Developments in Light of Biblical Prophecy; Individually and Collectively
On July 9, 2016, Norbert Link will present a special message, titled, “Developments in Light of Biblical Prophecy,” and Michael Link will present the sermon, titled, “Individually and Collectively.”
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.
Now Is Not the Time
by Norbert Link
Prophetic developments are speeding up. The Brexit; a rigged political system in the USA;Donald Trump’s rising popularity; new presidential elections in Austria; attempts to establish a United States of Europe and to create a European army; increasing terrorist attacks and wars all over the world; terrible weather conditions; the spread of immorality; the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness… the list of significant biblical events seems to be endless.
Jesus Christ told us that we must observe the signs of the times, which would indicate to us when His return is near (Matthew 24:32-33; Luke 21:29-31).
However, some engage in unfounded speculations. They feel that there must be first a seven-year contract between the “beast” (a military leader) and other nations (the candidates for those other nations vary; some claim it would be Arab nations; then they say it would be the State of Israel; and finally, they even think it could be a combination of Israel and Arab countries). They are also waiting for the arrival of a “king of the south,” “a Mahdi,” who is supposed to unite Arab nations under his lead. Or they wait for the appearance of a red heifer as a “necessary step” towards building a third temple.
Interestingly enough, the Bible does not predict any of this. For instance, there is no prophetic requirement for a seven-year contract. But following their misguided concept, even IF the “beast” would arrive in 2016 and such a treaty would still occur within that year, Christ could not come back prior to 2023. At the same time, we are NOT suggesting either that Christ WILL come back within less than seven years.
The truth is, we do NOT know when Christ will return (Matthew 24:42). Even He does not know; and neither do the angels (Mark 13:32). It is within the Father’s SOLE prerogative, authority and discretion to DECIDE when that time has arrived (Acts 1:7).
It is so important that we do not lose focus. As we have preached time and again, we must live in a way that we are always spiritually ready for Christ’s return (Matthew 24:44). (After all, we could die tonight, and we had better be ready when we die). At the same time, we are to live our lives as if we had many more years ahead of us. Over the centuries, many Christians made the big mistake of giving up God’s Way of Life when their expectancy of Christ’s return at a given date did not materialize; or they ceased from fulfilling their physical responsibilities for themselves and others (including their children), thinking that because Christ would come back soon, they did not have to prepare anymore for the future.
Christ gave us many admonitions, showing that we must continue with our physical duties until the very end, while of course never neglecting our spiritual obligations.
Christ said that the servant is blessed whom his master, when he comes, will find him doing his job (Matthew 24:46). He told us that two will be in the field, apparently working, while one is taken, and the other one is left behind (Matthew 24:40). He told us that two women will be grinding at the mill, when one is taken and one is left behind (Matthew 24:41).
He told us to use the talents and abilities which God gave us; rather than hiding them (Matthew 25:24-30).
Paul gives us the timeless command to work when we want to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Proverbs 21:25 tells us that the “desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor,” and Proverbs 31:27 adds that the “virtuous woman” “does not eat the bread of idleness.” We are given the timeless truth that a good person will leave an inheritance for his children and grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22; compare 2 Corinthians 12:14), and that he will help his needy parents (Mark 7:9-13). These are ONGOING obligations, and there is no time limit for these commands. Rather, we are told that WHATEVER our hands find to do, we must do it with all of our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10; compare also Ecclesiastes 11:1, 6).
We must never make the mistake of trying to predict the exact time of Christ’s return, or to invent man-made prerequisites which “must” be fulfilled first. We must never cease from fulfilling our physical obligations, because of our personal conviction that Christ will return very soon. We are not to worry about the future with anxious thoughts. Rather, we are to seek God’s Kingdom and God’s righteousness first (Matthew 6:25-34), but if we fail to fulfill our physical responsibilities, we have become worse than an unbeliever and have denied the faith (compare 1 Timothy 5:8). If we develop a mentality of thinking, “Now is not the time,” then this will surely contribute to our spiritual and physical downfall.
We begin with interesting developments in Austria where the presidential election must be repeated, due to irregularities and electoral fraud. New elections are anticipated in September or October. It will be interesting to see whether this time Norbert Hofer from the anti-immigration Freedom Party will secure victory, after he lost in May to Green-backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen by a mere 0.6 percent of the vote. The new vote for the Austrian Presidency will only be held between Van der Bellen and Hofer.
We continue with Hillary Clinton’s email-scandal. (In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, “FBI’s Recommendation in Clinton Scandal Suggests Corrupt and Rigged System.”) We start with reporting on a clandestine meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, while criminal investigations against Hillary Clinton (and by extension, Bill Clinton) were still pending, and the subsequent controversial declarations of Mrs. Lynch, followed by the stunning and incomprehensible announcement by the FBI that in spite of Hillary Clinton’s proven reckless conduct, potentially placing in jeopardy the security of this country, they still do not recommend criminal charges against her. Donald Trump was quick in pointing out quite correctly how rigged our corrupt political system is. House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted this: “While I respect the professionals at the FBI, this announcement defies explanation. No one should be above the law.”
As Newsmax reported on July 5, “Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani Tuesday blasted FBI Director [and Obama appointee] James Comey… saying ‘this is the special exemption for the Clintons.’ ‘It would be unreasonable for a prosecutor not to go forward with it and almost an abdication of duty,’ Giuliani [said], who was in office during the 9/11 attacks… ‘What was just laid out is what we would call a no-brainer in the attorney’s office that Jim Comey worked at, he was one of my assistants… The minute you say someone is extremely careless, you are saying they’re grossly negligent,’ he told Fox. ‘What do we mean by gross negligence? We mean extremely careless.’”
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, stated in an interview with Breitbart News: “‘We are in a crisis,’ and Hillary Clinton is a ‘criminal involved in a criminal enterprise’.”
As CNN reported on July 5, even some of Bernie Sanders most die-hard supporters were also extremely upset about the FBI’s recommendations not to indict Hillary Clinton.
