Inauguration 2017 – The Hidden Meaning; The Weightier Matters
On January 28, 2017, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Inauguration 2017 – The Hidden Meaning,” and Kalon Mitchell will present the sermon, titled, “The Weightier Matters.”
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.
by Norbert Link
One of the great temptations in the life of a Christian is the desire to determine the exact date of Christ’s return. The early apostles wanted to know the exact time, and even though Christ told them that it was not for them to know (Acts 1:6-7); that God’s Kingdom would not appear immediately (Luke 19:11); and that He would return at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:44); it seems that even the apostle Paul thought for a while that he would still be alive at the time of Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Over the centuries, Christians expected to experience firsthand the Second Coming of Christ, and they were confident that this would occur at a certain time. When it did not happen, many became frustrated and disappointed. The Church of God in the 20th and 21st centuries is no exception. Various dates would be proposed, which seemingly were convincing and compelling, as they were supposedly based on biblical “indications,” such as 19-year time cycles or calculations adopted from the book of Daniel. When the dates came and went, and Christ had still not returned, it was argued that God had simply delayed Christ’s Coming, and new dates were proposed, which likewise failed.
These erroneous and futile calculations, which were from the outset destined to failure, led to disillusionment, and many members lost confidence in their leadership and left their church organization. Others stayed, willing to “overlook” the miscalculations of well-meaning, but misguided ministers, but their willingness to follow the ministry had diminished, and, quite often, an underlying spirit of rebellion and self-will developed. In addition, some of those who pointed out past mistakes brought in damnable heresies, and while they found support from many gullible and undiscerning members, they set in motion the beginning of the prophesied end-time departure or “falling away” from the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2). The blind were now leading the blind, so that both fell into the ditch (Matthew 15:14).
When focusing on the status of the Church of God today, due to the experiences of the past, some true and loyal members might be inclined to believe that Christ will not come back any time soon (2 Peter 3:1-4; Isaiah 5:19), and some may become complacent or distracted by getting involved with other pursuits (Matthew 24:37-39, 45-51).
The problem with this attitude and its bad consequences is clearly described in Scripture (2 Peter 3:5-10). Whatever the apparently convincing “justification” for such thinking may be, the fact remains that Christ promised that He will return, and He gave us signs to focus on, indicating when His return would be near (Matthew 24:32-34). Sadly, in the past, many in the Church did not correctly evaluate these signs, while looking at events which were not really signs for Christ’s Second Coming. Since the knowledge and the understanding of the truth would increase in the last days, we are today in a unique position to evaluate world events in the light of biblical prophecy (2 Peter 3:18; Daniel 12:9; Jeremiah 23:20).
In this week’s Q&A, we write much about end-time prophecy, and it behooves all of us to take careful note of what we report regularly in our weekly Current Events section. Although we won’t make the mistake of setting dates, we are aware that prophesied end-time events are finding their fulfillment all over the world. The next major event in world affairs is the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Even though we do not know when this will occur, we do observe developments on the world scene which are setting the stage for this unparalleled and unique time in the history of mankind. Christ warned us that those days must be shortened to ensure the very survival of physical life on this planet. He reassures us that He will return before it is too late, to make an end to man’s incompetent rule leading to utter destruction, mayhem, and nuclear war (Matthew 24:21-22).
It is our belief that His return is not THAT far away, and that we are entering the final days of human suffering and misrule (Ezekiel 12:25-28). God is true and faithful, and His words stand forever and will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:35). What He has promised, He will do (Isaiah 46:10), and He did promise that pursuant to His plan and timing, He will send back His Son Jesus Christ to usher in a wonderful new world. It has been said that Christ will not come one second too early, but He will not come one second too late, either. We must get ready for His return, and we are told to begin “today” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Hebrews 2:1; 3:12-13; 4:11).
We report on President Donald Trump’s inauguration and his subsequent actions; continue with special emphasis on the world’s fear of global nuclear war with a frightening report of an alleged “disastrous failure in a nuclear missile test” by the UK; and the determined desire of Europe to create a powerful army, while perceiving President Donald J. Trump as the EU’s enemy, and vice versa. In this context, we point out the historically “unprecedented deterioration in post-war relations between the US and Europe, above all between the US and Germany.”
In addition, we report on numerous highly controversial anticipated or signed executive orders by President Trump, including on immigration and the border wall with Mexico, the Keystone Pipeline and TTP, as well as potential developments regarding Obamacare and the fear of a coming worldwide financial crisis.
We also speak on interesting events pertaining to Germany and the Vatican.
This Week in the News
Key Statements from President Trump’s Inauguration Speech
“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again…
“For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon…
“But that is the past… From this moment on, it’s going to be America First… We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American…
“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow…
“The Bible tells us, ‘how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity’… When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God…
“No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again… A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
“It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator…”
These statements speak for themselves. We will leave it to the reader to evaluate them; but this should be done in the light of biblical values, teachings, and prophecy.
