind the mass surveillance of online users. But a few minutes later she appeared to contradict herself. When pressed by one of the moderators, Merkel said: ‘Of course trust was lost between Germany and the US.’…”

Germany Awards Whistleblower Prize to Snowden

rt.com reported on September 1:

“Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been awarded the biennial ‘whistleblower prize’ in Germany, worth some $3,900, in recognition of his ‘bold efforts’ to expose the monitoring of communications data by his former employer. The prize, last awarded in 2011, was officially bestowed upon the 30-year-old at a ceremony in Berlin which took place Friday, prompting a nine-minute congratulatory video message from Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald on Saturday… The organizers of the prize commended Snowden’s work, stating that he had uncovered ‘massive and unsuspecting monitoring and storage of communication data, which cannot be accepted in democratic societies.’ … ‘Not only did [German Chancellor Angela Merkel], it seems, allow the US to spy on Germany, but it seems she also helped the US to spy on Germany. So this is one of the reasons why Edward Snowden has received this award,’ RT correspondent Peter Oliver said from the ceremony in Berlin…

“The whistleblower award was first awarded in 1999 under the auspices of the Association of German Scientists and the German chapter of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA)… It was revealed in June that for seven years, the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been using PRISM, a warrantless web surveillance system with a near-limitless ability to spy on anyone’s phone calls, e-mails, video chats, search history and more, with major Internet giants Google, Apple and Facebook being complicit in the scheme.”

What a slap in the face for the USA.

Update on Yosemite Fire

The Associated Press reported on September 4:

“Officials said they still are investigating the cause of the fire, which started 18 days ago in an isolated area of the Stanislaus National Forest and has burned nearly 370 square miles – the fourth biggest recorded wildfire in California. With higher humidity and lower temperatures, the fire reached 80 percent containment… Officials said 111 structures, including 11 homes, have been destroyed. More than 4,300 firefighters are still battling the blaze.”

San Diego In Danger of Tsunami

U-T San Diego reported on September 4:

“Federal and state researchers came up with a hypothetical magnitude 9.1 earthquake [erupting off Alaska] that produces a tsunami severe enough to force the evacuation of 750,000 people along the California coast while sinking or damaging one-third of all boats in the state’s marinas. Such a tsunami could cause $1.2 billion in damages… at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach…

“The report also says the tsunami would produce waves up to 6-feet high locally, inundating and damaging some areas… ‘The good news is that three-quarters of California’s coastline is cliffs, and thus immune to the harsher and more devastating impacts tsunamis could pose. The bad news is that the one-quarter at risk is some of the most economically valuable property in California.’…

“The state has not been hit by the sort of tsunami that occurred off Japan following a 9.0 quake in March 2011. But California has felt the impact of such events. The 9.2 earthquake that broke in Alaska in 1964 created a tsunami that killed 11 people in Crescent City, California, and destroyed most of the city’s business district. Crescent City was slammed again in March 2011 when a tsunami from the Japan quake produced 8-foot waves that heavily damaged the city’s harbor.”

Do Vaccines Cause Autism?

Natural News wrote on September 3, 2013:

“You won’t hear anything about it from the mainstream media, but the federal government’s kangaroo ‘vaccine court’ has once again conceded, albeit quietly, that the combination measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine does, indeed, cause autism. In a recently published ruling, part of which was censored from public view, a young boy was awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars after it was determined that the MMR vaccine led to a confirmed diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“Ten-year-old Ryan Mojabi’s parents say he first suffered an encephalopathy after being vaccinated for MMR on December 19, 2003. Known as a ‘table injury,’ encephalopathy is a recognized, compensable adverse reaction to vaccines… According to Ryan’s parents, the MMR vaccine caused their son’s encephalopathy, which manifested… in the form of asthma and ASD.’

“After being bumped around from court to court, Ryan’s case was eventually heard by the vaccine court’s Autism Omnibus Proceedings, according to The Huffington Post. And in the end, the federal government agreed that Ryan’s encephalopathy had been caused by the MMR vaccine, a landmark ruling that confirms what Dr. Andrew Wakefield found more than 15 years ago when studying gut disorders in children given the MMR vaccine. ‘Ryan suffered a Table injury under the Vaccine Act — namely, an encephalitis within five to fifteen days following receipt (of MMR),’ admitted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the case. ‘This case is appropriate for compensation,’ it added, in full agreement with the court’s decision.