One does not have to believe in conspiracy theories to see the incredible development in this case:
First, a private meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch; followed by Mrs. Lynch’s refusal to recuse herself and saying instead that she will abide by the recommendations of the FBI; followed by Hillary Clinton’s lengthy 3 ½ hour interview with eight federal agents on Saturday, being accompanied by at least four attorneys; followed by President Obama’s announcement that he would fly together with Hillary Clinton on Airforce One in order to campaign for her in North Carolina; followed by the publicly announced recommendation by the FBI on Tuesday not to indict Hillary Clinton, while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were on the plane. And we are to believe that before the FBI’s announcement on Tuesday, nobody “knew” what would be recommended by the FBI? As the New York Post wrote: “The fix was in.” Subsequently, as was to be expected, the Attorney General made it official on Wednesday that the email investigation against Hillary Clinton was closed, and that no charges will be filed against her.
We also report on Donald Trump’s possible running mates and a sharp attack by French President François Hollande against Mr. Trump, while Europe is preparing for its own military empire.
We continue with the concept of “Brexecution”; the European position that Brexit cannot be cancelled; and the growing concept for a Nordic power bloc in competition to the EU.
We speak on ISIS terrorism in Bangladesh and Iraq; and we conclude with transgender mania in the USA and revelations from former Pope Benedict pertaining to the reasons for his resignation.
This Week in the News
Austria’s Presidential Election Must Be Repeated
Breitbart wrote on July 1:
“Austria’s Constitutional court has today ordered May’s presidential election be annulled and another called after ‘particularly serious cases’ of voting fraud were detected in the photo-finish vote. The Green party-backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen originally snatched victory by a mere 0.6 per cent in the second round vote, which was taken to decide the new president of [the] central-European state Austria in May. He had made it to the round alongside Freedom Party (FPO) candidate Norbert Hofer, who campaigned to protect Austria from mass migration and Islamification.
“Now the Austrian Constitutional court has upheld a complaint by the FPO about conduct in the election. The party had alleged that there were voting ‘irregularities’ in 94 of the 117 total electoral constituencies in the country… It is not known how many of the 94 areas alleged to have voting irregularities have been investigated, but the court identified ’20 particularly serious cases’ after interviewing 67 witnesses…
“Given that the election was carried by just 30,863 votes, and up to 740,000 postal votes are in question, the Constitutional court has now ruled the vote should be re-run, although the date for this has not yet been announced. Until the new vote in Autumn, the role of Austria’s Presidency will be fulfilled by a three-member National President Council (Präsidium des Nationalrats) — on which the FPO presidential candidate Norbert Hofer already sits.
“[The] President of the constitutional court Gerhart Holzinger said the ruling ‘does not make you a loser or a winner’ to representatives of the two parties present in the court room this morning, and said the sentence had been passed to ‘strengthen confidence in the rule of law and democracy’, reports Germany’s Die Welt… The decision comes just seven days before Green-backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen was due to be officially sworn in as President of Austria.
“Even before the allegations of electoral fraud, the vote was already considered extraordinary as it is the first time in modern Austrian history where none of the candidates in the final round were [representatives] of the mainstream parties…”
Deutsche Welle added on July 1:
“Austria’s constitutional court annulled May’s president election on Friday, upholding a legal challenge by the anti-immigation Freedom party (FPÖ) and opening the way for a repeat poll in September or October. ‘The challenge brought by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache against the May 22 election… has been upheld,’ said constitutional court head Gerhard Holzinger.”
Norbert Hofer: Austrians Will Not Accept Turkey’s EU Membership
Express wrote on July 3:
“Norbert Hofer said Turkey joining the bloc could be the game changer that forces Austrians to call for an EU referendum in a bid to break away. He said: ‘I believe that people are able to learn, that political structures are able to develop, and that Austria will contribute to making Europe better. There is one exception, however, that is if the EU decides to let Turkey join the Union. Austrians will have to be asked whether they want this.’
“His remarks come amid fresh discussions between Turkey and EU bigwigs after Ankara demanded an acceleration on its application in return for taking back migrants seeking asylum in Europe. The European powerhouse and Turkey have been locked in a high-stakes standoff over Ankara’s refusal to reform its strict terror laws in return for visa-free travel and £2.5billion to clamp down on the migrant crisis.”
AG Loretta Lynch Accepts Findings and Recommendations of the FBI in the Clinton Case
CNN wrote on July 1:
“Attorney General Loretta Lynch will accept the determinations and findings of the FBI and career prosecutors who are investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, Lynch said Friday. Lynch made the pledge Friday at Aspen Ideas Festival, following questions raised when she met privately with former President Bill Clinton at a Phoenix airport earlier this week… The meeting instantly drew criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats, who said that just the decision for the two to interact was a mistake while the Justice Department is conducting an investigation of Clinton’s private email server…
“The meeting and its fallout are sure to worry some Democrats who see Clinton as the only candidate standing between Donald Trump and the White House. Not only is the fate of her campaign largely in the hands of the Justice Department, but this was an entirely avoidable incident that hits her on one of her most persistent vulnerabilities — how voters doubt her trustworthiness.
“The No. 2 Republican in the Senate, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, called for a special counsel Thursday to take over the investigation into the private server, citing the appearance of impropriety.
“This incident does nothing to instill confidence in the American people that her department can fully and fairly conduct this investigation, and that’s why a special counsel is needed now more than ever,” Cornyn said in a statement. The conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch that has led the charge in suing for access to Hillary Clinton’s email records also jumped on the news, calling for an investigation into what transpired between Lynch and Clinton. ‘Attorney General Lynch’s meeting with President Clinton creates the appearance of a violation of law, ethical standards and good judgment,’ the group said in a statement. ‘Attorney General Lynch’s decision to breach the well-defined ethical standards of the Department of Justice and the American legal profession is an outrageous abuse of the public’s trust.’”
Showing Extremely Poor Judgement
In a related article, CNN published the following opinion piece by Paul Callan, “a CNN legal analyst and a former media law professor. He is a former New York City homicide prosecutor and criminal defense attorney”:
“The Arizona tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will certainly raise the eyebrows of more than a few law enforcement professionals and voters throughout the United States.
“The reason: the AG is the Cabinet officer who is nominally in charge of the FBI’s ‘email server’ investigation which in part focuses upon the conduct of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Since the email server was located in the Clinton’s private residence in Chappaqua, N.Y., most members of the public would reasonably assume that Mr. Clinton himself would have more than a passing knowledge regarding the use and maintenance of the server. He would also be intensely interested in keeping his candidate wife clear of any allegations of criminal wrong during her presidential campaign.
