|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Would you please explain 1 Timothy 1:18. What were the “prophecies” pertaining to Timothy?|
|Forum||Happy About God’s Way|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
On July 5, 2014, Robb Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Freewill.”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
by Kalon Mitchell
As God’s people, who have been called out of this world, we are to live differently than the rest of mankind. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
It is our potential to become rulers in the world tomorrow. We see in Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 that it is our calling to become kings and priests “to God.”
As a leader, ruler and priest, one has great responsibilities. As one grows spiritually and receives greater responsibilities, the ongoing and increasing need to serve is required (compare Matthew 20:25-28). Great leadership demands being an even better servant.
The term servant leadership applies here. As a called-out people, it is our duty now and in the future to help serve those who will one day become God beings along with us. At some point, all people will have the opportunity to become God beings. How incredible! Which is why we are told NOW that we are to be treating all people well.
James 2:8-12 explains: “If you really fulfill [that is, keep] the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep [or, fulfill] the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
When the young man came to Christ and asked Him what he would have to do to inherit eternal life, he walked away because he did not like Christ’s answer, since he was not willing to completely let go of his money and serve others (Matthew 19:21-22).
A life of service is what we have committed to. Let us take this calling seriously and embrace all opportunities to help others and to treat them just as we would wish to be treated, even if others may treat us unkindly. There is always the need to check our personal desires and really look to the betterment and well being of others. Our very existence now and in the soon-coming future depends on this.
We begin with America’s ongoing involvement in Iraq and the reaction of some Iraqi Christians, and focus on the brutal murder of three Israeli teenagers through, what appears to be, terrorists from the Hamas group. Israel’s expected response will most likely create a new round of bloodshed and war in the region.
Turning our attention to some weird and incredible developments on the religious front in the USA and worldwide, we speak of the US military’s “enforcement” of Ramadan; religious persecution and restrictions of parental rights through the US government with the approval of the US Supreme Court; strict and at the same time inconsistent Sabbath laws in Israel; an attempt in Germany to bring Christianity, Judaism and Islam into one and the same “house”; comments by the pope claiming that Communism is closest to original Christianity; and the Hollywood-propagated utterly false idea of a secret rapture.
Focusing on events in Europe, we speak of the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker to the top post of the EU and David Cameron’s devastating defeat in the process. We reveal little-known facts about Mr. Juncker and quote from a biting British article pertaining to Angela Merkel, which has caused quite a stir in Germany. It has also been observed that a rift between the UK and Germany (as well as most of the rest of Europe) has been created, and that the UK finds itself in a very isolated position.
This Week in the News
Obama Sends More Troops to Iraq
Fox News wrote on June 30:
“President Obama announced Monday that he is sending approximately 200 American troops to Iraq to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Baghdad International Airport, as the country wages a bloody battle against jihadists. The troops will serve a different mission in Iraq than the 275 advisory troops sent to Iraq earlier this month in response to advances by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIS). The additional troops will serve to solely augment security.
“Obama notified House and Senate leaders in a letter on Monday. Obama said the additions include security forces, rotary-wing aircraft, and support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq, but he said the additional troops will be equipped for combat. He said their purpose is to protect U.S. citizens and property if needed.”
What double talk. No combat troops in Iraq, but the troops are equipped for combat…?
Iraq’s Christians See Putin As Savior
The Daily Beast wrote on June 29:
“Iraq’s Christians have some legitimate grievances. Once protected by Saddam—though subject to the same tyrannical rulings as the rest of the population—the community was left brutally exposed when the civil war that followed the US invasion of 2003 devolved into bitter sectarian strife. Many Christians had initially rallied to the U.S.-led coalition’s side, enlisting as army translators and hailing its early successes, but as Western troops outgrew their welcome, Christians were damned by their association with the occupying powers…
“Among the many charges leveled at the U.S. and its partners is that it failed to exercise a duty of care towards a minority whose secure position it had undermined… Meanwhile, Putin’s continuing defense of Assad in neighboring Syria, at a time of peak unrest in Iraq, is seen as an admirable demonstration of Russia’s commitment to minority rights.”
Putin–the Savior of Iraqi Christians? His “defense” of Assad has NOTHING to do with any wish to protect minorities. His brutal actions against minorities in Russia and its former satellite states prove this without any doubt.
“Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria?
BBC News reported on June 30:
“Jihadist militant group Isis has said it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, on the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria.It also proclaimed the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as caliph and ‘leader for Muslims everywhere’.
“Setting up a state governed under strict Islamic law has long been a goal of many jihadists. Meanwhile, Iraq’s army continued an offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from the Isis-led rebels.
“… the announcement of the establishment of a caliphate is rich with religious, cultural and historic significance… In the recording, the rebels also demanded that all Muslims ‘pledge allegiance’ to the new ruler and ‘reject democracy and other garbage from the West’.
“… a caliphate [is] an Islamic state ruled by a single political and religious leader, or Caliph. Caliphs are regarded by their followers as successors to the Prophet Muhammad and the leader of all Muslims. [The] first caliphate came into being after Muhammad’s death in 632. In the centuries which followed, caliphates had dominion in the Middle East and North Africa. The last widely accepted caliphate was abolished in 1924 by Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire…”
Three Israeli Teenagers Murdered by Hamas Terrorists?
