|Live Services||You Shall Not Kill!; God’s Unlimited Power|
|Editorial||The Glory of God’s Creation|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||What Will Be the Conditions in the Second Resurrection? (Part 6)|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
You Shall Not Kill!; God’s Unlimited Power
On December 19, 2015, Norbert Link will present the sermonette, titled, “You Shall Not Kill!,” and Mike Link will present the sermon, titled, “God’s Unlimited Power.”
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.
The Glory of God’s Creation
by Robb Harris
The Kepler spacecraft, launched in 2009, is designed to search for planets orbiting stars. The program’s mission statement is to “survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover dozens of Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets.” To date, over 1000 planets have been discovered, orbiting distant stars.
Many use these findings to answer the question: “Are we alone?” Scientific thought posits that we cannot be alone, simply because of the unfathomable amount of space and matter present. Stephen Hawking, a man considered one of the great scholars of our age, stated, “The idea that we are alone in the universe seems to me completely implausible and arrogant, considering the number of planets and stars that we know exist, it’s extremely unlikely that we are the only form of evolved life.” Mr. Hawking, like many others, are correct in the assumption that we are not alone, but the basis for reaching this conclusion is utterly misguided. God reveals to those who can hear Him the existence of a spiritual realm, and our role in preparing and qualifying to be part of a spiritual Kingdom.
Man, without God, looks to the heavens and sees limitless space with no meaning. Man can only impose his own will based upon misconstrued theories and ideals. With God guiding our thoughts, we see much more. David looked up into the night and knew: “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). He saw what only God could open his mind to see.
The growing knowledge of the physical universe we have today is beyond what any before us could have imagined or seen. While many grasp for meaning in the limitless space surrounding this small planet called Earth, they do so without Godly direction and miss what is so obvious to God’s people. “The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory” (Psalm 97:6).
It seems like Donald Trump is unstoppable. No matter what he says, his support is growing amongst GOP voters. The GOP establishment is very worried about this development, and rumors have it that they are trying to topple Trump through the means of questionable politics. Dr. Ben Carson stated that if this alleged hypocritical conspiracy is true, he will resign from the race.
We continue to explain how America under Trump could clash with Germany, while “anti-Islamisation” politician Geert Wilders of The Netherlands went on record supporting Trump as US President. Wilders has been named politician of the year for the third time in a Dutch poll, while his Freedom Party gains ground in the country. At the same time, Marine Le Pen of France suffered a stunning defeat in regional elections, due to risky political maneuvering of the Socialists and the Republicans.
Angela Merkel is trying to appease the German public, stating that the country must now “noticeably reduce” the number of new arrivals of refugees, and that migrants must assimilate into German society, while dismissing the idea of multiculturalism. However, the concept of parallel societies with different religions, customs and laws, which is condoned, if not supported by the Obama Administration, has proven to be a big problem in Germany and Western Europe, which, according to Merkel, is a grand delusion which has utterly failed. It is also condemned in the Bible.
Focusing on events evolving around terrorist groups, we report that at least 72 employees at the Department of Homeland Security are listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list; point out frightening activities of Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the USA with the approval of the White House; mention the concern that ISIS is printing fake Syria passports for “refugees”; and speak on a fragile Saudi-Arabian coalition with other nations against ISIS, which is not joined by Iran.
We continue to focus on the ongoing clash between Russia and Turkey (which was apparently intentionally caused by Turkey).
We conclude with announcements by the Catholic Church that they will not attempt to convert Jews, correctly calling anti-Semitism a sin against God and man. However, the Catholic Church is overlooking an important truth in regard to the Bible and the Jewish faith.
This Week in the News
Trump at an All-Time High
The Washington Post wrote on December 15:
“Following his proposal to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the country, Donald Trump has increased his lead in the Republican primary to its largest margin yet, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The results are the latest sign that Trump’s outspoken comments on immigration and terrorism continue to find an audience among rank-and-file Republicans in spite of sharp condemnation from Democrats, GOP leaders, some of Trump’s rivals and a chorus of world leaders.
“The survey puts Trump’s support at 38 percent among registered Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, six points higher than in October and November. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who also is running an anti-establishment campaign, has surged into second place with 15 percent, effectively doubling his support since last month.
“Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ben Carson are tied for third, with 12 percent each… No other candidate in the new poll registers in double digits…
“In Iowa, which kicks off the nominating season with caucuses on Feb. 1, Trump trailed Cruz [by more than 10 points] in a Des Moines Register-Bloomberg Politics poll released over the weekend. Trump continues to lead in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary on Feb. 9…”
In the most recent Republican Presidential Debate on December 15, Trump emerged as the undisputed winner, followed by Ted Cruz. Nationwide, according to several polls, Trump leads convincingly by a wide margin.