“Under the circumstances, the tarmac soiree between Clinton and Lynch demonstrates incredibly bad judgment on the part of two seasoned legal and political professionals. Both should have instantly realized that their private meeting might create public suspicion that something improper must have occurred. After all Donald Trump has been tossing corruption accusations at Hillary Clinton with the frequency of firings on ‘The Apprentice.’
“If the conversation, which took place on a private plane parked at the Phoenix Airport, was, as has been reported, merely a polite exchange of pleasantries and family news, no illegality occurred. Lawyers, however, are not bound by merely the black letter of the law but also by the lawyer’s ‘Code of Professional Responsibility’ which in theory holds them to a higher ethical standard. The lawyer’s ethical code historically prohibited them from engaging in activities that create an ‘appearance of impropriety’ and undermine public confidence in the justice system. The tarmac meeting here certainly feels improper. That code binds Lynch but possibly not the former president, whose law license was suspended by Arkansas for five years after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“The attorney general should have had better sense than to permit the meeting with the always charming and persuasive former president. It will erode public confidence in the Justice Department she leads. As attorney general, Lynch is in charge of federal prosecutors, who must decide if there is sufficient evidence to submit charges to a federal grand jury in the Clinton email case or whether a termination of the probe without charges is warranted. Undoubtedly, it is difficult for even the powerful attorney general of the United States to throw a former president off her plane. In the future she had better summon the strength and courage to do so as the reputations of the thousands of honest Justice Department employees depend on her understanding that even when a former president seeks refuge from the heat of an Arizona tarmac in summer, appearances matter.”
The New York Times wrote on July 1:
“By not recusing herself, Ms. Lynch retains all the legal authority as the nation’s top law enforcement official. That means her remarks are not binding and she is not obligated to accept what the F.B.I. recommends. But by making her plans public, Ms. Lynch risks causing a political firestorm if she were to later overrule those recommendations…
“The F.B.I. is investigating whether Mrs. Clinton, her aides or anyone else broke the law by setting up a private email server for her to use as secretary of state. Internal investigators have concluded that the server was used to send classified information… For the Justice Department, the central question is whether the conduct met the legal standard for the crime of mishandling classified information…”
There are further complicating factors in this case. The investigation evolved also around emails pertaining to the Clinton Foundation in which both the Clintons have an interest. And Young was nominated in 1999 by then President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. According to some legal scholars, this fact shows personal impropriety of a meeting between Bill Clinton and Lynch, while an investigation was pending against Hillary Clinton (and, by extension, her husband).
It was also felt that Lynch’s announcement to abide by the FBI’s findings and recommendations had compromised Lynch’s impartiality even more, as she was now no longer able to disagree with the FBI, if there would be reason, in her mind, to do so. The entire affair had become extremely tainted by the subsequent public recommendations of the FBI NOT to indict Hillary Clinton.
FBI Recommends NOT to Press Charges against Hillary Clinton!
Breitbart wrote on July 5:
“Though [FBI director James] Comey found ‘evidence of potential violation’ of classified information laws on [Hillary] Clinton’s part, and though Comey noted that people who did similar things would be punished, Comey nevertheless told the American people that the FBI does not recommend an indictment against Clinton. Comey confirmed numerous details of the email scandal including the fact that Clinton had information on her private server that was classified when sent… But Comey said that no reasonable prosecutor would take on the case.
“Comey’s harsh criticisms of Clinton’s conduct, paired with his inexplicable decision not to call for an indictment, suggest that Comey might have torn sympathies regarding the case…
“Comey also confirmed that Clinton did not hand over [‘several thousand’] of her [work-related] emails, even though she signed a sworn affidavit that she had done so. Whether or not Clinton will be charged with perjury is still up to the Department of Justice. Even the Washington Post left the door open for a possible ‘making false statements’ charge, though it seems unlikely considering the political implications here…
“‘To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who gauged this activity would gauge no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions but that is not what we are deciding now,’ Comey said.”
On Wednesday, the Attorney General accepted the “recommendations” of the FBI, as she had promised to do, following her controversial clandestine meeting with Bill Clinton, and she made it official that no charges would be filed against Hillary Clinton.
Clearly, Hillary Clinton Should Have Been Indicted
On July 5, the Daily Mail summarized the FBI’s outrageous recommendation in this way:
“[The] FBI recommends NO charges against ‘extremely careless’ Hillary despite her sending top-secret information on private server which was ‘possibly’ hacked… The Espionage Act prescribes lengthy prison terms for government officials who cause classified material to be moved to an unsecured location, either willfully or through ‘gross negligence.’”
The Daily Mail also said that “Comey’s conclusion, which he insisted no politician in the Obama administration was aware of in advance, amounted to a declaration that Clinton and her aides were ‘extremely careless’ with their handling of classified material… ‘Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case…’”
As stated above in our introductory comments, “extreme carelessness” is the same as “gross negligence.”
National Review wrote on July 5:
“There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey… Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed… from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was ‘extremely careless’ and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services. Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.
“In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant.
“… there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed…”
The New York Post wrote on July 5:
“The fix was in. Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey painted a devastating picture of Hillary Clinton’s reckless lawbreaking with her emails and the damage it likely caused — but then recommended no charges against her. When it comes to the Clintons, say goodbye to the rule of law. [The evidence presented by the FBI] seems enough to convict (never mind indict) her — based on Comey’s own criteria…
“So why on earth would Comey let her off the hook? Especially when the agency had recommended charges against others, like Gen. David Petraeus, who had similarly failed to protect classified information. The answer: The Clintons enjoy a different standard. They are above the law.
“Indeed, the sheer number of scandals for which Bill and Hillary Clinton have escaped punishment is simply astonishing. There’s always some ‘technicality’ or ‘lack of evidence’ or other pathetic excuse. Comey just dealt a powerful blow to the public’s faith in the concept of equal justice. Hillary will now claim falsely she’s been exonerated — even though the FBI found her in violation of the law. Is there any wonder so many voters this year are outraged by the ‘rigged’ system?”
None of this will help Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama if God has determined that she will lose in the Presidential Election.
“The Fix Is In”–Clinton’s Statements to FBI Were NOT Recorded
Breitbart wrote on July 7:
“During testimony before Congress on Thursday, FBI Director James Comey stated that the FBI’s interview with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not under oath or recorded, but it still would be a crime to lie to the FBI. Comey stated that he did not personally interview Clinton, and did not talk to all of the ‘five or six’ who did interview Clinton. He was then asked, ‘did she testify or talk to them under oath?’ Comey answered, ‘No.’ But added that ‘it’s still a crime to lie to us.’ When asked if there was a transcript of the interview, Comey stated that there wasn’t one because the interview wasn’t recorded, but there was an analysis of Clinton’s interview.”