The Trump Administration and Obamacare
Reuters reported on January 22:
“The Trump administration may no longer enforce a rule requiring individual Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty if they do not, a senior White House official said on Sunday. Speaking on ABC’s ‘This Week’ program, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said President Donald Trump ‘may stop enforcing the individual mandate.’ Separately, on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ show, she reiterated Republican promises that no one would lose their health insurance under Obamacare while a replacement is being developed. ‘For the 20 million who rely upon the Affordable Care Act in some form, they will not be without coverage during this transition time,’ she said.
“On Friday Trump signed an executive order concerning the 2010 healthcare law, urging U.S. agencies to ‘waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation’ of provisions deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals… Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ reiterated Republican promises to replace Obamacare and allow patients to buy health insurance across state lines using health savings accounts. ‘We’re going to move carefully in conjunction with the administration to repeal and replace it with things like health savings accounts and interstate health insurance sales and high-risk pools at the state level to take care of people who have pre-existing conditions,’ he said.”
The Huffington Post wrote on January 22:
“Just last week, a report from the Congressional Budget Office predicted that removing the individual mandate but keeping other Obamacare provisions, such as the pre-existing condition guarantee, would lead to premiums jumping by 20 to 25 percent within a year, above and beyond current projections.”
Mr. Trump Won’t Release His Tax Returns
Newsmax wrote on January 22:
“President Donald Trump will not release his tax returns after winning the election and being sworn in, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Sunday… The position of not releasing the returns counters a campaign statement the returns [would] be released after an audit was completed.”
In a related article, Newsmax wrote on January 22:
“WikiLeaks is calling for someone to send it President Donald Trump’s tax returns so it can release them to the world… WikiLeaks had been derided for being partisan and supporting President Trump’s campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton, but Sunday’s tweet seemed to combat its political lean… WikiLeaks even tweeted another shot Sunday at President Trump’s seemingly broken campaign promise of releasing his tax returns after an audit was completed: ‘Trump’s breach of promise over the release of his tax returns is even more gratuitous than Clinton concealing her Goldman Sachs transcripts.’
“Speaking of broken promises, Julian Assange said he would agree to U.S. extradition if Chelsea Manning was granted clemency by President Barack Obama. But once Manning’s sentence was commuted by President Obama on Tuesday, Assange reneged on his promise. [Assange’s lawyer told The Hill that the extradition offer was only on the table if Manning were to be released immediately. Manning, who stole 750,000 pages of documents and videos and released them to WikiLeaks in 2010, is set to be discharged on May 17.]
Our word should be as good as gold, without ignoring to fulfill a given promise or trying to find loopholes in what one has clearly promised.
Confusing Stance on NATO in Trump Administration
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 23:
“US Defense Secretary James Mattis has reassured his British counterpart of the ‘unshakeable commitment’ the US has toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a Pentagon spokesman said Monday… Less than a week on the job, Mattis also spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to affirm the importance of the alliance…
“Mattis’ calls to European defense officials comes less than two weeks after US President Donald Trump told the German daily ‘Bild’ and British newspaper ‘The Times’ that the alliance was ‘obsolete.’”
President Trump Signs Executive Order to Proceed with Keystone Pipeline
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 24:
“In a move that will enrage climate change and environment activists, Trump has signed an executive order to proceed with the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines… President Donald Trump has resurrected the controversial construction of [the] two oil pipelines that his predecessor Barack Obama had blocked on environmental grounds in 2015.
“On Tuesday, the new Republican president authorized both projects on the condition that American steel is used… The Obama administration stopped Keystone, which will carry crude oil from Canada to Texas along a 1,897km (1,178 miles) route, just over a year ago due to concerns over the damage such quantities of fossil fuels would do to the environment.
“Meanwhile Dakota Access, an almost identical length pipeline which is planned to transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day across four states from North Dakota to Illinois, has attracted controversy not only because of the potential environmental impact but because it disturbs the land of the Sioux Native American people and will potentially contaminate their drinking water…”
President Trump Signs Executive Order to Withdraw from TPP
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 23:
“The new US president has signed an executive order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 12 Asian countries… The TPP was negotiated under former President Barack Obama, but never ratified by Congress… Donald Trump also reiterated threats to impose a significant ‘border tax’ on companies that move production of products outside of the US to other countries.
“During a meeting in Washington, he told the chief executives of Ford, Dow Chemical, Dell Technologies, and Tesla that companies were welcome to negotiate with governors to move production between US states. But those businesses that choose to move factories abroad would pay a price. ‘We are going to be imposing a very major border tax on the product when it comes in,’ the US president warned, adding: ‘A company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States, and build some factory someplace else, and then thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States – that’s not going to happen.’
