Update 671


The Helper

On January 17, 2015, Eric Rank will give the sermon, titled, “The Helper.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-
services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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The Source of Trust

by Michael Link

Who supplies all desires and is the source of trust? The world places trust in people and physical things, and many times they don’t end up getting what they ask for and what they want. What do so many people put their trust in? They trust in riches, in their jobs, in their boss and co-workers, in physical things, their doctors or lawyers, their religion, friends and family and their mate, their political leaders, and so on. Micah 7:5-7 tells us that times will get so evil that we should not even put our trust in a friend. The Bible also warns those who put their trust in money, saying: “He who trusts in riches will fall” (Proverbs 11:28).

So what do WE put our trust in? Do we put our trust in the same things that the world does?

Do we put our trust in what we hear on television or what we read in the paper—or do we trust in our Church’s weekly updates as to what we should really be focusing on? Do we trust in man like a political leader, the president? Do we trust in our country? Do we trust in a false god and a false religion or a false teaching—or do we trust in the true Church of God, in God the Father and Jesus Christ, and in the Bible? Do we trust ourselves to make the right decisions and to follow God’s law?

Though we may put our trust in certain things, we must NEVER leave God out of the picture. It is through God and because of God that we can have a certain degree of trust in certain individuals, but we must also be aware of tests and trials when it comes to trust. We must also be careful that we don’t trust in ourselves without involving God in our situations as it says in Proverbs 28:25-26: “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”

Where we put our trust when making vital decisions is important, and that goes towards anything that we do in our lives: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we trust in Him, He will give us the desires of the heart, as it says in Psalm 37:3-4.

There are several individuals in the Bible who put their trust in God, like David who went to God many times in prayer to ask for deliverance from his persecutors (2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 7:1). Job went through some very serious trials and had to trust God that what was happening was for a reason. Abraham had to trust in God that He would somehow work it out when he was commanded by God to offer his son as a sacrifice. Moses trusted in God when he was commanded to free Israel from Egypt. Even Jesus Christ, when He was on this earth, had to trust in His Father to get through trials and to be victorious when being tempted by Satan. Christ could have sinned because He was in fact human, but through trust, faith, and the Father’s Holy Spirit in Him, He was able to go through what was prophesied for our benefit, so we could inherit eternal life.

Trust and faith do go together. We can’t have faith if we don’t have trust, and we must pray with good intentions, as it says in Hebrews 13:18-19: “Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.”

Difficult times are still ahead of us as the Bible prophesies, and we have to stay strong and trust in what God promises us. The world is blind to this fact and doesn’t realize what is coming in the near future. We must make sure we are not caught off guard when that time approaches, but be ready and look to the source of our trust – God the Father and Jesus Christ!

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In this issue, we are focusing heavily on the situation in France and developments related therewith, including the growing anti-Semitism in France and hypocritical conduct of the French and other governments. While Western mainstream politicians seem to be in denial, others point out the clear relationship between the attack in France (and elsewhere) and Islam, and governmental German attempts to “demand” the cancellation of demonstrations against Islamization will only create further problems. In trying to appease Islamists, Western governments play into their hands and continue to embolden the enemy.

In other news, we quote former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s warning that the current politics of Russia and Europe could lead to a nuclear war, and while the USA is about to close 15 military bases in Europe, its relationship with Saudi-Arabia continues to crumble.

We conclude with an interesting piece on jury duty and the political propaganda which can be attached to it.

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Far-Right and Populist Parties “Capitalize,” While Mainstream Politicians in Denial

The EUObserver wrote on January 8:

“Far-right and populist parties in the EU are attempting to politically capitalise on the attack on France’s satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo… In the Netherlands, anti-EU and anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders published a video message on Thursday (8 January), in which he proposed ‘tough measures’ as a response to the terrorist attack in Paris… Wilders repeated his call to stop immigration from ‘Islamic countries’… ‘We have to de-Islamise our country’, he added.

“Germany’s anti-Islamism Pegida movement, which organises ‘evening strolls’ through several German cities on Mondays, said the Paris attack highlighted the Islamist threat. ‘This bloodbath proves wrong those who laughed or ignored the fears of so many people about a looming danger of Islamism,’ said a regional leader for the anti-euro AfD party, Alexander Gauland. ‘This gives new clout to Pegida demands.’

“Nigel Farage, head of Britain’s anti-EU Ukip party… told LBC Radio that… ‘we’ve encouraged people from other cultures to remain within those cultures and not integrate fully within our communities.’

“Mainstream politicians, by contrast, have stressed that the Paris shootings, allegedly conducted by Islamic extremists, have nothing to do with Islam…”

These mainstream politicians are wrong. Note the following articles.

