Update 674


Enemies of Faith

On February 7, 2015, Michael Link will give the sermon, titled, “Enemies of Faith.”

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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Time Is Short!

by Norbert Link

Recently, we received the following message from a recipient of our weekly Updates, saying: “Please unsubscribe. I do not have time to read all that. It clogs up my computer.”

When I see something like that, I feel sad for the person and his or her attitude. And I ask myself, how is the person wasting his or her time, so that he or she does not have time for the essential things in life? After all, our weekly Updates present unique Editorials, Bible studies and a summary of world news in the light of biblical prophecy which just cannot be found, in that concise manner, anywhere else. Hours upon hours go into the preparation of these weekly presentations, but some people don’t seem to recognize the importance and relevance for their own lives. They are rather willing to waste their time with unimportant, futile and perhaps even dangerous and ungodly pursuits.

This world is coming to an end, and it is moving towards an unparalleled crescendo of religious deception, global terror and war, famine and disease epidemics, culminating in the Great Tribulation. Our booklet, Hidden Secrets in the Bible,” discusses in Part 2 the “Significance of Certain Numbers in the Bible.” We translated this part into German and posted it on our German website (in addition to Part 1 of the booklet on “Hebrew Poetry in the Bible.”) In a recent German member letter, I referred to the article on biblical numbers and pointed out some interesting numbers in regard to the Church of the Eternal God: In July 2001, it was registered in the USA, which means that by July 2015, it will have been in operation for 14 years. We have by now published 40 booklets in the English language, and this year we will publish our 700th weekly Update. In Germany, we began to broadcast AufPostenStehen Video programs in August of 2008, which means that by August 2015, we will have been publishing our video presentations for 7 years.

I also spoke a little bit about my own personal life. I was baptized in December of 1974, which means that 40 years had passed by December of 2014. I was ordained as an Elder in July of 1998; so that by July 2015, I have been an ordained minister for 17 years. In addition, I was ordained as an Evangelist in February of 2005, which means that when you read this Editorial, I have been serving in this office for almost 10 years.

As our afore-mentioned booklet explains, the numbers 40, 10 and 14 (as well as combinations of numbers 7 and 10) have interesting biblical meaning. Personally, I need to ask myself: How much did I overcome since my baptism? How did I carry out so far my responsibilities as Elder, Pastor and Evangelist? Even though I am not interested that much in the judgment of man, I hope that God will judge me mercifully, since I know how much I still have to learn and to overcome. Collectively, we need to ask ourselves these questions: With what kind of judgment will God (not necessarily man) evaluate the Church of the Eternal God and its affiliates in Canada, the UK, Germany and other places? Again, we hope that God will judge us with great mercy, and we know that our two-fold mission of preaching the gospel in all the world as a witness and of feeding the flock is far from over.

All of these numbers show us how quickly time goes by. We grow old and feeble, before we know it. Much is still to do, before Christ returns. The signs of the times indicate strongly that it won’t be that long now (compare Matthew 16:1-3; 24:32-35). The world is moving speedily towards its utter destruction and annihilation of all human and animal life. God will not allow this to happen, and some will survive–but not too many will (Matthew 24:21-22). How foolish to think we do not need to watch world events and our own personal and collective situation, while instead concentrating on unimportant time-consuming activities. Time IS short, and the future will bring a rude awakening for those who are asleep (1 Thessalonians 5:1-7).

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We begin with the uneducated, ignorant and at times willful misrepresentations regarding the pro and cons of measles vaccinations in the USA; and we report on other interesting developments in the USA and elsewhere, threatening religious liberties and freedoms, as well as showing a clash between public opinion vs. scientific “advancements” and governmental restrictions. We speak about Mitt Romney’s decision not to run for President, and address President Obama’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Israel and Jordan.

We continue by focusing on the UK and in particular its attitude towards Israel and Argentina; and we include brief articles on Prince Charles and Winston Churchill.

We report on the ongoing volatile and quite confusing situation between Greece and the other members of the Eurozone; and focus on Germany’s past, present and future leadership role in Europe and the Eurozone (not just in regard to the future unification of ten core nations or groups of nations).

We address the ongoing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine; and conclude with an alarming article on the possible extinction of 25% of all ocean species.

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The Persecution of Religious Minorities in the USA

On January 28, The Los Angeles Times published a highly offensive article, which reflects the hostile environment within the USA pertaining to religious beliefs of minorities:

“The continuing and spreading outbreak of measles traced originally to visitors to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure park revives the questions of who should be held responsible, and how they should be made to pay for the injury and illness they’ve caused. Here’s one suggestion, offered Thursday by science writer Alex Berezow in a USA Today op-ed: ‘Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail.’ That may be an extreme remedy, but Berezow’s notion that non-vaccinating parents should shoulder the responsibility for their actions is widely shared among legal experts and bioethicists…

“As the Los Angeles Times has documented, California has experienced an alarming increase in ‘personal belief’ exemptions allowing unvaccinated children to attend public and private schools, and a parallel decrease in immunization rates among kindergartners in many communities…

“Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are almost always negligent under the law, says Dorit Rubinstein Reiss of UC’s Hastings law school in a 2014 paper. One doesn’t have to know that one’s choice is wrong or risky to be negligent, she and her co-authors observe. In non-vaccination cases, the parents plainly should know they’re making an unreasonable or reckless choice with consequences for people in the community, considering ‘the abundant information from reputable sources supporting immunization, and the problematic sources relied upon by those who choose not to vaccinate.’…

“Vaccines should be restored to their status as mandatory; the law should bar exemptions except for medical complications and genuine religious credos.”

This is indeed an outrageous article. Please consider in this context the following piece by the LA Times, dated on January 21:

“… much of the attention has focused on how the vast majority of patients were not vaccinated for the highly contagious disease. But some medical experts also have expressed concern about the five patients who contracted measles despite being fully vaccinated. Their cases point to a lesser-known aspect of the measles vaccine: That even those who get the shots have a small risk of getting sick…”

Backlash Against Vaccine Critics…

The New York Times wrote on January 30:

Their children have been sent home from school. Their families are barred from birthday parties and neighborhood play dates. Online, people call them negligent and criminal. And as officials in 14 states grapple to contain a spreading measles outbreak that began near here at Disneyland, the parents at the heart of America’s anti-vaccine movement are being blamed for incubating an otherwise preventable public-health crisis.

“Measles anxiety rippled thousands of miles beyond its center on Friday as officials scrambled to try to contain a wider spread of the highly contagious disease — which America declared vanquished 15 years ago, before a statistically significant number of parents started refusing to vaccinate their children…

“Members of the anti-vaccine movement said the public backlash had terrified many parents. ‘People are now afraid they’re going to be jailed,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a clearinghouse for resisters. ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s gotten so out of hand, and it’s gotten so vicious.’

“In San Geronimo, Calif…. 40 percent of the students walking into Lagunitas Elementary School have not been inoculated against measles, according to the school’s figures… ‘A lot of people here have personal beliefs that are faith based,’ said John Carroll, the school superintendent, who sent a letter home to parents last week encouraging them to vaccinate their children… Kelly McMenimen, a Lagunitas parent, said she ‘meditated on it a lot’ before deciding not to vaccinate her son Tobias, 8… She said she did not want ‘so many toxins’ entering the slender body of a bright-eyed boy who loves math and geography…

“As Ciel Lorenzen, a massage therapist, picked up her children, Rio, 10, and Athena, 7, at Lagunitas Elementary, she defended her choice to vaccinate neither of them, even as health and school officials urged a different course. ‘It’s good to explore alternatives rather than go with the panic of everyone around you,’ she said. ‘Vaccines don’t feel right for me and my family.’”