“Of particular note in the case is the fact that concession documents by the government remain under seal. While the court and the government at large openly admitted that the MMR vaccine caused Ryan’s encephalitis, it did not make public its opinion on whether or not that encephalitis led to Ryan’s other injuries, including those that fall into the category of ASD. But the fact that these documents remain censored shows that the government is hiding something of importance from the public, which most definitely has to do with the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism.

“In a similar case heard during the same month, young Emily Moller from Houston, Texas, was also awarded massive compensation for injuries resulting from the MMR vaccine. According to reports, Emily experienced a severe reaction after receiving not only the MMR vaccine but also the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), HiB, and Prevnar vaccines. Like with Ryan’s case, the government conceded that these vaccines led to Emily’s autism and other developmental problems.

“These two cases, combined with numerous published studies out of the U.S., South America, and Europe, prove that the MMR vaccine is not the harmless vaccine that the conventional medical industry claims it is. In fact, everything that Dr. Wakefield found back in the late 1990s concerning the MMR vaccine — findings that cost him his career and reputation, by the way — are proving to be undeniably true.

“‘There can be very little doubt that vaccines can and do cause autism,’ Dr. Wakefield recently stated from his home in Austin, Texas. ‘In these children, the evidence for an adverse reaction involving brain injury following the MMR that progresses to an autism diagnosis is compelling. It’s now a question of the body count. The parents’ story was right all along. Governments must stop playing with words while children continue to be damaged. My hope is that recognition of the intestinal disease in these children will lead to the relief of their suffering. This is long, long overdue.’”

Of course, most doctors and medical scientists would deny Wakefield’s findings, as they do not fit into the paradigm of routinely wanting to administer vaccines to little (and helpless) babies—while, at the same time, many of them advocate and endorse the murder of unborn children through abortions.

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Why is the “Law of Jealousy” no longer valid, and are there any spiritual lessons which we can derive from it?

In our Q&A on the “law of jealousy,” we pointed out that this law was a “ritualistic procedure,” which is no longer applied in its literal sense today. We stated that “In Numbers 5:11-31, God gave Old Testament Israel a supernatural means of determining whether a wife had committed adultery or not, although she had not been caught, and no witness was present (Numbers 5:13). When ‘the spirit of jealousy’ came upon the husband, so that he suspected a transgression of his wife, the husband could bring his wife to the priest, and he had to bring at the same time the ‘grain offering of jealousy’ (Numbers 5:15)… The priest gave the woman ‘holy’ or ‘bitter’ water to drink, after she had denied, under oath, any transgression. God then saw to it, that her belly would swell, if she was in deed guilty.”

In this Q&A, we are going to discuss further aspects which are relevant to that temporary ritual law, showing that it has still spiritual meaning for us today, even though its practical and literal application has ceased.

That the practical application is no longer valid today, will become clear throughout this Q&A. It is Satan, and not God who is ruling today this present evil world with all of its countries (John 14:30), so God will not supernaturally intervene today in the way which is described in Numbers 5. In addition, we are not to swear today (James 5:12; but compare Numbers 5:19-22), and we cannot avail ourselves of any holy water and dust from the Tabernacle which were a required part of the prescribed procedure of the law of jealousy (compare Numbers 5:17).

Discussing this law, we are presented with a situation when the wife may or may not have committed adultery, but in either case, she apparently acted in a way which raised disturbing suspicion or jealousy in the husband. Since she was not caught in the very act, no witness could bring sufficient evidence to establish her guilt.

The commentary on the Torah by Richard Elliott Friedman explains that the law deals with a “woman whose husband suspects her of adultery, but who has not been proved guilty by evidence or witnesses… even if the woman is shown guilty [through the procedure of the law of jealousy], she is not executed, which elsewhere is the penalty for adultery (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22)… this is why the woman cannot be executed: She has not been proved guilty in front of judges in a court of law through witnesses.”

This is an interesting thought. Even though some commentaries assume that the guilty woman would be killed, the Bible does not say this. It only says that she “will become a curse among her people” (verse 27). This shows that God does not allow the execution of a person based on anything but the testimony of at least two witnesses (Circumstantial evidence is never considered to be sufficient).

Commentaries also observe that this law was rarely practiced in ancient Israel, and it completely ceased to be administered in later times. Some feel that it ceased to be administered after the Second Temple was destroyed. Others, like the Ryrie Study Bible, feel that it was only administered in the wilderness. Friedman claims that it was not practiced “since the time of the First Temple in Jerusalem. It required dust from the Tabernacle floor, and the Tabernacle was only in the First Temple, not in the Second.” As mentioned, the fact that there is no Tabernacle today is one reason—but by far not the only one—why this law is no longer valid today.