Incredible! Germany’s Mainstream Officials “Demand” PEGIDA to Cease Demonstrations!

Deutsche Welle reported on January 12:

“On Sunday, German Justice Minister Heiko Mas condemned PEGIDA’s call for rallies and demanded that organizers cancel their marches. ‘The victims [of the Paris attacks] do not deserve to be misused by such agitators,’ he told the Bild newspaper. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), also demanded that the group stop its activities. ‘I want to request those responsible…that they cancel their demonstrations for the foreseeable future, especially at a time when the whole world is shocked about the events in Paris,’ said CSU head Horst Seehofer in an interview with public broadcaster ARD.

“Earlier Sunday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere accused PEGIDA of misusing the strikes on Charlie Hebdo for its own political means.

“PEGIDA members in the city of Leipzig have been banned from showing any caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in their processions. ‘After Paris, we assume that Muhammad caricatures are a provocation,’ a city spokesperson told dpa.”

This is just the worst kind of reaction from Germany’s officials. It is clearly wrong and unconstitutional, as violating the fundamental right of free speech, and it is also very counterproductive. To prohibit showing any caricatures of Mohammed is shameful and plays right into the hands of the terrorists. Just prior to the demonstration in Leipzig, due to some pressure, the local government allegedly acquiesced and rescinded its prior prohibition.

“Islam Belongs to Germany”

APF wrote on January 12:

“A record 25,000 people joined an anti-Islamic march in Germany on Monday, claiming their stance was vindicated by last week’s Paris jihadist attacks. However, the impressive turnout was dwarfed by 100,000 counter-demonstrators calling for tolerance nationwide.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier stressed that ‘Islam belongs to Germany’ and announced she would on Tuesday join a Muslim community rally in Berlin against extremism, along with most of her cabinet ministers.

“Undeterred, supporters of the self-styled Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, or PEGIDA, gathered for their 12th rally since October in their birthplace of Dresden in former communist east Germany. The marchers waved the German national flag and held up placards that read ‘Fight Islamisation, stop the flood of foreigners now’ and ‘Stop multiculturalism. My homeland will stay German’…”

The Local added on January 14:

“German President Joachim Gauck told the country’s Muslim community Tuesday that ‘we are all Germany’ at a rally to condemn the Paris jihadist attacks and take a stand against rising Islamophobia. About 10,000 citizens, religious leaders and politicians, among them Chancellor Angela Merkel, joined the event, which started with a wreath-laying ceremony at the French embassy and an imam reciting Koranic verses condemning the taking of life.

“Gauck used his speech to send a message of reassurance to Germany’s four-million-strong Muslim community… ‘The vast majority of Muslims feel they belong to our open society… Germany has become more diverse through immigration – religiously, culturally and mentally’…

“The vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Abraham Lehrer, said in his speech that in the French attacks, cartoonists were murdered because they stood up for free expression, police because they sought to protect them, and Jews simply ‘because they were Jews’. Lehrer said it would be wrong ‘to suspect all Muslims or even to disparage their religion. We completely condemn reprisals such as attacks on mosques.’ But he said it was up to Muslims to counter the fear and terror spread by ‘radicalised, fanatical Islam’ in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

“After speeches by Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, all observed a minute’s silence. The Muslim community rally came after 100,000 people took to the streets across Germany Monday in counter-demonstrations against PEGIDA, and to voice support for multiculturalism. Merkel… has weighed in strongly, condemning PEGIDA’s leaders for having ‘hatred in [their] hearts’.

“Her comments were broadly hailed in the media, but not everyone agreed. ‘Naturally, Muslims belong in our society,’ said Merkel’s former interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, a Bavarian conservative. ‘But the question is knowing what constitutes the identity of a country, and in Germany it is a Christian identity built on Judeo-Christian roots’…”

“… but Turkey Does Not Belong in the EU…”

The Local wrote on January 12:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized her support for the Muslim community in Germany and opposition to Turkey’s EU application after meeting with the Turkish prime minister. Merkel met with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Berlin during his first visit to Germany since taking office in August.

“In speeches made after the meeting, Merkel made clear her opposition to Turkey’s bid to join the EU, discussed the importance of increasing dialogue among religious communities and emphasized no tolerance for violence… Though Merkel has remained opposed to Turkey’s admission into the EU and has condemned its administration’s crackdown on protests and free speech, Davutoglu said he hoped that Turkey could ‘one day’ join and asked for Germany’s support.