Flashback—Controversial MMR Vaccine

In the context of the present hype of hypocritical accusers regarding those who refuse to have their children vaccinated, while conveniently ignoring the facts, please note the following article which had been published by the Huffington Post on November 27, 2014:

“Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, is facing a slew of controversies over its Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine following numerous allegations of wrongdoing from different parties in the medical field, including two former Merck scientists-turned-whistleblowers. A third whistleblower, this one a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, also promises to bring Merck grief following his confession of misconduct involving the same MMR vaccine.

“The controversies will find Merck defending itself and its vaccine in at least two federal court cases after a U.S. District judge earlier this month threw out Merck’s attempts at dismissal. Merck now faces federal charges of fraud from the whistleblowers, a vaccine competitor and doctors in New Jersey and New York. Merck could also need to defend itself in Congress: The staff of representative Bill Posey (R-Fla) — a longstanding critic of the CDC interested in an alleged link between vaccines and autism — is now reviewing some 1,000 documents that the CDC whistleblower turned over to them.

“The first court case, United States v. Merck & Co., stems from claims by two former Merck scientists that Merck ‘fraudulently misled the government and omitted, concealed, and adulterated material information regarding the efficacy of its mumps vaccine in violation of the FCA [False Claims Act].’

“According to the whistleblowers’ court documents, Merck’s misconduct was far-ranging: It ‘failed to disclose that its mumps vaccine was not as effective as Merck represented, (ii) used improper testing techniques, (iii) manipulated testing methodology, (iv) abandoned undesirable test results, (v) falsified test data, (vi) failed to adequately investigate and report the diminished efficacy of its mumps vaccine, (vii) falsely verified that each manufacturing lot of mumps vaccine would be as effective as identified in the labeling, (viii) falsely certified the accuracy of applications filed with the FDA, (ix) falsely certified compliance with the terms of the CDC purchase contract, (x) engaged in the fraud and concealment describe herein for the purpose of illegally monopolizing the U.S. market for mumps vaccine,

(xi) mislabeled, misbranded, and falsely certified its mumps vaccine, and (xii) engaged in the other acts described herein to conceal the diminished efficacy of the vaccine the government was purchasing.’

“These fraudulent activities, say the whistleblowers, were designed to produce test results that would meet the FDA’s requirement that the mumps vaccine was 95 per cent effective…

“The second court case, Chatom Primary Care v. Merck & Co. relies on the same whistleblower evidence. This class action suit claims damages because Merck had fraudulently monopolized the mumps market…

“The third whistleblower — a senior CDC scientist named William Thompson — only indirectly blew the whistle on Merck. He more blew it on himself and colleagues at the CDC who participated in a 2004 study involving the MMR vaccine. Here, the allegations involve a cover-up of data pointing to high rates of autism in African-American boys after they were vaccinated with MMR…”

Some claim that there is NO connection between vaccines and autism. The above-quoted article alleges the opposite.

Babies Not to Be Vaccinated

NBC News reported on February 2, 2015:

“Most Americans have been vaccinated but some cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons — if they have a damaged or compromised immune system, for instance. Babies under a year old are not vaccinated because their bodies don’t really respond well to the vaccine and it doesn’t protect them…

“A survey released last week… showed that 68 percent of US adults believe that vaccinations of children should be required, while 30 percent say that parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate their kids.”

Obama and Christie on Vaccination

The Huffington Post wrote on February 1:

“President Barack Obama urged American parents to get their children fully vaccinated on Sunday…  ‘I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations,’ Obama said in a pre-Super Bowl interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on Sunday. ‘The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not… You should get your kids vaccinated,’ he added…”

The Huffington Post added on February 2:

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said parents should have ‘some measure of choice’ when it comes to vaccinating their children. Christie… said all four of his children have been vaccinated, but noted he thinks a parent’s opinion about the issue is more important than what a public official thinks… Christie’s comments on vaccinations seem to contradict his actions in 2014, when he quarantined a nurse who had been in West Africa treating Ebola victims even after she tested negative for the virus… His comments also break from President Barack Obama’s recent remarks urging parents to get their children fully vaccinated…”

Breitbart wrote on February 2:

“Asked whether he was advocating leaving parents the option to not vaccinate their kids, Christie said ‘I didn’t say I’m leaving people the option,’ but that ‘it depends what the vaccine is, what the disease type is and all the rest.’”

Rand Paul: Vaccinations Should Be Voluntary

Newsmax reported on February 2:

“Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a potential Republican candidate for president next year, doesn’t think American children should be required to have every vaccine that is available. ‘I’m not anti-vaccine at all, but most of them ought to be voluntary,’…  said Paul, an ophthalmologist… In another Monday interview… Paul was confronted about his comments… ‘Well, I guess being for freedom would be really unusual? I guess I don’t understand the point why that would be controversial,’ Paul replied.

“‘… for most of our history, they have been voluntary. I don’t think I’m arguing for anything out of the ordinary. We’re arguing for what most of our history has had… I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines… I think the parents should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children. And it is an issue of freedom.’”

Even though Rand Paul and his spokespersons later back paddled on Paul’s original comments, we feel comfortable quoting what he had said initially.

Dr. Ben Carson: No Religious Exemptions!

Breitbart reported on February 4:

“Dr. Ben Carson, former Director Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and author of ‘You Have a Brain’ (as well as potential GOP Presidential candidate) argued that the US should be ‘doubly vigilant’ about vaccinating children due to the dangers of an open border on Tuesday’s broadcast of ‘The Lead’ on CNN.

“Carson was asked about a statement he gave where he said ‘we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them’…”

Dr. Carson is flat wrong on this. For a thorough analysis of this hotly debated subject, make sure to view our new StandingWatch program, “‘Measles Outbreak’—Blaming the Unvaccinated?” This program is presented by Evangelist and Attorney at Law Norbert Link and debunks several false legal and medical opinions, while addressing the biblical teaching.

Coming–Mandatory Measles Vaccinations in Germany?

Deutsche Welle reported on February 5:

“There’s new pressure on parents to vaccinate their kids against measles as outbreaks spread in California and Berlin… Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said the country faces its largest outbreak of measles since the introduction of an Infection Protection Act in 2001. The RKI said there have been 375 cases of measles in Germany in the past four months. More than half of infected people are adults. But in January, the RKI said the number of new cases rose rapidly by 254, with 82 of those cases reported in the fourth week of the month. Health authorities said the outbreak was first detected in October among asylum seekers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. They suggest this could be because vaccination programs failed during the Yugoslav civil war of the 1990s.

“US Senator Ben Allen has proposed new legislation to end a parent’s right to exempt their child from vaccination… In Germany, health officials are equally keen to encourage more parents to allow their children to be vaccinated against measles… In 2013, the then German Health Minister Daniel Bahr considered mandatory vaccination.”

The Local added on February 5:

“Germany had signed on to the WHO’s pledge to eliminate the disease by 2015, but that doesn’t look possible, says the RKI…

“… the Berlin outbreak isn’t to be likened to the current flux of measles cases moving through the U.S. where an outbreak originated at California’s Disneyland theme park and has since spread to six states. There, immunisation rates have fallen to below 92 percent, the threshold needed for herd immunity, when enough people are vaccinated to stop a disease from spreading. In Germany, more than 95 percent of people have the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination, well over that mark.

“In Berlin, the origin of the outbreak comes from a group of refugees from Bosnia and Herzogvina as well as Serbia. More than half of the new cases in Berlin stem from people in this community… Measles is considered one of the most contagious diseases as it is airborne and people carry the disease for four days without showing symptoms, potentially spreading it to 18 other people in a community without immunization… Two years ago, a school in south-western Cologne was shut down by an outbreak of measles. A study conducted by polling firm Forsa after that found that 95 percent of Germans were in favour of mandatory vaccinations…”

The pressure on God’s people will continue to increase.