Even though the Roman Catholic Church used a similar procedure in the Middle Ages (with the inevitable result that the woman was almost always found guilty and executed), God never sanctioned this procedure to be applied by them. In fact, as Dummelow points out in “A Commentary on the Holy Bible,” “During the middle ages it was frequently resorted to in Europe under sanctions of the church and the law. The most common forms of ordeal were those by fire, by water, and by wager in battle. The difference between these and the ordeal prescribed here is that the latter is not in itself injurious, but depends for its efficacy on the direct interposition of God.”

If it was established that the wife did commit adultery, then “the man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her guilt (verse 31).” Friedman states that this is “usually understood to mean that the husband is innocent of the crime [or iniquity] of making a false charge against his wife. But this is a questionable reading since the text does not say that he has made any charge against her; he has just brought her to the priest to make the determination of whether his jealousy is correct or not. This may rather refer to the other man, the one who had intercourse with the woman. The procedure proves only that the woman has had intercourse; it cannot prove who the man was. It is therefore not possible to convict the man by this procedure.” 

Under the law, both the adulterer and the adulteress had to die. When the woman, caught in the very act of adultery, was brought to Jesus to be tempted, He refused to convict her because—among several other reasons–only the woman, but not the man was brought in front of Him (John 8:1-11).

The entire procedure might look harsh to us, but it was really meant to protect the wife who had not committed adultery. In other cultures, the husband could simply divorce his wife upon suspicion of adultery, or he could even kill her. This is still the case in many Muslim countries today. But God provided “an opportunity for the woman to prove her innocence before an enraged husband” (The Nelson Study Bible).

The New Bible Commentary: Revised adds: “Such trials by ordeal were common in the ancient world in cases of infidelity. The ceremony recorded here is notable for its leniency in comparison with the fierce ordeals prescribed in pagan circles, and also for the fact that it was more likely to result in a verdict of innocence whereas the others were certainly weighted in the direction of guilt. Strange as the whole circumstance and ritual may seem to us, it compares so favourably with non-Israelite practices that it may be taken as evidence of that generally considerate attitude of the law of Moses towards women.”

The Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary explains the purpose of this law and shows that the underlying rationale is still relevant today:

“This law would make the women of Israel watch against giving cause for suspicion. On the other hand, it would hinder the cruel treatment such suspicions might occasion… The water is called the bitter water, because it caused the curse. Thus sin is called an evil and a bitter thing. Let all that meddle with forbidden pleasures, know that they will be bitterness in the latter end. From the whole learn, 1. Secret sins are known to God, and sometimes are strangely brought to light in this life; and that there is a day coming when God will, by Christ, judge the secrets of men according to the gospel… 2. In particular, Whoremongers and adulterers God will surely judge. Though we have not now the waters of jealousy, yet we have God’s word, which ought to be as great a terror…. 3. God will manifest the innocency of the innocent…”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds that this law deals with a situation  “not of certain adultery… but of her having committed it in the opinion of her husband, he having some ground of suspicion, though he could not be certain of it… [when the wife] goes into a private place with [another man], and stays so long with him that she may be defiled… the law of jealousies… was appointed by God to deter wives from adultery… and to keep husbands from being cruel to their wives they might be jealous of, and to protect virtue and innocence, and to detect lewdness committed in the most secret manner; whereby God gave proof of his omniscience, that he had knowledge of the most private acts of uncleanness, and was the avenger of all such… [Even if she was found] not guilty, yet as she had by some unbecoming behaviour raised such a suspicion in [the husband],…  she for it justly bore the infamy of such a process.”

This is good advice for us today. We should not allow ourselves to be found in situations which could raise suspicion. We are to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22, Authorized Version).

Regarding the requirement to uncover the woman’s head (in verse 18), the Pulpit Commentary states that this was done “In token that she had forfeited her glory by breaking, or seeming to have broken, her allegiance to her husband (1 Corinthians 11:5-10); perhaps also with some reference to the truth that ‘all things are naked and open to the eyes of him’ with whom she had to do (Hebrews 4:13).”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds, in regard to the uncovering of the woman’s head, that this was to be done “as a token of her immodesty and non-subjection to her husband” and that the priest “loosed her hair.” This is interesting in light of the fact that it says in 1 Corinthians 11:15 that “if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.” Long hair is identified, in verse 10, as “a symbol of [her husband’s] authority on her head.” This passage does not talk about any requirement for women to wear in Church services a veil or any other type of hair covering, but it refers to the fact that the hair of a woman should not be too short—otherwise, it would be as if she was shaved or shorn (verse 5).