This is perplexing and VERY troublesome, as Comey was also asked whether Hillary Clinton rectified to the FBI her prior lies to Congress and the public, and Comey responded that he did not specifically inquire into that. He was then asked to do so and provide Congress with the written documentation as to Clinton’s testimony to the FBI.
The conduct by most Democratic members of the Congressional House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was appalling. As foreseeable, the hearing was another circus. While determined to exonerate Hillary Clinton and justify her unjustifiable conduct, Democrats tried to launch mean-spirited attacks against Republican members, Republicans in general and Donald Trump in particular (who was not even the subject of the hearing). Most Republican members did an excellent job in establishing a strong case against Clinton, coupled with their expression of dismay as to the FBI’s recommendations in spite of all the evidence.
Comey seemed to admit rewriting the law, stating that even though Congress had passed legislation, specifically requiring gross negligence and no intent, in practice, intent had to be proven by a prosecutor beyond reasonable doubt, according to Comey. In addition, as Breitbart stated on July 7, “Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) demolished FBI director James Comey’s claim Thursday that the government lacked sufficient evidence of criminal intent to prosecute former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for mis-handling classified information. Gowdy, referring to his background as a prosecutor, and peppering Comey with questions, demonstrated that the kind of evidence the government already had on Clinton — such as hiding her private email server — was often used to show intent.”
“US State Department to Reopen Hillary Clinton Email Probe”
Deutsche Welle reported on July 8:
“State Department spokesman John Kirby said the internal review would resume now that it was clear the Justice Department would not be pursuing criminal charges against Hillary Clinton… The State Department launched a probe into the emails in January after stating that 22 messages sent from Clinton’s private server were ‘top secret.’
“The review was put on hold in April, however, so as not to interfere with an FBI inquiry to determine whether she had broken the law. That investigation ended this week, with the Justice Department announcing it would accept the FBI’s recommendation not to prosecute Clinton.
“‘Given the Department of Justice has now made its announcement, the State Department intends to conduct its internal review,’ Kirby said. ‘We will aim to be as expeditious as possible, but we will not put artificial deadlines on the process,’ he added…”
Obama Not a Devout Christian
The Daily Mail wrote on July 7:
“Bill O’Reilly shared photos of Barack Obama in traditional Islamic dress on his program Wednesday night claiming they were from his half-brother Malik’s wedding. The Fox News host said it was ‘very difficult’ to verify the exact location of the photographs – a similar set of which were first released back in 2004 by Malik and previously published on DailyMail.com – but claimed they were taken in Maryland in the early 1990s. ‘According to his half-sister, Barack Obama attended his half-brother’s wedding in the early 1990s. Malik Obama was a Muslim,’ said O’Reilly…
“Malik was married in 1981 for the first time and President Obama was his best man at that ceremony. He now has multiple wives. O’Reilly used the photos in a monologue alleging the President’s ‘deep emotional ties to Islam’ have stopped him effectively combating ISIS while also saying he believes the photos prove that President Obama is not a ‘devout Christian.’
“He did this while attacking President Obama hours after he revealed he would not be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, saying: ‘President Obama, as we all know, will not even use the words Islamic terrorism. Again today when telling the nation that America will maintain eight-thousand troops in Afghanistan, the president did not accurately describe the situation there, putting forth that it was more about politics than Islamic terror.’
“O’Reilly claims the President Obama’s failure to identify the terrorist threat facing America has allowed ISIS to run amok in the Middle East, a mistake he claims the Commander-in-chief will not acknowledge. ‘There is no question the Obama administration’s greatest failure is allowing the Islamic terror group ISIS to run wild, murdering thousands of innocent people all over the world, including many Muslims,’ said O’Reilly…
“He went on to say during the program: ‘I base my analysis on the fact that in my opinion – and I could be wrong, but I’m not – President Obama’s sympathetic treatment of Muslims put the country in danger because he has not elevated the risks that we have to the level it should be. And he allowed ISIS to be created because of his foolish decision to withdraw troops in Iraq and to pretty much run wild for five years. So another president, angry about the jihad, would not have done that.’…”
Trump’s Possible Running Mates
The Washington Post wrote on June 30:
“Donald Trump’s campaign has begun formally vetting possible running mates, with former House speaker Newt Gingrich emerging as the leading candidate, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But there are more than a half dozen others being discussed as possibilities, according to several people with knowledge of the process. Given Trump’s unpredictability, campaign associates caution that the presumptive Republican nominee could still shake up his shortlist. But with little more than two weeks before the start of the Republican National Convention, Gingrich and Christie have been asked to submit documents and are being cast as favorites for the post inside the campaign. Gingrich in particular is the beneficiary of a drumbeat of support from Trump confidants such as Ben Carson…
“The contenders under the most serious consideration, such as Gingrich and Christie, have been asked by attorney Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. to answer more than 100 questions and to provide reams of personal and professional files that include tax records and any articles or books they have published… With Gingrich, 73, or Christie, 53, the 70-year-old mogul would be joined by a well-connected Republican who shares his combative style and his ease at being a ubiquitous media presence. Both men have won Trump’s favor by actively supporting him — Gingrich primarily through television appearances and Christie through behind-the-scenes talks with party leaders and leading GOP donors…
“Gingrich would bring with him a history of battling with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, going back to their public fights over health care and Bill Clinton’s agenda and ultimate impeachment in the 1990s during her husband’s presidency. For years, Gingrich was seen by Clinton allies not just as an opponent but a nemesis with a penchant for grandiose rhetoric and barbed attacks — traits that Trump is said to welcome…
“Cruz is seen as someone Trump would like to bring into the fold because of his political capital with the conservative movement. But their bitter clashes during the primary have left a mark, and Cruz has so far declined to endorse Trump. That has not stopped members of Trump’s team from reaching out to members of Cruz’s circle and trying for a reconciliation… Robert Jeffress, a Dallas pastor who has become close with Trump during the campaign, said in an interview that while he has not spoken to Trump about the vice-presidential slot, Trump has made clear that he ‘wants someone who can help get his legislative agenda through Congress.’”
