|Is It God’s Will to Quit?
|Please explain John 20:17, as expressed in the Authorized Version.
|Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
|A Hug from God
Is It God’s Will to Quit?
by Norbert Link
We have this promise: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask ANYTHING according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears, WHATEVER we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
But HOW do we know, in a given situation, what God’s Will is for us? Is it God’s Will to marry our fiancée? Is it God’s Will to sever our marriage? Is it God’s Will to accept a particular job? Is it God’s Will to quit our current job? Is it God’s Will to end our studies in college or university? Is it God’s Will to move? Is it God’s Will to be healed of a particular sickness? Is it God’s Will to buy or sell a house or a certain car; to spend our vacation at an exotic location; to engage in a particular activity? The list may be endless…
How DO we know?
The answer is, in many cases, we may NOT know right away!
In our free booklet, “Teach Us to Pray,” we state the following:
“We have to ask God for His help and intervention ‘according to His will’ (1 John 5:14). This requires that we understand what His will is (Ephesians 5:17). In other words, God needs to REVEAL His will to us (Ephesians 1:9)…
“When we pray to the Father that His will be done, we ask Him… to give us the right kind of discernment to prove or test what His will is in a given situation; to permit Him to work in our lives… We should always ask ourselves when contemplating a major decision in our lives: Is this God’s will? We should not approach the issue with the attitude of: I know it is God’s will, because that is what I want to do. James 4:15 tells us, instead: ‘… you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”’…
“When we pray: ‘Your Will be done,’ we pray for understanding from God to determine what His Will is; for the ability to accept His Will and agree with His Will for our lives; and the strength and desire to do His Will, even though it might not be easy. When we are facing difficult situations in our lives, we are asking God to help us not to make hasty decisions out of impatience or frustration, but to reveal His Will to us and give us the will-power to accept His Will, agree with it, submit to it wholeheartedly, and DO whatever God may require of us, knowing that God will help us. We are saying with Jesus, when He was facing the most difficult situation in His life: ‘Not My will, but Your Will be done.’”
We need to prove or test to find out what God’s Will may be for us in a given situation. This may not be as difficult as it sounds. We pray by asking, seeking and knocking, having the faith that God hears and that He will answer. Circumstances in our lives may reveal His Will for us. If we pray to God for His direction, BELIEVING that He will see to it that a certain plan of ours is or is not going to come to fruition, He IS GOING to answer our prayer. If the car is a “lemon,” He will show us. If it is not His Will to heal us right away, He will make this very clear (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). If a particular job is not the best choice for us, it will become manifest.
Sometimes, we must knock at several doors, not knowing at first which, if any, will open. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2, 6 tells us: “Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do NOT KNOW what evil will be on the earth… In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do NOT KNOW which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.”
The key is, whatever we do, and as long as we do it, we must do with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
We must not quit, if God has not made it obvious that a certain course of action is against His Will. Some become disappointed and discouraged if a planned action does not show results right away, and they contemplate giving up. Some are far too quick in changing jobs. They never seem to settle down or stick to a given task. They lack perseverance in trials, concluding erroneously that a trial at the job shows them that God wants them to quit their job. Quite the opposite might be true. Maybe God wants them to stick it out so that they can learn how to conduct themselves properly in a difficult situation. But they quit too early. In fact, if it is God’s Will that we ought to change our job or a given course of conduct, then we don’t need to worry about whether or not to quit, because God will answer our prayers for the revelation and manifestation of His Will by making an end to our plans and our work (compare Acts 5:38-39).
In the famous inspirational poem by an unknown author, “Don’t Quit,” these memorable words are uttered:
“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit — Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
“Life is queer with its twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns, And many a fellow turns about When he might have won had he stuck it out. Don’t give up though the pace seems slow — You may succeed with another blow.
“Often the goal is nearer than It seems to a faint and faltering man; Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor’s cup; And he learned too late when the night came down — How close he was to the golden crown.
“Success is failure turned inside out — The silver tint in the clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are, It might be near when it seems afar; So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit — It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”
If you are considering whether you should do, continue to do or abrogate a certain task, ask yourself: Is it AGAINST God’s Will? It is NEVER God’s Will that we sin! But do we or would we sin? You need to carefully evaluate your situation based on your knowledge of the facts and circumstances—not based on hearsay, gossip, misstatements, accusations or opinions of others. Jesus did not care about man’s opinions… He healed the sick on the Sabbath, even though the Pharisees condemned Him for it; He spoke in public with a Samaritan woman even though the Jews did not “allow” it; He associated with “sinners” and “tax collectors,” even though the establishment rejected Him for this conduct.
If you cannot say, after careful and honest analysis of your situation, that your (contemplated) conduct or current condition are against God’s Will, then allow God to show you His Will through clear circumstances in your life. He will make it obvious to you! Have patience and faith that He will show you… and He will… in His good time—but in the meantime, until the answer is clear, don’t quit!
This Week in the News
This Week in the New
We begin reporting on accelerating problems involving the Temple Mount, which are going to lead to an ultimate explosion of biblical significance. While President Obama makes promises regarding a final deal between Iran and the USA and other super powers, a controversial US Budget Deal has been introduced; and the NSA tries to defend indefensible daily spying activities regarding billions of cell phones, and more dangerous US court proceedings come to light.
The Ukraine is in uproar, and the German President is taking a strong stance against Putin’s dictatorial Russia. One of America’s most respected journalists is charging that President Obama lied to the American people regarding Syria.
We are focusing on frightening German Christmas traditions and customs; discuss the troublesome advance of drones; and conclude with interesting revelations about the real Neanderthal.