“Davutoglu has said that tensions between the Western and Islamic worlds are in part due to the West’s resistance to admitting Turkey to the EU… The Turkish prime minister said on Monday that now more than ever, Europe must also be sensitive to discrimination against Muslims… ‘It is our right to expect the same unity of world arms when people in Damascus and Gaza are being murdered.’…”

Many Germans Concerned about Destructive Potential of Islam

Breitbart wrote on January 12:

“Concern among Germans regarding the destructive potential of Islam within a free society has been growing in the past several years; even before last week’s gruesome attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a plurality of Germans [57 %] believed that Islam was ‘threatening’ or ‘very threatening’ to German society, according to one poll.

“The poll, conducted by the think tank the Bertelsmann Foundation… also asked whether Germans believed Islam could ‘fit into Western society’… 61% did not believe that it did. This, the organization noted, was a 9% increase since the survey was last conducted in 2012. The numbers on Islam being a threat increased 4% since 2012, as well. The most extreme question, asking Germans whether they felt ‘like foreigners in their own country’ because of Islam, received a 40% affirmative response.

“The poll also, interestingly, polled Muslims in Germany on a number of issues. 58% of German Sunni Muslims polled said they supported same-sex marriage — a significant deviation from some of the most prominent orthodox Islamic voices in civil society — and 90% of Sunnis in Germany approved of democracy as a political regime.

“The numbers help explain the rapid growth of a movement like PEGIDA. The group, whose acronym stands for ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of Europe,’ has found support by the thousands in rallies organized mostly in Dresden, and growing into other parts of Germany. A poll conducted last week and flagged by Reuters found that one in eight Germans would participate in a PEGIDA rally, despite the German government strongly condemning the group as xenophobic. German state television has gone so far as to release cartoons aimed at children criticizing the anti-radical Islam group.”

The Free Speech Hypocrisy

The Washington Post wrote on January 11:

“It was a remarkable rally [in France, see articles below], and particularly striking was the number of world leaders present… Despite the laudable show of unity, many observers couldn’t help but bristle at the hypocritical presence of some world leaders. Although they were publicly lending their support to free speech at the rally in France, at home they often stifled that very same free speech…[including] Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Gabonese President Ali Bongo…

“There were even more guests deemed unsuitable. French newspaper Le Monde pointed to the presence of Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the leader of a country that recently proposed taxing the Internet, and Naftali Bennett, Israel’s economy minister, who was once quoted as saying, ‘I’ve killed many Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.’ On Twitter, there was anger at reports that Saudi officials had attended the march, just days after Saudi Arabia flogged a blogger for blasphemy.

“Perhaps the attendance of these world leaders at the Paris march should serve as an important reminder: Free speech is easy to support when it’s a vague concept. And… criticism can be leveled at the United States, too. Despite official support for free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in jail for leaking classified government documents to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks.”

Will Germany have to be included soon as a country which suppresses free speech?

Charlie Hebdo Again Under Muslim Attack—While the West “Shows Caution”!

Newsmax wrote on January 12:

“Charlie Hebdo’s new cover of a crying Prophet Mohammed above the slogan ‘All is Forgiven’ was reproduced by media around the world Tuesday — but some Muslims saw it as blasphemy.

“The front page of the French satirical magazine — its first since many of its staff were slain in a jihadist attack last week that left 12 people dead — was widely taken up by media in Western nations and in Latin America. It shows Mohammed on a green background under the title ‘All is forgiven’, holding up a sign saying ‘Je suis Charlie’ (‘I am Charlie’)…

“But Egypt’s state-sponsored Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, quickly denounced it as ‘an unjustified provocation against the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims’.

“Violent riots broke out in Egypt and other Muslim countries in early 2006 over Mohammed caricatures first printed by a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, and republished by Charlie Hebdo… Tabnak, a conservative online outlet in Iran, an Islamic republic notorious for throwing many journalists in jail, stormed that ‘Charlie Hebdo has again insulted the Prophet’…

“Charlie Hebdo is to print up to three million copies of its new ‘survivors’ issue’, due out Wednesday — far more than the usual 60,000 before last week’s attack by two Islamist gunmen brought it worldwide prominence, and a historic record for a French publication. Money from sales will go the victims’ families…

“The cover was widely reproduced across Europe but some Western outlets showed more caution. In Denmark, for instance, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that triggered 2006 riots with its Mohammed cartoons did not reproduce the Charlie Hebdo cover. Britain’s The Independent newspaper was the only major daily in London to put the image in its print version. The Telegraph’s website cropped the cover to cut out Mohammed. The BBC news website did not show it. The Guardian newspaper’s website included it with its report, but warned: ‘This article contains the image of the magazine cover, which some may find offensive.’ A British radical preacher, Anjem Choudary, who is under investigation for militancy, branded the new publication an ‘act of war’ and a ‘blatant provocation’. Almost none of the newspapers in Italy and in Russia carried the cover image.