France’s Hollande Attacks Trump, Advocates European Military ”Defense”
The Telegraph wrote on July 1:
“The president of France has launched a scathing attack on Republican candidate Donald Trump, saying relations between the US and Europe would be complicated if the New York tycoon wins the White House. In comments that were surprisingly outspoken for a sitting head of state about another country’s political candidate, François Hollande urged Democrats to work to ensure the victory of Hillary Clinton. He said those who believed it was impossible for Mr Trump to win, were the same people who failed to predict the outcome of Britain’s referendum on EU membership…
“Mr Hollande, a socialist, likened Mr Trump’s controversial policies to the fear-mongering tactics of far-right movements in the EU… ‘fear of the wave of immigration, stigmatisation of Islam, questioning of representative democracy,’ he said.
“Mr Hollande also accused Mr Trump of hypocrisy denouncing elites and said that the 70-year-old was the ‘most obvious incarnation’ of those very elites… Asked if he believed a Trump presidency would be ‘dangerous’, he answered in the affirmative… ‘His election would complicate relations between Europe and the United States. But let’s look beyond this scenario and become aware of a deep and lasting trend in the US – Americans no longer [intend] to be the policemen of the world. Europeans should understand and plan accordingly for their defence. For their economies. For their commercial policy. And for the protection of their cultural industries.’”
“Europe Wants Its Own Empire”
Express wrote on July 1:
“The EU wants to expand its influence as far and wide as Asia and Africa – with critics fuming it shows Brussels are planning to form ‘its own empire’. The latest EU foreign policy document, titled Global Strategy, calls for an extended reach into new spheres as distant as the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa… Ukip’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem said: ‘The EU wants its own Empire as former Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made clear when he was in charge. This global strategy by the EU is yet another reason why last Thursday’s result was a lucky escape for the UK.”
The New York Times wrote on July 1:
“Britain’s vote to leave the European Union comes as the 28-nation bloc is grappling with more than its usual economic issues… As France and Germany fill the leadership void, they will have an opportunity to pursue a shared goal that Britain has blocked: expanding the European Union’s integration to include military policy…
“The European Union already has a military affairs office, known as the European Defense Agency, but it is weak and decentralized, lacking even a permanent headquarters. Britain has long opposed strengthening this arm of the union, preferring that all military coordination go through NATO, where its voice is amplified by its close alliance with the United States. Days after Britain’s referendum, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, presented a long-awaited memo articulating the body’s ‘global strategy.’ At its center is a call, long sought by French and German officials, for beginning to integrate Europe’s military policies.”
The Washington Post wrote on July 1:
“A day after staging a political ambush that reshaped the race to be Britain’s next prime minister, [justice minister] Michael Gove said Friday he acted out of ‘conviction, not ambition’ to open yet another head-spinning drama amid the fallout from Britain’s snub of the European Union… Gove initially signaled he would back a former London mayor, Boris Johnson, as Cameron’s replacement. But just hours before Johnson was to announce his bid for the job, Gove on Thursday launched his own campaign. Johnson withdrew less than three hours later to add another word to Britain’s increasingly dark political lexicon: ‘Brexecution.’
“Gove insisted on Friday that he did not want to be prime minister but felt he had no choice after concluding that Johnson… was not up to the job… The betrayal has scrambled an already chaotic picture in British politics. Gove and Theresa May, who leads the country’s domestic security operations as home affairs minister, are now considered the front-runners to replace Cameron.
“Gove’s move against Johnson left Britain reckoning with one more betrayal in a political season full of them. It rattled an already dazed nation, and left no doubt — if any remained — that Britain is divided, directionless and leaderless as it prepares for a leap into the unknown of life outside the E.U.
“Gove now must rebuild his image to win over voters stung by his Machiavellian moves, and make a case for how he will negotiate the best terms for Britain as it breaks ranks with the other 27 E.U. nations…
“May would be the second female prime minister in British history, after Margaret Thatcher. May’s unsmiling public persona and hard-line conservative politics have drawn occasional comparisons to the Iron Lady.
“Much of the response Friday to Gove’s last-minute announcement that he would challenge Johnson was unfavorable. A succession of leading Conservative politicians threw their weight behind May. So did the Daily Mail, Britain’s rabidly anti-E.U. tabloid. The endorsement came despite the fact that May backed the ‘remain’ campaign. [But she said subsequently that she will abide by the British vote, as “Brexit means Brexit.”] Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine, is a Daily Mail columnist. ‘A party in flames and why it must be Theresa,’ was the paper’s banner headline Friday.
“The Sun, another top-selling British tabloid, used a picture of Johnson on its cover with the word ‘Brexecuted’ underneath…”
Der Spiegel called Gove the “Brexit Brutus.” Daily Mail referred to him as “Judas” who “sticks his knife into Boris [Johnson] AGAIN.”
“Brexit Cannot Be Cancelled or Delayed, Says Francois Hollande”
The Independent wrote on July 1:
“Francois Hollande echoed comments made by some other European leaders who have called for the UK to start the process of leaving the EU immediately… ‘the decision has been taken – it cannot be delayed… or cancelled. Now we must take the consequences.’…
“Michael Gove said that as Prime Minister he would only act after ‘extensive preliminary talks’, and most probably not before the end of this year, while Theresa May said: ‘There should be no decision to invoke Article 50 before the British negotiating strategy is agreed and clear.’”
“UK Should Join Nordic Alliance of Non-EU Countries, Says Iceland’s President”
Express wrote on July 1:
“Iceland wants the UK to join a Nordic alliance of non-EU countries in the wake of Brexit to create a ‘super triangle’ of nations. After knocking England out of the Euros, Iceland is now keen to join forces to create a new union.
“President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said Brexit ‘is the most serious setback the leadership of the EU has seen for a long time’ as he called for a new alliance. Mr Grimmsson said: ‘First of all, it is now obvious that here in the North Atlantic will be a triangle of nations that all stand outside of the European Union: Greenland, Iceland, Great Britain, Faroe Islands and Norway. This key area in the North will be outside of the influence of the European Union…”
Norway Not Too Happy About UK Membership in EEA and EFTA
EUObserver wrote on July 1:
“Norway is far from enthusiastic about the prospect of the UK remaining a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) via the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). The reason for this is that only Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein have membership in the EEA thanks to the EFTA agreement. If the UK gets a good deal, this may turn the tide in Norway. EEA members are all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. With Switzerland they all form the EFTA. Both associations are aimed at extending the EU single market to willing non-EU countries. By comparison, the UK is a giant and would most likely run the show, thus reducing Norway’s influence.