Gill also states that the fact that the belly of the guilty woman would swell “must be ascribed to a supernatural cause” and if the husband “was not pure from the same sin himself, the waters would not search his wife… hence they say… when adulterers increased (under the second temple) the bitter waters ceased, according to Hosea 4:14; see Matthew 12:39.”

The Pulpit Commentary points out that the bitter water “was not literally bitter, but it was so fraught with conviction and judgment as to bring bitter suffering on the guilty.” It adds that “The trial of jealousy being adopted, as it was, into a system really Divine, and being based upon the knowledge and power of God himself, secured all the benefits of an ordeal and escaped all its dangers.”

The procedure of the law of jealousy REQUIRED God’s direct intervention. In former days, sometimes God would also intervene in other cases through the casting of lots.  But after the New Testament Church was founded and the Holy Spirit was given, the Bible does not record anymore any incident of the casting of lots for the purpose of Godly intervention or the determination of God’s Will. Once Israel turned away from God and rejected Him as their Leader and King, God’s direct intervention ceased, and with it the application of the law of jealousy.

If the woman was guiltless, then she would conceive seed (verse 28). The Pulpit Commentary explains this “as a sign of the Divine favour… (1 Samuel 2:5; Psalm 127:3; Luke 1:58).”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible agrees, stating that “if she was barren before, now she would be fruitful” and that “her husband should receive her gladly, and she should live comfortably with him hereafter, and the blessing of God would be upon her, which would still be a confirmation of her chastity.”

Even though this law is no longer in effect for us today, it does still entail important spiritual guidelines and principles, as we have discussed herein. But as the New Application Bible points out, “Trust between husband and wife had to be completely eroded for a man to bring his wife to the priest for this type of test. Today… pastors help restore marriages by counseling couples who have lost faith in each other. Whether justified or not, suspicion must be removed for a marriage to survive and trust to be restored.” This is very true—and in general, the Church has been given today the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

Even if the wife was guilty of adultery, the righteous act of Joseph (who believed that his betrothed bride Mary had committed adultery) is described as such in Matthew 1:19: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”

Apart from the fact that the practical application of the law of jealousy was apparently not available anymore at the time of Joseph, this Scripture shows that he would not have used it anyway, as he did not want to make Mary a public spectacle (which the procedure of the law of jealousy would have done), but that he was thinking about divorcing her secretly. Even at the time of Moses, a suspicious husband did not HAVE to have this law applied to his wife. But God allowed it because of the hardness of the people’s heart.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Two new StandingWatch programs, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link, have been produced and are now posted:
“Watch Germany as the World’s New Leader”

Washington is pushing Germany “to take on a greater global leadership role”, while America abrogates its leadership position. Germany’s disappointment with the USA and President Obama is growing. Germany is still a reluctant giant, but it has begun to assert itself “with the creeping recovery of self-confidence.” It is now being asserted that history has given Germany “a mandate to play an influential role in all of the world’s affairs”; that “the role of being an active player falls on” it; and that “the rest of the world is waiting for Germany.”

“America’s Self-Inflicted Isolation”

The Syrian debacle shows once more the unparalleled troubles America is facing. Being attacked by its enemies and completely isolated from its allies, President Obama does not seem to know what to do. At the same time, America’s spying activities and its policy to assist Egypt’s successive governments, while refusing to grant individuals asylum who are being religiously persecuted in other countries is a sad indictment of a nation which has forsaken values which it once possessed.

“Kampf für die Freiheit” (English title: “Fight for Freedom”) is the title of a new German sermon.

“Warum Christus Zurückkehrt!,” (English title: “Why Christ Will Return.”) is the title of the German sermon for the Feast of Trumpets.

“Ägypten, Syrien und Iran in Ihrer Bibel” (English title: “Egypt, Syria and Iran in Your Bible”) is the latest AufPostenStehen program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link.

Also, our most popular SW program, “When Will Russia Attack America,” has by now received about 142,800 views.

As a reminder, here are the dates for the upcoming Holy Days: September 14th–Day of Atonement; September 19th (beginning with opening night on September 18) through the 25th–Feast of Tabernacles; September 26th–Last Great Day. We will be broadcasting services live in the United States from our location in Vail, Colorado. For further information on our Feast sites in Colorado and Germany, please consult our website: www.eternalgod.org. For additional information on our Feast site in Germany, please also go to http://www.aufpostenstehen.de/wir-uber-uns/laubhuttenfest-2013/.

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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

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