Trouble at the Temple Mount
The Times of Israel wrote on December 6:
“Last Sunday, the Jerusalem District Police was forced to close the Temple Mount when a group of Jews visited the site during the hours designated for non-Muslim visitors and began to sing Hanukkah songs. Dozens of Muslims, including Islamic extremists (not necessarily the Salafis) who are permanent fixtures on the mount, attacked the Jewish group as dozens of police officers tried to disperse the violent confrontation… On Wednesday, the compound was closed to visitors and worshipers once again after fireworks were shot at police from the Al-Aqsa Mosque… Combined with other incidents on the Temple Mount over recent weeks, this seems to be just the beginning…
“One of the most active groups on the Temple Mount in recent months is known as Al-Shabab Al-Aqsa. This group of young men is most often recruited by members of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement… in order to ‘protect Al-Aqsa.’ This means physically preventing Jews from attempting to pray on the Temple Mount…
“Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, director of the Waqf in East Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa, charges that Israeli ‘radicalism’ is ‘ruining everything.’
“In an interview this week, he described a recent Sunday when, he said, a group of 26 Orthodox Jews visited the Temple Mount and ‘even attacked your own soldiers,’ and he warned: ‘If a fire erupts here, it will ignite the entire world…. We dream of Jerusalem being a source of peace between religions,… each with its own holy site: Al-Aqsa to the Muslims; the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to the Christians; and Al-Buraq Wall (the Muslim name for the Western Wall, named for the horse that carried the Prophet Muhammad to the heavens), which belongs to the Muslims as well but the Jews may pray there.’…
“Throughout the conversation, Al-Khatib cautioned that every Jewish attempt to pray at ‘Haram a-Sharif’ will draw a response and objections from the Muslims. ‘This site represents 1 billion, 700 million Muslims. We do not want a religious war to break out in the region. It will put us all in danger.’
“The complex and dangerous circumstances that are rapidly developing on the Temple Mount prompted Israel’s two Chief Rabbis, Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau and Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, to this week reaffirm the ruling made by Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook (years before the establishment of the State of Israel) which forbids Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. This new-old ruling, however, is unlikely to have much impact at this most sensitive of sites, where years of seething tension appear to be bubbling ever closer to the surface…”
The Temple Mount is going to “explode.” The Bible is very clear that Jews will begin to bring sacrifices, apparently on or near the Temple Mount, and apparently in conjunction with the building of the Third Temple. This will ignite a fire storm between Arabs and Jews, which Europe will try to stop by invading militarily.
President Obama’s Promises Regarding an Iran Deal
JTA wrote on December 7:
“President Obama sharply criticized as not viable several Israeli government postures on talks with Iran… Obama anticipated a final deal that would grant Iran some uranium enrichment capabilities… Obama outlined U.S. red lines in a final agreement, including the dismantling of the plutonium reactor at Arak and the underground nuclear reactor at Fordow, as well as advanced centrifuges…
“Israel’s government believes that Iran has been allowed to advance its nuclear capability to the point where even a modest enrichment capability positions it dangerously close to weapons breakout capacity… Obama said he did not trust Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s newly elected president, but noted that he was elected on a platform of reaching out to the West… Obama twice said that he would reassert the military option should talks fail with Iran…”
Let’s wait and see whether these promises regarding an Iran deal will be kept—at least within the pages of a written document to be signed by all parties.
US Under No Illusions Regarding Iran?
Fox News wrote on December 7:
“U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opened the door for the U.S. to sell missile defense and other weapons systems to U.S.-friendly Gulf nations, with an eye toward boosting their abilities to counter Iran’s ballistic missiles, even as global powers ink a nuclear deal with Tehran. In a speech Saturday to Gulf leaders, Hagel made it clear that the emerging global agreement that would limit Iran’s nuclear program doesn’t mean the security threat from Iran is over.
“Instead, he laid out steps to beef up defense cooperation in the Gulf region, while at the same time insisting that America’s military commitment to the Middle East will continue. ‘I am under no illusions, like all of you, about the daily threats facing this region, or the current anxieties that I know exist here in the Gulf,’ Hagel told a security conference… He said the interim deal is just a first step that has bought time for meaningful negotiations, adding that ‘all of us are clear-eyed, very clear-eyed about the challenges that remain’ to reaching a nuclear solution with Iran… And, he warned that with America’s sophisticated weapons, ‘no target is beyond our reach.’…
“The most concrete proposal Hagel outlined is the Pentagon’s plan to allow military sales to the Gulf Cooperation Council, so the six-member nations can have more coordinated radars, sensors and early warning missile defense systems. While the U.S. can sell to the individual nations, Hagel is arguing that selling the systems to the GCC will ensure that the countries will be able to communicate and coordinate better.
“It is unclear, however, how effective that plan will be considering it can be difficult for the six sometimes-combative nations of the GCC — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — to reach agreements…”
US Democrats Attack Iran Deal
The Washington Times wrote on December 10:
“President Obama’s nuclear deal reached last month with Iran faced bipartisan criticism Tuesday as Secretary of State John F. Kerry gave his first defense of the agreement on Capitol Hill. Several Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee joined Republicans in expressing skepticism about the administration’s willingness to ease sanctions on Iran without requiring Tehran to cease all uranium activities while negotiations on a more permanent agreement take place. ‘I want to make it clear that I have some serious reservations,’ New York Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the committee’s ranking Democrat, told Mr. Kerry… he slammed the initial agreement, saying that, ‘at a minimum, it should have required Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, as demanded by six separate U.N. Security Council resolutions.’…
“The committee’s GOP chairman, Rep. Edward R. Royce of California, joined his Democratic colleague, warning that the U.S. ‘may have bargained away our fundamental position.’ ‘That fundamental agreement is that Iran should not be enriching and reprocessing,’ Mr. Royce said. ‘And we may bargain that away for a false confidence that we can effectively block Iran’s misuse of these key nuclear bomb-making technologies.’…
“Mr. Kerry and the administration are trying to head off moves on Capitol Hill to impose additional economic sanctions on Iran, warning it could undermine the agreement…”
A Compromise Budget Deal in the Making?