JTA wrote on June 30:
“The bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found in the West Bank in a field north of Hebron… It is believed that the bodies were dumped in haste and covered quickly. The teens reportedly were killed shortly after they were abducted on June 12… One of the teens… is a dual American-Israeli citizen…
“Shortly after the news was made public, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip on southern Israel. Israel’s Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces on Thursday identified two West Bank Palestinian men affiliated with the terrorist group Hamas… as the alleged kidnappers. The suspects, who live in Hebron, have been missing since the kidnapping…
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Facebook post said, ‘Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay.’… Hamas warned Israel against taking revenge for the murders. ‘If the occupiers carry out an escalation or a war,’ Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the French news agency AFP, ‘they will open the gates of hell on themselves.’”
Subsequently, the Times of Israel reported on Monday that “Israeli Air Force struck 34 targets in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, carrying out ‘precision strikes’ against Hamas and Islamic Jihad structures.” It also reported that “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to several world leaders Monday night, hours after the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found near Hebron in the West Bank, and asked them for help in reining in an Israeli response… Abbas is said to be anticipating a firm Israeli demand that the Palestinian Authority end its unity pact with Hamas.”
Further Bloodshed and Murder
Deutsche Welle reported on July 2:
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday accused extremist Jewish settlers of ‘killing and burning a little boy’ and demanded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemn the murder and punish those who carried it out… Shortly afterwards, Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the ‘despicable murder’ and urged Israeli authorities speed up their investigation into Wednesday’s incident.
“Secretary of State John Kerry added his own condemnation, saying in a statement, ‘There are no words to convey adequately our condolences to the Palestinian people.’ President Barack Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice said on Twitter that the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder was ‘heinous’ and called on both Israelis and Palestinians to avoid a cycle of retribution and revenge.
“Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, said Israel would ‘pay’ for the teenager’s kidnap and murder.”
Ramadan “Enforced” by US Military on US Personnel in Muslim Nations
The website of thegatewaypundit wrote on June 28:
“The US Air Force kicked Christian Gideon’s volunteers off base in March. The Bibles were too offensive and violated the separation of church and state rule. But US military personnel are expected to adhere Islamic practices during Ramadan.
“Stars and Stripes reported:
“‘U.S. personnel accustomed to drinking their coffee on the drive to work will have to put that habit on hold for about a month. It’s one of a few lifestyle changes Americans will have to make during the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Officials expect Ramadan to begin at sunrise on Saturday, depending on when the new moon is sighted. The holy month lasts for approximately 30 days — until about July 28. For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a month of fasting and devotion to God. Most Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, when families gather for Iftar — the meal that breaks the fast.
“‘For the 8,200 U.S. personnel living here, and those serving throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility — including service members, civilian personnel, contractors and family members — the month may require changing some daily routines. Businesses and government offices will reduce hours and most restaurants will be closed during daylight hours.
‘‘While not required to fast during Ramadan, in Bahrain, Americans can be fined or detained by local authorities for eating, drinking or smoking in public when off-base during daylight hours. Navy officials are requiring U.S. personnel to dress more conservatively off-base during Ramadan. Although not a requirement by Bahraini authorities, the Navy is demanding that men wear long-sleeved shirts and women wear sleeved blouses that cover their elbows. Also, men must wear long trousers, and women should wear pants or skirts that cover the knees.’”
The Huffington Post wrote on June 24:
“Judge William F. Kuntz II has ruled to uphold a New York City policy that bars unvaccinated children from attending school when another student has a disease preventable by a vaccination… In the ruling, Kuntz wrote that the Supreme Court, ‘strongly suggested that religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations.’
“Three families filing suit contended that the school policy preventing their unvaccinated children from attending school at risky times is a First Amendment violation of religious freedom… [The parents] had decided not to vaccinate their children on the grounds of ‘sincere religious belief.’… Kuntz cited a 109-year-old ruling on public health as a precedent in this case. He also pointed to a more recent Brooklyn federal court decision that said, ‘the free exercise clause of the First Amendment does not provide a right for religious objectors to be exempt from New York’s compulsory inoculation law.’”
Religious liberties and freedoms are being taken away from the American citizens. In this context, the following article should be of interest, reporting on a scandal in Ireland in the 1930’s—but those kinds of occurrences are clearly not limited to Ireland or restricted to the past.
The Horrible Story of Child Vaccinations in Ireland
The Daily Mail reported on June 6, 2014:
“Scientists secretly vaccinated more than 2,000 children in religious-run homes in suspected illegal drug trials, it emerged today. Old medical records show that 2,051 children and babies in Irish care homes were given a one-shot diphtheria vaccine for international drugs giant Burroughs Wellcome between 1930 and 1936.
“There is no evidence that consent was ever sought, nor any records of how many may have died or suffered debilitating side-effects as a result. The scandal was revealed as Irish premier, Enda Kenny, ordered ministers to see whether there are more mass baby graves after the discovery that 800 infants may be buried in a septic tank outside a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co. Galway.
“Michael Dwyer, of Cork University’s School of History, found the child vaccination data by trawling through tens of thousands of medical journal articles and archive files. He discovered the trials were carried out before the vaccine was made available for commercial use in the UK. Homes where children were secretly tested included Bessborough, in Co. Cork and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, both of which are at the centre of the mass baby graves scandal.