Buchanan to GOP: “Support Trump or Lose to Clinton”
Newsmax reported on December 10:
“Veteran conservative voice Patrick Buchanan issued a stern warning to the Republican Party on Thursday: Throw your weight behind GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump now — or prepare to lose next year’s election to Hillary Clinton. Buchanan, an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, told Newsmax TV the freak-out over Trump’s proposal to temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the U.S. is misguided…
“Buchanan said he made the same arguments for limits on entry into the U.S. when he ran for president in 1996 and 2000…”
Ben Carson Blasts Corrupt GOP Conspiracy
Newsmax reported on December 11:
“Ben Carson said Friday that he would not run as an independent candidate amid reports that Republican Party officials had met to discuss the possibility of a ‘brokered’ convention to name a presidential nominee in Cleveland next year as Donald Trump continues to lead in national polls. ‘If it became clear that they were using various types of procedures to get around the will of the people, I would leave,’ the retired pediatric neurosurgeon told Neil Cavuto on Fox News in a telephone interview from Iowa… ‘I would not want to be a part of the deception,’ Carson said. ‘That’s the reason I got into this: to see if somehow we can turn this thing around and bring back integrity.’
“The Washington Post reported late Thursday that 20 top GOP officials, along with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, attended a private dinner on Monday to outline the party’s convention strategy… Generally, most delegates are required to support the candidate chosen in primaries or caucuses, the Post reports. That would not hold, however, if no nominee is chosen. This could lead to a ‘brokered’ convention, in which deals are made to attract delegates to another candidate. The Republican National Convention will be held July 18 to 21, 2016.
“Carson slammed party leaders, charging that any brokering of an eventual nominee would usurp ‘the will of the people’… ‘I don’t want to be part of corruption,’ Carson said. ‘One of the reasons that I got into this race is because I want to return America to we, the people — and the last thing I want to be part of is a bunch of establishment party bosses thwarting the will of the people.’
“Carson blamed leaders from both political parties for creating the current political climate in which he and Trump have thrived as outside candidates since their campaigns began earlier this year… ‘It’s been the conventional political establishment on both parties that have manipulated for the last many decades that has gotten us into this position,’ he told Cavuto. ‘They used the press, they use whatever they have, to manipulate the population and make them think that they’re getting what they want when in fact they are not. And I’m tired of it,’ Carson declared. ‘A lot of people are tired of it — although they still a lot of times don’t realize they’re being manipulated, and we just have to fight this.’”
These comments are very true. The corrupt political system in the USA, with its “politicians” and “political leaders,” is a total disgrace. However, during the Republican Presidential Debate on December 15, Dr. Carson claimed that he was assured by the GOP leadership that the report in the Washington Post was false, and that no such tactics, as alleged, will be employed. We will see.
Why Trump Would Clash with Germany
The Local wrote on December 10:
“Donald Trump would find plenty to dislike in the Federal Republic of Germany.
“Angela Merkel… beat out Trump to win the coveted TIME magazine Person of the Year award on Wednesday December 9th. Trump immediately made his feelings clear with an angry tweet that Merkel was ‘ruining Germany’. The two couldn’t be more different as politicians…
“A big part of Merkel being named person of the year was her decision in August to allow refugees fleeing conflict in Syria free passage into Germany from Hungary. That wouldn’t go down well with Trump, who famously called this week for all Muslims – not just Syrians or refugees – to be banned from the USA. There are sizeable Muslim communities all over Germany, and up to a fifth of people in the country have some kind of link to migration in their background. Just this year, German leaders of all political stripes have insisted that Islam ‘is a part of Germany’ – something Trump would definitely never say about the USA…
“Germans love nothing more than being green… Across the country, people recycle everything from glass bottles to electronic waste. Trump, meanwhile, thinks that global warming is ‘very expensive bull…’
“In Germany, people are often prosecuted for the crime of inciting people to hatred… It’s made far-right movements, such as anti-immigration, anti-Islam Pegida, very wary about the words they use to express their aims. You can also get into serious trouble with the authorities for saying or doing something that ‘endangers the basic democratic order’ of the country. That’s not something Americans like Trump have to worry about, thanks to the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech…
“Germany has some of the strictest gun laws in the world – you have to prove that you need a gun for a good reason, such as hunting or target shooting… Trump, meanwhile, regularly expresses his support for gun ownership…
“Trump has regularly said that he thinks he’d ‘get along’ with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. That might not sit too well with Merkel, who has faced down the Russian leader over his annexation of the Crimea from Ukraine and support for pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country…
“In conclusion: Please don’t come to Germany, Donald – you’ll only regret it.”
There are of course many other reasons which would make Trump’s America clash with German leadership. For instance, Trump insisted that Germany should do more for Ukraine, rather than relying on the USA. He also favors the death penalty which is outlawed in Germany. But most importantly, an American President with the name of Donald Trump would be perceived as being in fierce competition with Europe regarding the economy. While wanting to make America great again and to re-regulate and renegotiate deals, Trump would by necessity antagonize Germany. This would include America’s terrible “deal’ with Iran to which Germany was a party.