Fox News and The Associated Press reported on December 10:
“Congressional negotiators on Tuesday announced a tentative budget deal that would avoid a partial government shutdown, but also begin to unravel hard-fought spending cuts. The lead negotiators — Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. — detailed the specifics of the proposal at an evening press conference… But the measure could face a tough climb, particularly in the House which is expected to take up the bill first. Ahead of Tuesday’s announcement, fiscal conservatives raised alarm that lawmakers were proposing to roll back sequester cuts.
“The proposal would restore about $63 billion in funding that had been cut by the so-called sequester. Officials said the increases would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and increased fees elsewhere in the budget totaling about $85 billion over a decade, leaving enough for a largely symbolic deficit cut of $23 billion over the next decade.
“However, fiscal conservatives warned that lawmakers were simply trading increased spending now for ‘promises’ of cuts sometime in the future… Marco Rubio, R-Fla., came out against it. ‘In the short run, this budget also cancels earlier spending reductions, instead of making some tough decisions about how to tackle our long-term fiscal challenges caused by runaway Washington spending,’ he said…
“The hesitation, and opposition, on both sides,… indicates that congressional leaders still have a lot of convincing to do. Congress has until Jan. 15 to pass a new budget or they will trigger another partial government shutdown…”
A Terrible Deal
Breitbart wrote on December 10:
“These are the 4 most important take-aways from this deal.
“1. The Deal Increases Federal Spending. Discretionary spending, the only spending controlled by the Congressional budget process, would rise next year to $1.012 trillion. Spending in 2013 was $986 billion and, under current law, was scheduled to drop to $967 billion next year. In other words, spending will be $45 billion higher than under existing law.
“2. The Deal Increases Federal Revenue. While the additional revenue is raised through ‘user fees’ rather than taxes, it is generally a distinction without a difference. One of the major sources of new revenue is an additional surtax on airline tickets, ostensibly to cover TSA airport screening… it is important to remember that any additional revenue raised under this deal is to finance additional spending, not deficit reduction.
“3. Spending Cuts Fuel More Spending. The deal reportedly cuts spending throughout the budget. One of the more concrete proposals revealed so far is requiring federal employees and members of the military to contribute more to their federal pensions…
“4. The Promised Deficit Reduction Will Never Happen. The summary document on the Ryan/Murray deal promises that the agreement will reduce the deficit by $28 billion over the next ten years. Never mind that this amount is a rounding error when the government will spend around $40 trillion in this time-period, it is also a fiction…”
The Washington Times summarized this deal in this way:
“New budget accord saves $23 billion — after $65 billion spending spree.”
NSA Defends the Indefensible
NBC News reported on December 6:
“The National Security Agency on Friday said its tracking of cellphones overseas is legally authorized under a sweeping U.S. presidential order. The distinction means the extraordinary surveillance program is not overseen by a secretive U.S. intelligence court but is regulated by some U.S. lawmakers, Obama administration insiders and inspectors general… the NSA gathers as many as 5 billion records every day about the location data for hundreds of millions of cellphones worldwide by tapping into cables that carry international cellphone traffic…
“The NSA said Friday it was not tracking every foreign phone call and said it takes measures to limit how much U.S. data is collected. The NSA has declined to provide any estimates about the number of Americans whose cellphones it has tracked either because they were traveling overseas or their data was irrevocably included in information about foreigners’ cellphones…
“A frequent justification for the NSA programs by President Barack Obama and top U.S. intelligence officials is that they are overseen by all three branches of government… The NSA spokeswoman [Vanee] Vines said legal restrictions under the intelligence law still apply to the cellphone tracking. When NSA analysts realize they unintentionally collected an American’s information, they would have to separate it when possible or wall it off from the other information, and limit who can access it and how long it is kept. But an intelligence lawyer also told the Post that when U.S. cellphone data are collected, the data are not covered by the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
It’s a joke, but it’s not funny. And it’s not happening in Russia or China, but in the USA –a land which was once thought to be the land of the brave and the free. Of course, it really never was—since it was and still is under the control of Satan the devil, as all countries are. Only, that by now, this fact becomes more and more obvious to the more-than-casual observer.
Dangerous Court Cases
The Washington Post wrote on December 6:
“A baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs or face fines, a judge said Friday. The order from administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver [Colorado] discriminated against a couple ‘because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.’
“The order says the cake-maker must ‘cease and desist from discriminating’ against gay couples. Although the judge did not impose fines in this case, the business will face penalties if it continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy cakes… Nicolle Martin, an attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop, said the judge’s order puts Phillips in an impossible position of going against his Christian faith…
“A similar is pending in Washington state, where a florist is accused of refusing service for a same-sex wedding. In New Mexico, the state Supreme Court ruled in August that an Albuquerque business was wrong to decline to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony…”
Courts want to stop discrimination against minorities and become guilty of discriminating against religious convictions.
Ukraine in Uproar
The Local wrote on December 8:
“At least 100,000 people were reported to have gathered in Kyiv on Sunday for renewed demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovych… Members of the crowd waved European Union and Ukrainian flags, as well as the red-and-black banner of the anti-communist wartime Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
“Yevgenia Tymoshenko, the daughter of jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, delivered a message from her mother in prison, calling for Yanukovych’s ‘immediate’ resignation… The decision of Yanukovych to abandon planned political and free trade agreements with the European Union have prompted a wave of protests from government opponents. The president on Friday further angered the opposition when he discussed the signing of a strategic partnership treaty with Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is eager for Ukraine to join a Customs Union that some Ukrainians complain would be the first step to a rebuilding of a new Soviet Union.”
BBC News added on December 8:
“Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Ukrainian capital Kiev seeking the resignation of the government for refusing a deal on closer ties with the European Union. Protesters, who oppose a customs union with Russia, toppled a statue of Lenin and smashed it with hammers… Correspondents say the statue has symbolic importance as it underlines Ukraine’s shared history with Russia… The BBC’s David Stern says the attack on the statue has heightened tension in Kiev.”
The Bible indicates that Ukraine will turn away from Europe and Germany in support of Russia—which actually did occur before, during World War II.