“Other institutions where children may also have been vaccinated include Cork orphanages St Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, run by the Presentation Brothers, and St Finbarr’s Industrial School for Girls, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. In Dublin, it is believed that children for the trials came from St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra, and St Saviours’s Dominican Orphanage.
“But Mr Dwyer said: ‘What I have found is just the tip of a very large and submerged iceberg… the fact that reports of these trials were published in the most prestigious medical journals suggests that this type of human experimentation was largely accepted by medical practitioners and facilitated by authorities in charge of children’s residential institutions.’…
“Historian Catherine Corless, whose discovery of the suspected mass baby grave at Tuam was revealed by the Mail earlier this week, said her study of death records for the St Mary’s home run by Catholic Bon Secours nuns from 1925-1961 pointed to the existence of the mass grave… St Mary’s was one of several such ‘mother and baby’ homes for ‘fallen women’ who had become pregnant outside marriage in early 20th century Ireland…
“The ‘mother and baby’ homes accommodated women who were ostracised from their own families and had nowhere else to turn. Under conservative Catholic teaching of the time, children born outside of marriage were not baptised and were therefore denied a Catholic burial on consecrated ground.”
But they were apparently used as guinea pigs for vaccination research and experimental drugs with the result that many of them died and were secretly “buried” in “unconsecrated” ground.
Another Wrong Decision by the US Supreme Court
The Associated Press reported on June 30:
“The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for enforcement of a first-of-its-kind California law that bars psychological counseling aimed at turning gay minors straight…The law says professional therapists and counselors who use treatments designed to eliminate or reduce same-sex attractions in their patients would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards. It does not cover the actions of pastors and lay counselors who are unlicensed but provide such therapy through church programs.”
The Bible says: “TRAIN UP a child in the way he should go…” Becoming a homosexual is NOT the way…
Sabbath Laws in Israel
JTA wrote on June 30:
“Israel’s interior minister, Gideon Saar, rejected an amendment to a Tel Aviv statute that would have allowed some stores to stay open on the Sabbath and holidays… Saar said… was not explained why it was essential for the stores to remain open on the Sabbath rather than meet the public’s needs during the rest of the week…
“It is illegal in Israel to open retail businesses on the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown Friday and ends after sunset Saturday. Businesses that remain open are levied modest fines. Saar did, however, approve the Sabbath opening of businesses in the Tel Aviv Port, Jaffa Port and Hatahana D, the renovated Old Train Station complex. Convenience stores in gas stations also may remain open…
“Also Sunday, a proposed bill to allow public transportation on the Sabbath was rejected by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. Three government ministers voted in favor, three against and three abstained. One who abstained… was quoted as saying… that ‘there should be public transportation, but not entirely – the Shabbat is a special day and should be kept as such…’”
“‘House of One’: World’s First Church-Mosque-Synagogue in One?”
The website of charismanews.com wrote on June 23:
“Berlin is no stranger to division. Yet it’s in this German city that the three monotheistic faiths of the world will gather together in one building, perhaps for the first time ever. The ‘House of One,’ winner of an architectural contest, is planned to house three worship centers—one for Christians, one for Muslims and one for Jews, according to BBC.
“The combined church-mosque-synagogue will be comprised of three distinct houses of worship, unique in shape, yet equal in size. Most interesting is the fact that, of the three clerics spearheading the project, it was the Christian pastor’s idea. Pastor Gregor Hohberg, a Protestant, chose for the ‘House of One’ the former location of St. Peter’s church, Berlin’s first church (dating back to the 12th century), which was destroyed after sustaining heavy damage during World War 2…
“‘We can [get along with each other],’ the Jewish leader involved, Rabbi Tovia Ben Chorin, said…The imam involved, Kadir Sanci, commented that the project was a testimony to the peacefulness of nonviolence of the Muslim community.
“While the house of worship is a great showing of tolerance, is it biblically sound?…
“In a passage of striking relevance, the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18: ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”’
“While the God of the Bible is not held in temples made of human hands (Acts 17:24), his true temples—Christ’s followers in whom the Holy Spirit dwells—must be kept just as pure as the holy places of ages past.”
What we are seeing here are further attempts to create a universal religion of all faiths. These attempts will fail. Ultimately, it will be the Jews and all Sabbath-keeping Christians who will be hated by all the others.
Pope Says Communists Are Closet Christians
Reuters wrote on June 29:
“Pope Francis, whose criticisms of unbridled capitalism have prompted some to label him a Marxist, said in an interview published on Sunday that communists had stolen the flag of Christianity. The 77-year-old pontiff gave an interview to Il Messaggero, Rome’s local newspaper, to mark the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a Roman holiday.
“He was asked about a blog post in the Economist magazine that said he sounded like a Leninist when he criticized capitalism and called for radical economic reform. ‘I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel,’ he said, citing Biblical passages about the need to help the poor, the sick and the needy. ‘Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: “but then you are Christian,”’ he said, laughing.”
This is SO wrong. Communism has absolutely NOTHING to do with true Christianity. If anything, it is a Satanic counterfeit of true Christianity.