Outrageous Wrong Decision in Oregon—“You Must Violate your Religious Conviction!”

The Washington Update wrote on February 3:

“Make them bake cake! That’s the verdict of an administrative judge in the case of Oregon bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein. The couple, who became the brave face of America’s religious liberty clash, were informed yesterday by the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries that in the battle over marriage, their First Amendment rights no longer counted.

“In the first of what will almost certainly be several rulings, the Kleins were found guilty of violating state law for politely declining an order for a same-sex ‘wedding’ cake. As part of his 52-page order, Judge Alan McCullough claims that ‘requiring them to provide a wedding cake for Complainants does not constitute compelled speech.’ Aaron Klein disagrees. ‘First Amendment, Constitution. Freedom of religion. I’m free to exercise my religion however I see fit. If I’m told to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I’m violating my beliefs. I don’t think I should have to do that.’

“Unfortunately for the parents of five, wedding vendors like them may soon have no choice. In the free market, the courts no longer seem to recognize the right to believe what you want. Owners of small businesses… are seen as nothing more than tools of the government to think and believe as the state sees fit. If they refuse, as Aaron and Melissa have done, Oregon is threatening to bring the full weight of the government to bear.

“A hearing on March 10 will decide exactly how much the Kleins’ courage will cost them. As much as $200,000 could be at stake for a family who’s already been forced to close their shop and scrape together the money they need to make up for that lost income. Anna Harmon, one of the Kleins’ three attorneys, said  that although the judge tossed out every claim but one, it’s still a tough loss. ‘Americans should not have to choose between adhering to their faith or closing their business, but that is what this decision means… The judge ruled wrongly that the Kleins’ right not to design and create a work of art celebrating an event which violates the tenets of their religion is not protected by the Oregon or Federal Constitutions. This is a dangerous result for religious liberty and rights of conscience in Oregon…’

“… as Betty and Richard Odgaard just found out, the fierce tide of intolerance is at the door of every Christian business owner in America. Last Wednesday, the long-time owners of a church-building-turned-bistro made the sad announement that they would no longer be hosting weddings at the scenic site after settling a same-sex ‘wedding’ dispute. The Odgaards, a Mennonite family, were hauled before a civil rights commission for deciding not to host a homosexual ceremony because of their religious beliefs. So the government gave them an ultimatum: conform or pay crippling fines.

“It was a difficult decision for the family, which hosted as many as 15 to 20 weddings a year at the Görtz Haus. But ultimately, something had to give — and that something wasn’t going to be their beliefs. ‘Our faith hasn’t changed,’ Betty told reporters.”

This is truly disgusting and constitutes a tremendous violation of the US Constitution—and not too many seem to CARE about this! Unfortunately, we see the continuation of a trend of undermining and violating religious liberties and freedoms in this country through the government and courts. We should be sighing and crying in prayer to God about the abominations going on in this country (compare Ezekiel 9:4).

Huge Gap between Scientists and the American People

The Washington Post wrote on January 30:

“A new Pew study comparing the attitudes of scientists and the public shows wide gaps between the two when it comes to climate, food that uses genetically modified organisms and pesticides, research using animals, and also the threat posed by the fast-growing world population.

“While 87 percent of scientists in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the world’s biggest scientific society) say climate change is caused by humans, just 50 percent of U.S. adults agree — a 37-point gap. There’s an even bigger gap when it comes to GMOs. A similar proportion of scientists say they are safe in food, but just 37 percent of Americans agree.

“Also bigger than the climate-change gap are the use of animals in research (89 percent of scientists favor it, versus 47 percent of Americans) and using pesticides to produce food (68 percent of scientists, 28 percent of Americans).

“… as much as some want to chalk up the differences between scientists and Americans to lack of information, it’s also pretty clear that many Americans don’t totally trust scientists to do more good than harm.

“The 2009 version of this study showed that 24 percent of Americans said science has had a negative impact on food, while 23 percent said it has had a negative impact on the environment. Today, 34 percent cite a negative impact on food and 31 percent on the environment…

“And on basically every measure, Americans are more skeptical of science’s impact on American life than they were five years ago. Which doesn’t bode well for science…”

We should ask why this is so. Apart from the arrogance and pride of many scientists who pretend to know everything and who have tried to replace God with their atheistic or agnostic “superior” thinking, scientists have been proven to be flat wrong, and they have caused much damage and made life miserable for many with their wrong ideas. Note the next article.

Science Plays God Again—but WHAT God?

BBC News wrote on February 3:

“MPs [in the Commons] have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man, in a historic move. The UK is now set to become the first country to introduce laws to allow the creation of babies from three people… A further vote is required in the House of Lords. [If] everything goes ahead then the first such baby could be born next year.

“Proponents said the backing was ‘good news for progressive medicine’ but critics say they will continue to fight against the technique that they say raises too many ethical and safety concerns… Last week the Catholic and Anglican Churches in England said the idea was not safe or ethical, not least because it involved the destruction of embryos…

“Bishop of Swindon Dr Lee Rayfield said this procedure was a ‘massive step’ and some of his colleagues were concerned about how it was going to be regulated once approved. ‘If the safeguards are there, the Church of England will be behind this,’ he added…

“The first attempt could take place this year, which could lead to the first birth in 2016.”

Israel—World Leader in Medical Marijuana Research

The Washington Post wrote on February 1, 2015:

“As medical marijuana gains acceptance around the world, Israel is drawing interest from investors for its ‘botanical high-tech’ medical cannabis. A Canadian producer has entered into a partnership with an Israeli producer, Tikun Olam, for a cannabis variety that helps reduce the seizures of epileptic children and has been especially grown to remove the ‘high.’ … this varietal of cannabis is for people who don’t want to be under the influence, and it is available in oral doses in Israel.

“Israel has become a world leader in science on the medical uses of marijuana, and its producers could become major exporters of medical cannabis, experts say. But so far, the government has allowed them to export only their knowledge — not the actual product… Even without being exported, Israel’s medical cannabis research and development is drawing global interest. PhytoTech Medical, an Australian medical cannabis venture that just raised $6 million in a public offering, announced a deal last week with Yissum, the technology transfer arm of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, to develop precisely dosed pills for the mainstream pharmaceutical market…

“On Thursday, Israeli producers will hold a Jaffa investors conference, called Canna Tech Israel. It will feature Colorado doctor Alan Shackelford, whose patient Charlotte Figi experienced a dramatic decrease in her severe epileptic seizures after being treated with a medical cannabis, dubbed ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ triggering a wave of American interest in the medical potential of marijuana. ‘Israel is a bastion of cannabis research,’ said Shackelford, who is now the chief science officer for One World Cannabis, publicly traded as OWC Pharmaceuticals. Another participant, Syqe Medical, has developed a metered-dose cannabis inhaler — with the help of a $1 million state grant. ‘It could be huge,’ said Aharon Lutzky, the chief executive of Tikun Olam, a leading medical cannabis producer whose Galilee greenhouses spawned Rafael and other strains. ‘There is demand all over the world.’…

“For now, the inability to export is setting limits on the industry’s ambitions. When the health minister from the Czech Republic visited last year, he was unable to get a deal to import Israeli cannabis…

“Several American states are pushing ahead with marijuana legalization for medicinal and recreational use, but U.S. laws make clinical research difficult or impossible. Israel, on the other hand, began cannabis research 50 years ago and studies its medical uses in a growing public-health program, although it has not legalized recreational use. Shackelford, a Harvard-trained physician, said he is conducting research in Israel after seeing U.S. drug laws block clinical studies, even into promising applications for illnesses, such as ALS, that conventional medicine cannot help. This year, he will lead studies in Israel on pain, skin disorders, seizure disorders, several types of cancers, migraine headaches and post-traumatic stress disorder…

“Israel first approved medical cannabis for a patient in 1992, for severe asthma. In 2007, the Health Ministry implemented a comprehensive medical cannabis program, and now 20,000 patients are permitted to use cannabis — a number expected to rise to 30,000 by 2016. Israeli doctors use it to treat ailments including Crohn’s disease, basal cell carcinoma, psoriasis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and PTSD in Israeli military veterans, and the pain of cancer patients and the elderly. Its doses are available in cookies, caramels, chocolates, oils, and leaf form for smoking or vaporizing.