The Battle in Ukraine—Germany Helpless
Der Spiegel wrote on December 9:
“Every sentence German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle utters in the lobby of Kiev’s five-star Hyatt Hotel betrays a sense of helplessness. He says that the ‘gateway to Europe is open’ for the country, that there are ‘shared European values,’ that Germans are ‘not indifferent to Ukraine,’ and that it is in fact ‘culturally and historically’ part of the old continent. Then he says ‘thank you so much’ to the Ukrainians and walks out into the street…
“The Ukrainian leadership has sharpened its tone, a sign that Yanukovych and his supporters already consider themselves victors…”
Ukrainian Government Uses Force
The New York Times wrote on December 10:
“Battalions of Ukrainian security forces early Wednesday stormed Independence Square, the central plaza in Kiev where protesters had been rallying against the government of President Viktor F. Yanukovich for more than two weeks… Hours after senior Western diplomats arrived here for meetings with Mr. Yanukovich in an effort to defuse both the country’s slide into political chaos as well as a deepening financial crisis, thousands of riot police officers and internal ministry troops fanned across Kiev, putting the Ukrainian capital in a virtual lockdown in the cold predawn darkness… The crackdown by the authorities came hours after a three and a half-hour meeting between Mr. Yanukovich and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief.
“Secretary of State John Kerry, in an unusually strong statement late Tuesday, expressed the United States’ ‘disgust’ with the authorities’ decision to use force. ‘This response is neither acceptable nor does it befit a democracy,’ he said. ‘As church bells ring tonight amidst the smoke in the streets of Kiev, the United States stands with the people of Ukraine. They deserve better.’ Western leaders, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who spoke by telephone with Mr. Yanukovich on Monday, had sternly warned the government against the use of force on peaceful protests.
“The enforcement effort was likely to have serious diplomatic consequences, especially because there was no apparent provocation for the sudden and aggressive police advance. The storming of the plaza was especially surprising because Tuesday had largely been a day of consultations and discussions among senior officials. The talks with Western diplomats had focused heavily on Ukraine’s acute financial troubles; a deepening cash crunch could leave the country broke within months…
“Ukraine remains caught in a tug of war between Europe and Russia, which are vying for political sway over the country’s future…”
Russia vs. Canada – Who Owns the North Pole?
The Globe and Mail wrote on December 10:
“President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s armed forces to expand their presence in the Arctic region, one day after Canada confirmed its intent to lay claim to the sea bed under the North Pole… He emphasized the importance of the Soviet-era base at the New Siberian Islands, which the military started to overhaul this year. Putin also said that Russia will restore a number of Arctic military air bases that fell into neglect after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
“Putin said that a massive effort to modernize military arsenals will continue next year, when the military will commission 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles, more than 200 military aircraft and two nuclear submarines…
“On Monday Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada will gather more underwater mapping information before submitting a claim to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. But he made it clear that Ottawa has no intention of forfeiting the geographic North Pole, a stand that will put Canada at odds with Russia and Denmark – two countries expected to stake an interest in the region. It was the first time the Conservative government has publicly declared its intention to claim the Pole.
“To support a stake that lays claim as far as the North Pole, Canada would have to establish that underwater mountain ridges including the Lomonosov Ridge are linked to Canada’s continental shelf. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal countries are entitled to economic control over the waters that stretch as far as 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from their shores. If a country can prove its continental shelf extends even farther, it may be granted control of a greater expanse. Countries such as Canada have conducted aerial and ship-borne mapping of the Arctic seabed for years to support their claims.”
Putin’s Dictatorial Measures
Reuters reported on December 9:
“President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia’s media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow’s image abroad. The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin’s hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule.
“Most Russian media outlets are already loyal to Putin, and opponents get little air time, but the shake-up underlined their importance to Putin keeping power and the Kremlin’s concern about the president’s ratings and image.”
German President Boycotts Winter Olympics in Russia
The Guardian wrote on December 8:
“The German president has become the first major political figure to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics in February. According to German weekly Der Spiegel, Joachim Gauck last week told the Kremlin of his decision, which is understood to be a response to the Russian government’s violations of human rights and harassment of the opposition. Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor who played a key part in the East German protest movement before the fall of the Berlin Wall, has declined any official visits to Russia since coming to office in March 2012 and repeatedly criticised the country’s ‘deficit of rule of law’ and ‘air of imperialism.’
“In June, a scheduled meeting between Gauck and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, was cancelled – supposedly because of clashing schedules… The head of the Russian parliament’s foreign delegation on Sunday criticised Gauck’s decision. Alexey Pushkov tweeted: ‘The German president Gauck has not criticised the killing of children and women in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But he is so critical of Russia that he doesn’t even want to travel to Sochi.’
“While Germany under chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Merkel has traditionally been keen to tread carefully in diplomatic exchanges with Russia, a standoff between Gauck and Putin has seemed only a matter of time. Gauck, in his post-1989 role as special representative for Stasi archives, has come to represent a systematic investigation into the crimes of East Germany’s surveillance state, while former KGB agent Putin has overseen the rehabilitation of secret service personnel during his time in power. In German political circles, it is no secret that there is little love lost between the two presidents.”
The relationship between Russia and Europe is bound to deteriorate.
The German President’s Boycott
Der Spiegel Online wrote on December 9:
“German President Joachim Gauck’s office has informed the Kremlin he will not be attending the Sochi Olympics in February. German newspapers view his protest of Russian human rights violations as a moral decision by the German head of state…
“The issue of boycotting the games has been controversial [one] in Germany, and Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke out against taking such action. She said the world would be paying close attention to the situation in Russia during the games and that this could be more effective in implementing change than a boycott — a move she said would hurt athletes more than anyone else.