Trump vs. Much of the Rest of the World
CNN wrote on December 11:
“If Donald Trump were to become president, he’d be starting off on the wrong foot with many of Americas’ allies…
“British Prime Minister David Cameron put out a rare statement criticizing the GOP presidential front-runner’s statements, calling them ‘divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.’…
“Shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office repudiated the proposal, Trump canceled a planned December trip to visit Israel and meet with Netanyahu…
“The foreign minister of America’s neighbor to the north (Canada) also publicly rejected Trump’s comments…
“Trump has also been called out by other Western allies, including politicians in France and the Netherlands…
“On Friday, a member of the Saudi royal family and business magnate tweeted that Trump was a ‘disgrace’… Trump also received a warning that he would ‘not be welcome’ in Muslim countries…”
Putin Praises Trump
AFP wrote on December 17:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday described US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump as ‘talented’ and ‘outstanding,’ welcoming his stance on Russia.”
Bloomberg added on December 17:
“Putin hailed Donald Trump as the ‘absolute leader’ in the U.S. presidential contest, praising the candidate’s talk about building a deeper relationship with Russia.”
The Bible does not indicate any war between Russia and the USA, but it DOES prophesy a war between continental Europe and the USA, the UK and the state of Israel; and a subsequent war between Europe and Russia.
“Paul Ryan Betrays America”
Slate.com wrote on December 16 about “The Paul Ryan Compromise,” continuing, “The new speaker’s first big deal is just like all of the ones that infuriated conservatives under Boehner…”
Breitbart minced no words and published the following headline on December 16:
“Paul Ryan Betrays America: $1.1 Trillion, 2,000-Plus Page Omnibus Bill Funds ‘Fundamental Transformation of America’…”
The article continued:
“Ryan’s first major legislative achievement is a total and complete sell-out of the American people masquerading as an appropriations bill… The Ryan-Pelosi package represents nothing short of a complete and total betrayal of the American people… By locking in the President’s refugee, immigration, and spending priorities, Ryan’s bill is designed to keep these fights out of Congress by getting them off the table for good…
“What may prove most discouraging of all to Americans is that recent reports reveal that conservatives in the so-called House Freedom Caucus are praising Ryan even as he permanently locks in these irreversible and anti-American immigration policies… the House Freedom Caucus will ‘give Ryan a pass’ even as he funds disastrous policies that prioritize the interests of foreign nationals and global corporatists above the needs of the American people whom lawmakers are supposed to represent.”
The Netherland’s Geert Wilders “Politician Of The Year” for the Third Time—Supports Trump
Breitbart wrote on December 15:
“Anti-Islamisation politician Geert Wilders has been named politician of the year for the third time in a Dutch poll as his Freedom Party gains ground in the country. In a survey of 37,000 people, Mr Wilders won 25 per cent of the vote, making him the first politician to win the vote three times. Dutch news site NDTV says he beat his nearest opponent, Green-Left leader Jesse Klaver, by 11 per cent. In third place, Labour’s finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem had just nine per cent.
“[Mr Wilders’] party is currently leading opinion polls in the country, with one poll recently suggesting they would win 35 out of 150 if elections were held tomorrow. The poll comes just days after Mr Wilders endorsed U.S. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s proposed temporary halt on Muslim immigration. Mr Wilders said: ‘I hope [Donald Trump] will be the next US President… We need brave leaders’. He added: ‘Also in The Netherlands, 100,000 Muslims – 11% – say it’s acceptable to use violence.’
“In September, he called Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis an ‘Islamic invasion’ that threatens the continent’s ‘prosperity, security, and identity’. Then in November, he said that Europe should close its borders to Muslims, telling AFP: ‘I’m not asking for anything strange, I am asking that our government close its doors as Hungary did … that we close our borders to those we consider to be migrants, not refugees.’
“Mr Wilders has also supported the ‘Draw Mohammed’ campaign of Pamela Geller, pledging to show Mohammed cartoons on Dutch television.”
Stunning Defeat of Le Pen in France
Breitbart wrote on December 13:
“Marine Le Pen has steered France’s Front National (FN) from pariah status into the mainstream, and despite her party’s defeat in regional elections on Sunday, she sounded a typically defiant and vitriolic note, lashing out at the traditional parties for teaming up against her and vowing to press on…
“The first round of the regional elections had given the anti-mass immigration FN the highest share of the vote… But Sunday’s results showed the 47-year-old lawyer by training still has some way to go before convincing the majority of French voters.
“In the northern Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region, she broke the symbolic 40-percent mark in the first round on December 6, exploiting anger over the dismal economy and the large numbers of migrants camped out in squalid conditions as they try desperately to reach Britain. But as so often for the FN, it was trounced in the second round after the ruling Socialists withdrew candidates and urged voters to back the centre-right.”
It is interesting that through political maneuvering and tactical manipulation, victories can be achieved (in this case for the French Socialists and the Republicans), which otherwise would not materialize. The Bible predicts that a very powerful German or Austrian leader (the “beast”) will arise on the world scene, gaining popularity and a high-ranking political office through flattery and deceit.