“One of Canada’s leading producers, MedReleaf, is tapping Israel’s expertise, in a partnership it signed in May 2014 with Tikun Olam… MedReleaf now produces strains including the non-intoxicating varieties, with high concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD — a powerful anti-inflammatory with no narcotic effect — and low tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which creates the ‘high’ typically associated with marijuana…

“Neurologists who have been monitoring 67 children with intractable epilepsy at four medical centers reported ‘promising’ results last week at an epilepsy conference in Tel Aviv. Avigael Ka’atabi said her 15-year-old epileptic son, Eden, once suffered continual seizures so severe that he needed a helmet. After Eden’s neurologist prescribed cannabis oil in May, his seizures dropped by half, she said. Researcher Ruth Gallily, a professor emerita of Hebrew University, said there also are indications that cannabis can lower the incidence of diabetes and can reduce permanent damage following heart attacks. ‘In the right hands, it could really help a lot of people,’ she said.”

The Huffington Post reported on February 2 on a bizarre case in California, which was initiated by the Department of Justice and which seems to totally contradict and breach the Obama Administration’s promises and representations to the contrary:

“Lawyers for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag appeared in court Tuesday in an effort to shut down a medical marijuana collective in Oakland, California, despite federal guidance discouraging U.S. prosecutors from going after state-legal cannabis operations…

“Haag first targeted Harborside Health Center, a $25-million-a-year business widely considered to be the nation’s largest marijuana dispensary, in July 2012 on grounds that the facility had grown too big. Later that year, attorneys representing the city of Oakland sued to block Haag’s actions, arguing that Harborside is an asset to the community and that closing it may create a public health crisis. The case is now being argued before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Police State at Democrats’ Retreat

Politico wrote on January 31:

Reporters covering the House Democrats’ retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill. Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they’ve been invited by a member of Congress.

“During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press. ‘It was a police state. It was absurd how heavy handed the capitol police and Democratic staff were in trying to control everywhere the press went,’ New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said in an interview.

“Peters said at one point he was also barred from entering the hotel where the retreat was taking place, despite the fact he had an invitation to eat breakfast with a member of Congress. ‘I was an invited guest into this hotel, into the restaurant of the hotel. The staff from the Democratic caucus refused to let me into the hotel, and the Capitol Police told me to leave, even after the congressman went to them and said “no, he is my invited guest,”’ Peters said.

“Peters said he was told by a staffer they were being escorted to prevent them from talking to members of Congress… The incident is reminiscent of the Clinton Global Initiative conference in September, where reporters were being escorted by staff right up to the bathroom stall.”

Why Mitt Romney Called It Quits…

The Guardian wrote on January 30:

“After announcing that he would not, after all, be mounting a third campaign for the US presidency, Mitt Romney signalled on Friday that he may forge a reconciliation with Chris Christie to stop Jeb Bush’s bid for the Republican nomination next year…

“In a call to allies to announce he was stepping aside, Romney appeared to lean toward endorsing a candidate more like Christie, a boisterous 52-year-old free from historic baggage, who appears determined to soon make the leap from Trenton to the national stage. ‘I believe that one of the next generation of our Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who’s just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democratic nominee,’ said Romney, who is 67. ‘In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.’

“Bush – the son and brother of two presidents, who turns 62 next month and has not run for office in more than 12 years – does not fit that bill. And immediately after Romney’s call to supporters, the New York Times reported that he would be having dinner with Christie on Friday evening. Romney is said to personally dislike Bush… ‘Christie endorsed Romney very early [in 2012], before New Hampshire, and Bush only came on basically after it was a fait accompli that Romney was going to be the nominee,’ said one senior Republican strategist…

“While Romney led the party pack with 21%, some 74% of Republican primary voters said they would prefer someone else to be the nominee. With Bush snapping at Romney’s heels on 17%… Christie, a distant seventh on just 7%, is in need of some help. The lukewarm reception that Christie received at last weekend’s Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, reflected the fact that conservatives remain intensely distrustful of him…

“Yet an alliance between Romney and Christie would also require a rapprochement. Relations between the two had chilled badly even before Romney’s crushing defeat by Barack Obama in November 2012… Then, on the eve of the general election, and to the astonishment of many Republicans, he stood alongside Obama and praised the president’s surefooted response to hurricane Sandy…”

Politics—such an unpleasant and futile business…

Muslim Brotherhood Prepares for Jihad After Meeting with Obama Administration

Newsmax reported on January 30:

“Earlier this week, [the Obama] State [Department] hosted a Brotherhood-linked delegation looking to mobilize support for the overthrow of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. One delegation member was Waleed Sharaby, a Brotherhood-linked judge… The delegation also included two other members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Participants at the State Department meeting included several department officials including a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor. Just days after that meeting, the Brotherhood declared: ‘It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom.’

“The statement also emphasized the importance of preparing to engage in jihad and invoked the name of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. The Free Beacon reported that the statement said al-Banna ‘prepared the jihad brigades that he sent to Palestine to kill the Zionist usurpers.’ Experts said the timing is certain to be an embarrassment to the State Department and the Obama administration.”

USA Agreed to 80% of Iran’s Demands?

The Jerusalem Post wrote on January 31:

“Israeli officials told Channel 10 on Friday that they are convinced the Obama administration has already agreed to most of Iran’s demands in the P5+1 negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program… Jerusalem officials appear alarmed at the prospect that the United States will soon strike a deal with the Iranian regime… An Obama administration official dismissed the claims in the Channel 10 report as ‘complete nonsense.’”

The Times of Israel added on January 31:

“… officials in the Netanyahu government reportedly claimed Friday night that the US has already agreed in principle to a deal that would leave Iran capable of enriching enough uranium for a nuclear bomb within ‘mere months.’ Israel Channel 10 TV news said the deal taking shape would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium in ‘over 7,000’ centrifuges. It quoted unnamed Jerusalem sources saying the terms of the deal would leave Iran ‘closer than was thought’ to nuclear weapons, ‘mere months from producing enough material for a bomb,’ and that the US has agreed to 80% of Iran’s demands.

“A similar report on Channel 2 news said the US was ready for Iran to keep enriching uranium in 6,500 of its 9,000 centrifuges. It also said that the US was proposing ‘a time limit’ on the deal — possibly of 10 or 15 years — after which ‘Iran will be free to continue a nuclear industry.’

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said to have indicated to confidants that he feels he has ‘no choice’ but to speak out against the imminent deal, including at a controversial address scheduled for March 3 to Congress, Channel 10 said…

“Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said Netanyahu ‘has a moral obligation, as the leader of Israel and in living memory of an attempt to annihilate the Jewish people, to speak up about a deal that could endanger the survival of the one and only Jewish state. The US and Israel’s respective policies toward Iran are not “fully aligned,”’ said the envoy, adding that this was the ‘basic problem.’