Vatican Recognizes “International Association of Exorcists”
The Associated Press reported on July 2:
“The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported Tuesday that the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy had approved the organization’s statutes and recognized the group under canon law.
“More than his predecessors, Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil, and last year was seen placing his hands on the head of a man purportedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists said was a prayer of liberation from Satan. The head of the association, the Rev. Francesco Bamonte, said the Vatican approval was cause for joy. ‘Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer,’ he told L’Osservatore.”
The Fantasy of a “Secret Rapture”
The Washington Times wrote on June 26:
“Millions of people disappear without a trace, leaving behind chaos and anarchy while a lone hero emerges to stand between mankind and the end of the world. For some, this is known as the Rapture, the preamble to the apocalypse. For Hollywood, it means a biblical blockbuster. ‘Jesus explicitly warned about “that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven,”’ said Craig Detweiler, professor of communication at Pepperdine University. ‘But producers and directors can’t resist the temptation to speculate.’
“HBO on Sunday premieres its latest series, ‘The Leftovers,’ based on the book of the same name by Tom Perrotta, which chronicles the aftermath of millions of people vanishing. Later this year, Nicolas Cage stars in ‘Left Behind,’ based on the best-selling postapocalyptic novel series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins…
“The Rapture often is related to the biblical apocalypse, the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ. In fact, the concept is not Bible-based but is commonly attributed to 19th century religious leader John Nelson Darby
“Darby didn’t coin the term ‘rapture,’ but it’s a reference in his thinking that ‘those of us believers on earth, when this moment Christ comes back, believers will simply vanish and will meet Christ in the air’… Once all believers are safely in heaven, the earth will go through a ‘tribulation period.’”
The concept of a secret or even open “rapture” to heaven is nowhere taught in the Bible; in fact, the Bible teaches the exact opposite. It was first developed by Jesuit monks and later taught due to a special “revelation” of the Holy Spirit, which was clearly wrong in other respects as well. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible—The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”
Jean Claude Juncker Appointed to Top EU Job—“UK Edges Closer to EU Exit”
The Independent wrote on June 28:
“Britain took another step towards the EU exit door as David Cameron warned that Jean-Claude Juncker’s appointment to the top job in Brussels would make it harder to persuade the public to remain in the 28-nation bloc. Mr Cameron’s stark warning came after he suffered a humiliating defeat in his lonely battle to stop the veteran federalist becoming president of the European Commission. At a Brussels summit, EU leaders voted 26-2 to nominate Mr Juncker after Mr Cameron demanded an unprecedented formal vote on a post traditionally settled by consensus. Hungary’s Viktor Orban was the only leader to back the Prime Minister.
“Asked if the crushing setback had taken the UK closer to an EU exit, Mr Cameron told a press conference: ‘The job has got harder of keeping Britain in a reformed Europe. The stakes are higher…’
“Mr Cameron described Mr Juncker’s appointment as a ‘serious mistake’ and said it was a ‘bad day for Europe,’ which had taken a ‘big step backwards’… During the summit, Mr Cameron warned his fellow leaders they could ‘live to regret’ the appointment…
“Mr Cameron’s uncompromising stance over Mr Juncker has strained his relations with some of his natural allies, including Germany’s Angela Merkel… Francois Hollande, the French President, said: ‘David Cameron spoke about the major interest of a country that could slip away from the EU: we can understand this political domestic issue, but at the same time there is no such thing as a veto. in Europe we need to learn to live together in the framework of rules and treaties, there’s no other way’…
“There was stinging criticism from other countries about the way Mr Cameron had campaigned against Mr Juncker. “It was noisy and counter-productive,” a diplomat from one natural UK ally said… Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said: ‘On Europe, David Cameron has now become a toxic Prime Minister. He cannot stand up for Britain’s national interest because when he supports something, he drives our allies away.’
“John Redwood, the Eurosceptic former Tory Cabinet minister, said: ‘If the rest of the EU continue to be so unsympathetic to UK requirements, more UK voters will draw their own conclusions about the desirability of our continued membership.’”
The Express wrote on June 27:
“Angry critics claimed the Prime Minister had left the UK virtually isolated in Europe. But Tory MPs were celebrating the defeat as a sign of loosening ties between Britain and Brussels… in some EU capitals, the verdict on Mr Cameron’s stance was less complimentary. The German newspaper Bild said: ‘Cameron is becoming more and more the Wayne Rooney of EU politics: he lines up, he loses, he goes home.’”
Who Is Jean-Claude Juncker?
The EUObserver wrote on June 27:
“Britain’s tabloid The Sun portrayed him as ‘the most dangerous man in Europe’… All the buzz surrounding Britain’s opposition to his nomination has made him probably the first widely-known head of an EU institution. But who is Jean-Claude Juncker?
“The 59-year old Luxembourg politician was the EU’s longest serving prime minister until last year, when he lost his post due to an illegal wiretapping scandal. Luxembourg’s intelligence service (SREL) last year was embroiled in a scandal when it emerged that it had carried out illegal wiretaps, kept secret files on people and run a fictional counterterror operation to cover for a Russian oligarch.
“Juncker said he was not aware of the abuses, but he had to step down, prompting early elections, in which his party gained the most seats. But the Grand Duke of Luxembourg tasked Liberal Xavier Bettel, not Juncker, with forming a government.