Does Merkel Cause More Damage Than Trump?
The Telegraph wrote on December 11:
“… we now have a great many Muslims in our midst – far more here, proportionately, than in Mr Trump’s country, and more in France than here. The risk of violence rises with the total. Even if it is true that 99 per cent of Muslims would not hurt a fly, when you increase the numbers you inevitably get more of those who would. People are, therefore, right to worry more about mass immigration from, say, Syria, than from, say, Poland…
“The founders of the European Union wanted… to give Christendom modern democratic form, but this is now nearly invisible. The leader of the union’s largest Christian Democrat party, Angela Merkel, has let more than a million mainly Muslim immigrants into her country this year alone. The East German pastor’s daughter is surely a much nicer person than Donald J Trump, but I wonder if she is not doing more actual harm to the future of the West.”
Merkel Rejects Multiculturalism
The Huffington Post wrote on December 14:
“In an address to the Christian Democratic Union on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to limit the flow of refugees entering the country, addressing critics in her own party who have questioned her decision to open Germany’s borders. As a top economic and political power, Germany has a ‘humanitarian imperative’ to accept people fleeing turmoil in Syria, Merkel said. Yet after accepting roughly 1 million refugees so far this year, she added that the country must now ‘noticeably reduce’ the number of new arrivals.
“… Merkel said refugees will have to make an effort to assimilate into German society. She also dismissed the idea of multiculturalism, which in parts of Europe is associated with a policy of encouraging distinct cultural groups to live in separate communities. ‘Those who seek refuge with us also have to respect our laws and traditions, and learn to speak German,’ she said. ‘Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies, and therefore multiculturalism remains a grand delusion.’…
“Her comments on Monday were neither new nor unexpected. In 2011, the Netherlands abandoned a policy of multiculturalism that allowed separate ethnic communities to live side by side without integration efforts. At a speech she gave to her party in 2010, Merkel said immigrants were welcome in Germany — but they should be prepared to adapt. ‘The approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other … has failed, utterly failed,’ she said at the time.”
DHS Under Severe Scrutiny
The Washington Free Beacon wrote on December 6:
“At least 72 employees at the Department of Homeland Security are listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a Democratic lawmaker… Rep. Stephen Lynch (D., Mass.)… ‘The [former DHS] director had to resign because of that,’ he said… Lynch referred to a recent report that found the Transportation Security Administration, which is overseen by DHS, failed to stop 95 percent of those who attempted to bring restricted items past airport security…
“Lynch said he has ‘very low confidence’ in DHS based on its many failures over the years. For this reason, he voted in favor of recent legislation that will tighten the vetting process for any Syrian refugees applying for asylum in the United States… ‘I have even lower confidence that they can conduct the vetting process in places like Jordan, or Belize or on the Syrian border, or in Cairo, or Beirut in any better fashion, especially given the huge volume of applicants we’ve had seeking refugee status,’ Lynch said.”
Muslim Brotherhood Very Active in the USA with White House Support
Breitbart wrote on December 7:
“Though President Barack Obama claimed that America must ‘enlist Muslim communities’ to combat terrorism in his Sunday evening Oval Office address, former FBI Counterterrorism Agent John Guandolo said… that since 9/11, ‘we collectively have received nearly zero help from the Muslim Community.’
“Guandolo… pointed out… that a ‘vast majority’ of U.S. mosques and Islamic centers are a part of a much larger ‘jihadi network’… He also pointed out that the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamic charity in America, was a ‘Hamas organization at the time it was indicted and Hamas is an inherent part of the Muslim Brotherhood.’ He said it will be nearly impossible to… successfully combat terrorists ‘so long as the U.S. government… emboldens and empowers Muslim Brotherhood organizations here.’…
“He also called out Saudi Arabia for being the top financier of Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and al-Qaeda projects in the United States. Guandolo said these organizations build lavish mosques that can hold thousands of people in areas where there are only 12 Muslims because their strategy is to claim ground ‘up to three miles around the mosque.’ He said the Saudis help these organizations purchase homes in the area at substantially above-market prices in order to ‘occupy that space around that mosque.’”
ISIS May Print Fake Syrian Passports
ABC News wrote on December 10:
“With the U.S. and other countries on high alert for ISIS attacks, American authorities are warning the terror group’s followers may have infiltrated American borders with authentic-looking [Syrian] passports ISIS has printed itself with its own machines…
“Former Department of Homeland Security intelligence official and ABC News consultant John Cohen said, ‘If ISIS has been able to acquire legitimate passports or machines that create legitimate passports, this would represent a major security risk in the United States.’
“Fake Syrian passports have already been discovered in Europe, most notably two used by suicide bombers in the horrific terrorist attack on Paris last month. The two men are believed to have slipped into Europe with a flood of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their homeland…
“[Allegedly] fake Syrian passports can be obtained in Syria for $200 to $400 and… backdated passport stamps to be placed in the passport cost the same…”
Saudi Arabia’s Coalition vs. ISIS, but without Iran
Express wrote on December 15:
“Saudi Arabia [a Sunni country] has announced a huge 34 state military alliance tasked with wiping out the Islamic State and other terrorist groups… Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi defence minister, said the group would fight terrorist activities in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan…The huge coalition combines Arab countries like Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates with Islamic countries like Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.