“Membership of the EEA makes Norway and the other two countries that access the single market via EFTA ‘three-quarter’ members of the EU… EEA membership [allows] Norwegian businesses access to the European single market without the country having to join the Euro or agree to a closer union… Norway agreed to accept all EU legislation regarding the single market, and to accept all future legislation that the EU might adopt for the single market, regardless of what this might be. Parliament approved this while revoking any Norwegian legislation, regulations, and administrative decisions that might be in breach of the basic principles of the EU Treaty or any EU legislation on the single market. Norway has effectively renounced the right to adopt national legislation that may be in violation of the single market’s legislation. In return, Norwegian businesses and people get free access to the European single market… Since 1994, Norway has had to swallow over 10,000 EU laws… The three countries support the 15 economically weakest EU member states by way of a membership fee for access to the single market…
“Norway has also acceded to other agreements, including the Schengen Agreement… Although Norway has no voting rights in EU bodies, it does attend certain informal ministerial meetings… Theoretically, Norway can say ‘no’ to new legislation if Norway feels it conflicts with its national interests or is irrelevant to the EEA. Until now, this has not happened. The reason is simple: If Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein prohibit the implementation of an EU law, they can be punished. This means that the EU can revoke entirely unrelated elements of the agreement. For example: Norway threatened to reject the EU directive on additives in baby food, to which the EU responded by threatening to throw Norway out of the agreement on veterinary co-operation. This would be a disaster for Norwegian exports of fish. Ultimately, Norway always gives in… The EEA is undemocratic and not without constitutional problems. Norway has waved goodbye to much of its sovereignty to gain access to the single market. It would be ironic beyond measure if the British were to end up in the same boat. They voted to leave in order to have more control over their legislation, yet membership of the EEA via EFTA would only serve to reduce this control…
“There is growing scepticism about the agreement within the Norwegian trade union movement. The free movement of labour has led to social dumping in some industries, such as construction. It is primarily workers from Eastern Europe who pose this threat. The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) currently supports the EEA agreement, but this is likely to be a hotly debated topic at its next congress in light of social dumping. It means that those opposed to EU membership and who are increasingly sceptical of the EEA agreement, will be following Brexit particularly closely. If the UK gets a good deal, this may turn the tide in Norway. It may strengthen opposition to the EEA agreement, for such a deal may prove that it is possible for individual countries to negotiate a deal with the EU that is a worthy alternative to membership in the EEA.”
UK’s Nigel Farage Quits… but Not Quite
The Times of Israel wrote on July 4:
“United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a major driving force behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, stepped down as leader of his party on Monday… This was not the first time Farage resigned as the leader of the party, but he said this time it was definite. Farage first quit as party leader in 2009 over party infighting and again in 2015 after failing to become an MP, but on both occasions decided to stay…
“Though he stepped down from internal British politics, Farage said he would retain his seat in the European Parliament to scrutinize the negotiations for Britain’s exit from the EU. ‘I will watch the renegotiation process in Brussels like a hawk and perhaps comment in the European Parliament from time to time,’ he said. ‘Whilst we will now leave the European Union the terms of our withdrawal are unclear,’ he added. ‘If there is too much backsliding by the government and with the Labour party detached from many of its voters, then UKIP’s best days may be yet to come.’”
British Chancellor Osborne’s Interesting Proposals
The Telegraph wrote on July 4:
“George Osborne wants us to know: he’s still here. Maligned by Tories and Lefties alike after the EU referendum, the Chancellor… is nonetheless determined to grab column inches rather than fading away into the background…
“Mr Osborne had a helpful suggestion today. Britain needs to act fast to signal to international investors that it is going to be a hospitable and profitable place to do business. His statement that Britain should aim for corporation tax rate of 15 per cent is not a bad start. That would be a cut of 5 percentage points and give us the lowest rate in the G7 by some margin…
“Britain should do everything in its power to appeal to large corporations that employ people across the EU: it improves our negotiating position… getting a good deal from the EU is going to be extremely tough, because there are powerful forces on the continent determined not to grant us full single market access if we want any concessions on free movement.
“One strategy we should use to loosen their resolve is to give the EU an idea of what an excluded Britain on the edge of the market might look like. And one potential answer to that is obviously: a giant tax haven… The logic of cutting taxes in response to Brexit is obvious. If the EU decides to make it more expensive and difficult for businesses based here to sell their goods and services into its market, we will need to offset that cost in order to encourage a similar level of investment as we currently enjoy…
“The underlying message it sends to the EU is a harsher one: if you wilfully lock us out of your market, you leave us only one way to compete. And you won’t like it.”
Terrorism in Bangladesh
Deutsche Welle reported on July 2:
“Twenty people were found dead in a cafe in Bangladesh’s capital after police stormed it, killing six militants and capturing one. The operation ended an overnight standoff that the ‘Islamic State’ took credit for. On Saturday, Bangladesh security forces ended a 10-hour siege at an upscale eatery in Dhaka, where about 35 people had been held captive by heavily armed militants. Thirteen hostages were freed, six of the hostage takers were killed in the operation, and one was captured, officials said.
“The Bangladesh army reported that 20 foreigners – a mix of Italian and Japanese nationals – had been found killed inside the cafe, many apparently stabbed and slashed.”
Terrorism in Iraq
The Telegraph wrote on July 3:
“At least 125 people have been killed in two separate bomb attacks in Baghdad, Iraq. A pickup truck packed with explosives blew up outside a crowded market in Karada killing at least 115 people and wounding up to 187 others, officials said. The attack struck as families and young people were out on the streets after breaking their daylight fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“Most of the victims were inside a multi-story shopping centre, where dozens burned to death or suffocated. The dead included 15 children, 10 women and six policemen, a police officer told the Associated Press.
“Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing a statement to say a suicide car bomber targeted Shiites and warning ‘the raids of the mujahedeen [holy warriors] against the Rafidha [Shiites] apostates will not stop’.
“Shortly after the first bombing, an improvised explosive blew up in in eastern Baghdad, killing at least five people and wounding 16. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the second attack… Many of the dead were children, according to a team from The Associated Press at the scene…
“Hours after the bombing, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the site, where he was met by an angry crowd. The attacks came just over a week after Iraqi forces declared the city of Fallujah ‘fully liberated’ from Isis… Despite the government’s victories on the battlefield, Isis has repeatedly shown it remains capable of launching attacks far from the front-lines. The terror group remains in control of Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, as well as significant areas of territory in the country’s north and west.”