“Many US news media showed prudence. The New York Times website reported on the Mohammed cover but provided readers only with a link to the site of the French newspaper Liberation. Major television networks also did not reproduce the cover. The Wall Street Journal, though, did, and so did tabloids such as the New York Daily News. According to the French press distribution company MLP, the new Charlie Hebdo issue will be available in many countries that previously never received the weekly, including Australia — where strong demand was reported — and in India, where there are around 170 million Muslims.”

The Associated Press reported on January 14:

“A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered a ban on access to websites showing Charlie Hebdo’s cover with the image of the Prophet Muhammad… Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan took to Twitter to criticize use of the prophet’s image, calling it an act of ‘sedition and provocation’…”

The Associated Press reported on January 15:

“Pope Francis said Thursday there are limits to freedom of speech, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith.”

The Telegraph added on January 15:

Pope Francis has weighed into the debate over freedom of expression in the wake of the murderous attacks in Paris, saying that anyone who insults a religion can expect ‘a punch in the nose’. In provocative remarks which may cause consternation in France, the Pope said that freedom of expression had its limits, especially if it involved insulting or ridiculing religion… The Pope did not refer specifically to the magazine but said that insulting religions was unacceptable and dangerous.”

One may wonder whether the pope’s comments were self-serving.

Muslims in France: “No, We Are Not Charlie!”

The Washington Post wrote on January 13:

“Within France’s Muslim community of some 5 million — the largest in Europe — many are viewing the tragedy in starkly different terms from their non-Muslim compatriots. They feel deeply torn by the now-viral slogan ‘I am Charlie,’ arguing that no, they are not Charlie at all.

“Many of France’s Muslims… abhor the violence that struck the country last week. But they are also revolted by the notion that they should defend the paper. By putting the publication on a pedestal, they insist, the French are once again sidelining the Muslim community, feeding into a general sense of discrimination that, they argue, helped create the conditions for radicalization in the first place…”

Attack on German Paper

The Local reported on January 12:

“With security services on high alert after a killing spree in Paris by Islamic extremists, police in the northern German port city of Hamburg said no one was injured in the blaze at the

headquarters of the regional daily Hamburger Morgenpost, which caused only slight damage… The regional tabloid daily, the Hamburger Morgenpost, had splashed three Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page after the massacre at the Paris publication, running the headline ‘This much freedom must be possible!’…

“Several German newspapers had published the Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoons on their front pages Thursday in a gesture of solidarity with the French cartoonists and in defence of free speech.

“Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported earlier Sunday that the bloodshed in France could signal the start of a wave of attacks in Europe, citing communications by Islamic State leaders intercepted by US intelligence. Shortly after the bloodbath in Paris, the US National Security Agency had intercepted communications in which leaders of the jihadist group announced the next wave of attacks, the tabloid said, citing unnamed sources in the US intelligence services.”

But apparently, “this much freedom” is not possible, when German officials begin to prohibit such activities and demand of PEGIDA that no demonstrations be conducted. Please read the next article which condemns the cowardly appeasement of the West towards Islam.

It Has Everything to Do With Islam

Global Viewpoint Network published an article by di Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the following on January 9 (The article appeared in a German translation in Die Welt Online):

“After the horrific massacre Wednesday at the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, perhaps the West will finally put away its legion of useless tropes trying to deny the relationship between violence and radical Islam. This was not an attack by a mentally deranged, lone-wolf gunman. This was not an ‘un-Islamic’ attack by a bunch of thugs – the perpetrators could be heard shouting that they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad. Nor was it spontaneous. It was planned to inflict maximum damage, during a staff meeting, with automatic weapons and a getaway plan. It was designed to sow terror, and in that it has worked…

“There are numerous calls to violent jihad in the Quran. But the Quran is hardly alone. In too much of Islam, jihad is a thoroughly modern concept… In Islam, it is a grave sin to visually depict or in any way slander the Prophet Muhammad…

“We have to acknowledge that today’s Islamists are driven by a political ideology, an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam. We can no longer pretend that it is possible to divorce actions from the ideals that inspire them…

“We appease the Muslim heads of government who lobby us to censor our press, our universities, our history books, our school curricula. They appeal and we oblige. We appease leaders of Muslim organizations in our societies. They ask us not to link acts of violence to the religion of Islam because they tell us that theirs is a religion of peace, and we oblige… The more we oblige, the more we self-censor, the more we appease, the bolder the enemy gets…”

Another typical example of cowardly appeasement is described in the next article.