“However [Shiite] Iran, Saudi Arabia’s arch rival for influence in the Arab world, is not part of the coalition. The two countries are locked in proxy conflicts across the Middle East. [Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposite sides in the wars raging in Syria and Yemen.] In Yemen, Saudi and Gulf Arab forces have been locked in battle with Iran-allied rebels, with an uneasy ceasefire soon to take place in the region.
“The alliance comes after western pressure, particularly from the USA, for nations like Saudi Arabia to help tackle ISIS, otherwise known as Daesh. Saudi Arabia is currently leading a military intervention in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels and is part of the US-led coalition bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”
All these Middle Eastern and other Islamic countries, as mentioned in the article, are of a dictatorial and totalitarian nature, suppressing individual freedoms and liberties of their citizens. Any coalition between the USA and Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations will not hold. In addition, note the next article.
Saudi Arabia’s “Alliance” Makes No Sense
The Washington Post wrote on December 17:
“Saudi Arabia’s ‘Islamic Military Alliance’ against Terrorism makes no sense… First, some of the countries apparently in the alliance [including Pakistan, Malaysia and Lebanon] claim to have never heard of it… Other countries listed as being part of the alliance [including Uganda, Gabon, Benin and Togo] do not have Muslim majorities… A number [of] major Muslim countries [including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Indonesia] are not part of the alliance…
“It’s unclear what exactly the alliance is aiming to do… Saudi Arabia has also gone to lengths to suggest that the alliance would not be limited to attempts to fight the Islamic State, but would focus on terrorism in general… Saudi Arabia’s definition of terrorism is worryingly broad… Under a law introduced last year, virtually any criticism of the kingdom’s political system or its interpretation of Islam counts as terrorism…”
ISIS Envisions Destruction of Rome
The Daily Mail wrote on December 11:
“The Islam State has released a chilling new video showing its apocalyptic vision of a final showdown with the West, which includes jihadists advancing toward the Colosseum in Rome. The disturbing footage, named ‘Meeting at Dabiq’, is focused on the notion of a deadly battle for world domination, in which ISIS ‘believers’ will fight western ‘crusaders’ in the Italian capital.
“… in a digitally-altered scene, an ISIS armoured unit is filmed heading toward the Colosseum. The male narrator describes how militants will destroy the ‘crusader’ sites… As well as the famous amphitheatre, St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City also features in the footage.”
ISIS will not destroy Rome, but it is interesting to see what goals ISIS has in mind.
Does Turkey Provoke Russia Deliberately?
Express wrote on December 13:
“The Russian plane shot down by Turkish forces last month was targeted in a cold-blooded ambush, according to a defence and aviation expert. Pierre Sprey, an American defence analyst involved in the development of the F-16 fighter jet, has revealed that he thought it was clearly a ‘pre-planned operation.’… He concluded: ‘The evidence looks pretty strong that the Turks were setting up an ambush.’
“The Russian Su-24 bomber was shot down as it returned to an air base following a military operation in Syria. According to the Turkish government, the Russian aircraft had crossed into their territory and refused to change direction despite receiving ten warnings in five minutes. However, the Russian military has responded by saying that their jet had not crossed the border and said it was one kilometer outside of Turkish airspace when it was shot down.
“They also claimed that they had not received any warnings, something Mr Sprey believes could be true. He said: ‘Now it so happens that Su-24s have no radios onboard for receiving UHF-frequency signals, a fact which is well known to American, NATO and Turkish intelligence. Those warnings may have been deliberately transmitted only on the international civilian frequency so that the Su-24s would never hear them.’”
Deutsche Welle added on December 13:
“Russian media reported on Sunday that the defense ministry had summoned Turkey’s military attaché in Moscow over a near-miss in the Aegean Sea. According to the Kremlin, a Russian destroyer only narrowly avoided Turkish vessel despite repeated warnings on the part of the Russian navy.
“‘The crew of the Russian patrol ship Smetlivy which was located 22 kilometers from the Greek island of Lemnos in the northern part of the Aegean Sea avoided collision with a Turkish seiner,’ said a ministry statement. ‘Despite numerous attempts by the Smetlivy, the crew of the Turkish seiner would not engage in radio contact and did not respond to special visual signals,’ the statement continued. The Smetlivy then fired small arms as a warning, ‘to prevent the collision of the ships.’
“The incident was sure to add to the tensions between the two nations, which has been at a fever pitch since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish security forces at the end of November, killing a pilot… Moscow has been particularly insistent that Turkey is funding terrorism by buying oil from ‘Islamic State’ (IS) jihadists.”
The Bible indicates that Turkey will ultimately collaborate with the EU and apparently against Russia.