“Often portrayed as a ‘veteran’ in EU politics, Juncker was a finance minister when Germany was governed by Chancellor Helmut Kohl, with whom he helped lay down the foundations of the euro… From 2005 until 2013, Juncker was also chairman of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, which became instrumental in negotiating and supervising bailout packages for the countries that faced bankruptcy in the euro crisis: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.
“Back in 2011, during a debate in Brussels recorded by EUobserver Juncker admitted that he often had to lie to journalists about secret meetings held at the height of the euro-crisis, in order to prevent markets from betting against troubled countries. ‘I am for secret, dark debates,’ he quipped. He recalled an instance where journalists asked him if there would be a meeting in Paris the following weekend. ‘I said no. I had to lie. I am a Christian Democrat, a Catholic, so when it becomes serious we have to lie. The same applies to economic and monetary policy in the Union… I’m ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious,’ Juncker said…”
The admitted lying of a top politician in the EU is another reason why true Christians shouldn’t vote for any politician, as we should know that we cannot really rely on their promises. In politics, lying can be seen as a means to an end without any reference to the 9th Commandment. That is the problem with compromise – being true to conviction is trumped by “political necessities.” No doubt we will see much greater deceits when the charismatic political leader (the “beast”) and the religious leader (the “false prophet”) are in power.
The Role of the European Commission President
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 28
“The European Commission president is a key figure in the most important EU body, analogous to a head of state, with a broad policy mandate.. He is appointed to a five-year position by the EU’s 28 heads of state and government and confirmed by the European Parliament… The president first starts work six months after the inaugural session of the European Parliament.
“The president determines the European Commission’s policy agenda. Through his political leadership, he plays a decisive role in the development of the EU. He represents the Commission abroad, such as at the meetings of the G7 group of seven leading industrialized nations and at European Council meetings. He also takes part in the important policy debates of the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The president appoints the other commissioners in consultation with heads of government…”
Angela Merkel Real Enemy of the UK?
The Daily Mail wrote on June 30:
“Forget tipsy Jean-Claude Juncker. Our real EU enemy is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Initially, she agreed with David Cameron that Juncker was a useless candidate for presidency of the EU Commission. But then she supported the ill-regarded Luxembourger. Why? Because she could easily manage him and he suited her purposes better than the main alternative candidate who is her Socialist rival in Germany.
“Meanwhile, surprise is expressed about how several other national leaders who had agreed with Cameron privately that Juncker was unacceptable then voted otherwise. This is to misunderstand the nature of the European Union. In theory, the 28 independent nations enjoy equal rights, but in practice it’s run by Angela Merkel.
“There’s fancy talk about EU community spirit and a vision of what ‘Europe’ can be in the world, but the truth is that Merkel is Queen Bee and the 27 other national leaders are her drones… patience is running out with the EU, in Europe and here at home. Only the UK and Hungary — which voted with Cameron last Friday — have recognised this…
“Fans of Europe used to argue that membership of the EU would entail no loss of sovereignty. Now they say it doesn’t matter. But it does matter to many people… The cynicism of powerful Frau Merkel, backing the useless Juncker, is a wake-up call: the EU is headed for a United States of Europe, run by Germany… The public demand for a restoration of national powers frightens our EU rulers. They worry over where it can end.”
So now, we have two “real enemies” of the UK… Jean Claude Juncker, the “most dangerous man in Europe,” and Angela Merkel, the “Queen Bee” ruling over “27 drones.” Such polemics are not going to make continental Europeans too happy.
Would you please explain 1 Timothy 1:18. What were the “prophecies” pertaining to Timothy?
In 1 Timothy 1:18-19, Paul says the following:
“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck…”
As we pointed out in a previous Q&A about “prophets” in God’s Church today, the concept of “prophecy” and “prophet” does not have to relate to the future, but can include or refer to “inspired” teaching and preaching. We stated the following:
“… there are most certainly ‘prophets’ in God’s Church today who preach with godly inspiration and who speak on prophecies which are recorded in the Bible. God might also give some of His servants special insight today into prophetic events and details, which might not be specifically mentioned in Scripture, but which would be in line with prophecies contained in the Bible.”
Regarding Paul’s statement about prophecies concerning Timothy, it does not appear that Paul was referring to particular and specific future revelations about Timothy, but rather, he was alluding to God’s inspiration in ordaining Timothy to the office of a minister and an Evangelist. In Timothy’s case, it is possible that prophets in the Church attested to God’s Will in this matter.
The Weymouth New Testament renders the passage in this way:
“This is the charge which I entrust to you, my son Timothy, in accordance with the inspired instructions concerning you which were given me long ago, that being equipped with them as your armour you may be continually fighting the good fight…”
Note how the following commentaries explain this passage:
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says:
“… according to the prophecies which went before on thee; by which are meant, not the prophecies of the Old Testament, though of these Timothy had a considerable share of knowledge from a child, and was hereby greatly qualified to have such a charge committed to him; but then these were not prophecies concerning him, but the Messiah, his person, office, kingdom, and grace: nor are any particular revelations made unto the Apostle Paul concerning Timothy intended, of which there is no account.