“Charging that the Iranian regime is ‘working towards Israel’s destruction,’ Dermer said the deal being discussed with Iran did not seek to dismantle Tehran’s nuclear weapons capabilities, but would ‘leave Iran as a nuclear-threshold state… I would hope that everyone would appreciate what it means to us to see that the deal that is emerging would pose a threat to the survival of Israel,’ he said… ‘The survival of Israel is not a partisan issue. It is an issue for all Americans because those who seek Israel’s destruction also threaten America.’”

Serious Rift Between USA and Israel Beyond Repair?

The New York Times wrote on January 30:

“For six years, the pattern has been the same. A dispute between American and Israeli leaders spills out into the open. Analysts declare the relationship in crisis. Then the two sides try to tamp down emotions and argue that the rupture is not as dire as it looks.

“In the latest falling-out between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the first part of the pattern has certainly held — but not the second. This time, senior officials in both Washington and Jerusalem are making little effort to paper over the seriousness of the rift and even less, it seems, to try to repair it.

“The diplomatic break touched off by Mr. Netanyahu’s decision to negotiate an address to Congress without first telling Mr. Obama is about much more than a speech. It reflects fundamentally different world views between the leaders of two longtime allies: an American president eager for a historic rapprochement with Iran and an Israeli premier nursing an existential fear of a nuclear-armed enemy.

“It reflects six years of suspicion and mistrust and grievance, wounds from past brawls easily reopened by what might otherwise be small irritations. It reflects resentment on the part of Mr. Obama, who watched Mr. Netanyahu seemingly root for his Republican opponent in the 2012 election and now sees him circumventing the Oval Office to work with a Republican Congress instead. And it reflects a conviction on the part of Mr. Netanyahu that Mr. Obama may sell out Israel with a bad deal and may be trying to influence the coming Israeli elections.

“Rather than defuse the latest explosion, each side has chosen to escalate. The Obama administration made it clear this week that it no longer has any use for Mr. Netanyahu’s ambassador in Washington. Israeli officials defied American opposition on Friday to announce 450 new settlement units in the West Bank and privately whispered to their media that Mr. Obama had given Iran 80 percent of what it wants. ‘Of course this is a crisis,’ said Eytan Gilboa, an expert on Israeli-American relations at Bar-Ilan University. ‘This is even a more serious one, first of all because of what it is and secondly because it comes on top of many previous crises. This is a different kind of story. This is a different kind of crisis.’

“If Mr. Netanyahu, known as Bibi, survives the March 17 election, the result may be a virtual freeze in the relationship at the very top until after the 2016 American presidential vote. The situation will be all the more complicated if Israel ends up at war again with Hezbollah or if Iran balks at a deal to curb its nuclear program…

“Mr. (John) Kerry, who has invested a lot in building a relationship with Mr. Netanyahu, is said to be especially livid at the planned speech because of what he sees as a violation of a doctrine of no surprises. As a result, he may be emboldened to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan through the United Nations or outside powers without waiting for Mr. Netanyahu’s assent. The growing friction has left many involved in the issue upset and hoping that tempers cool…”

Britons Most Unfavorable to Israel after North Korea

The Time of Israel wrote on January 30:

“Britons feel more ‘unfavorable’ to Israel than any other country worldwide except North Korea, a survey found. The survey… showed a massive surge in negative attitudes toward Israel since the previous such study, two years earlier. Thirty-five percent of Britons said they ‘feel especially unfavorable towards’ Israel in the 2014 survey, compared to 17% in 2012.

“That figure meant that Israel is regarded more unfavorably by Britons than Iran — 33% in the 2014 survey, compared to 45% in 2012. Only North Korea fares worse — regarded as especially unfavorable by 47% in 2014, compared to 40% in 2012…

“In a section summing up Britons’ attitudes to nations outside Europe, the authors noted that ‘North Korea is viewed most unfavorably (47%), followed by Israel (35%). The number of those viewing Israel unfavorably has increased by 18 points since 2012, presumably in response to the controversial military campaign in Gaza and the civilian casualties it caused, which were prominent in the news at the time the survey was conducted [in August of 2014]. Iran (33%) is the third most unfavorably viewed country, though its rating is down by 12 points compared with 2012. Pakistan (28%) and Nigeria (21%) complete the top five.”

JTA reported on February 5:

“The Jewish security watchdog group in Britain recorded 1,168 anti-Semitic incidents for 2014, the highest annual total ever… it marked the first time that the number exceeded 1,000  in a calendar year. The previous record was 931 incidents in 2009.”

The Bible shows that in these end times, the relationship between Ephraim (the UK), Manasseh (the USA) and the state of Israel (Judah) will deteriorate.

Prince of Wales—a New King “Not of His Time?”

The Telegraph wrote on January 30:

“The Prince of Wales has discussed with the Queen the ‘sensitive matter’ of what sort of king he should be, royal aides have disclosed as they prepare for the publication of a new biography [by Miss Catherine Mayer of Time magazine] which explores the Prince’s preparations for kingship.  Sources close to the Prince have said there is ‘no-one’ other than his mother with whom he would talk about his plans for the monarchy, adding that nobody else would ever be present when such discussions took place…

“A spokesman for the Prince said: ‘Speculation about what sort of king the Prince of Wales will make has been around for many, many years and the Household and the Prince have never commented on this and neither will they do so now.’ …

“Among the friends of the Prince Miss Mayer spoke to was… the former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who described him as being: ‘Both ahead [of] and behind his time. He’s not of his time.’”

What Churchill Thought about Islam

The Independent wrote on February 1:

“Churchill had some pretty intemperate views about Muslims, which he expressed in the first edition of his 1899 account of the Sudan campaign, The River War – views so dark that he was persuaded to delete them from all later editions. ‘How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism [sic] lays on its votaries!’ Churchill wrote in this now almost unobtainable first edition. ‘…Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step…’ If it were not for Christianity, ‘sheltered in the strong arms of science,’ then ‘the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.’”

Barbarism in the Middle East—Jordan Vows Revenge

The Washington Post wrote on February 3:

“The Islamic State’s release on Tuesday of a video showing its fighters burning alive a captured Jordanian pilot sparked street protests calling for vengeance and threatened to draw this country’s usually low-key monarch toward ever more direct confrontation with radical Islam.

“The Jordanian military, a close ally in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, vowed ‘punishment and revenge’ for the killing, which it said had probably been carried out in early January. The Associated Press reported late Tuesday that a Jordanian government spokesman confirmed that two prisoners had been executed.

“The Jordanian public was stunned by the brutality of the videotaped slaying, the latest killing of a hostage by the Islamic State. The previous cases were all beheadings, but the latest video appeared to show the captive, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, 26, doused with flammable liquid and burned alive in a cage…

“In a pre-recorded address to the nation late Tuesday, King Abdullah II condemned what he called the ‘cowardly’ act and urged national unity in a time of grieving. He called the Islamic State ‘that criminal organization that has no ties to our religion.’… Jordanians focused, too, on the fact that the militants, who claim to adhere to a strict interpretation of Islam, had tortured and executed a fellow Muslim…”

Jordan’s Swift and Severe Response to ISIS

The Washington Post wrote on February 4:

“In a swift and severe response, Jordan authorities executed at dawn Wednesday two Iraqi terror convicts just hours after Islamic State militants released a video showing a Jordanian pilot burned to death in a cage. The hangings underscored the hardening stance by officials in Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State, amid street protests calling for revenge against the militant group.

“The backlash from the video — released while Jordan’s King Abdullah II was holding talks in Washington — also threatened to draw the usually cautious monarch toward ever more direct confrontation with radical Islamists… But [some] doubt whether the current backlash will stir major changes in Muslim participation in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq… Elias Hanna, a retired Lebanese general who teaches geopolitics at the American University of Beirut [said:]

“‘We won’t see Arab boots on the ground,’ he predicted. ‘That’s for certain.’