Catholic Church Will Not Attempt to Convert Jews… at Least Not for Now
The New York Times wrote on December 10:
“Catholics should not try to convert Jews, but should work together with them to fight anti-Semitism, the Vatican said on Thursday in a far-reaching document meant to solidify its increasingly positive relations with Jews. Despite a long history of mutual suspicion and conflict, Christianity and Judaism are deeply intertwined, and Christians should treat the subject of the Holocaust with sensitivity and repel any anti-Semitic tendencies, the Vatican wrote.
“… the commission wrote that the church was ‘obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views.’ It specified that ‘the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.’…
“‘It clearly states that salvation doesn’t come from the Jews’ conversion, but it’s very respectful of their own mission,’ said Alberto Melloni, the director of a liberal Catholic research institution, the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies in Bologna… Coming 50 years after the Vatican formally repudiated the idea of collective Jewish guilt for Jesus’ death, the document emphasized the tight and inescapable link between Christianity and Judaism. ‘A Christian can never be an anti-Semite, especially because of the Jewish roots of Christianity,’ it stated…
“Jewish leaders praised the document and the way that Catholic-Jewish relations had progressed… Before the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65, Catholic prayers said on Good Friday, the day that commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion and death, called Jews ‘perfidious.’ The revisions to the Mass ordered by the council eliminated that characterization, but some other language that Jewish groups found offensive continued to be said by ultratraditional Catholics using old-style Latin prayers, including a reference to ‘the blindness of that people.’ Pope Benedict XVI ordered those prayers changed in 2008.
“The Vatican’s efforts to improve relations with Jews gained major impetus under Pope John Paul II. He was the first pope to pray in a synagogue, the first to acknowledge the failure of individual Catholics to act against the Holocaust and the first to call anti-Semitism a sin ‘against God and man.’…”
What is of course missing from this nice-sounding dialogue is the biblical truth that even though salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), salvation is not possible except through acceptance of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. To be a true Christian, one has become a spiritual Jew, who will accept both the Old and the New Testament, but there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, and there is no salvation in any other but in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
What Will Be the Conditions in the Second Resurrection? (Part 6)
In this installment, we will mainly address the question as to why there would be “stripes” or punishment for unrepented sins and sometimes even for those sins which were subsequently repented of. This question applies to people in this day and age, as well as those who will be raised in the Second Resurrection or the Great White Throne Judgment.
We must realize that sin may have automatic consequences. For instance, if we drive under the influence of alcohol and are responsible for a serious car accident, which may result in bodily injury of ourselves and others, or even in the death of an innocent person, then these consequences will remain for the rest of our lives, even though God will forgive our sinful conduct upon true and genuine repentance. But the death or the loss of limb will not be automatically “annulled,” as if it had never happened.
This is also true when our long-time smoking results in cancer. God forgives the sin of smoking upon repentance, but there is no guarantee that He will also heal us from cancer which was caused by ourselves. God might heal us of this deadly disease, but then, He might decide, based on individual circumstances, that it may be better NOT to heal us from cancer in this life.
Another example would be the murder of innocent human beings. Before conversion, many might have participated in war, and they might have even killed innocent civilians in the “enemy country.” Upon repentance and conversion, God forgives such sins of murder, but this does not bring the killed “enemies” or civilians back to life in this day and age. A mother might have aborted her child and might later bitterly repent of that sin. But God’s forgiveness does not make the child alive again in this life. However, all of these innocent victims will become alive again in the Second Resurrection.
Consider that even though God forgave David his sins, He later brought up again “the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5), as this was not sinful conduct which was committed because of ignorance or temporary temptation. Rather, these sins belonged to a slightly different category. It was not the unpardonable sin, to be sure, since David will be in the Kingdom of God (compare Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5; see also Luke 13:28, referring to “all the prophets,” and David was a prophet, Acts 2:29-31). However, they were not sins which were committed “in ignorance” or because of a temporary, passing weakness that had “snuck up” on David. Rather, this was planned, premeditated, carefully designed and thought-out sinful conduct. David thought through very diligently how to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba, until he resorted to the murder of Uriah. God brought up the “matter of Uriah,” because He was terribly grieved that David would have acted in such a way – and He wanted to impress on the reader the awful consequences of these sins for David and his entire household.
As we explained in previous Q&As, David was punished very severely for these sins, even though he had repented and obtained God’s forgiveness. But David was supposed to uphold the law of God and be a good example for others. In this instance, he failed miserably. God said that He “has put away” David’s sin (2 Samuel 12:13). But then, He gave the reason for David’s punishment, as follows: “… because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme…” (2 Samuel 12:14).
Note that God had clearly spelled out why and in what way He would punish David. In other examples given in previous Q&As in this series, we saw that God punished Moses and Miriam for their sins, but again, He spelled out very clearly what the punishment would be, and why it was given. We must not make the mistake of thinking that if things go wrong in our lives, God may be punishing us for sins which we might have committed earlier, but which we deeply repented of. IF punishment for previous sins is involved, God will make this very clear to us.