“… rather the testimonies of the brethren at Lystra and Iconium, and the good reports they made of him to the apostle, which promised and foreboded future usefulness, are designed; though it seems best of all to understand these prophecies of such as were delivered out by the prophets in the church, for such there were in those times; who, when Timothy was a child, or a youth, foretold that he would have great gifts bestowed upon him, and would be a very useful, diligent, laborious, and successful preacher of the Gospel; and therefore the apostle mentions these to stimulate him the more to the discharge of his work, that he might answer the prophecies concerning him: for he adds, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare: that is, that in consideration of the charge committed to him, and the prophecies that went before of him, might be the more industrious to fulfil his ministry…”
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says:
“… according to—in pursuance of; in consonance with–the prophecies which went before on thee—the intimations given by prophets respecting thee at thy ordination, 1Ti[mothy] 4:14 (as, probably, by Silas, a companion of Paul, and ‘a prophet,’ Ac[ts] 15:32). Such prophetical intimation, as well as the good report given of Timothy by the brethren (Ac[ts] 16:2), may have induced Paul to take him as his companion. Compare similar prophecies as to others: Ac[ts] 13:1-3, in connection with laying on of hands; Ac[ts] 11:28; 21:10, 11; compare 1Co[rinthians] 12:10; 14:1; Eph[esians] 4:11. In Ac[ts] 20:28, it is expressly said that ‘the Holy [Spirit] had made them (the Ephesian presbyters) overseers.’…”
Christ has built His church, and He is the Head. We read that HE appoints the ministers, but He inspires the human ministerial government in His Church to recognize His Will in the matter.
In a Q&A about the ordination of ministers we wrote the following:
“God used ordained ministers to appoint others to the ministry (Titus 1:5). Titus was a minister. He is also referred to as a brother. After all, a true minister is a servant and a spiritual brother. This is why Paul could call Titus a brother, but this does not mean that Titus was not also ordained to the ministry. The Bible shows that ministers or elders are ordained or appointed by other ministers or elders. The laying on of hands through the ministry is very important in this regard (1 Timothy 5:22)…
“We read in Ephesians 4:11 that Christ has given the ministry to the Church, ‘for the equipping of the saints’ (verse 12). Verse 11 speaks about certain ranks, offices and functions within the ministry, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Paul referred to himself on several occasions as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher (1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11).
“God has set in place a ministry (ordained elders), through which He administers the Church…
“It is claimed by some that the word ‘ordained’ or ‘appointed,’ as it is used in Acts 14:23, allegedly conveys the meaning of ‘voting.’… However… ‘The Englishman’s Greek New Testament… An Interlinear Literal Translation,’ renders Acts 14:23, word-for-word, as follows: ‘And having chosen FOR THEM elders IN every assembly, having prayed with fastings they committed them to the Lord, on whom they had believed.’
“Again, we see that Paul and Barnabas ‘chose’ FOR THE CHURCH elders IN every congregation or assembly… The Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by W.E. Vine (under ‘appoint’) explains… that the Greek word in Acts 14:23, translated as ‘ordained,’ ‘appointed’ or ‘chosen,’ refers to the ‘appointment of elders by apostolic missionaries in the various churches which they revisited.’
“God is not the author of confusion, but of order. He has designated that the ministry is to ordain or appoint qualified members to the ministry. This is the clear teaching of the Bible, which we must uphold and practice.”
We also understand that God inspires the ministry to ordain others to the ministry (as well as to the office of deacon and deaconess). With this ordination, God gives the new ministers or deacons/deaconesses an additional portion of His Holy Spirit to empower them to fulfill their responsibilities of a minister, deacon or deaconess (The same is true, when a minister is raised in rank—let’s say, from an elder to a pastor, or from a pastor to an evangelist). In time, it will become very evident by the fruits of the newly ordained deacon/deaconess or the minister (or his raise in rank) that God did indeed bestow on them an extra portion of the Holy Spirit.
In our Q&A on John 3:34, we said the following:
“When a man or a woman is ordained to the office of deacon or deaconess, they receive an extra portion of the Holy Spirit to accomplish their responsibilities. But a deacon is not a minister. To become a minister, a further ordination [of the deacon] is necessary [Deaconesses cannot be ordained to the ministry, as women are not to teach and preach in Church services, compare 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.]. And so, when a member or a deacon is ordained to the ministry, an additional extra portion of the Holy Spirit is given them at that time. Note what Paul wrote to Timothy: ‘Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:6-7). This passage refers foremost to Timothy’s ordination as a minister. Timothy had received a measure of the Holy Spirit when he was baptized, but when he became ordained, he received an extra measure of the Holy Spirit to fulfill his work as a minister.
“There is a hierarchy of spiritual offices within the ministry (elder, pastor, evangelist, etc.). When God’s ministers are raised in rank through an ordination and the laying on of hands, they will at that time obtain still more of God’s Holy Spirit to enable them to fulfill their added responsibilities, including spiritual discernment to make right decisions (compare Matthew 16:19; 18:18). We have an example in which two ministers were ordained to offices of greater responsibility, indicating, also, that they were given more of God’s Holy Spirit:
“‘Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away’ (Acts 13:1-3).