Breitbart wrote on June 29:
“With transgender mania in full swing across the progressive half of the nation, two transgender candidates have won their respective Democrat primaries to become the first transgender candidates to appear on a general election ballot from one of the nation’s two major parties. Transgender candidates have won Democrat primaries in both Colorado and Utah, and coincidentally enough, both males have adopted ‘Misty’ as their female name.
“… an Oregon law recently allowed a jury to award $60,000.00 to a transgender teacher because other teachers declined to use the teacher’s preferred pronoun, which is “they” rather than “him” or “her.” New York City has also establish similar forced-speech rules…”
Former Pope Benedict to Reveal Reasons for His Resignation
Newsmax added on July 1:
“Former Pope Benedict says in his memoirs that no one pressured him to resign but alleges that a ‘gay lobby’ in the Vatican had tried to influence decisions, a leading Italian newspaper reported on Friday. The book, called ‘The Last Conversations’, is the first time in history that a former pope judges his own pontificate after it is over. It is due to be published on Sept. 9.
“Citing health reasons, Benedict in  became the first pope in six centuries to resign… In the book, Benedict says that he came to know of the presence of a ‘gay lobby’ made up of four or five people who were seeking to influence Vatican decisions. The article says Benedict says he managed to ‘break up this power group’.
“Benedict resigned following a turbulent papacy that included the so-call ‘Vatileaks’ case, in which his butler leaked some of his personal letters and other documents that alleged corruption and a power struggle in the Vatican. Italian media at the time reported that a faction of prelates who wanted to discredit Benedict and pressure him to resign was behind the leaks.
“… rights campaigners have long said many gay people work for the Vatican and Church sources have said they suspect that some have banded together to support each other’s careers and influence decisions in the bureaucracy.
“Benedict, who now has the title ‘emeritus pope,’ has always maintained that he made his choice to leave freely and… in the book Benedict ‘again denies blackmail or pressure’… The former pope… says that he was ‘incredulous’ when cardinals meeting in a secret conclave chose him to succeed the late Pope John Paul II in 2005 and that he was ‘surprised’ when the cardinals chose Francis as his successor in 2013. Anger over the dysfunctional state of the Vatican bureaucracy in 2013 was one factor in the cardinal electors’ decision to choose a non-European pope for the first time in nearly 1,300 years.”
What Kinds of Sports, Games and Related Activities Are Appropriate and Inappropriate for Christians? (Part 1)
In the first installment of this series, we will address the Church’s position on violence and self-defense, as the answer is critical for the understanding as to what kinds of sports a true Christian may or should not participate in. What is the Church’s position on “violent” sports such as football, soccer, boxing, paintball and laser tag, as well as shooting with a gun or with an arrow? What is the Church’s position on “defensive” sports such as karate and jiu-jitsu; and how would the Church look at “war games” such as chess? Should our motivation be considered when watching or participating in certain sports and other related activities?
“Do we believe in God and rely on Him for our protection, having the faith that it is GOD who is our protecting shield, or do we think that we must have additional security in the form of a handgun or some sort of firearm? Do we think that God is incapable of helping us in certain circumstances? We should, of course, do everything that we can do to avoid getting into dangerous situations. We obviously should not go to places where gangs assemble, and we should not get involved with people who are known to be active in crimes…
“We are also told in Proverbs 26:17 that he who passes by and meddles with strife belonging not to him, is like one who takes a dog by the ears…
“The most important of all the things you can do to avoid using violence is to pray to God, on a daily basis: ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’ (compare Matthew 6:13)… God… will also provide a way of escape for you. This is sometimes literally the case. Sometimes you need to actually flee, to run away! Christ did so on occasion. We read in John 10:39: ‘Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.’… When we find ourselves, or others, in a dangerous, challenging, life-threatening situation, we must PRAY to God, with faith, to HELP us out of that situation. To fight our fight for us! To give us the wisdom and the power NOT to do the WRONG thing, however tempting it may be.
“We must realize that no matter what harm we may WANT to do physically in a given situation, we must not seriously injure or kill the attacker… If we carry a gun with us or have one handy, say, next to our bed, we will certainly try to use it, but then may be killed in the process… In any case, to use a gun and shoot the attacker would be against the clear Biblical teaching of prohibiting killing. But what about just trying to injure him? In the heat of the moment, you may not be able to do just that, even if you wanted to. And if the attacker would only be injured, he would still have the chance to kill you or others who are with you. Christ told Peter, when he pulled his sword in defense of Christ and just injured the servant, to put his sword away. Christ’s protection did not depend on human weapons. It depended on God the Father and His angels. So, too, with us. Our real protection comes from the same source….
“The whole issue really comes down to where we place our trust and confidence for our protection, in EVERY situation… we must firmly keep in mind God’s limitless power and His willingness to help His disciples, who place their trust and confidence in Him… To resort to violence with the intent to seriously injure or kill another person, even for the purpose of self-defense or defending others, is not in conformity with Christ’s teaching… God has assigned angels for our protection…”
We will discuss in the next installment how these comments would not only apply to a hand gun or a firearm, but also to potentially “violent sports” and “activities,” involving self-defense with the potential of seriously harming another person.
Let us consider further questions regarding the issue of violence.
We read in James 5:6: “You [the rich] have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.” The new Luther Bible translates: “He does not defend himself.” (In German: “… er wehrt sich nicht.”)
This brings to mind the famous passages in Matthew 5:38-41 and in Luke 6:27-30, where Christ says that we must not resist an evil person; pointing out that when we are being hit, we are to turn the other cheek; when someone tries to take our cloak, we ought to leave him our tunic, and vice versa; and when someone compels us to go one mile, we must go with him two miles–the famous extra mile. Does all of this mean that we have to passively give in to violent conduct and that we can do nothing in our defense?
We answer these questions in part 6 (pages 49-56) of our free booklet, “Old Testament Laws—Still Valid Today?:
“Jesus… addressed the principle of ‘an eye for an eye.’ He stated, in Matthew 5:38-39:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist [forcefully, by resorting to violence and thereby injuring or killing] an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” According to the Lamsa Bible, the concept of ‘turning the other cheek’ is another Aramaic idiom, meaning, ‘Do not start a quarrel or a fight.’