“Gauck’s decision not to travel is being widely interpreted as criticism of Russia’s treatment of opposition politicians and minorities in the country… Gauck’s father had served time in a Soviet prison camp. And as a citizen of former East Germany, Gauck was a civil rights activist…”
EU Commissioner Joins Gauck in Anti-Russian Protest
Reuters reported on December 10:
“European Union commissioner Viviane Reding said she would not be attending the Sochi 2014 Olympics in February over what she said was Russia’s treatment of minorities, joining German President Joachim Gauck in an open snub to the host nation…
“Russia has been under mounting criticism over its human rights record especially after passing an anti-gay propaganda law earlier this year that critics say curtails the rights of homosexuals… Preparations for Russia’s first winter Olympics that expected to cost more than $50-billion have been overshadowed by the controversy triggered by the law as well as the arrests of Greenpeace members and members of punk protest band Pussy Riot.”
German Economy Growing
Der Spiegel wrote on December 9:
“Total German exports in October rose to €99.1 billion ($136 billion), a new all-time high… imports rose at an even greater rate than exports — at a surprising 2.9 percent… The growth in exports in October was mainly due to strong demand from European Union countries that don’t belong to the euro zone, with exports to Poland increasing by around 6.2 percent, for example…”
Did President Obama Lie to the American People About Syria?
Rt.com wrote on December 9:
“Washington knew Syrian rebels could produce sarin gas but ‘cherry-picked’ intel to blame President Assad for the Aug. 21 attack on Ghouta, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed, citing senior US security sources… Hersh, whose Pulitzers were for his exposes on American military misconduct in the Iraq and Vietnam wars, got his information on Syria from whistle-blowing acting and former intelligence and military officers, who for security reasons were not identified in the report.
“Following the release of the report, the spokesman for Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, denied the report’s major point – that the US knew of the rebel group being capable of creating sarin… Hersh has remained unconvinced by the denial…”
The German press, including Der Stern, picked up the story, describing Seymour Hersh as one of the best-known journalists in the USA. Der Stern provided this link to the entire report http://www.lrb.co.uk/2013/12/08/seymour-m-hersh/whose-sarin .
Here are excerpts from the report (which was also published by the Huffington Post, dated December 8):
“Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports… citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
“In his nationally televised speech about Syria on 10 September, Obama laid the blame for the nerve gas attack on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta firmly on Assad’s government, and made it clear he was prepared to back up his earlier public warnings that any use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’: ‘Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people,’ he said. ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible … And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.’ Obama was going to war to back up a public threat, but he was doing so without knowing for sure who did what in the early morning of 21 August.
“He cited a list of what appeared to be hard-won evidence of Assad’s culpability… But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’…
“Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin. At the time, al-Nusra was operating in areas close to Damascus, including Eastern Ghouta. An intelligence document issued in mid-summer dealt extensively with Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, a chemical weapons expert formerly of the Iraqi military, who was said to have moved into Syria and to be operating in Eastern Ghouta. The consultant told me that Tariq had been identified ‘as an al-Nusra guy with a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and someone who is implicated in making and using sarin’. He is regarded as a high-profile target by the American military…
“In both its public and private briefings after 21 August, the administration disregarded the available intelligence about al-Nusra’s potential access to sarin and continued to claim that the Assad government was in sole possession of chemical weapons. This was the message conveyed in the various secret briefings that members of Congress received in the days after the attack, when Obama was seeking support for his planned missile offensive against Syrian military installations. One legislator with more than two decades of experience in military affairs told me that he came away from one such briefing persuaded that ‘only the Assad government had sarin and the rebels did not.’ Similarly, following the release of the UN report on 16 September confirming that sarin was used on 21 August, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, told a press conference: ‘It’s very important to note that only the [Assad] regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin.’…
“The proposed American missile attack on Syria never won public support and Obama turned quickly to the UN and the Russian proposal for dismantling the Syrian chemical warfare complex. Any possibility of military action was definitively averted on 26 September when the administration joined Russia in approving a draft UN resolution calling on the Assad government to get rid of its chemical arsenal. Obama’s retreat brought relief to many senior military officers. (One high-level special operations adviser told me that the ill-conceived American missile attack on Syrian military airfields and missile emplacements, as initially envisaged by the White House, would have been ‘like providing close air support for al-Nusra’.)
“The administration’s distortion of the facts surrounding the sarin attack raises an unavoidable question: do we have the whole story of Obama’s willingness to walk away from his ‘red line’ threat to bomb Syria? He had claimed to have an iron-clad case but suddenly agreed to take the issue to Congress, and later to accept Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical weapons…
“The UN resolution, which was adopted on 27 September by the Security Council, dealt indirectly with the notion that rebel forces such as al-Nusra would also be obliged to disarm: ‘no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer [chemical] weapons.’ The resolution also calls for the immediate notification of the Security Council in the event that any ‘non-state actors’ acquire chemical weapons. No group was cited by name. While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone…”
Obama’s Approval Ratings at an All-Time Low
Mail On Line reported on December 10:
“Barack Obama is facing poll numbers that are now in the same territory as President George W. Bush’s following Hurricane Katrina. The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute released numbers on Tuesday showing that just 38 per cent of registered voters approve of the job Obama is doing as president, with a whopping 56 per cent saying they disapprove.
“The president has lost his landslide electoral edge among young voters, too, with a negative 41–49 per cent rating among 18- to 29-year-old voters. His once formidable support among Hispanics has also evaporated: They now support him by an historically small 50–43 per cent margin.
“Worse for Obama’s fast-approaching legacy-building years, the public believes he is not ‘honest and trustworthy,’ by a 52–44 per cent score. A smaller majority, 51 per cent, said he lacks ‘strong leadership qualities.’”
Pope Francis Person of the Year
The Website of poy.time.com explained on December 10, why Pope Francis was chosen by Time magazine as the person of the year—those who have ears, let them hear:
“At a time when the limits of leadership are being tested in so many places, along comes a man with no army or weapons, no kingdom beyond a tight fist of land in the middle of Rome but with the immense wealth and weight of history behind him, to throw down a challenge. The world is getting smaller; individual voices are getting louder; technology is turning virtue viral, so his pulpit is visible to the ends of the earth. When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.