Of course, we must ask ourselves the question whether we did indeed deeply repent of our sins, and whether our conscience was completely purified, or whether we are still carrying with us feelings of guilt for sins which we committed earlier, and which we did NOT truly repent of. “Stripes” or punishment may have to be inflicted on us so that we can ultimately acquire a clean conscience (Hebrews 10:19-22; 13:18; 1 Timothy 1:5). It is also important to note that David, Moses, Miriam and others committed sins, for which they were punished, after they were converted and had received the Holy Spirit. Conversion does not make it impossible to sin (Romans 7:14-25; 1 John 2:8)… including very serious and grievous sins, such as the sins of David in the matter of Uriah. It is important that those sins are deeply repented of in this life, before we die.
But as we said, repentance does not necessarily prevent punishment in this life. One reason for punishment in some cases might very well be that God must show us the enormity of our sin, and totally “ignoring” sins without consequence may only lead to “temporary” repentance or regret, and not to ongoing, continuing and permanent repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Christ said that Paul had to learn how much He would have to suffer for Christ’s sake, AFTER his conversion, because he had persecuted the saints BEFORE his conversion (Acts 9:10-16). He received mercy because he acted “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:12-13), but that did not negate suffering.
We must also realize that when God punishes us for our sins, He does so to bring us to repentance. We read the following end-time prophecy in Joel 2:11-13: “The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it? ‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God…”
God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked repents and lives (Ezekiel 18:30-32). Sometimes “many stripes” in this life or in the Second Resurrection are necessary to bring a sinner to repentance. As was mentioned before, repentance is a process. God leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). And so, punishment for sin may be a necessity. Psalm 146:9 speaks about “punishment of the wicked”—including in this life—so that he might come to repentance: “The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down (Lit.: “makes crooked”).”
John the Baptist told the hypocritical multitudes of his time: “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance… every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:7-9). John addresses the need for true repentance to escape God’s wrath, including on the Day of the LORD, the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment period, and he warns that refusal of repentance will lead to destruction in the Gehenna Fire during the Third Resurrection.
Focusing on the Millennium and the Second Resurrection, we read in Psalm 149:5-9: “Let the saints be joyful in glory… Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishments on the peoples; To bind their kings with chains, And their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the written judgment—This honor have all His saints.” This promise is confirmed by Christ in Revelation 2:26-27: “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I have also received from My Father.” The ultimate goal is that “‘…Every knee shall bow to Me [God], and every tongue shall confess to God’’ (Romans 14:11).
Please realize that God saw to it that certain sins of David were recorded, for everyone to read. In addition to David’s sinful conduct in the matter of Uriah, some of his other sins were recorded as well, such as his fighting in war and numbering his army. Furthermore, sins of other righteous men and women were recorded: Moses’s sin of murder and his later outburst before Israel, which prevented him from entering the Promised Land; Aaron and Miriam’s murmuring against Moses; Abraham and Isaac’s lies; Abraham and Sarah’s adultery because of lack of faith; Jacob’s deceit towards his father Isaac; Rachel’s theft of her father’s idol; Peter’s sin of lying and denying Christ three times, and his hypocrisy towards Gentile Christians; and Paul’s persecution of Christians when he was still known as Saul. The list could go on and on. We also believe that Solomon came to repentance at the end of his life, but his prior terrible sins were included in the Bible.
The sins of those mentioned above were forgiven (all of those men and women will be in the Kingdom of God as God beings), but their prior sins were not erased from the written Word of God—the Bible—and we are told that they were recorded as an example for our benefit today (1 Corinthians 10:11), and that ALL Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
In addition, we do not believe that Adam and Eve or Judas Iscariot have committed the unpardonable sin, since they never had God’s Holy Spirit, which means, that they will be given their opportunity to accept God’s Way of Life in the Second Resurrection; still, everyone knows and will know about [some of] their sins which they committed, as they are recorded in God’s Word. Jesus even said about Judas that it would have been better if he had not been born. We do not believe that these statements will ever be removed from the Bible. Adam, Eve and Judas will come back to life and will be offered true repentance, which they will hopefully accept. But again, their sins are recorded in the Bible, and the books of the Bible will be opened to the understanding of all who will be in the Great White Throne Judgment period (Revelation 20:12).
When we sin and do not repent, then our sins will stand against us. God will not forgive and forget them. The same is true for our friends and relatives. If they sin in this life, without repenting, God (and we as God Beings in the Kingdom) will not forgive and forget those sins prior to their repentance, but we will offer them repentance in the Great White Throne Judgment period so that their sins can be forgiven.
But what about sins which have been repented of? Don’t we read that God forgives our sins when we repent, and that “their sins and lawless deeds [He] will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12)? How can this be true for sins which are even recorded in the Bible?