Outrageous Conduct of Hypocritical French Government

The Times of Israel wrote on January 11:

“French President Francois Hollande did not want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend Sunday’s historic march in Paris, believing the Israeli leader’s presence at the rally would be ‘divisive,’ Israeli media reported Sunday.

“Netanyahu initially accepted Paris’s wishes and on Saturday cited security concerns to explain why he would not attend the event, which was organized in a show of solidarity and defiance after terrorist attacks in the French capital, which claimed 17 lives. Among the victims were four Jews at a kosher supermarket and a Muslim police officer. However, the Prime Minister changed his mind later Saturday after Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett announced they would join the march, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported. When Netanyahu’s office told the Elysee Palace that he would be coming after all, France responded by highlighting that it was extending an invitation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas…

“On Sunday, Hollande and world leaders, including Netanyahu and Abbas, marched in the mammoth procession, which began near where gunmen killed 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week… Some 1.5 million people marched in the massive rally, the largest of a series of demonstrations around France that brought some 3.7 million people out into the streets, according to figures cited by AFP.

Even though Netanyahu was finally “allowed” to participate in the march, the conduct of socialist President Hollande and his government is outrageous. But we must not forget that President Hollande also said that the terrible terrorist attacks and murders had “nothing” to do with Islam.

Forget the USA

The Daily News wrote on January 11:

“The city of light became a beacon of leadership Sunday when more than 40 heads of state came together to denounce terrorism, with one glaring exception: the lack of a high-ranking U.S. official. French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and dozens of other world leaders — including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — all took part in the powerful denunciation of last week’s terror attacks that left 17 innocents dead.

“But the nation that stands as the symbolic face of the war on terror was nowhere in sight. Neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden showed up — and in fact, America’s only representative was its relatively unknown and low-profile ambassador to France.”

Sad. First the White House tried to “explain,” then finally President Obama apologized and admitted that some “high ranking” governmental official should have been there.

Many French Jews Highly Skeptical of French Government’s “Fight” Against Anti-Semitism

JTA wrote on January 11:

“In the wake of an unprecedented spree of terror attacks that claimed 17 lives in France last week, many French Jews expressed appreciation for their government’s resolute stance against anti-Semitism, but nevertheless felt the response to be insufficient at a time when anti-Semitic violence is a daily reality that is already driving out record numbers of Jews…

“Moshe Sebbag, rabbi of the Grand Synagogue of Paris, Synagogue de la Victoire, told Israel’s Army Radio that he estimated the attacks will result in a doubling of the number of immigrants to Israel in 2015. ‘There is a tremendous feeling of insecurity and that these events will only worsen,’ he said on Sunday…

“Another factor eroding trust is the glorification of Palestinian terrorists by French elected officials… In recent months, several French municipalities have conferred such honors on convicted Palestinians…”

JTA wrote on January 9:

“The two sieges that transfixed France and much of the world on Friday epitomize the problem Islamic radicalism poses in the heart of Europe: It’s a danger to civilized society generally, but especially to Jews. Now it’s time for the authorities to wake up to the problem and confront it, French Jewish leaders said Friday, in the wake of a hostage crisis at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes in Paris’ 12th arrondissement…

“This week’s attacks come on the heels of a long period of increased anti-Semitic attacks in France that grew worse during last summer’s war in Gaza. Since then, synagogues have been set ablaze, Jews have been attacked and Jewish institutions have been threatened. In 2014,
a record number of French Jews, some 7,000 people, left for Israel — many citing fears for their future in France.

In a statement Simone Rodan-Benazquen, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris office, citing a number of recent violent anti-Semitic attacks in France, said: ‘We have warned that the menace of rising anti-Semitism threatens French society at large. The Charlie Hebdo massacre makes clear that the war against France’s democratic values is in high gear.’

“Despite assurances by the government [that it was] committed to fighting anti-Semitism, French Jews are facing the Islamic jihadists alone, said Chlomik Zenouda, vice president of National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism…”

Gorbachev Warns of Possible Nuclear War

Newsmax wrote on January 10:

“Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that tensions between Russia and European powers over the Ukraine crisis could result in a major conflict or even nuclear war, in an interview in a German news magazine on Saturday. ‘A war of this kind would unavoidably lead to a nuclear war,’ the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner told Der Spiegel. ‘We won’t survive the

coming years if someone loses their nerve in this overheated situation,’ added Gorbachev, 83. ‘This is not something I’m saying thoughtlessly. I am extremely concerned.’