“The skeptics will point to the obstacles Francis faces in accomplishing much of anything beyond making casual believers feel better about the softer tone coming out of Rome while feeling free to ignore the harder substance. The Catholic Church is one of the oldest, largest and richest institutions on earth, with a following 1.2 billion strong, and change does not come naturally. At its best it inspires and instructs, helps and heals and calls the faithful to heed their better angels. But it has been weakened worldwide by scandal, corruption, a shortage of priests and a challenge, especially across the fertile mission fields of the southern hemisphere, from evangelical and Pentecostal rivals. In some quarters, core teachings on divorce and contraception are widely ignored and orthodoxy derided as obsolete. Vatican bureaucrats and clergy stand accused of infighting, graft, blackmail and an obsession with ‘small-minded rules,’ as Francis puts it, rather than the vast possibilities of grace.
“… it is a mistake to dismiss any Pope’s symbolic choices as gestures empty of the force of law… This focus on compassion, along with a general aura of merriment not always associated with princes of the church, has made Francis something of a rock star. More than 3 million people turned out to see him on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro last summer, the crowds in St. Peter’s Square are ecstatic, and the souvenirs are selling fast. Francesco is the most popular male baby name in Italy. Churches report a ‘Francis effect’ of lapsed Catholics returning to Mass and confession… the fascination with Francis even outside his flock gives him an opportunity that his predecessor, Benedict XVI, never had—to magnify the message of the church and its power…
“Now liberals and conservatives alike face a choice as they listen to a new voice of conscience: Which matters more, that this charismatic leader is saying things they think need to be said or that he is also saying things they’d rather not hear?…”
German Nicholas–Pagan God Odin
The Local wrote on December 6:
“Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children… According to the legend, Nikolaus comes in the middle of the night on a donkey or a horse and leaves little treats – like coins, chocolate, oranges and toys – for good children.
“What do naughty children get? This depends on different family traditions. Sometimes Nikolaus only leaves a switch [of wood] in the boot, ostensibly for spankings, to show that the child doesn’t deserve a treat. In other families, a man disguised as St. Nicholas will visit the family or the child’s school alone or with his with his sinister-looking alter ego Knecht Ruprecht to question the children about their behavior… Children were often quite frightened of being questioned about their behaviour because they’ve been told that St. Nicholas will hurt them with his rod or even put them in a sack and take them away.
“Though the custom is in decline, in more Catholic regions, parents inform a local priest of naughty behaviour. The priest then pays a personal visit wearing the traditional Christian garb to threaten the little rugrats with a beating… He is usually pictured with a long white beard, a bishop’s mitre and a red cloak, sometimes with a sack over his shoulder and a rod in his hand.”
As we point out in our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas,” it is highly doubtful that a bishop with the name of Nicholas of Myra ever existed. At the same time, it is certain that ancient myths about Odon or Wotan helped to create the modern Nicholas.
The Krampus—Nicholas’ Dark Alter Ego
The Local wrote on December 5:
“The legendary Krampus, usually described as a beast-like, demonic figure with long goats’ horns and straggly hair, comes to capture naughty children and carries them off in a sack to his mountain lair, according to Alpine tradition. Stories of the Krampus talk of him coming out to punish bad children around the eve of St. Nicholas’ day.
“Traditionally young men across south Bavaria, as well as south Tyrol and Austria [wear] big hairy costumes and horned masks during the first week of December [during the night of December 5] to act the part of the fearsome creature in an especially scary pre-Christmas celebration of Germanic folklore. Dressing up as the Krampus, or his fellow monster the noisy, gnarly-faced Perchten, has been part of southern German tradition for centuries…They are St. Nicholas’ dark alter ego.”
Christmas and its customs are not only based on pagan myths—they are in fact based on demonic activities and concepts.
Drones Replace People
Salon wrote on December 6:
“It’s inescapable: We’ll be replaced by robots or turn into them. What happens to waitresses and taxi drivers then?…
“Nobody knows how it will play out, but one thing seems certain: We won’t have to wait too long to find out whether a robot apocalypse is going to ravage society. The sense of increasing momentum toward a more robot-infested future is undeniable. No matter what the regulators say, I find it impossible to imagine that there won’t be more drones in our skies, more tablet menus replacing human beings, more jobs accomplished by automation. Whether this transition is driven because it delivers true convenience for consumers, or whether it simply makes economic sense for the masters of capital, the logic of this technological evolution is inexorable…
“If it makes economic sense to automate the food-ordering process in an airport, what point is there in having a human waiter to take your order at any dining establishment that isn’t already charging a premium for high-class flesh-and-blood service… If it turns out there is money to be made by automating package delivery, I can guarantee you that regulatory barriers will fall. Drones have already been used in attempts to deliver drugs and tobacco across prison walls. We’re going to find lots of things to do with them…
“Similarly, if insurance companies determine from their number crunching that Google’s self-driving cars are safer than human-operated cars, they will write the insurance policies that put those cars on the street. They’d be crazy not to. And so Google’s robot armies will march everywhere…
“As I sat in the Minneapolis airport watching waiters and waitresses scurry about the concourse delivering food and drink, it occurred to me that they didn’t actually need to be replaced by drones — because they had already become drones. Their job requirements had been reduced to the bare minimum. From the kitchen to the customer and back again they went. And that was it. But the customers themselves had also become drones. Each staring into their own iPad, alone, even if traveling as a family or a group…”
The story has an interesting point. Apart from the danger of using more and more drones to replace humans, the question arises whether humans have already become more and more “drones” themselves—automatons without individual will, conviction or self-direction? Apart from the examples given in the article, we might think of soldiers who are trained to become will-less automatons in their armies with the only goal to kill their enemy.
We might consider drug addicts or alcoholics who act like mindless “drones”; or a domineering and tyrannical husband who may control every action of his frightened and “submissive” wife. More and more people become demon-possessed or will-less victims in the clutches of dangerous cults. Parents may abuse their children and transform them into helpless “drones,” and children may tyrannize their old and dependent “drone-like” parents.