“Jordan will face tests on whether it can build on the current displays of unity and resolve. There have been past signs of support for the Islamic State in Jordan — especially in the poorer regions — though the numbers of people who have waved Islamic State flags or endorsed the group on the Internet is relatively small…”

UK Threatened by Argentina over Falkland Islands

Breitbart wrote on February 1:

“A force of around 1000 soldiers will be sent to the Falkland Islands in groups of 150 to 300, to train them for a rapid deployment. The move comes as the Falklands faces its biggest threat from Argentina in nearly 20 years…

“The training is taking place so the Islands are ready for any invasion that might come before the new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is fully operational in 2020. Until that time there are real concerns the British military could not retake the Falklands.

“In recent weeks Argentina has done a deal with Russia to lease 12 supersonic bombers. This led the UK to send HMS Dragon, a Type 45 destroyer, to the South Atlantic after a deployment in Chile…

“Both the Falkland Island’s Government and Whitehall are said to be worried that President Cristina Kirchner will use the dispute over sovereignty to divert attention from her own internal political problems in Argentina. She is also nearing the end of her second term of office and might be inclined to take more risks in the international arena.”

More rumors of war…

Europe vs. Greece… Trouble Ahead?

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 30:

“Meeting the head of the Eurogroup in Athens, the Greek Finance Minister said he would reject any cooperation with Greece’s main international lenders known as the troika. His statement didn’t go down well in Germany…

“The head of the Eurogroup chairing eurozone finance meetings Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Friday met with top officials from the new Greek government in Athens to sound out their polices. He was told bluntly by new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that Greece was no longer willing to cooperate with the troika, that is its key lenders, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“Varoufakis said his country was not asking for an extension of the existing bailout as it disputed the very wisdom of the program in the first place. ‘It cannot be our first move to give up our stance on the troika by demanding an extension of the bailout program, which is rejected by the people,’ the finance minister said in a statement.

“Dijsselbloem warned Athens against ignoring its international bailout deals… Germany once again rejected Greece’s demands to be forgiven repayment of its rescue loans… German Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jäger said in Berlin. He added that Greece was obliged to abide by the terms of its 240-billion-euro ($270-billion) bailout program agreed by previous governments.”

The Telegraph added on January 30:

“Greek bond yields spiked on Friday after the country’s finance minister said the new Left-wing government would not co-operate with international creditors. Yanis Varoufakis, who held talks with Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, also rejected the extension of Greece’s €240bn (£180bn) bail-out programme, which came with tough austerity measures. ‘This platform enabled us to win the confidence of the Greek people,’ Mr Vardoulakis said. ‘We are not going to co-operate with a rottenly constructed committee.’… Mr Varoufakis later backtracked on his comments, telling BBC’s Newsnight: ‘Greece will deal with the Troika.’

“Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, became Greece’s prime minister last Sunday, winning over voters weary of austerity with his promise not to bow to the Troika of European creditors – the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

“Mr Dijsselbloem, who represents the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers, yesterday rebuffed Greece’s calls for an international conference to look at writing off part of its €320bn debt. ‘As for a conference on debt restructuring, you must realise that this conference already exists and it’s called the Eurogroup,’ he said.”

Der Spiegel reported that in spite of the confrontational course of Athens, Germany was considering to help Greece with loaning them 20 billion euros, if Athens was to agree to certain conditions, including submitting to Troika. However, after it was reported that Athens was unwilling to work with Troika, the German government was quick to deny that they were considering to help Greece with a loan, according to the magazine. Now, with Mr. Vardoulakis’s latest comments that Greece “will deal with the Troika” – and we leave it to the reader to conclude as to WHY these comments were made—it is again an open question as to HOW Europe will work with Greece.

Note the next article.

Greece Denies—Because It “Has to.”

The EUObserver wrote on January 31:

“Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has denied previous statements that Greece will no longer deal with the troika of international creditors following icy talks with the head of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. Speaking to the BBC on Friday evening (30 January), the maverick economist sought to nuance his statements made in Greek during a joint press conference with Dijsselbloem.

“‘I’ve never said that we are not interested in discussing with our creditors, exactly the opposite, we are very keen to enter into fruitful negotiations and deliberations with the ECB, the IMF, the European Commission and every single member state of the eurozone to which we belong and rightfully find ourselves in,’ Varoufakis said. He said it might have been a translation problem, that he only meant the second tier of the troika – the ‘very good people’ who come to Greece to oversee the implementation of the programme that ‘has utterly failed over the last five years.’”

Yes, sure—if one wants to believe THAT!

Is Obama Becoming a Threat to Europe?

As several European media outlets reported this week, President Obama is considered more and more as becoming a threat to Europe and European unification. Bild Online wrote a biting article about his involvement in the Greece situation, who had urged Europe in a CNN interview to make compromises towards Greece and not to allow them to leave the Eurozone. The paper quoted and disputed many arguments and “statements of fact” which had been uttered by Obama.

Der Spiegel Online ran an article on Monday regarding Obama’s contemplation of sending weapons to Ukraine, stating, “Obama’s plans and games threaten European unity.” Die Zeit reported that the German Government “was alarmed” about Obama’s plans and “warned” the USA NOT to send any weapons to the Ukraine.

In response, the Local reported on February 3:

“White House advisor Ben Rhodes told CNN on Monday night that the US has no plans to deliver weapons to Ukraine ‘in the near future’, while Chancellor Angela Merkel is the ‘most important partner’ in the crisis.”

However, The Washington Post reported on February 4:

“Ashton B. Carter, President Obama’s choice to become his fourth secretary of defense, said Wednesday that he was ‘very much inclined’ to provide arms to Ukraine to fend off Russian-backed rebels… ‘We need to support the Ukrainians in defending themselves,’ Carter said at his Senate confirmation hearing.”

German Military to Become One the Most Sought After Employers?

Deutsche Welle reported on January 30:

“Germany’s defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said Friday that her government planned to make the military one of the most sought after employers in the country. Von der Leyen was presenting a proposal for a more attractive Bundeswehr at the German parliament, the Bundestag… Von der Leyen, who belongs to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), proposed more part-time work, better promotion opportunities and legally stipulated working hours – a first in the German military…

“Around 60,000 applicants were needed every year for recruiters to choose those best suited for the Bundeswehr, the minister informed, adding that new applicants also included many women… The German military union described the proposal as a ‘great success’…”

Germany Ranked at the Top in EU on Political Matters

The Local wrote on January 30:

“Foreign policy think-tank the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) gave Germany top marks in its annual check-up of EU member states released on Thursday. Germany ranked at the top of 17 of the 28 criteria the experts evaluated for each of the European’s 28 Member States, divided into relations with five global regions (Russia, the US, wider Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and Asia), as well as multilateral issues and crisis management.

“Some of the leadership roles Germany held in 2014 included developing sanctions on Russia, pushing for conclusion of the TTIP free-trade agreement with the US and acting to address the Ebola crisis. ‘Standing up to Russia was the make-or-break issue in 2014,’ the ECFR experts wrote. ‘It took until the end of the first half of 2014 for Berlin to fully abandon the idea that Russia’s aggression [in Ukraine] could be countered with diplomatic means alone.’ After that, Germany became ‘the clear leader in consolidating a common sanctions policy’.

“Earlier in the year, both President Joachim Gauck and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen had declared that Germany needed to take on more responsibility at the Munich Security Conference. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier launched a foreign policy review to re-think what Germany’s priorities and objectives in international affairs should be.