“Gorbachev, who is widely admired in Germany for his role in opening the Berlin Wall and steps that led to Germany’s reunification in 1990, warned against Western intervention in the Ukraine crisis. ‘The new Germany wants to intervene everywhere,’ he said in the interview. ‘In Germany evidently there are a lot of people who want to help create a new division in Europe.’… The diplomatic standoff over Ukraine is the worst between Moscow and the West since the Cold war ended more than two decades ago.”

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 9:

“Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev… criticized both Russia and the West… [He] decried the ‘loss of trust’ between Russia and the West as ‘catastrophic,’ and said ties must be ‘defrosted.’

“Gorbachev accused the West and NATO of destroying the structure of European security by expanding its alliance. ‘No head of the Kremlin can ignore such a thing,’ he said, adding that the US was unfortunately starting to establish a ‘mega empire.’ The man seen as a key player in the reunification of former East and West Germany in 1990 also accused Germany of interfering in Ukraine’s crisis, saying, ‘The new Germany wants its hands in every pie. There seems to be a lot of people who want to be involved in a new division of Europe. Germany has already tried to expand its influence of power towards the East in World War II. Does it really need another lesson?’…

“He defended the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula last year, but criticized the Russian leader’s authoritarian style of leadership. He said Russia needed free elections…”

Gorbachev speaks as a Russian and therefore does not explain how Russia’s occupation of Crimea could possibly be justifiable. At the same time, his remarks regarding Germany’s “involvement” and expansion of its powers are well taken.

USA to Close 15 Military Bases in Europe

The Daily Caller wrote on January 8:

“The Pentagon announced plans on Thursday to close 15 military bases in Europe in an effort to save around $500 million dollars a year… critics are concerned that this decision is coming at exactly the wrong time — when Europe is facing the prospect of further Russian aggression in Ukraine… Currently, there are 64,000 U.S. military troops stationed throughout Europe, with the greatest concentrations in Germany, Italy and Britain. Out of the cuts, Germany will see a net increase in troops, while the U.K. and Portugal will see net losses…”

USA and Saud-Arabia Are Drifting Apart

The Washington Post wrote on January 9:

“Ever since the United States and Saudi Arabia fell into something of an alliance in the late 1970s, the world’s most unlikely partnership has had lots of down moments. Another big one came this weekend, when Saudi intelligence chief Bandar Bin Sultan al-Saud told European diplomats that his country would step back from cooperating with the United States on Syria…

“This very public Saudi jab at the U.S. is the latest in a series of increasingly frequent disputes between the longtime allies… many of the mutual interests that have brought the two countries together seem to be falling apart…

“Saudi Arabia strongly opposed the Islamist government of Mohamed Morsi [in Egypt] and supported the July military coup. The U.S. tepidly supported Morsi and opposed the coup…now the U.S. and Iran are talking about cutting a nuclear deal, possibly as part of a larger detente, which Saudi Arabia opposes. If the deal goes through, and there’s a U.S.-Iran thaw, it would be a big blow to the U.S.-Saudi relationship…

“Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a mutual enemy, and the reason that the U.S. stationed troops in Saudi Arabia in 1990, setting off a public backlash there against the American presence. Now Saddam is gone, replaced by a U.S.-backed Shiite government. Saudi Arabia is majority Sunni and has a poor relationship with Shiites…

“As the U.S. starts to produce more of its own energy resources and import less from the Middle East, it has less interest in Saudi oil. And Saudi Arabia is selling more of its oil to China, which just became the world’s largest net importer…

“So the future doesn’t look terribly bright for the U.S.-Saudi relationship. Still, that doesn’t mean they’re about to break up… as long as there are oil and terrorism in the Middle East, the two countries will still need one another. But they may soon need one another much less than they used to.”

Jury Duty and Political Propaganda

Newsmax wrote on January 10:

“Sen. Ted Cruz spent Friday waiting his turn along with a room full of other prospective jurors to find out if he’d be part of a trial court jury in Houston. ‘It is both a privilege and responsibility to serve on a jury,’ said the Texas Republican, who arrived at the Harris County Jury Plaza Friday morning, went through the metal detector, and joined the rest of the jury pool… ‘One of the best aspects of being an American is our right to trial by jury,’ Cruz told the publication. ‘When I received my jury summons, I was proud to do my civic duty.’

“Sitting on a jury would be a switch of places in a courtroom for Cruz, who is a Harvard- educated lawyer. Cruz was Solicitor General of Texas from 2003-2008, serving as the youngest Solicitor General in the nation and the state’s longest-serving and first Hispanic Solicitor General…

“At first, Cruz sat in the front row of the jury room, listening along with about 200 other prospective jurors while a clerk explained the schedule and then at about 11 a.m., he and a 65- person panel went to a criminal court to learn who would be picked to decide the case of a man charged with evading arrest.