The answer is that God casts all repented sins behind His back and into the depths of the sea, so that when they are sought for, they shall not be found IN THE SENSE that God will never charge us with them. He does not retain them in His mind in the sense that He will not revisit what has passed. This should show us that we must strive to do the same. When we forgive, we must also learn to avoid revisiting what has passed. This is something which those who come up in the Second Resurrection will have to learn as well, when they are confronted by, or confronting, their fellow man against whom they have sinned, or who might have sinned against them.
For instance, let’s take the example of killing in war. Those in the Second Resurrection will become aware of the fact that they committed murder. They will be led to repentance of their sin, and God will forgive them. But they will also meet those whom they murdered. The victims will need to come to the realization that they must forgive their murderers, as they themselves will also be in need of forgiveness of sins which they might have committed.
An unconverted or converted person might sin, as we saw, resulting in the death of another person (in war, through other killings, abortion etc.). Since the victim died, there was really no opportunity to achieve reconciliation with the victim before his or her death. Of course, God will forgive these sins upon genuine repentance, and the converted person [or the person coming to conversion in this day and age] will be in the First Resurrection if he or she subsequently dies in Christ.
Still, the person whom he or she killed will be raised in the Second Resurrection, and the converted person—now a God being—will face his or her victim before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Now picture this: The God being [who might even be involved in judging the person whom he had killed in this day and age] will still need to explain that he or she had repented of the sin of murder and that God forgave the sin, and that the murdered person must learn to forgive as well. Punishment which the God being received for the sin in his or her physical life, as a human being, might very well help the victim to accept the fact that he or she must extend forgiveness as well.
In this light, the warning of Paul takes on important additional meaning for us, when he said: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10). He added in 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he had done, whether good or bad.”
Paul refers to the reward which we will receive, as we explain in our free booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.” But we can also see now that more is involved, and that Paul might include here our appearance as God beings (!) before the Great White Throne Judgment Seat of Christ in the Second Resurrection.
It is obvious that true reconciliation will have to be achieved in the Second Resurrection even between an immortal saint and his or her prior victim, because it is the potential of the victim to enter the Family of God as well. These conversations might even include “stripes” for the immortal saint perhaps in the form of uncomfortable feelings of embarrassment—as unbelievable as this might sound at first—in that the saint will need one more time to focus on his or her prior wrong conduct and explain this to his or her victim, adding that because of the Supreme Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, his or her sins were forgiven upon repentance, and that the victim can obtain forgiveness as well for his or her sins, and that he or she needs to forgive in return (Matthew 6:14-15). THAT is how total reconciliation will be achieved. If Uriah will be in the Second Resurrection and not in the First, David will need to talk to him at that time about his adultery and murder, bringing about total reconciliation with him. One can only imagine the conversation which will take place then.
Of course, similar conversations will take place even in the First Resurrection. Imagine the scenario when Paul meets the Christians whom he persecuted and whom he had killed before his conversion. All of them, including Paul and his converted victims, will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ as immortal saints. They will talk to each other. Picture Stephen’s first meeting with Paul in the First Resurrection. Remember that Paul, as Saul, had delighted in Stephen’s death. Certainly, Stephen had asked God to forgive his murderers, including Saul, but when they meet each other in the First Resurrection, standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will undoubtedly talk to each other about their prior lives.
Knowing all of this, it is important, as we have opportunity, to strive in this life for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation with everyone whom we might have wronged. Christ said that we have to give account for every idle word which we have spoken against someone else (Matthew 12:36-37)… how much more for every wicked and evil deed. Forgiveness for our sins and reconciliation with our fellow man must be achieved… either in this life (Matthew 5:21-24) or in the life to come.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new Member Letter (December 2015) has been written by Pastor Rene Messier. In this letter, Mr. Messier strongly encourages us to get fully engaged in the Work of God and to fulfill the responsibilities God has placed on each one of us. This letter has been mailed to those on our mailing list. If you would like to receive our monthly letters or other of our literature, please contact us with your request.
A special new StandingWatch program has been recorded by Evangelist Norbert Link. Titled, “The Dark Side of Christmas,” we are promoting this video through several outlets—Facebook, directed emails, our CEG website and press releases.
Here is a summary appearing with the program announcement:
Did you know that many of the celebrations around Christmas originate in a time long before the birth of Christ? While many people may think they are commemorating Christ’s birth and celebrating the “joy” of the season, they are actually paying homage to pagan customs connected to evil spirits, concepts and figures.
Evil Customs “Christianized”
In this program, we will show you how the traditions surrounding Christmas such as gifts, Santa Claus and the Christmas tree are not only pagan customs that have been adopted by Orthodox Christianity, but how observance of such practices are an abomination to God!
“Gehet Hin in Alle Welt…,” is the title of this week’s new German sermon. Title in English: “Go Into All the World…”
“Go Into All the World…,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Jesus told His disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”, and He said that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” But what exactly does all of this mean?
“The Need for Fasting,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Just like our need for physical food, we also need spiritual food. Fasting is one of the things that helps us to draw close to God to be able to receive this spiritual food. How often then do we actually fast? Do we think that fasting is as important as prayer and Bible study? How should we approach fasting?
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:
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