“It concluded that ‘the EU is ready for more proactive foreign policy leadership from Germany,’ mentioning that Berlin should be more active in Nato, lead European defence policy, direct attention to North Africa and build bridges from eastern to western EU states. But it was important to remember that ‘other member states also hope Berlin will be a cooperative, consensus-building type of leader’. That’s something Berlin and second-place Sweden have been praised for this year, compared to the ‘activist leadership’ previously shown by the UK and France – the top scorers in 2013 – that saw those states taking initiatives without always bringing fellow EU members with them…

“With no clear end in sight to the Ukraine crisis or the civil war in Syria, other EU members and the wider world will still be looking to Germany to take leading roles in 2015…”

As the Bible has prophesied for thousands of years, Germany is destined to become the leader of continental Europe—and NOT ONLY of a unification of ten nations or groups of nations within Europe.

Richard von Weizsäcker Dies at 94

Deutsche Welle reported on January 31:

“Richard von Weizsäcker has passed away, aged 94. The sixth president of the Federal Republic of Germany was the country’s highest-ranking representative from 1984 to 1994…

“Paying tribute to the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II in the German parliament on May 8, 1985, Weizsäcker caught his audience’s attention with a critical assessment of the German surrender. It was in touch with the zeitgeist, creating a stir and receiving recognition beyond German borders. ‘May 8 is not a celebration day for us Germans,’ Weizsäcker said in his address. ‘The memories of those who lived to see it go back to very personal and, therefore, vastly different experiences. Some returned home, others lost their homes. For one person’s freedom, there was another person’s imprisonment.’…

“On April 15, 1920, Baron Richard von Weizsäcker was born into a family of diplomats in the southern German town of Stuttgart. His father, Ernst, served as undersecretary in Hitler’s Foreign Office from 1938 to 1943, followed by a stint as diplomat in the Vatican until the end of the war. Young Richard enjoyed an excellent education before doing his military service across Europe, eventually as a captain in the Wehrmacht. After the war he studied law and worked as an assistant to Hellmut Becker, who defended Ernst von Weizsäcker in the Nuremberg war crimes trials. The older von Weizsäcker was eventually sentenced to seven years of imprisonment.

“The unrelenting Nazi reign and its quick downfall left their mark on Richard von Weizsäcker. His first-hand experience of that fateful period in German history was reflected in his famous address, which struck a chord with many Germans in the mid-1980s. ‘May 8 was a day of liberation.’ It is this statement from his speech commemorating the end of World War II which is primarily associated with him to this day. At the time he went on: ‘In the face of that liberation nobody can forget the severe suffering which, for many people, only began on May 8 and continued afterwards.’ However, he asked the Germans not to identify the end of the war as the main reason behind the flight, displacement, and lack of freedom. Instead of that, he said, the foundation for all this suffering was laid with the inception of the war.

“The focal point of von Weizsäcker’s ten-year presidency was reconciliation with Eastern Europe and Israel. He was convinced that a new start in the relationship could not be achieved by suppression of the past, but by commemoration and contemplation. His term saw the German reunification, though Helmut Kohl was celebrated as ‘chancellor of unity’, with von Weizsäcker merely watching from the sidelines. In contrast to many others he preferred a cautious approach to converging the two states which had been separated for such a long time.

“Following the end of his presidency in 1994, Richard von Weizsäcker continued to be in demand as a general advisor both at home and abroad and a passionate advocate of democracy and freedom. Occasionally, he even called his own fellow party members in the CDU to order.

“Through his exchanges of ideas with intellectuals, artists and business representatives he added a glamour to German politics… he was the prototype of a serious and well-educated representative of the people, who managed to win over the public through his personality, his personal background and, first and foremost, his diplomatic manner. Until his death, Richard von Weizsäcker remained a major moral authority.”

Poland’s international broadcaster, Rafal Kiepuszewski, made the following statements to Deutsche Welle on January 31, after learning about Weizsäcker’s death:

Polish media said right away that Weizsäcker is the greatest German friend that Poland has ever had… We have to remember here that Weizsäcker is the son of a well-known Nazi. And yet, Polish leaders commend him for his rejection of his past…  Weizsäcker [was]… one of the greatest supporters of Polish-German rapprochement… he did his utmost to lead Germans in the direction of understanding with Poland…

“There wouldn’t have been a complete change on the map of Europe without people like Weizsäcker. They were behind the scenes for decades, step by step, and they tried to make the German people more aware of Eastern Europe, more aware of the fact that it wasn’t just an Iron Curtain that was just the end of world for them, that there were countries beyond that were important – also strategically – for the future of Europe…

“Even after he was no longer president, he still was very active in trying to improve Polish-German relations, as well as Germany’s relations with other Eastern European states…”

The Bible has prophesied for thousands of years that in these end times, ten nations or groups of nations will unite in continental Europe, and it has been the position of the Church of God that Germany and Poland would belong to those nations. There have been “architects” in history who were used, without their knowledge, to bring about necessary steps towards the fulfillment of certain prophecies. Undoubtedly, Richard von Weizsäcker was one of those architects.

Russian-Ukrainian Peace Talks Are Off

Deutsche Welle reported on January 30:

“… a fresh round of peace talks that were meant to be held in the Belarusian capital, Minsk on Friday, were called off amid the ongoing bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. The rebels were the first to announce their cancellation… The ongoing fighting – and cancellation of the latest planned peace talks,  have caused fresh alarm in the West…”

Russian Military Supremacy Over the West?

Deutsche Welle reported on January 30:

“A statement issued by the head of Russia’s military on Friday said that despite the country’s economic woes due to European and US sanctions as well as a sharp drop in oil prices, the armed forces were to take delivery of 50 additional ballistic missiles by the end of this year. ‘Support for our strategic nuclear forces to ensure their high military capability combined with…growth of the military potential of the general forces will assure that (the United States and NATO) do not gain military superiority over our country,’ General Valery Gerasimov’s statement said…

“Gerasimov said Russia had no choice but to modernize its military due to threats from beyond its borders. ‘Western countries are actively using new forms of aggression, combining military as well as non-military means. Political, economic and information methods are also being used,’ Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

“The Western military alliance, NATO, however, sees the threat as coming from Russia, particularly since it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula last March, something that lead both the EU and the US to impose sanctions on Russia. Since then, tensions between Russia and the West have only risen further… NATO’s eastern European member states in particular have been on edge since Russia took Crimea. NATO’s response has been to deploy more aircraft ships and personnel not just to the Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but also to Poland.

“On Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg… called on NATO allies to step up spending on defense, in light of the current threats… He also highlighted the increased presence of Russian warplanes in European skies over the past year, saying NATO fighter jets had been scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft more than 400 times over the past year.”

Many of the World’s Ocean Species at the Brink of Extinction

The Independent wrote on January 30:

“The world’s ocean species are up to nine times more likely to become extinct than previously thought, according to new research… Researchers found that up to a quarter of the planet’s well-known marine species, from the Mediterranean monk seal to the Pondicherry shark, are in danger of being wiped out. This overturns the conventional scientific wisdom that marine species are far safer than others, by establishing that the risk is equally high. In each case, between 20 and 25 per cent of species are threatened with extinction, researchers said… the threat posed to sea life is truly global, said the University of Sheffield researchers…”

This is a remarkable warning in light of Hosea 3:3, Revelation 8:9, and Revelation 16:3.

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Is it Impossible for a Rich Man to Enter the Kingdom of God?