“Note that these men are first identified as ‘prophets and teachers’; however, after the laying on of hands in this account, the two men, Barnabas and Saul (Paul), are subsequently called ‘apostles’ (compare Act 14:14)…”
Some have misunderstood, however, what God says about the ordination of ministers, and their raise in rank. As we saw, it is clear that only ministers can ordain others to the office of deacon/deaconess and the ministry, but does the Bible teach that ministers can only ordain other ministers to a rank equal to or lower than the rank held by the ordaining minister? In other words, can only an Evangelist ordain a Pastor to the rank of an Evangelist?
We discussed this question in our Q&A about the ordination of an Evangelist:
“Although God has always used His ministry to ordain others into the ministry [and ‘raising them in rank’], through the laying on of hands and prayer, it is likewise evident that it is God who must inspire those ordinations. We read about this principle in Hebrews 5:4, addressing the ordination to the office of high priest: ‘And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.’
“We also find, in the Old Testament, that the prophet Samuel anointed Saul and David as kings, but it can be hardly said that the office of prophet was ‘above’ the office of king. Again, we see how certain men were chosen by God to fulfill certain functions. We might also remember how Elisha, when he received Elijah’s mantle, also received a double (!) portion of the Holy Spirit, that had dwelt in Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-14).
“When we analyze Paul’s life, baptism and ordination, we find that Christ had already set aside Paul (known at that time as Saul) for the purpose of the ministry, before he became converted (compare Acts 9:15-16). When the time had come, the disciple Ananias (most likely a minister)… baptized Saul and laid hands on him for the purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit and for being healed from his blindness. We find, in Acts 11:26, that Barnabas and Saul assembled with the church at Antioch for one year ‘and taught a great many people.’ Then they went to Jerusalem to bring the elders of the church relief from the famine that plagued the areas. Acts 12:25 continues to report that ‘Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem [to Antioch] when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.’
“At this juncture, we read, in Acts 13:1: ‘Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.’ We notice that all these prophets and teachers were functioning in the church at Antioch, and that both Barnabas and Saul were included in the group referred to as teachers and prophets at that time. Continuing in verse 2: ‘As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “NOW, separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”’
“It was at that moment in time that Christ made it clear to the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch that Barnabas and Saul were to be ‘separated’ for a particular aspect or function of the work of Christ. Notice verse 3: ‘Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.’
“The word ‘apostle’ means, ‘one who is sent.’ We read, in Matthew 10:1-8, that Christ SENT OUT the original twelve apostles to preach the gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons. It is of special note that Jesus Himself established the office of apostle–even selecting that name as the title: ‘And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles’ (Luke 6:13). Consider, also, that first, Jesus prayed about those whom He should choose to be apostles: ‘Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God’ (Luke 6:12).
“The same was now happening with Barnabas and Saul. The prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch ordained them to the office of apostles, to be sent forth to do a particular work. We know this to be true as they were never referred to as apostles before, but they were subsequently called apostles (compare Acts 14:4, 14). This has also been the long-held understanding of the Church of God. In addition, Paul said that he was ordained as an apostle (compare 1 Timothy 2:7, Authorized Version). The only record of his ordination can be found in Acts 13:1-3.
“What is important to realize is that Barnabas and Saul were appointed to the office of apostle by ‘prophets and teachers’ — that is, by ministers of lower positions than that of apostle. But, this was inspired and approved by God, as we have seen.
“Some believe that the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch were actually sent by the apostles from Jerusalem, charging them with the task of ordaining Saul and Barnabas to the office of apostle. This, however, is mere speculation, and cannot be proven from Scripture. In fact, Scripture strongly suggests the opposite. We need to realize that Paul and Barnabas had just been in Jerusalem, and returned to Antioch. It was THERE, in Antioch, that Christ inspired the ministry to ordain Paul and Barnabas as apostles — not in Jerusalem. Also, the fact that prophets came from Jerusalem is normally specifically mentioned in Scripture (compare Acts 11:27; 21:10).
“In any event, it is THE Apostle, Jesus Christ (compare Hebrews 3:1), Who directs the ministry to ordain people in His Church. And it was Christ Who inspired the prophets and teachers (ministers of lower positions than that of apostle) in the church at Antioch to ordain Barnabas and Saul (who belonged to the group of prophets and teachers), to the rank and office of apostle. It is therefore clear, from Scripture, that pastors and elders are authorized, by God, and under God’s inspiration and direction, to ordain a fellow minister to a higher rank and office — such as evangelist.”
We are receiving, once in a great while, questions pertaining to the ordination of Pastor Norbert Link to the rank of Evangelist on February 19, 2005. This ordination took place before the Church congregation through ministers and elders of the Church of God, including two Pastor-rank ministers (Edwin Pope and Dave Harris). We are including a report from Dave Harris which explains in detail how this ordination came about:
“The annual conference of the Church of the Eternal God and its affiliates was conducted in late February of 2005. Leading up to that conference, I had been considering the possibility of suggesting the ordination of Norbert Link as Evangelist.
“It had been evident to me that God was working with Norbert in ways that reflected his unique leadership role in the Church. At this time, J. Edwin Pope, an ordained Pastor of long-standing service, was serving in the corporate role of President for the Church. At his invitation, I was a guest of Mr. and Mrs. Pope during this particular Church conference.
“Following the first day of meetings, held on Friday, February 18, 2005, Mr. Pope and I returned to his home for the evening. During this short trip, I brought up the idea of ordaining Norbert to the rank of Evangelist at this conference. His initial response was that he did not believe this was the time.