“… In order to prevent personal vengeance, as well as an unwillingness to forgive, to reconcile, and to live peaceably with all men, Christ continued to encourage His followers, in Matthew 5:40, to settle a claim with their adversaries out of court, without insisting on their ‘rights.’
“Paul cautioned us in the same way in 1 Corinthians 6:1-7, especially when lawsuits before worldly courts involve spiritual brethren. He said, in verse 7: ‘… it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?’
“Finally, in Matthew 5:41, when encouraging His followers to go the ‘extra mile,’ Jesus referred to the Roman practice that ‘obliged the people not only to furnish horses and carriages [for government dispatches], but to give personal attendance, often at great inconvenience, when required. But the thing here demanded is a readiness to submit to unreasonable demands of whatever kind, rather than raise quarrels, with all the evils resulting from them’ (Jamiesson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible).
“In conclusion, the Old Testament ‘lex talionis’ of an eye for an eye principle was never meant to be applied literally by actually maiming an offender. It was meant to outlaw personal vindictive ‘self-help’ and to allow, instead, a magistrate or a judge to consider the case and render righteous judgment by ordering the offender to pay just compensation to the victim. Jesus Christ addressed a wrong understanding of His listeners who thought they could avenge themselves. He cautioned all of us to be forgiving and kind, and He encouraged us to avoid fights and especially violence, even, if need be, at the price of foregoing our legal rights.”
As we can see, Christ did not mean to imply that we are to be helpless and passive victims and bystanders when confronted with violence. Rather, He told us not to treat violence with violence and revenge, including in our dealing with (unrighteous) acts of the government or in the context of improper conduct in legal settings.
Generally to the concept of violent conduct, we would like to quote from an Editorial by Norbert Link, titled, “Violence No More?,” where the following was stated:
“Our fascination with guns and violence will not contribute to the end of the misuse of guns and violent conduct—it will not create a better world. What is needed is a change of heart—how we think, and for what we stand. In the famous millennial passage of Isaiah 2:2-4, we read about a new world which will be so much different from what we are confronted with today. Satan will have no more influence over unsuspecting and gullible people. Instead, God’s law will be taught (verse 3). The consequence will be unparalleled in human history and truly earth-shaking: ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.’
“Their mind will be receptive to God’s way of life. God’s law will be in their heart (Isaiah 51:7). They will walk in God’s statutes and do them (Ezekiel 11:19-20). They will learn to live peaceably with their neighbor and with other nations. They will finally realize that committing violence against our fellow man will only bring destruction… When God’s law of love rules in our heart—and love does no harm to our neighbor (Romans 13:10)—then we would not even think of using a gun or a knife against someone. We would not even think of resorting to violence against another human being.”
But since most, if not all, sports have the potential of harming another person (quite physically or at least emotionally), and since cheering for one’s team or athlete might be viewed as wanting to harm the opposing team or athlete, should a Christian therefore totally abstain from watching or participating in competitive sports?
Another Editorial from Norbert Link, titled, “Enjoy Sports–The Right Way,” pointed out:
“Sadly, all sports have terribly deteriorated, and soccer is by no means an exception. Although originally designed as a ‘no-touch’ game, which did not permit a player to as much as intentionally ‘touch’ another player (except for using one’s shoulder to touch the opponent’s shoulder), we see more and more ‘professional fouls,’ and we are used to referees issuing warnings and giving out yellow cards and even red cards (signifying expulsion from the game).
“Therefore, some have concluded that God does not approve of any competitive sports. But this conclusion is not necessarily correct.
“In 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, Paul draws a spiritual analogy to competition in sports. This passage does not seem to allow for the conclusion that such competition is necessarily wrong. Paul says: ‘Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty…’ David draws another analogy in the book of Psalms, comparing the sun with ‘a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race’ (Psalm 19:5)…
“But God does not want us to have an attitude of harming or injuring an opponent, or of wishing that he be injured so that ‘our’ team will get an advantage. When ‘competition’ reaches that destructive level, it is wrong. But to want ‘our’ team to win in a game is not wrong. And ‘our’ team had better make every right effort to win, so that it is deserving of ‘our’ support (Ecclesiastes 9:10). But once a game is finished, we are to go on with life and our responsibilities. I remember Mr. Armstrong commenting once that he was enjoying watching a basketball game with the L.A. Lakers, but once the game was over, he would return to his duties. Some get so involved in the support of their team that they get all upset and can’t sleep at night if their team has lost. They might even get drunk to ‘forget their pain.’ That, of course, is not indicative of a healthy and Christian attitude.
“Sports can be good entertainment. They can contribute to our health and relaxation. They can be exciting. But they must never take first place in our lives… And even though watching sporting events can be good and clean fun, that should be all. In this world, ‘the race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong… Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all’ (Ecclesiastes 9:11). So, let’s enjoy sporting matches in a right way, while never getting our priorities mixed up.”
In the next installment, we will continue to show how concepts of violence and revenge apply to sports and other related activities, and what kinds of sports a Christian should view with disfavor.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Due to an address change, Pastor Brian Gale requests that mail sent to the Global Church of God in the UK be addressed as follows:
Global Church of God
PO Box 44
“FBI’s Recommendation in Clinton Scandal Suggests Corrupt and Rigged System,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified E-mail information on her private unsecured E-mail servers, the FBI has determined that she not only repeatedly lied to Congress and the public, but that she also acted with extreme carelessness or gross negligence and thereby violated the Federal Penal Code and committed a crime under the Espionage Act. Still, FBI Director James Comey recommends not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton; thereby raising questions pertaining to former President Bill Clinton, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and President Barack Obama. Many are outraged and claim that the rules of law were purposefully re-written for the Clintons. Evangelist and Attorney Norbert Link explains why this entire dubious affair is another example of terrible corruption within the USA.
“Ehrlich Währt am Längsten,” is the title of this week’s new German sermon. This is another sermon in our series on money. Title in English (it’s a German proverb): “Honesty Endures the Longest.”
“Other People,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
In our world of violent extremism, other people don’t seem to matter! However, we must reject this approach, because Christians are people who love other people!
“The Forerunner to Destruction,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
When we focus our energy away from Godliness, it inevitably leads to a prideful attitude. No matter the motivation for reaching this state, this mindset divorces us from a relationship with God, and ultimately, destroys our eternal life.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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