“The other jurors knew who he was, and many had their photos taken with the senator and potential 2016 presidential primary candidate during breaks. Despite the wait, Cruz was not picked for the jury, and he and the others not selected were let go at around 3 p.m…”

There was no way that Senator Ted Cruz would have been selected as a juror. This was absolutely clear from the outset. But he was able to use his appearance and comments for political propaganda purposes. However, his zeal in this regard is misguided, as jury duty is not something which the Bible endorses.

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What Does it Mean for a Christian to Come Out of the World?

We often hear about the need for a Christian to “come out of the world.” In order to understand what this means, it is important to look at where this instruction is given, and how to apply it in life practically.

A good place to begin is with Revelation 18:4-5, which reads “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’” This follows an explanation of how the fallen system of Babylon has influenced people and nations, and clearly indicates an instruction for God’s people to come out of it. Babylon here is indicted in sin, which is something that God obviously does not want people to be involved in. As a result, the instruction to come out of Babylon is an instruction to come out of sin.

With this in mind, we need to elaborate on the “way of sin” being equated with Babylon, or the Babylonian system. Following from this, we will see how the Bible indicates that the “way of sin” is not the “way of God”, but it is the “way of the world.” With an understanding of what to come out of, it is important to know the correct way to seek, which is following the way of Christ. All of these aspects are about a way of living, and therefore the instruction to come out of the world is not to be taken in a physical sense, but applied in a spiritual way, leading a Christian lifestyle.

What does the Bible say about Babylon and the way of sin? By looking at the establishment of the city of Babylon, we learn more about the historical context and the relationship with God. In Genesis 10:8-9 Nimrod the hunter is named as the founder of the city of Babel. In reference to Nimrod, the Bible states that “he was a mighty hunter before the Lord”, but the word “before” can be more precisely translated as “against”. From the beginning, the city of “Babel” was founded by a man who was against God. Indeed, the actions by the inhabitants of the city following the establishment prove this to be true. Later in the book of Genesis, we can see evidence of how the city found God’s disapproval. In Genesis 11:4-9 we read about the people of the city, who wanted to make a name for themselves by building a giant tower. God disapproved of this action and punished the people, scattering them and confusing their language. The name of the city comes from the word “confusion,” which can be translated as Babel, or Babylon. From the establishment of the city, we can see that Babylon has historical roots in provoking God to anger and stands opposed to God’s rule from the beginning.

Babylon is referenced in ways that describe the ancient and modern city of Babylon standing in opposition to God, and therefore becoming overthrown (Isaiah 13:19, Revelation 18:21, Jeremiah 50:9, Jeremiah 51:29). It is clear in this regard that ancient Babylon displeased God so greatly that He destroyed it, and He will destroy the modern city of Babylon as well. But why

did God want to destroy it then, and why does He want to destroy it now? Certainly, the city stands in opposition to God’s rule; therefore, it is the sin which provokes God’s anger. Jeremiah 50:14 makes this reason for God’s anger very clear, “Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, All you who bend the bow; Shoot at her, spare no arrows, For she has sinned against the LORD.” It is the sin of the established ancient and modern city that provoked God’s anger then and continues to do so now.

Knowing Babylon is distinguished by its sinfulness, and especially since we read in Revelation 18:4 that God calls people to come out of modern Babylon which is represented by a particular city, so that they don’t share in its sins, it is clear that the instruction is to remove one’s self from the place known for sin. Note how Revelation 17:9 is translated in the Living Bible: “And now think hard: his seven heads represent a certain city built on seven hills where this woman [called Babylon the Great, see verse 5] has her residence.”

Babylon is to be understood as representing more than just a place, however. The Bible references Babylon in a way that it is considered to be a system and a way of living that stands opposed to God’s righteousness. Just before God’s people are called out of Babylon in Revelation 18:4, we read the following in Revelation 18:2-3, “And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.’” Seeing that “all the nations” have been influenced by Babylon, it is clear that the sinful behavior has spread throughout the world to people everywhere. When people are instructed to “come out of her,” it is the system of sinfulness represented by the rebellion of Babylon that is referenced.

So far, it is clear that Babylon represents a way of living that is sinful and rebellious towards God, and that Christians are instructed to come out of that way of sin. But, how does that relate to the instruction to come out of the world? Where is the connection? By seeing that sinfulness is one of the defining characteristics of the world in which we live, and that Christians are to come out of the sinful Babylonian system, we can conclude that Christians must therefore come out of the world. Titus 2:12 offers a clear insight into the connection between sinfulness and worldliness, teaching us that while“…denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” Here, we can see that worldly lusts, those temptations offered by the world in which a Christian must physically reside, are grouped with ungodliness of this present age. The correct alternative is presented here as well, to live righteous and godly lives.