“That evening, the thought of ordaining Norbert stayed with me, and just before going to bed, I asked God in fervent prayer to make His Will known. Specifically, I asked God to change Edwin’s mind in this matter if it was now the time to ordain Norbert.
“Rising very early that next morning, the Sabbath, I went into the kitchen to find Edwin surrounded by several papers, some reference books and Bibles. Evidently, he had been preparing for the Sabbath services which would follow in the afternoon.
“However, to my astonishment, one of the first things he spoke was to say that we need to do it—that is, to ordain Norbert as Evangelist! From that day forward, Edwin upheld this as the right time and the right decision. The need for Edwin’s leadership in this matter became even more evident, for in December of 2006, he died following a heart attack.
“Norbert was never told that he would be ordained to the office of Evangelist, nor did he ever voice to anyone any desire for such ordination. In fact, he and his wife Johanna were in total shock when the ordination took place.
“While some may question whether or not Norbert could be ordained as Evangelist by ministers of lesser rank, there can be no doubt as to the fruit of this action.”
When a person is to be ordained to an office in God’s Church, God will make His Will known and direct and inspire such an ordination, as He did in the case of Timothy. This is not to say that the Church ministry is infallible and could not make a mistake, but that will also become known in time. We are told that by their fruits, you shall know them.
It is true that in the past, some deacons, deaconesses and ministers—including ministers in high offices and with high ranks—have left the Church of God or had to be put out. Undoubtedly, in some cases, it became evident that their original ordination was not approved by God (The same can be said about individuals who were baptized and subsequently left the Church, without ever having received the Holy Spirit at the time of their baptism).
On the other hand, this is most certainly not true in every case. Some became unfaithful and unproductive in their functions of deacon/deaconess and minister, and in most cases, this was due to an inflated ego, pride and haughtiness, coupled with a desire to be in charge and their unwillingness to submit to Church government, thinking that they knew and understood everything better than those whom God had placed in authority and who had proven to be loyal to God without compromising. Such a rebellious person is in grave danger of losing his or her eternal salvation, and we all must be aware that such an attitude is directly stemming from Satan (compare Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28).
We pray that anyone who has fallen prey to Satan’s evil devices will come to his or her senses and repent with a deeply humble attitude. At the same time, all of us must be certain that we do not fall into the same trap of self-deception and ungodly pride.
Let us be thankful that God, through Jesus Christ, is directing His Church, and that He reveals to His appointed servants His Will in the matter of Church government, including in areas of baptism and ordinations, and that GOD will correct each and every one of us if correction is needed.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Happy About God’s Way
by Monique Sperzel (Germany)
I am very happy that my family and I are allowed to live God’s Way–that He has called us to His good Way of Life and brought us out of this bad world. I am truly thankful to Him that He has given us this wonderful opportunity and the knowledge and understanding of His Word. It is not self-evident to me, and I do not take it for granted, and that makes it so much more special for us. It is great that I can experience this and that God gives us all the wonderful things, teaching us every day to fight against the world, but it is for our best and to learn, and God gives us the strength through His Spirit, so that we can overcome.
Again and again I realize how God leads and guides me. I can see how much I want to change my life so that I can please God. He gives me so much inspiration, and He helps me and gives me strength in difficult times. Before I learned about God, my life was so wrong, and I had many problems and I felt very bad. But since I have begun to go God’s Way, I feel better, and I’m thankful for the tasks and responsibilities that He gives me, and His direction which motivates me to obey Him. I’m so very happy about this, because I can never receive enough of His help.
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Our newest booklet has entered the initial review process. “When and How Will Christ Return?,” is the title, and this will be our 40th booklet to be published. All of our booklets are posted on www.eternalgod.org.
“Becoming Surety for a Friend?,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
What does the Bible say about becoming surety for another person, including your neighbor or your friend, or about co-signing a loan or a guarantee agreement? Should you provide financial security or collateral for another person? Don’t be too sure that you know the answer, because many well-meaning persons have acted wrongly to their own hurt, while bringing many sleepless nights and even financial ruin on themselves and their family. We are offering two free booklets on this program, which deal with sound financial principles.
“Führt Sünde zum Erfolg?,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Title in English: “Does Sin Lead to Success?”
A new Global Trailer by Pastor Brian Gale is now available on YouTube. In it, Mr. Gale discusses our booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days.” Here is a summary:
WHY has God commanded us to keep holy certain annual Holy Days, which are listed, for example, in Leviticus 23? What possible relevance and meaning could these “ancient” Holy Days have for us today? In this booklet, you will learn the truth about the annual Holy Days and Festivals to be kept in the Spring and early Summer. These days carry a deep and rich meaning, actually revealing to us the great master plan of God for mankind. But just knowing about them academically is not enough! Blessed are those who understand them and actually DO them, keeping them Holy as God made them holy!
“Truth Be Bold,” the sermon presented by Michael Link on the previous Sabbath is now posted. Here is a summary:
Are we convinced that we know the truth, that the Bible is in fact true? If we know what we read is true, how do we apply it in our lives and do we speak the truth with boldness? The Bible is filled with many examples of those who spoke the truth with boldness, along with evidence that the Bible is the Truth.
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