Sadly, we observe that the respect for freedom and dignity is being lost—one of the end-time developments which have long ago been foretold in the pages of the Bible. In the near future, a political leader—the beast—and a religious leader—the false prophet—will arise on the world scene and through their demonic powers, they will mesmerize, brain-wash and “hypnotize” the vast majority of people. Our free booklet, “The Ten Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire”, explains in much detail how most people will become “drones” in the power of Satan.
The Huffington Post wrote on December 5:
“New research suggests that Neanderthals kept a tidy home… In recent years, researchers have discovered that Neanderthals made tools, buried their dead, used fire and maybe even adorned themselves with feathers, bucking our ancient cousins’ reputation as stocky brutes. The new findings add to that growing list of intelligent behaviors similar to those of humans…
“Riel-Salvatore and colleagues discovered that Neanderthals may have been rather domestically inclined… ‘When you make stone tools there is a lot of debris that you don’t want in high-traffic areas or you risk injuring yourself,’ Riel-Salvatore said… ‘This is still more evidence that they were more sophisticated than many have given them credit for. If we are going to identify modern human behavior on the basis of organized spatial patterns, then you have to extend it to Neanderthals as well.’
“Neanderthals roamed Eurasia from at least 200,000 years ago until they went extinct 30,000 years ago. For a period of time, they overlapped with humans, and some studies suggest the two even interbred.”
That Neanderthals lived 200,000 years ago and were extinct 30,000 years ago is total nonsense. Those measurements of Neanderthal remains and fossils are all based on the faulty radio-carbon 14 method, or methods which are connected with it. Scientists admit that these methods are totally unreliable for numerous reasons. Our German booklet, “EVOLUTION – ein MÄRCHEN für Erwachsene?” explains in great detail why these scientific methods are faulty. The truth is that Neanderthals were created about 6,000 years ago, as modern human beings (homo sapiens) with the human spirit within them. In fact, “Neanderthals” still live today.
Please explain John 20:17, as expressed in the Authorized Version.
In the Authorized Version (old King James Bible), John 20:17 is rendered as follows: “Jesus saith unto her [Mary], Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” Jesus had been resurrected from the dead, and He made these comments to Mary when she met Him after she had discovered that His tomb was empty.
One explanation given in times past was that Christ did not want Mary to touch Him because He was not yet glorified and had not gone to heaven to be glorified and presented as a weave sheaf offering before God. Although this explanation may sound feasible at first sight, it doesn’t stand the test of scriptural application.
We read in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44:
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
When Christ was resurrected, He was already glorified according to the above Scripture–so another explanation must be put forth.
It is true, of course, that Christ ascended Sunday morning to the Father in heaven to be accepted as the wave sheaf offering—but not for the purpose of being glorified then.
Some have said that John 20:17 teaches that Christ was resurrected Sunday morning, before dark, and did not allow Mary to touch Him, because by that time, He had not ascended to heaven, but that later, on Sunday morning, when it was already light, He allowed the women to touch Him, because He had gone to and returned from heaven. This conclusion is drawn from a comparison between John 20:17 and Matthew 28:9. However, both conclusions are erroneous, because the Bible does not teach a Sunday morning resurrection; nor, that the women in Matthew 28:9 met Christ Sunday morning. Rather, it teaches that Christ was resurrected on Saturday afternoon, just before sunset, and that the women in Matthew 28 appeared at the grave late Saturday afternoon—not Sunday morning.
Our free booklet, “Jesus Christ, a Great Mystery,” explains these facts in great detail.
“We read in Matthew 28:1–6 (Authorized Version): ‘In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it… And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for HE IS RISEN, AS HE SAID.’
“We note from the passage that Christ was already resurrected by the time the women came to the grave. We are told that they appeared ‘in the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.’ Many commentaries point out that this phrase discusses the END of the SABBATH, that is, Saturday evening or late afternoon, and NOT Sunday morning.
“The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament renders this verse in this way: ‘Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward (the) first (day) of (the) week, came Mary the Magdalene…’ A.T. Robertson’s Harmony of the Gospel comments: ‘This phrase once gave much trouble, but the usage of the vernacular Koine Greek amply justifies the translation. The visit of the women to inspect the tomb was thus made before the Sabbath was over (before 6 p.m. on Saturday).’
“Cockrell states: ‘When does the Bible say that Jesus rose from the dead? The two Marys came to the tomb “in the end of the Sabbath” (Matth. 28:1). The Sabbath always ended at sunset: “From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath” (Lev. 23:32). Then they went to the tomb before sunset on Saturday. Jesus had risen from the dead before their arrival (Matth. 28:1–8)…’
“The Moffat Bible translates: ‘At the close of the Sabbath, when the first day was dawning…’… The Elberfelder Bibel reads: ‘But late at the Sabbath, in the dawn of the first day.’ It comments: ‘Days started at sunset.’
“This fact is also established, when considering the meaning of the Greek word, translated in Matthew 28:1, as ‘in the end of the Sabbath’. The Greek for ‘in the end of ‘ is ‘opse.’ It is defined as ‘late in the evening.’ It is not a reference to ‘early in the morning.’ Compare Mark 13:35 and Mark 11:19, where the word ‘opse’ is correctly rendered as ‘even’ or ‘evening.’”
More evidence is given in our booklet for the fact that Jesus was not resurrected on Sunday morning, but on Saturday, just before sunset.
But, what is meant, exactly, in John 20:17?
The original Greek words, more properly rendered, mean, “attach oneself to,” and this is how they are rendered in other versions of the Bible.
For instance, the New King James Bible states as follows: “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”’”
This rendition gives the more accurate meaning of the original Greek. This is what some of the commentaries say about this verse:
Clarke’s Commentary says: “‘Cling not to me’. [The Greek] has this sense in Job 31:7, where the Septuagint use it for the Hebrew… dabak, which signifies to cleave, cling, stick, or be glued to… our Lord seems to have spoken to her to this effect: ‘Spend no longer time with me now… but go and tell my disciples, that I am… to ascend to my Father and God, who is your Father and God also. Therefore, let them take courage.’”