This presents an apparent paradox, however. How can we come out of a sinful system if we must live within it? Jesus Christ provides the correct perspective when explaining the troublesome relationship between a Christian and the world in John 15:18-19, “‘If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.’” Here, the world in its sinful ways is mentioned as a kind of force, or system that hates the way of life that Jesus Christ came to share. The disciples here are called out of the world; they are not to be part of it. If we understand that the world represents a system of sinfulness, we can see how Christians can be called to separate themselves from it without physically and literally coming out of the physical world. Something to consider in this regard is that coming out of sin might require Christians to take action to separate themselves from certain sinful places or environments, as Abram was asked to leave his hometown, and as

Lot was taken out of Sodom. Whether a literal physical separation is involved or not, it is the way of living that a Christian is instructed to change. That is, to come out of the way of sin, and to follow the way of Christ (John 14:6).

With the clear proclamation that true Christians are not part of the world (John 17:14), it is important to note that the job of a Christian is not to improve this present evil world (Galatians 1:4) in which he or she lives. The reason is that Satan the devil is the ruler of this world (John 12:31), and he deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). As stated in Ephesians 6:12, the systems of this world that are influenced by the ruler of this age are what Christians stand against, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Any attempt to make an improvement or to try and fix the world will ultimately fail because it is under the influence of Satan. Rather, we are to be delivered from this world (see again Galatians 1:4). Please read our Q&A that elaborates on the reasons why Christians are not to make THIS world a better place. We must wait for God to overthrow Satan so that the Kingdom of God may be established. Until that time, Christians are ambassadors in this world (2 Corinthians 5:20), representing that future Kingdom to come. At the same time, Christians are supposed to be the light of the world to show it how to live (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:15), and Christ sends them as sheep into the world of wolves (Matthew 10:16) to proclaim to it the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15).

The instruction for Christians to come out of this world is an admonition to turn away from the system of sin, and turn toward a system of godly righteousness. The system of the world is what leads to sin, and God stands opposed to it. 1 Corinthians 3:19 makes the distinction between His way and the world’s way clear, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…” Coming out of the world then means to live according to God’s perfect and spiritual laws with His help. We are reminded and strengthened about how this is possible in 1 John 4:4 where we read, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” To come out of the sinful system of this corrupt world is within the power of all Christians who rely on the Holy Spirit of God living within them to become obedient.

Lead Writer: Eric Rank

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter has been written by Rene Messier in which he reminds us of our individual and collective responsibilities to faithfully continue in the Work of God. This was mailed out on Friday morning.

“Neu! Die Frau auf dem Tier in Offenbarung 17,” is the title of this week’s German sermon. Title in English: “New! The Woman on the Beast in Revelation 17.”

“Coming–Nuclear War Between Russia and Europe?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program present by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Will the Russian-Ukrainian crisis lead to nuclear war? Or will Europe’s and especially France’s policy of appeasement towards Russia continue? What does the Bible say? Our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever” gives you the answer.

“Lasset Uns Menschen Machen…” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program which features  our newly printed German booklet, “God Is A Family.”  The title in English: “Let Us Make Man in Our Image…”

“Radical Islam, Terrorism and the Bible,” is the title of another new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

A movement in Germany has mainstream politicians up in arms. Weekly “PEGIDA” demonstrations in Dresden and other cities against “Islamization” are opposed by left-liberal groups, Muslims, Christian churches and others, even though their criticism may only contribute to the growing popularity of the movement. The most recent terrorist attacks in France have been interpreted quite differently, depending on who has reported them. Does the Koran command, allow or prohibit the murder of those who “insult’ Mohammed? What does the Bible have to say about Europe’s future role regarding Muslim countries and terrorism in general? We are offering two free booklets, “Biblical Prophecy-From Now Until Forever” and “When and How Will Christ Return?”

“The Prophets Hang on Love, Part 2,” the sermon from last Sabbath, is now posted. Here is a summary:

The last six of the Ten Commandments tell us how we are to love our neighbor. In this sermon, we will see how the Prophets describe godly love towards our fellow man, emphasizing the need to honor our parents, to avoid and shun hate and murder, as well as adultery and fornication, stealing, lying and covetousness. Many reject God’s law and as a consequence, they love the evil, while hating the good, and when they are told what they are doing, they do not want to listen. But God knows and sees their ways, and He will not be silent forever. God chastises whom He loves.

Please note that we are requesting anyone who is interested in attending the 2015 Feast of Tabernacles with us in the USA or in Germany to contact us with your request.

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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