In Matthew 19:16-26, Mark 10:17-27 and Luke 18:18-27, we are introduced to a young rich ruler who came to Christ and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. Christ told him that he had to keep the commandments and He added the need for him to sell what he had, and to follow Him. However, the rich man was unwilling to depart from his riches. We discuss Christ’s “invitation” to the rich man to become one of His disciples in previous Q&As, including whether God hears the prayers of sinners, and whether Christ offered the rich ruler a ministerial position. In that last Q&A, we said the following:

“Some commentaries agree that Christ offered the rich ruler a ministerial position. They point out that Christ’s command to the rich ruler to sell everything that he had  was specifically given to that ruler because Christ saw that one thing was lacking in his qualification to become a minister, and that one thing was his love for money and his trust in riches … it appears that He was indeed willing to call him into the ministry, but sadly, the ruler loved money more than God and he rejected this unique opportunity to follow Christ as a minister and to perhaps later become even one of His apostles. In refusing to accept his ministerial calling, Christ pointed out that it will be very difficult for a rich person to even enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:25-26; Mark 10:23-25).”

Christ did not say that it was impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, but that it would be very difficult. We know that Abraham was very rich, and so was David, and both will be in God’s Kingdom. But it is true that riches CAN prevent us from fully turning to God.

In our Q&A on 1 Timothy 6:10, discussing the love of money as the or a root of all evil, we said the following:

“Christ warned us that we cannot serve two masters—God and mammon. He explained that we must not lay up for ourselves treasures on earth (living a way of life which is manifested by our love of money, riches and physical possessions), but that we are to lay up spiritual treasures in heaven. He continued: ‘For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon’ (Matthew 6:19-21, 24).

“Christ makes the same point that Paul is making [in 1 Timothy 6:10]: Either we love God and His way of life with all our heart, including our desire to be spiritually rich before God, or we love foremost mammon or material possessions, including our desire to be physically rich in this world. Christ continued to explain the incongruity between both ways in Matthew 6:25-34, when He compared the physical worries in this life with what must be our main priority: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ (verse 33).

“As Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:11, we must ‘flee’ the physical desires to be rich, which are so important in this world, and rather ‘pursue righteousness.’ John explained that the love of God is not in us when we love the world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15-17)…

“There are reasons why Christ warned us that it would be very difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24). The main problem is that a rich person may love his riches too much, and he may be unwilling to give them up, if necessary, in order to follow Christ without reservation…

“Again and again, the Bible tells us not to give in to the love of ‘money’ or materialism, and not to work for, as our main focus, the physical riches or possessions in this life… In the parable of the rich fool, Christ warned all of us: ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’ (Luke 12:15). After telling the rich fool who had heaped up treasures for himself that he would die that very night, He concluded, ‘So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’ (verse 21).

“And so, Paul admonishes us today—and especially those who are rich in this world—to get our priorities straight: ‘Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor TRUST in UNCERTAIN riches but in the living GOD, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do GOOD, that they be rich in good works, READY TO GIVE, WILLING TO SHARE, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life’ (1 Timothy 6:17-19).”

It is with this background that we must understand Christ’s warning that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24; compare Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25). Christ was pointing out here that it is HUMANLY impossible that a camel would go through the eye of a needle. Some commentaries try to “soften” Christ’s statement by saying that He was referring to a small gate in Jerusalem, and that a camel had great difficulties to get through it, if at all. Or that Christ was really speaking about a rope or a cable instead of a camel. But this was not the point which Christ was making. Rather, He clearly used in this parable or comparison a humanly impossible picture—a camel cannot go through a literal eye of a needle.

The Pulpit Commentary explains:

“The disciples,… Mark notes, ‘were astonished at his words,’ so he proceeds to state the startling proposition more unreservedly and energetically. It is easier for a camel, etc. This is a proverbial expression for an impossibility… From taking a too literal view of the passage, some commentators have invented a gate at Jerusalem, low and narrow, designed only for foot passengers, which was called ‘the needle’s eye.’ Others have remedied the supposed absurdity by [replacing the word for ‘needle’ with] ‘rope,’ as if we were to say cable instead of camel. But there is no difficulty in the expression… (comp. Matthew 23:24).”

The Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers agrees, stating:

“Two explanations have been given… It has been conjectured that the Evangelists wrote not… a camel… but… a cable. Not a single MS., however, gives that reading, and the latter word, which is not found in any classical Greek author, is supposed by the best scholars… to have been invented for the sake of explaining this passage…

“The fact that in some modern Syrian cities the narrow gate for foot-passengers, at the side of the larger gate, by which wagons, camels, and other beasts of burden enter the city, is known as the ‘needle’s eye,’ has been assumed to have come down from a remote antiquity, and our Lord’s words are explained as alluding to it… It is not, however, necessary. The Talmud gives the parallel phrase of an elephant passing through a needle’s eye. The Koran reproduces the very words of the Gospel. There is no reason to think that the comparison… would present the slightest difficulty to the minds of the disciples. Like all such comparisons, it states… the hindrance which wealth presents to the higher growths… and leaves out of sight the limits and modifications with which it has to be received…”

To emphasize the point even more, Christ said that it was EASIER for such an impossibility to occur (a camel going through the eye of a needle) than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. He introduced His parable by saying: “It is HARD for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23; compare Mark 10:23 and Luke 18:24). But Mark 10:24 adds an important point, quoting Christ as elaborating: “Children, how hard it is for those WHO TRUST IN RICHES to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples recognized the humanly impossible situation, as presented by Christ, and so they asked: “Who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25; compare Mark 10:26 and Luke 18:26). Jesus’ answer makes His teaching very clear: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Mark 10:27 quotes Jesus in this way: “With man it is impossible but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” And Luke 18:27 states: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Compare also Luke 1:37; Mark 14:36; Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Genesis 18:14.)

Returning to the question in this Q&A, whether it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, the answer is: No, it is not impossible, but it requires a miracle from God. This is true for all of us. It is God who must call us and open our minds to His truth; it is God who must offer us repentance and faith in Him and His Son’s  Sacrifice and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; it is God who must offer us His gift of righteousness and, upon repentance, belief and baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit—but we need to respond. The rich man was offered an opportunity to qualify for the Kingdom of God at that time, but he did not respond properly, because he did not want to give up his riches. Others may have other excuses with which they may want to justify their refusal to accept God’s calling (compare Luke 14:15-24).

It is impossible for every person – not just a rich person – to come to God, UNLESS the Father draws him and brings him to Christ (John 6:44, 65). But once we accept our calling, we must change—our old man must die and be buried (Romans 6:1-6), and we must become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Especially rich people will have to come to the realization that they must not trust in their riches, but that they must be willing to give up their riches, if need be, and to share their riches with others. For most rich people, this is VERY hard to do. But God can change man’s heart and mind; so it is NOT impossible for Him to convert even a rich person, IF that person wants to be converted.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“’Measles Outbreak’–Blaming the Unvaccinated?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

The Press and Newscasts are making a meal of the story of “measles outbreak” in the USA. Scientists and lawyers argue that parents who don’t vaccinate their children should go to jail; that they always commit a tort; and that they are making a negligent, unreasonable and reckless decision under the law. President Obama stated that there is no reason to not vaccinate, while Senator Rand Paul wants to give parents the freedom to decide. What are the facts? Are vaccines harmless? Are they always effective? Why do properly vaccinated persons contract measles? Should we accept the position of those who oppose vaccination for religious or medical grounds? What are some of the reasons, and who are among those who decide against vaccination?

“Neu! Erfolgreiche Gebete–Den Vater im Himmel Heiligen!” is the title of this week’s German sermon. It begins a series on successful prayers based on the outline in Matthew. This first part addresses the injunction to pray to God the Father in heaven, whose name is to be hallowed. Title of the German sermon in English: “Successful Prayers–Hallow the Father in Heaven!”

“The Shield of Faith,” last Sabbath’s sermon by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Ephesians 6:16 commands us to take the shield of faith, as an important part of the armor of God, which will enable us to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. How does the Bible describe this shield, and what is meant with the fiery darts of the wicked one? Further, what kind of faith is necessary? Is true faith just a defensive “weapon,” or is more required?

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How This Work is Financed

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

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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

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

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