The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge agrees, saying this: “Touch: Or rather, ‘embrace me not,’ or, ‘cling not to me,’… ‘Spend no more time with me now in joyful gratulations…’”
Westley states: “Touch me not – Or rather, Do not cling to me (for she held him by the feet)… Detain me not now. You will have other opportunities of conversing with me. For I am not ascended to my Father…”
In our free booklet, “Jesus Christ, a Great Mystery,” we state the following about John 20:17:
“Christ was resurrected long before Sunday morning. We read that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on the first day of the week, when it was still dark, and Jesus was already resurrected by that time (John 20:1). This means, Christ was not resurrected on Sunday morning, at sunrise, but He had already been resurrected, ‘while it was still dark.’ In addition, John 20:1 might not even be talking about events that occurred Sunday morning, ‘while it was still dark,’ but it might be talking about events on Saturday evening, when it was getting darker. In the Greek, the word translated as ‘still’ [or ‘yet’ in other translations] is ‘eti.’ It can also be translated as ‘more,’ ‘yet more,’ or, ‘still more,’ as was done in Revelation 9:12 (‘Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things.’ Compare New International Version: ‘two other woes are yet to come’; and New Jerusalem Bible: ‘there are still two more to come’). In addition, Hebrews 11:32 states: “‘What more shall I say?’” This could mean that John’s account is telling us that the women came to the grave when it was getting ‘even more’ dark—or ‘darker,’ after they had begun their walk to the grave when it was getting dark, at sunset. This would then also refer to events on Saturday night, not on Sunday morning…
“Some… point out an apparent discrepancy between Matthew 28:9 and John 20:17. While Christ does not allow Mary to touch Him in the book of John, as He had not yet ascended to heaven, He is touched by certain women in Matthew’s account. The rationale given is that in the meantime, He had ascended to heaven and returned to earth, and could now be touched. Therefore, so the argument goes, the account in Matthew must follow the account in John.
“But as we saw, John’s account may not be talking about events that occurred on Sunday morning, but on Saturday evening, when it was getting darker. In this case, there would be no contradiction between the two accounts. In addition, we might want to note that Matthew and John are using different words in referring to ‘touching’ Christ. In Matthew 28:9, we are told that they held Him by the feet and worshipped Him. In John’s account, the concept is conveyed that the women, in their joy, were trying to seize Him. The Ryrie Study Bible comments: ‘Touch Me not—More accurately the command was, “Do not continue holding or clinging to Me” (in order to restrain Him).’ The NIV translates: ‘Do not hold on to me.’ The New King James Bible says: ‘Do not cling to Me.’ The RSV says: ‘Do not hold me.’
“The difference in Christ’s reaction toward certain ones of the women was this: Mary Magdalene wanted to cling on to Him, refusing to let Him go (John 20:17). The women in Matthew’s account were afraid (Matthew 28:8, 10). They needed to touch Him to be given comfort and reassurance that it was He (compare Luke 24:36–39; John 20:25). In any event, John’s account cannot be used to support a Sunday morning resurrection!”
So we can conclude that the verse in John 20:17 is more properly rendered as, “Don’t cling to me,” in the sense that “you don’t have to hold on to me as if I am going to be gone forever, but rather don’t cling to me because I have to go to My Father and I will be back. I will only be gone for a short while so you don’t have to cling to me as if to prevent me from going to My Father.”
Lead Writers: Rene Messier (Canada) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
“Coming—Animal Sacrifices and the Third Temple,” is the title of our new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Will the Jews begin soon to bring animal sacrifices and burnt offerings in Jerusalem? Will they build a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, prior to Christ’s return? According to the Bible, the answers to both questions are yes, as fully explained in our free booklet, “The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.” But what will result from these activities? Do the Holy Scriptures and current events tell us what is going to happen in the not-too-distant future? Our weekly free Updates discuss this and other news in the light of biblical prophecies. The time for Christ’s return is truly at hand.
“Neu! Verliere Deine Krone Nicht!,” is the German sermon to be presented this coming Sabbath to the German audience. This is dealing with the possibility of losing our crown. Title in English: “Don’t Lose Your Crown!”
A new Global Trailer with Brian Gale was posted, titled, “Don’t Keep Christmas.”
A new Member Letter for the month of December has been written and will be mailed next week. In it, Dave Harris reminds us of the understanding and promises God has given to His faithful people in order for us to face the tumultuous events that are now signaling the end of this age.
A Hug from God
by Delia Messier (Canada)
Many of my spring, summer and fall daylight hours are spent working outside in the vegetable and berry gardens and flower beds, as well as tending to the fruit trees—and watering is one of my daily chores.
One early summer day, several years ago, I was having a hard time getting it done as my health was bad, and handling the hose was difficult. Like the canary that had been accidentally sucked into the vacuum cleaner hose and spit back out again—that was me—only a few feathers left with a broken chicken heart!
A serious time in my life!
As I was snailing along on the job, I noticed a beautiful all-powder blue bird, then another and another. They were happily flying around in and out of the cat tail pond, singing to each other, fearless of me being so close. They stayed and played and bathed for several long minutes—what a treat to watch. I decided to count them. There were nine of them. Finding this an odd number, I counted them again a few times.
These little birds lifted my spirit and brought me joy. It was like getting a hug! It wasn’t till much time and some years had passed that I realized what a blessing it was to have seen those blue birds at that crucial time for me.
Now, when I might begin to get discouraged, I think of my nine powder blue birds—and remember that My Father knows what I need and comforts me and doesn’t let me have more than I can handle; and that He is giving me the nine character traits of the fruit of His Holy Spirit. Nothing in this world can compare with this, no matter the losses or the hardships.
We have lived here for over 18 years, and I have never seen these little powder blue birds before or since that day.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom