Update 714


Depth of Field; Who Will Listen?

On December 5, 2015, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Depth of Field” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Who Will Listen?”

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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How Long?

by Rene Messier (Canada)

You have to wonder what in the world is going on, when considering recent attacks by terrorists, which include the bombing of a Russian commercial airplane with 224 passengers aboard who all died; the Beirut individual bombing which killed 43; the Paris terrorist attack with a death toll of 130 innocent non-combatant civilians; and the terrorist attack in Mali, Africa, which killed 20 people.

I remember the Ambassador College choir song,  “It Won’t Be Long Now,” and I ask myself how long this madness can go on. It’s like Satan is on a rampage, influencing these senseless murders which are a reflection of his mind, since Christ referred to him as a murderer from the beginning. It should be no surprise to us to see what’s happening now, since Satan attempted an overthrow of his Creator in the distant past, and the Bible tells us he will try again in the end time:

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).

Satan knows that his time is short (verse 12), and he has become very active. We do not set dates for the return of Christ, yet looking at what’s happening with increased frequency, callousness and heartless attacks on innocent victims, this has to be alarming, and we may be closer to the Great Tribulation than many think.

Current conditions should help us to follow Christ’s admonition and put more impetus on us to pray fervently that God’s Kingdom may come, since it is the only solution to the madness of this current world under the sway of Satan and his merciless, indecent and demented demons.

The sooner we complete our job of preaching the gospel in all the world, the sooner this evil age will end. Now is not the time to slack off, but we should rather stay committed to our commission and responsibility, while staying close to God, because things are only going to get worse, before God’s Kingdom will be established on earth.

We can sigh and cry in the meantime and wonder just “how long” will this go on before we see a world of violence, senseless killing and mayhem under Satan’s influence come to an abrupt end. We long for the time when the world tomorrow, the Millennium, will be ushered in—when all will truly enjoy peace and prosperity. Surely, “it won’t be long now.”

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We begin with an article alleging that it was always the goal of the EU to become a world-ruling super state and a world government, followed by reports contending that the West with its rotten culture cannot win against ISIS and that President Obama’s anti-Islamic state coalition against ISIS is crumbling. We also speak on further insight into the creation of ISIS.

We are addressing the White House’s ill-advised measures against America’s visa waiver program and serious concerns that Congress might even initiate further restrictions, thereby severely damaging America’s economy; and that Britain does not even have enough tornado jets to successfully bomb the Islamic State in Syria.

We are reporting on growing HIV infections in Europe, especially through migrants, and concerns by the German police that migrants are between three and four times more likely to commit crime than the general population.

We continue addressing Germany’s new war in Syria which is supported by almost 50% of the German population, and disturbing actions in France under its newly imposed emergency laws which could signal the beginning of the end of democratic liberties and freedoms.

Focusing on the worsening situation between Russia and Turkey, it does not appear that their conflict over Turkey’s destruction of a Russian war plane (which had briefly entered Turkish airspace) will be over any time soon; especially, since Putin and Erdogan seem to be the same kind of ruthless dictators and autocrats.

While the USA demands of Turkey to close its borders to Syria, new shocking revelations regarding the “Iran deal” really seem to give credence to Donald Trump’s charge that the USA is being ruled by “stupid leaders.”

We report on Israel’s problems with Europe and reactions to the climate talks in Paris; and we address the murders at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and a mass shooting in Los Angeles.

We conclude with articles about misled and deceived young Americans’ views on atheistic evolution; a new dangerous virus; religious persecution in Kenya, leading to erroneous conclusions by a local Catholic priest pertaining to the Koran and the Bible; attempts to recreate ancient wines drunk by David and Jesus; questions regarding the celebration of Hanukkah; and controversial comments by the pope.

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EU To Become a World-Ruling Superstate

On November 29, The Telegraph published an article with the following headline: “How a secretive elite created the EU to build a world government.”

The article pointed out the following:

“Voters in Britain’s referendum need to understand that the European Union was about building a federal superstate from day one… As the debate over the forthcoming EU referendum gears up, it would be wise perhaps to remember how Britain was led into membership in the first place. It seems to me that most people have little idea why one of the victors of the Second World War should have become almost desperate to join this ‘club’…

“Why would [Britain] want to enter the EEC [forerunner of the EU]? The answer is that Harold Macmillan and his closest advisers were part of an intellectual tradition that saw the salvation of the world in some form of world government based on regional federations. He was also a close acquaintance of Jean Monnet, who believed the same…

“Despite advice from the Lord Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir, that membership would mean the end of British parliamentary sovereignty, Macmillan deliberately misled the House of Commons — and practically everyone else, from Commonwealth statesmen to cabinet colleagues and the public — that merely minor commercial negotiations were involved…

“Monnet’s Action Committee was also given financial backing by the CIA and the US State Department. The Anglo-American establishment was now committed to the creation of a federal United States of Europe.

“Today, this is still the case. Powerful international lobbies are already at work attempting to prove that any return to democratic self-government on the part of Britain will spell doom. American officials have already been primed to state that such a Britain would be excluded from any free trade deal with the USA and that the world needs the TTIP trade treaty which is predicated on the survival of the EU…”

Another European “Core Group” Created

The EUObserver wrote on November 30:

“German leader Angela Merkel has said a core group of eight EU states is preparing to resettle refugees from Turkish camps next year.  The eight leaders – from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden – held a separate meeting in Brussels on Sunday (29 November), shortly before the 28 member states met with Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu.”

European core groups come and go, but ultimately, a political and military core group of ten nations or groups of nations will emerge, which will signal the imminent end of this present age.

Why the West Can’t Win Against ISIS

Breitbart wrote on November 27:

Without question, our military is superior to any other on earth and we could inflict devastating damage to ISIS if we unleashed our military forces against them. But we are not going to do that…

“The real enemy is not ‘over there’ in Syria and Iraq, or in Paris or London. The enemy is already here in our homeland… I am speaking of the accelerating rot in our own culture… Islamist suicide bombers believe they are dying for a higher purpose, the greater glory of Allah.  What, exactly, are our ideals?…

“Witchcraft is as much a legitimate personal religion as Christianity… and polygamy is just another ‘lifestyle’…”

Bush and Obama Administrations Responsible for the Creation of ISIS and Current Mayhem

The Huffington Post wrote on November 30:

“Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, former U.S. special forces commander in Iraq and Afghanistan who was the country’s highest ranking military intelligence official, says that the George W. Bush administration’s Iraq war was a tremendous blunder that helped to create the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS. ‘It was a huge error,’ Flynn said about the Iraq war in a detailed interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel published Sunday. ‘As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him,’ Flynn went on to say. ‘The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq…

“When told by Der Spiegel reporters Matthias Gebauer and Holger Stark that the Islamic State would not ‘be where it is now without the fall of Baghdad,’ Flynn, without reservations, said: ‘Yes, absolutely.’

Flynn, who served in the U.S. Army for more than 30 years and was former commander of special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, also said that the American military response following 9/11 was not well thought-out at all and based on significant misunderstandings… Instead of determining why the U.S. was attacked by terrorists, Flynn said, the Bush administration was looking at where the terrorists came from and locations to attack. ‘Then,’ Flynn said, ‘we strategically marched in the wrong direction.’

“Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 based on sketchy evidence presented by the Bush administration that linked weapons of mass destruction and terrorist organization Al Qaeda to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The fall of Hussein resulted in chaos and led to a power vacuum in the region that terrorist organizations, like the Islamic State, have taken advantage of…

“Following the violent attacks in Paris earlier this month, Flynn said that the Obama administration’s foreign policy is ‘amateurish’ and has ‘its own place of responsibility in the mayhem that we are seeing right now.’”

Sadly, this entire assessment rings very very true. America’s leadership, both past and present, has been a catastrophe.

“Obama’s Anti-Islamic State Coalition Crumbles as Arab Allies Abandon Effort”

The Washington Times wrote on November 30:

“The major Arab powers once deemed essential to the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have largely pulled back from the U.S.-led military campaign, undercutting the Obama administration’s claims about the depth and reach of the coalition it has built with allies in the region. The Obama administration consistently touts the ‘65-nation coalition’ it has assembled to fight the group also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh — but critics say [that] fewer than a dozen nations today are contributing anything significant to the campaign.

“And behind closed doors, administration and military officials admit that air support from such key Arab allies as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — something the White House once touted as an unprecedented and essential part of the coalition — has all but evaporated.”

The White House’s Announcement Regarding Visa Waiver Program

 Deutsche Welle reported on November 30:

“The White House has announced it will add more screening for travelers allowed to enter the US without a visa. The decision comes after calls to tighten the Visa Waiver Program following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

“People from thirty-eight countries around the world are currently allowed to enter the US without applying for a visa. While the program will remain in place, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will start collecting information regarding visits to countries considered a ‘terrorist safe haven.’ The White House said on Monday it was also asking Congress for the authority to reprimand airlines that failed to verify passport data.

“DHS released a statement as well urging Congress to pass legislation tightening the program…”

Actually, the White House’s plans go much further than that. As Bild Online reported on November 30, “citizens from Germany and 37 additional countries… will be examined much more severely at American airports.” That will not make visiting Europeans very happy, as the American immigration procedure at its airports has already been a complete and incompetent nightmare.

This is also true for German airports, and the White House’s measures at its airports will undoubtedly be copied in Europe, making international travel a terrible endeavor for most people. It is interesting that terrorists will probably reach their goal of paralyzing major industries not so much by violent attacks, but much more easily by the reactions of panicking governments.

Der Spiegel Online wrote that traveling to America is already complicated enough, but that Obama wants to make it even more complicated, which measures will also affect German tourists and business people. For some American politicians, these changes don’t even go far enough.

The New York Times wrote on November 30:

“Congressional Republican leaders announced Monday that they would pursue more potent legislation to toughen the waiver program… The extremists who mounted the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 were not Syrians but citizens of Europe who might have been able to fly to the United States without getting a visa or going through any of the significant security screening that refugees face…

“The visa-waiver program also dwarfs the refugee plan, allowing 20 million foreigners a year to travel to the United States without being interviewed at American consulates and embassies. It covers 38 counties, mainly European but also allies such as Japan, Australia, Chile and New Zealand.

“While cracks in the visa-waiver program are worrisome to national security officials, business leaders see the program as a boon to tourism and the economy. Foreign tourists who come to the United States under the program are estimated to spend as much as $100 billion a year, and advocates argue that tightening the program would deter tourism, a concern the White House shares. American tourists get similar waivers to travel to Europe and other friendly countries…

“The House majority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, said Monday that Republicans would push their own changes, which would include requiring that all visa-waiver countries issue electronic passports with built-in computer chips…”

It cannot be doubted that the tightening of the visa waiver program will have a devastating effect on America’s economy. America’s irreversible path towards national bankruptcy continues…

Under Obama in WW II, British Theaters Would Do Hamlet in German

The Washington Post wrote on November 30:

You can speculate that if the Obama of today and not Winston Churchill had led Britain in World War II, the Old Vic theater would now be doing ‘Hamlet’ in German. The president has lost his voice, that is certain. The numbers say so. Obama has the approval of only 44 percent of the American people. During his time in office, Congress and much of the nation have gone Republican — statehouse after statehouse, governor after governor (soon to be 32)…

“His problem is that he often has nothing to say… It is on foreign policy particularly where he goes empty and cold… Obama’s self-inflicted predicament was apparent in the statement he issued following the Paris terrorist attacks… saying all the right things in the manner of a minister presiding at the funeral of a perfect stranger…

“This happened once before, when he issued his ‘red line’ warning to Syria — and then, upon consideration, said never mind. The result has been a foreign policy debacle…

“Obama’s dilemma is not just that he cannot find the words to articulate his policy. He cannot stick to his policy either. His initial reluctance to act in Libya faded when Moammar Gaddafi threatened to massacre his opposition and the French took the lead. His determination to stay out of Iraq collided with the threatened genocide of the Yazidis. Iraq fell apart, the Islamic State seemed to come out of nowhere. Americans were beheaded. Women were enslaved. No boots on the ground became some boots on the ground — and then some more and then some of them helped the Kurds and mixed it up with the Islamic State…

“Obama… is out of words because he is out of ideas…”

Britain Enters the War—and Splits the Country

On December 2, 2015, The Guardian wrote:

“Britain is to launch airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria immediately after MPs voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday night to authorise an extension of bombing. At the end of a day of extraordinary rhetoric and private anguish, MPs voted by 397 to 223 in favour of sending Tornados from the RAF base in Cyprus to seek out Isis targets in Syria…”

Reuters reported on December 2:

“Given Britain’s diminished role on the world stage, the victory hands Cameron the chance to restore Britain’s standing in global affairs… Many British voters are wary of being dragged into another war in the Middle East. Some view Western intervention in Iraq and Libya as a failure that sowed chaos across the region… British air strikes are unlikely to change the military balance…

“The British public is divided over launching the strikes… with 48 percent of respondents supporting strikes and 31 percent against. Those opposed to air strikes recalled the events of 2003 when Britain helped the United States to invade Iraq after asserting – wrongly, as it later turned out – that dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

“Julian Lewis, Conservative chairman of the Commons Defence Committee and a critic of extending air strikes to Syria, said the government was in denial about the effectiveness of bombing without deploying viable ground troops. Lewis compared Cameron’s assertion that there are as many as 70,000 moderate opposition fighters in Syria with the ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraq’s military capabilities. ‘Instead of dodgy dossiers, we now have bogus battalions of moderate fighters,’ he said.’”

It is undoubtedly true that the radicals (not moderates) are the most successful Syrian “rebel” fighters against Assad’s regime.

Britain Does Not Have Enough Tornados Against ISIS

The Daily Mail wrote on November 28:

“Britain does not have enough aircraft to carry out effective bombing missions against Islamic State in Syria, a senior Conservative MP has told The Mail on Sunday. Experts say that 24 Tornado ground-attack aircraft would be needed for Britain to mount an effective campaign, while maintaining current missions in Iraq. But RAF sources say that only ‘two to four’ jets are poised to join the eight-strong force already operating over IS territory from Britain’s airbase at Akrotiri in Cyprus.

“…David Cameron was informed of the lack of available aircraft by Defence officials and was said to have been ‘disappointed’. Lewis, the Tory chairman of the influential Commons Defence Select Committee, said last night that Britain’s fleet of mission-ready Tornados was so small that it could only make a ‘marginal’ contribution to the war against Islamic State…

“And former Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Sir John Walker, said: ‘Can we sustain an effective bombing campaign against IS in Syria with the numbers of Tornado currently available? I would say no, we can’t, and a lot of RAF people I speak to feel the same way. We’ve only got eight Tornados flying over Iraq and Syria. If you’re going to do this properly you need around 24.’…”

HIV Infections on the Rise in Europe

Breitbart wrote on November 27:

“Europe has seen 142,000 new infections of HIV this year, the virus which causes AIDS — the highest number in one year ever. Although the rising rates of transmission due to heterosexual intercourse and careless use of unclean drug paraphernalia has been cited in the media as causing the rise, gay sex between men is still the main source of the virus spread…

“World Health Organisation director for Europe Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab… named migrants travelling across Europe as being a particular risk for spreading HIV in the continent… A third of all new HIV diagnoses in Europe are to migrants and non-native Europeans, despite only accounting for a fraction of the population.”

German Police Unable to Protect Public?

Breitbart reported on November 28:

“The German police have been left unable to protect the public from criminal migrants due to years of neglect by state governments which have left the force short of thousands of officers. The remarkable admission was made by a spokesman for the Gewerkschaft der Polizei — the German union for police officers — in response to the comments made by union chief Rüdiger Seidenspinner about the migrant problem.

“Union spokesman Michael Zielasko told Breitbart London it was inevitable criminals would travel to Europe, remarking: ‘of course there is a percentage of criminals in this big amount of refugees the police has to cope with’.

“Mr. Zielasko said the state forces were hamstrung in the fight against migrant crime by budget cuts, which left them without the manpower to deal with the problem. He said: ‘It isn’t very easy to deal with this issue because German police has a lack of 16,000 policemen…

“Chief Mr. Seidenspinner spoke out yesterday on the migrant crime wave, his potentially controversial comments backed up by statistics which show incomers are between three and four times more likely to commit crime than the general population. Complaining officers routinely came up against the same criminal migrants time and again, he hit out at the courts and migration system which gave them joke punishments such as unenforceable fines, while failing to deport criminals…”

Germany’s New War

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 27:

“The news that Germany was going to join the military campaign against the self-styled ‘Islamic State’ (IS) in Syria in the wake of the Paris attacks was met with some skepticism in a country weary of war and fatigued by the long, protracted conflict in Afghanistan…

“For more than fifty years after the Second World War, Federal Germany pursued a policy of what became known as checkbook diplomacy, in which money rather than troops was sent abroad to help solve problems. That began to change with NATO’s Kosovo campaign in 1999 and popular opinion may now be following suit. At the beginning of 2014, two thirds of Germans opposed the idea of armed forces directly participating in combat missions. A survey from November 27 however suggests that 47 percent of Germans think the country should take part in fighting the jihadists militarily as opposed to 46 percent who are against it…

“Whether or not they are for or against military engagement abroad, a large majority (74 percent) of Germans fear their country will be targeted in a future terror attack. While bombing terrorist targets in Syria may provide some short-term relief, it won’t tackle the problem at its roots…”

How circumstances can change “convictions.” Thousands of years ago, the Bible prophesied that in these end times, Germany will become a powerful military force which will be actively engaged in international conflicts and combat missions.

France and Germany to Cooperate Militarily with Syrian Troops?

The EUObserver wrote on November 30:

“France and Germany have opened the door to a cooperation with the Syrian army in the fight against Islamic State (IS), while Germany is to send 1,200 military in the Middle East in a move away from its usual non-intervention stance. ‘There will be no future with [Syrian leader] Assad, this is clear,’ German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said on German ZDF television on Sunday (29 November). ‘But there are parts of the Syrian troops that we can take.’…

Bild Online asked the question whether Germany is entering into a “pact with the Devil” when contemplating fighting together with Syrian troops against ISIS. Der Stern stated that such action of the German government would be tantamount to a “crime.”

Die Welt Online wrote on November 30 that “Germany stumbles aimlessly into the Syrian War” and engages in an “adventure with an uncertain outcome.”

Der Stern wrote on December 1, that “war for peace does not work,” stating that the war in Afghanistan has brought absolutely no positive results.

German Army’s Largest Mission

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 2:

“Germany should prepare for a long, difficult and dangerous fight against IS in Syria… Lawmakers have expressed concerns about the deployment but are likely to approve the mission… So far, the basic tenets of the deployment call for 1,200 soldiers, six Tornado renaissance jets, refueling aircraft and a frigate to join the international coalition fighting ‘IS.’

“The vote in the Bundestag is set for Friday, with approval seen as likely, as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ‘grand coalition’ government enjoys a wide majority in the German parliament’s lower house…

“The head of Germany’s armed forces union, Andre Wüstner of the Bundeswehrverband, told public broadcaster ARD on Tuesday that fighting could last ‘far more than 10 years’ and said politicians should come up with a ‘clearly defined mission’ for the military. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on public broadcaster ARD’s morning program on Wednesday that ‘it will be a long deployment, and it will be a difficult and dangerous deployment’…

“… the Syria mission would become the Bundeswehr’s largest. At the moment, the biggest foreign deployment of German armed forces is in Afghanistan, where fewer than 1,000 troops are assisting Afghan security forces. Germany previously fielded some 5,000 soldiers in the country during a combat mission. This week’s proposed mandate would also cover a deployment of up to 650 soldiers to the West African nation Mali to provide assistance to French forces fighting Islamist militants.”

France… The Beginning of the End of Democracy?

Reuters reported on November 28:

“France has put 24 green activists under house arrest ahead of the United Nations climate talks, using emergency laws put in place following the Paris shootings, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Saturday. Cazeneuve said the activists were suspected of planning violent protests at the talks which kick off on Sunday, a day ahead of the opening ceremony, and run until Dec. 11.

“The conference, also dubbed COP21, is seeking to agree a deal that signals a break with a rising reliance on fossil fuels, blamed by a U.N. panel of scientists for causing more floods, heat waves and rising sea levels…

“Following the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris in which 130 people were killed, the French government declared the state of emergency, banning public demonstrations and giving police extended powers of search and surveillance. ‘These people have no connection at all with the terrorist movement, but our forces need to be totally focused on the protection of the French people,’ Cazeneuve said, saying any serious public disturbance would distract police from their fight against terrorism…

“Greenpeace France director Jean-François Julliard said that, to his knowledge, all the ecologists under house arrest were pacifist activists who had never committed any violent acts nor been charged with anything. ‘We have the feeling that (the government) wants to stifle criticism from the militants, but they are going about it in the worst possible way, this is repression,’ he said on BFM television…”

AFP added on November 28:

“Three of those concerned, who are in their late 20s, are suspected of belonging to the ‘radical opposition movement’, according to information obtained by AFP. They are banned from leaving their home town in western France without special police permission, they must report to a local police station three times a day and remain at their homes between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am until December 12, the day after the talks are due to end. The interior ministry says the three individuals have caused ‘serious disturbances to public order’ in the past.

“The activists’ lawyer, Marie Dose, said the state of emergency was being ‘misused’ in their cases… In the wake of the bloody jihadist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people on November 13, the government banned all public demonstrations linked to COP21…

“Stephan Oberreit, head of Amnesty International France, said the measures taken by the government were ‘disproportionate’. ‘The systematic banning of all meetings linked to COP21 deprives critical voices of an essential outlet to express themselves,’ he said in a statement.

“France’s Human Rights League (LDH) on Thursday condemned the decision to place Joel Domenjoud, a member of the legal team for the coalition of protest groups, under house arrest.”

Erdogan and Putin… Two of a Kind?

The Guardian wrote on November 26:

“Even if Turkey is right that a Russian fighter jet strayed into its airspace, the plane was within Ankara’s borders for just 17 seconds before being attacked – and was making no hostile moves against the Turks. Airspace incursions… happen all the time, and generally you’d expect warning shots to be fired and then attempts to force the intruder to leave or to land.

“That the Turks shot down the jet and did so within 17 seconds – with the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying he gave the order to fire himself – suggests very strongly they were waiting for a Russian plane to come into or close enough to Turkish airspace with the aim of delivering a rather pyrotechnic message. In this respect, it is understandable that the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, called the attack a provocation and an ambush.

“Moscow may have been foolish to let its planes stray so close to the border…  Turkey’s response went way beyond the usual practice.

“In 2012, the Syrians shot down a Turkish jet which had entered its airspace, and Erdoğan’s furious response at the time was that ‘a short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack’. (At the time, the then Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen called it ‘another example of the Syrian authorities’ disregard for international norms’. There hasn’t been a similar critique of Ankara.)…

“There are striking similarities between Erdoğan’s Turkey and Putin’s Russia, not least their ability and propensity to move conflicts into the covert arena. While Russia’s intervention in Syria may have cynical intent, the Turks are acting in support of their national interests in Syria with equal ruthlessness.

“Ankara is often guilty of neglecting attacks on Isis and hitting the Kurds (who are in so many ways the most effective force against the jihadists) instead, smuggling weapons in the guise of humanitarian convoys (something we saw the Russians doing in Ukraine), and being willing to support groups which are often jihadist in their own terms. Turkish military intelligence organisation (MIT) is every bit as cynically opportunist as the Russian military spy agency (GRU), and Erdoğan every bit as erratic, brutal and ambitious as Putin…

“This is a conflict that Ankara triggered and while it is being managed it is not going to go away… Expect to see this play out in snide, deniable, but nonetheless bitter actions for months to come.”

Turkey “Regrets” Downing of Russian Plane

The Associated Press reported on November 28:

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday voiced regret over Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane, saying his country was ‘truly saddened’ by the incident and wished it hadn’t occurred. It was the first expression of regret by the strongman leader since Tuesday’s incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey’s airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow…

“Erdogan’s friendly overture however, came after he again vigorously defended Turkey’s action and criticized Russia for its operations in Syria…”

Der Spiegel Online added that Erdogan’s statements of regret are not be confused with an apology. Erdogan specifically rejected the concept that Turkey would apologize; also because that might trigger causes of action for damages and punishment for the “criminals,”  as demanded by Russia.

The Russian-Turkish Fight – Far From Over

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 28:

“Vladimir Putin has approved a raft of economic sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish forces. The move came after Turkey’s Erdogan expressed regret over the incident.

“President Putin on Saturday signed a decree which bans the import of some Turkish products and forbids Russian firms from hiring Turkish citizens. The measures also include orders to suspend visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, end charter flights from Russia to Turkey, and for Russian tourism companies to stop selling trips to Turkey – a favorite holiday destination for many Russians. The Kremlin said the decree aimed to ‘ensure Russia’s national security and protect Russian citizens from criminal and other illegal activities.’…”

US Wants Turkey to Close the Border to Syria

Newsmax wrote on November 28:

“The U.S. wants Turkey to seal off a 60-mile stretch of its border with Syria in hopes of blocking the Islamic State (ISIS) from moving in foreign fighters, a move that Pentagon officials estimate could take as many as 30,000 soldiers.  Turkey has agreed that it needs to tighten the border… but has demands of its own, including support for a safe zone in Syria, which the Obama administration has rejected.

“Further, Turkey points out that Washington has not been able to seal the U.S./Mexico border, a statement that angered U.S. officials.  ‘If we were at war with Mexico, we’d close that border,’ a senior official responded to that line of argument…

“There also could be negative reaction from Europe if Turkey does not close its border and more ISIS fighters come through to Europe to commit terrorist attacks.”

Incredible Incompetency of the Obama Administration Regarding “Iran Deal”

Investors.com wrote on November 25:

“The Obama administration admits to Congress that its nuclear pact with Iran has not been signed by the Iranian regime and has no legal force. Obama’s ‘tough diplomacy’ is puff diplomacy…

“Going back to when, as a candidate, he expressed a willingness to talk directly with Iran, then through months of negotiations on its nuclear program, Obama never said that at the end of it all the Iranians might never bother to sign the deal that he promises will prevent the terror state from becoming nuclear-armed. Or that the lack of Iran’s signature was OK.

“But that is exactly what Obama’s State Department now says, in a Nov. 19 written response to a letter to Secretary John Kerry from Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., obtained by National Review’s Joel Gehrke. ‘The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document,’ according to Julia Frifield, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs… According to the State Department, it doesn’t matter ‘whether it is legally binding or signed.’

“What matters are ‘the extensive verification measures we have put in place’ — like letting Tehran inspect its nuclear facilities — and ‘Iran’s understanding that we have the capacity to reimpose — and ramp up — our sanctions if Iran does not meet its commitments.’

“But sanctions will never be reimposed, because that would expose the deal as not being worth the paper it’s signed on — or, rather, isn’t signed on. Reinstating sanctions would kill the deal and expose Obama’s and Kerry’s efforts as a monumental failure…

“Earlier this year, the White House website answered the question, ‘Will companies that sign contracts with Iran be able to continue that business even if Iran violates the JCPOA and snapback occurs because of a grandfather clause? The answer was, ‘No. There is no grandfather clause in the JCPOA … (and) no exemptions from our sanctions for long-term contracts.’

“But if the deal is not signed, what does it matter what clause is there? A nonsigned contract is no contract, which our law ‘professor’ president presumably was taught in his high school business law class. Iran knows this — which is exactly why it hasn’t signed. ‘Moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani in August opposed parliamentary approval because ‘it will create an obligation for the government. It will mean the president, who has not signed it so far, will have to sign it,’ he said, asking, ‘Why should we place an unnecessary legal restriction on the Iranian people?’

When Donald Trump talks about our “stupid leaders,” he seems to know very well what he is talking about.

Israel Suspends Peace Talks with Europe

 JTA wrote on November 29:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended contacts between Israeli officials and European Union institutions and representatives involved in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The order Sunday comes in the wake of the EU decision to approve special labeling for Israeli products made in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

“Netanyahu, who also holds the foreign minister portfolio, ordered the Foreign Ministry to ‘reassess’ the involvement of EU and European Commission agencies in the peace process. But Israel will continue to maintain diplomatic contact with individual European countries that are member-states of the EU, such as Germany, Britain and France.

“The labeling regulations adopted last month require separate labeling for Israeli products sold in the European Union when they are either packaged or produced in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem or the Golan. It also requires labels on such products specifying whether they were produced by Israelis or Palestinians.”

More Nonsense—Emission Limits an Act of Defiance of Terrorism?

Bloomberg News reported on November 30:

“President Barack Obama told world leaders that the climate talks that opened Monday in Paris mark a turning point for collective action on global warming and stand as a rejection of the terrorists who struck the French capital a little more than two weeks ago.

“The threat posed by climate change is the defining challenge of the century, Obama told the United Nations-sponsored summit organized to reach the first truly global agreement to curb greenhouse gases.  Linking the meeting to the battle against extremism, Obama said a deal on emissions limits would be ‘an act of defiance’ that proves nothing will deter nations from ‘building the future we want for our children.’”

As if the terrorists cared about climate change…

Der Spiegel Online commented on December 1 that even though Obama likes to present himself as the savior of the world, his sincerity must be questioned.

Newsmax added on December 1:

“President Barack Obama and other world leaders meeting in Paris for climate talks nearly three weeks after violence by Islamic State terrorists caused 130 deaths and more than 360 injuries is ‘insane,’ actor Kevin Sorbo [former performer of “Hercules” in the long-running TV series] told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

“‘They just had an ISIS attack,’ Sorbo, star of the new Christian film ‘The Secret Handshake,’ told ‘The Steve Malzberg Show’ in an interview. ‘Perfectly executed, exactly what they wanted to do in Paris — and here the irony is all these leaders are meeting in Paris, and it’s global warming is what they’re concerned about…’”

Murders at Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs

The Washington Post wrote on November 28:

“The police officer who was killed during Friday’s shooting standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs has been identified as… a co-pastor at his church and an ice-skating champion. [He] who was married and had two young children, had been with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police department for six years and responded to the initial reports of an active shooter.

“Authorities said a suspect was taken into police custody after the hours-long shooting standoff at the clinic where [the officer] and two civilians were killed. Police were trying to determine the suspect’s motive after his capture. At least four other police officers and five civilians were injured.

In a statement released by the White House on Saturday, President Obama praised the slain officer: ‘May God bless Officer… and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.’

“[The officer] was part of the leadership at his non-denominational, evangelical church that is overseen by a group of elders or co-pastors, as opposed to one specific pastor. [He] was part of what the church calls the ‘teaching team’ and played guitar on the worship team…”

The deadly events at the Planned Parenthood clinic are horrible and deeply disturbing. While Planned Parenthood immediately issued an irresponsible statement blaming the negative reports about its controversial abortions and sales of body parts for the shooting and while President Obama immediately blamed “liberal” gun control laws for the murders, we must ask the question whether the vicious cycle of violence can ever end when even pastors work for the police force. We truly regret the officer’s untimely death, who clearly meant well, but Christ’s warning against participation in violent conduct should ring loud and clear. When we feel that we can use the sword, even in the defense of others, then we might be in danger of dying by the sword, as Christ warned Peter who took the sword to defend Christ against an illegal arrest.

Mass Shooting in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times reported on December 3:

“As the holiday gathering got underway Wednesday morning, Syed Rizwan Farook joined dozens of his colleagues from San Bernardino County’s public health department. Farook, an inspector, seemed quiet during the early hours of the event, then vanished just as a group photo was about to be taken. Shortly afterward, gunfire erupted at the Inland Regional Center where the employees filled a conference room.

“By the end of the day, police had identified Farook, 28, as a suspect in the massacre and said he was one of two people shot to death in a gun battle with officers. The other was 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, who a family member said was Farook’s wife… San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said that there were reports of a dispute before Farook left the party…

“Farook recently traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a new wife he had met online… Farook was a devout Muslim, but rarely discussed religion at work.”

Fox News reported that the suspects’ apartment was a “bomb-making factory,” with improvised explosive devices (IED) and remote-controlled cars for delivering explosives to their targets. The suspects are said to have attacked the holiday party wearing body armor and GoPro cameras to record their exploits.

The Associated Press added on December 3:

“A heavily armed man and woman dressed for battle opened fire on a holiday banquet for his co-workers, killing 14 people and seriously wounding [at least 21 people] in a precision assault, authorities said. Hours later, they died in a shootout with police. Authorities were trying to determine a motive, which could include workplace violence or terrorism… San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan [said:] ‘They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission’…

“The couple dropped off their 6-month-old daughter with relatives Wednesday morning, saying they had a doctor’s appointment…  Farook and Malik were found with assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns, and were wearing ‘assault-style clothing’ with ammunition attached… Three explosive devices — thought to be real and all connected to one another — were found at the social service center and later detonated by a bomb squad… Federal authorities said that the two assault rifles and two handguns used in the violence were purchased legally, but they haven’t said how and when they got into the hands of the two shooters.”

The Daily Mail added on December 3:

“The radicalized San Bernardino gunman clashed with a Jewish co-worker over religion just two weeks before he and his Pakistani wife stormed an office holiday party where they massacred 14 people.

“Syed Farook, 28, got into a heated argument with colleague Nicholas Thalasinos, a Messianic Jew who was identified today as one of the victims of Wednesday’s rampage.

“It came as FBI agents discovered a huge arsenal of weapons and pipe bombs at a California home linked to Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik.

“Agents discovered nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition, a dozen pipe bombs and hundreds of tools for making improvised explosive devices at the property, law enforcement officials revealed today.

“It also emerged that the US-born Farook appeared to have been radicalized and was in touch by phone and via social media with more than one international terrorism subject, which may have in part motivated the attacks, CNN reported, citing investigators.”

A Sad State of Affairs… Majority of Young Americans Believe in Atheistic Evolution

The website of iflscience.com reported on November 25:

“Nearly a quarter of the American public… do accept evolution, but with a huge caveat: a supreme being guided the process throughout history for the sole purpose of creating humans…

“…the majority of Europeans and many in other parts of the world accept the theory regardless of their religious propensities…

“51 percent [of young Americans under the age of 30] accept evolution without a guiding supreme being…  This upward tick may have something to do with the fact that America is getting less religious each year…

“As also seen with social issues – including same-sex marriage…– the younger generations tend to be far more progressive than the comparatively conservative elder generations…”

More ungodly would be a better term to describe the “values” of “younger generations.” And this is why God is VERY ANGRY with America and a rulership consisting of “children.”

Dangerous Virus Without Treatment

NBCNews.com reported on November 28:

Chikungunya, a painful, mosquito-borne virus that’s spreading fast across the Americas, can be more serious than feared, researchers report. They found it can cause a serious brain inflammation called encephalitis far more frequently than reported before. That’s bad news for Latin America and the Caribbean, where the rate of infection is about a million people a year. ‘Since there is no vaccine to prevent chikungunya and no medicine to treat it, people who are traveling to these areas should be aware of this infection and take steps to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing repellent and long sleeves and pants if possible,’ said Dr. Patrick Gérardin of Central University Hospital in Saint Pierre, Reunion Island, who led the study…

“More than 600,000 cases have been reported so far this year, with 76 deaths, according to the Pan American Health Organization. In 2013 and 2014 more than 1.1 million cases were reported and it killed 194 people…

“They said it’s higher than the rate of encephalitis [in] the United States from [West] Nile virus and similar infections between 1999 and 2007. West Nile was only introduced into the United States in 1999, but it quickly spread to all 50 states as well as Canada and Mexico. Since then, it’s infected hundreds of thousands of people, causing severe illness in about 40,000 and killing more than 1,600… There’s no vaccine against either chikungunya or West Nile…”

Religious Persecution of Christians in Kenya

The Associated Press reported on November 27:

“As song and prayer drifted from the open, ivy-lined doorways of a Catholic church in Garissa, several security officials, including Muslims, stood watch on the grounds nearby. Their presence was a reminder of the violence that hit this Kenyan town in April, when Islamic extremists killed nearly 150 people at a college of mostly Christian students…

“Garissa offers a snapshot of what France and Lebanon, both targeted in recent attacks, and other countries face — the challenge of harmonizing Christian-Muslim relations at a time of danger from extremists…

“Garissa, 225 miles (365 kilometers) east of the capital, Nairobi, lies in a mostly Muslim area. But the country is about 80 percent Christian… Survivors of the attack said the gunmen fired indiscriminately but also asked some students what faith they belonged to first…

“Nicholas Mutua, a local Catholic priest, welcomed the deployment of police to guard Garissa churches during services and noted that the Bible and the Quran carry similar messages of tolerance…”

To say that the Bible and the Koran carry similar messages on tolerance is absolutely untrue.

Recreating Ancient Wines Drunk by David and Jesus

The New York Times reported on November 29:

“The new crisp, acidic and mineral white from a high-end Israeli winery was aged for eight months — or, depending on how you look at it, at least 1,800 years. The wine, called marawi and released last month by Recanati Winery, is the first commercially produced by Israel’s growing modern industry from indigenous grapes. It grew out of a groundbreaking project at Ariel University in the occupied West Bank that aims to use DNA testing to identify — and recreate — ancient wines drunk by the likes of King David and Jesus Christ.

“Eliyashiv Drori, the Ariel oenologist who heads the research, traces marawi (also called hamdani) and jandali grapes to A.D. 220 based on a reference in the Babylonian Talmud. ‘All our scriptures are full with wine and with grapes — before the French were even thinking about making wine, we were exporting wine,’ he said…

“Wine presses have been uncovered in Israel — and the West Bank — that date to biblical times. But winemaking was outlawed after Muslims conquered the holy land in the seventh century. When Baron Edmond de Rothschild, an early Zionist and scion of a famed Bordeaux winery, helped restart the local craft in the 1880s, he brought fruit from France…

“Then there is proving that the old specimens were actually used for wine… one set that was recovered near the site of the destroyed Jewish temples alongside a shard of clay marked in an ancient Hebraic script, ‘smooth wine’…”

This article also shows that wine existed at the time of David and Jesus, and that Jesus did in fact drink wine, as the Bible clearly states… not just unfermented “grape juice,” as some contend.

“Should Hanukkah Be the Jewish Christmas?”

JTA wrote on December 1:

“Jews throughout America once again will encounter a challenging cultural/religious question: how should we celebrate Hanukkah?  Sure, there will be candle-lighting and latkes, but what else? Lavish presents?  Contemporary, catchy songs?  Vodka and latke parties? Or, to put it more succinctly, how much like Christmas should our Hanukkah celebration be?

“The traditionalists among us might recoil at such a thought. After all, according to the (second) blessing we recite when lighting our candles, Hanukkah celebrates a great miracle that our ancestors experienced in 165 BCE.  It is a holiday that enables us to… praise God for the miracle of a single cruse of oil lasting a full eight days.  Why tarnish these virtues by dipping into a Christian(ish) context?…

On the other hand, Christmas asserts a powerful gravitational pull on American culture from late October through New Year’s.  Whether or not one is Christian, one is bombarded — in malls, on the radio, in office elevators, and on and on — with Christmas music, decorations, and other symbols.  It is incredibly hard to shelter Jewish Americans from this influence; merely suggesting that all Jews just turn a blind eye to this cultural monolith is perhaps a tad naive. Plus, it is far from clear how Christian Christmas actually is.  As far back as 1984, the Supreme Court ruled… that a town’s display of a Santa Claus house, a Christmas tree, a banner reading ‘Season’s Greetings,’ and a crèche were not Christian symbols violating the First Amendment…

“Hanukkah is referenced several times in the Mishna… and other early Jewish literature… without any reference to the miracle of oil lasting eight days. Nor is the oil miracle described in either of the two Books of the Maccabees. It is only several hundred years later, in the Babylonian Talmud…  that the account of the oil miracle first occurs. Based on this novelty, along with… the prevalence of Zoroastrian lighting ceremonies in Babylonia at the time the Talmud was redacted, [Professor] Hauptman suggests that the oil miracle story might have been incorporated by the rabbis to provide a mythology to underlie the pre-existing Hanukkah celebration dating back to Hasmonean times.

“While this might seem radical to the naked eye, the truth is that Judaism… has incorporated, expanded, and Judaized contemporary religious and cultural practices of other groups… In short, it is Jewish to borrow from broader cultural memes and symbols and to redirect them through a Jewish prism. Perhaps Hanukkah, in its relationship to Christmas, is no different. Perhaps we can derive Jewish nachas (Yiddish for pride) and meaning from a little more Christmas-style revelry in our Hanukkah celebrations.”

This article sheds interesting light on the modern celebration of Hanukkah and Jewish practices in general. The Bible prohibits the incorporation of pagan worship elements in the true worship of God. Many claim that Jesus Christ celebrated Hanukkah. The idea that Jesus kept Hanukkah is based on John 10:22-23, which says that “it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem… And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.” “Hanukkah” is Hebrew for Dedication. It is also referred to as the Feast of Lights. But that Christ walked in Solomon‘s porch during the Feast of Dedication, and that He referred to Himself as the “light of the world” (John 8:12), does most certainly not justify the conclusion that He participated in modern day Hanukkah celebrations.

The following article, which was published on the Internet in December of 2008, adds additional observations, which we would like to share, as they raise interesting questions.

“When Jesus was in Solomon’s Porch as written in John 10, He was not there to celebrate the Feast of Dedication, but was walking in the court of the Gentiles that was built by Herod. It was built so that non-Jews could access a view of the Temple without defiling the Temple proper, which had signs warning of imminent death if the area was entered by any non-Jewish person. Solomon’s Porch was also where the money changers set up shop, as well as where they kept the animals and birds that were sold for sacrifices. This is where the tables were that Jesus overthrew when He chased the money changers from the temple…

“Does anyone believe that Jesus had a chanukkiah (nine branch menorah) which was devised by men, and not commanded by God as the seven branch menorah was. The miracle of the oil is merely a legend, and is not historically accurate. There is no mention of it in the apocryphal-historical writings of either Maccabees 1 or 2 (63 bce – 25ce). The legend was first introduced into Judaism in the talmud (200-500 CE)…

“To think that He celebrated Chanukkah in the modern sense as we know it cannot be proven historically or Scripturally…”

Pope Francis Attacks “Fundamentalism”

AFP wrote on November 30:

“Pope Francis said Monday that fundamentalism was ‘a disease of all religions’, including the Roman Catholic Church, but had nothing to do with God. ‘Fundamentalism is always a tragedy. It is not religious, it lacks God, it is idolatrous,’ the Argentine pontiff told journalists on the plane during his return from a trip to Africa.

“Francis said Islam was not the only religion to suffer from violent extremists, such as the ones behind the deadly attacks in Paris which were claimed by the Islamic State. ‘We Catholics, we have a few, even many fundamentalists. They believe they know absolute truth and corrupt others,’ he said, adding: ‘I can say this because this is my Church’.”

Even though Pope Francis does not define “fundamentalism,” which he condemns, he seems to equate it with the belief in absolute truth. These statements sound rather strange for the leader of a church which claims that it has received godly authority to change the truth of the Bible and replace it with their own dogmas and human traditions, including the abrogation of the weekly Sabbath and the introduction of Sunday, as well as the replacement of God’s annual Holy Days with human holidays such as Christmas and Easter, which do not derive from the Bible, but from paganism and the heathen worship of sun and moon gods.

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What Will Be the Conditions During the Great White Throne Judgment Period? (Part 4)

In the previous installments of this series, we discussed the fact that those who will be raised in the Second Resurrection will have to give account for their deeds in their prior life, as well as for their actions throughout the Great White Throne Judgment period. We emphasized the fact that forgiveness of sins (upon genuine and sincere repentance) does not automatically and necessarily mean that there won’t be punishment for crimes and transgressions.

A classic example is David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his subsequent murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. When David was brought to his senses, he bitterly repented and God forgave him his sins, but that did not mean that He left him without punishment. This gripping story is reported in 2 Samuel 12:7, 9-14:

“Nathan said to David… ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel… “Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall not depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”

“‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will rise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.”‘ So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD has PUT AWAY your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.'”

Even though God forgave David’s sins, He still punished him for them. In God’s eyes, these sins were so egregious that David HAD to be punished for them so that he would never forget the gravity of his conduct and the resulting consequences. Subsequent events show that all the curses came true which God had pronounced against David.

Another episode in David’s life shows again that God, even though He forgives sins, does not necessarily leave sins unpunished. 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 convey the thought that Satan “moved” David to number Israel, with the express permission of God (obviously, God wanted to test David, and David failed the test). We read that God was displeased with this thing, and He struck Israel (1 Chronicles 21:7). This in turn had the following result: “And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly'” (2 Samuel 24:10).

God forgave David, but He still proceeded with inflicting punishment on the people through a serious plague. David clearly understood that this punishment occurred because of his sin (2 Samuel 24:17; 1 Chronicles 21:17). In numbering the people, David showed that he wanted to see how great his army was, so that he could attack his enemies or defend himself against them. He did not put his trust in God, but in his military. The people were guilty too in that they had the same attitude as David, and they had been acting sinfully anyhow. But the fact remains that David sinned, obtained forgiveness upon his genuine repentance, and was still inflicted with punishment for his sin.

Another incident involving forgiveness of sin and punishment can be seen in the life of Moses. As usual, the people murmured against him and Aaron in the wilderness, complaining that they had nothing to drink (Numbers 20:2-5). God told Moses to speak to the rock, and it would bring forth water (verse 8). However, Moses spoke rashly with his lips (Psalm 106:32-33), and he struck the rock twice with his rod (Numbers 20:11).  His conduct and God’s subsequent response show that he wanted to receive glory for himself. He claimed that HE would bring forth water for them. Apparently, he did not believe God that by merely speaking to the rock, it would yield water (verse 12). God called this rebellion (Numbers 27:12-14), and since the rock symbolized Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-4), Moses was viewed by God as actually hitting Christ. As a consequence, even though God forgave him his sin, He did not allow him to enter the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 1:35-37; 3:25-26; 34:4).

Also, we read in Numbers 12 that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman (apparently before his conversion). They brought up this incident because of envy, craving for the position which Moses had (Numbers 12:2). God was very angry with Miriam (who was apparently the main culprit) and struck her with leprosy. God forgave Miriam her sin, after Moses and Aaron had prayed for her, but He still decreed a seven-day shameful punishment for Miriam (Numbers 12:14).

All these examples show that even when God forgives sin which has been repented of, He might still inflict punishment, depending on the circumstances. How much more is this true for sins which have NOT been repented of!

Applying these principles to those who will be raised in the Second Resurrection, we can see that punishment for sins is in fact to be expected, and this is also clearly taught in Scripture.

Christ spoke numerous times about the Great White Throne Judgment period and those who would be in it.

In Matthew 10, He sent out His twelve apostles to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. God would be working with them and confirm their word through accompanying signs (compare Mark 16:20 and Matthew 10:8). Christ told His apostles: “‘And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, It will be MORE TOLERABLE for the land of SODOM and Gomorrah IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT than for that city’” (Matthew 10:14-15).

The New International Version says that it will be “more bearable,” and the Living Bible states that “they will be better off.”

In Matthew 11:20-24, Christ draws a similar comparison, stating:

“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in TYRE and SIDON, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes! But I say to you, it will be MORE TOLERABLE for Tyre and Sidon in the DAY OF JUDGMENT than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven will be brought down to Hades [or: Will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades]; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in SODOM, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be MORE TOLERABLE for the land of Sodom IN THE DAY OF JUDGMENT than for you.’”

In a similar account in Luke 10, further light is shed on the meaning of Christ’s statements. Here, He is sending out seventy disciples, two by two, to the cities where He was about to go, giving them the following commission: “And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’’” (verse 9). He continued:

“‘But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, “The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.” But I say to you that it will be MORE TOLERABLE in THAT DAY for SODOM than for that city. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in TYRE and SIDON, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be MORE TOLERABLE for Tyre and Sidon AT THE JUDGMENT than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades [or, see the alternative rendering, as mentioned above]. He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me’’” (Luke 10:10-16).

The Living Bible renders the words “it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon” as, “Tyre and Sidon will receive less punishment on the Judgment Day than you.”

In the above-quoted passages, Christ speaks about the Second Resurrection or the Great White Throne Judgment period, calling it “the Day of Judgment,” “the Judgment” or simply, “that day.” For some, it will be “more tolerable” than for others—they will receive “less punishment” than others.

Let us review a few more passages, which compare the conduct of the cities at the time of Christ with actions by others who had lived in previous times.

In Matthew 12:41-42, Christ says these revealing words:

“‘The men of NINIVEH will RISE UP in the JUDGMENT WITH THIS GENERATON and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The QUEEN OF THE SOUTH [the Queen of Sheba] will RISE UP in the JUDGMENT WITH THIS GENERATION and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.’”

When we read the parallel passage in Luke 11:31-32, we note that there, the order of the two examples is reversed, showing that one is not more important than the other, but that both are to emphasize the same truth. The word for “condemn” is used in James 5:9, where it is rendered in many translations as “judge.” That is the meaning which is also conveyed in Christ’s statements about the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South.

In the “Judgment,” the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South will not “condemn” the generation of Christ, nor will they even occupy the role of human “judges,” but it will be established by their prior conduct that they had acted in a better way than the people living at the time of Christ. The men of Nineveh might say to them: “How come that you did not respond to the preaching of Christ while we responded to Jonah’s message who was much inferior by comparison?” And the Queen of Sheba might say: “How come you did not listen to the wisdom of Christ while I came from afar to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, who was much inferior by comparison.”

We also note that all will “RISE UP” together in the “Judgment”—showing that they will be RAISED in the Second RESURRECTION—the Great White Throne JUDGMENT period.

In Mark 12:38-40, Christ shows us another important piece of the entire puzzle when He says:

“‘Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the market places, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for pretense make long prayers. They will receive GREATER CONDEMNATION.’”

The New International Version gives the meaning more accurately: “Those men will be punished more severely.” The Living Bible says: “Their punishment will be the greater.”

In future installments, we will address more specifically the kind of severe “punishment” which some will receive for refusing to repent and for rejecting Christ and His messengers, while for others, the Day of Judgment will be “more tolerable.”

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Fighting Terrorism and ISIS–But How? is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

The mass shootings in San Bernardino must be viewed as the latest terrorist attack in a whole series of never-ending atrocities. Even though ISIS did not claim direct responsibility, they applauded the carefully planned murders of 14 innocent victims as an heroic act. Western citizens and governments, including France, Great Britain and Germany, are prepared to  engage militarily in the war against ISIS, but they are also painfully aware that they cannot rely on America’s leadership. What does the Bible tell us about the immediate future?

A new German AufPostenStehen program was posted as well, covering the same topic.

“Simson und Delila,” is the title of this week’s new German sermon. Title in English: “Samson and Delilah.”

“The Rules of Christianity,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Christianity has rules, but very few people really know or understand them—much less, actually obey them!  The Bible reveals a fundamental key for us to use to obey the rules of Christianity.

“Blessings of Abraham,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We live in abundance because of a promise made thousands of years ago to one man. While most have no knowledge of God’s promise, God fulfilled what He said to Abraham, despite the actions of those who benefit so much from it. Even in darkness we are to live and shine to those around us, knowing that even greater promises lie ahead.

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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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God