“At the same meeting… Trump said he would seek to cut corporate taxes to the 15 to 20 percent range – down from current statutory levels of 35 percent. In addition, the new US president promised to cut regulations, saying business leaders had told him that reducing those was ‘even more important’… He also said he planned to hold meetings with American CEOs on a quarterly basis or whenever they wanted to in order to address their concerns.”
President Trump Signs Executive Order to Build the US-Mexican Border Wall
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 25:
“President Trump has signed an executive order to start building his promised US-Mexican border wall. It could be one of the most costly US state projects ever. The executive order sets out to fulfill one of Trump’s key campaign promises, to build a wall along the 3,110-kilometer (1,933-mile) border between the US and its southern neighbor, Mexico… Ahead of the signing on Wednesday, Trump said in a television interview: ‘There will be a payment; it will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form.’
“In February last year, Trump told MSNBC he could finish the wall for $8 billion (7.4 billion euros) as a barrier already existed along parts of the border… However, others have put the cost far higher [saying that building] the rest of it would cost between $15 billion and $25 billion, with an annual maintenance cost of $700 million.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on December 26:
“After Donald Trump told President Pena Nieto not to visit the US unless Mexico intended to pay for Trump’s border wall, the Mexican president has taken the advice, calling off next Tuesday’swork meeting… Pena Nieto’s tweet followed about three hours after Trump threw down the gauntlet, challenging his Mexican counterpart to cancel their meeting if Mexico isn’t prepared to pay for the wall…
“Late Thursday afternoon Trump called for a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports as a means for Mexico to effectively pay for the wall. His spokesman Sean Spicer said the tax would be more than enough to pay for the wall. ‘By doing that, we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone,’ he said.
“Trump initially dismissed the canceled meeting, saying it would have been ‘fruitless.’ But then he claimed that the cancellation was a decision he made jointly with his Mexican counterpart…
“In canceling the trip the Mexican president [declared]: ‘I’ve said it time and time again: Mexico will not pay for the wall’…”
Newsmax added on January 26:
“President Donald Trump wants to pay for his proposed southern border wall by slapping a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico. White House spokesman Sean Spicer says Trump has discussed the idea with congressional leaders and wants to include the measure in a comprehensive tax reform package.
“But then later, at the White House, Spicer tried to take back his earlier comments by saying the 20 percent tax is one of several options under consideration and Trump hasn’t settled on it as the way to recoup construction costs for building the wall.”
President Trump to Sign Executive Order to Reduce Funding of UN
The Independent wrote on January 26:
“Donald Trump [is] to sign [an] executive order to dramatically reduce funding of United Nations. The upcoming order would dramatically reduce the US’ role in the UN and other international organisations…
“He also signed an executive order on Monday, re-instating the Ronald Reagan-era law which prohibits federal funding for any international organisation that carries out abortions or even mentions abortions, or tells its patients or clients where to go to get an abortion.”
Religious Leaders and Churches Opposed to Trump’s Immigration Orders
The Huffington Post wrote on January 25:
“President Donald Trump’s first week in office has signaled major changes are on the way for immigrants and refugees seeking new lives in the United States. On Wednesday, Trump signed executive orders to move forward on the construction of a wall on the southwest border and crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, a broad term that refers to jurisdictions that do not fully cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement efforts.
“Congressional sources also confirmed to The Huffington Post that the president is expected to issue an executive order later this week that will dramatically restrict refugee admissions to the U.S. and deny visas to individuals from countries his administration deems high-risk.
“Many religious organizations that support refugee and immigrant populations responded to Wednesday’s news with dismay. ‘Catholic teaching is very clear: we are called to welcome the stranger,’ Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice said in a statement. ‘President Trump’s actions today are antithetical to our faith.’
“A draft of the order on refugee resettlement obtained by HuffPost indicates that the Trump administration is planning [to] block refugee admissions from the war-torn country of Syria indefinitely. It also plans to suspend refugee admissions from all countries for 120 days and ban all ‘immigrant and nonimmigrant’ entry of individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 30 days. ‘This decision will mean that many of those who are the most vulnerable, the most at risk of further violence, the least likely to be able to fend for themselves, are now to be left without hope. Such a position does not reflect who we are as a nation, or as a people of faith,’… Canon E. Mark Stevenson, director of Episcopal Migration Ministries said.
“Refugees undergo a stringent, two-year long vetting process once they are recommended by the U.N. refugee agency for resettlement in the U.S. It includes various security and medical clearances as well as cultural orientation. If the U.S. government stops processing or admitting people even for a week, ‘their exit visa expires or their medical expires, they have to go back and start all over,’ Nina Zelic, director for refugee services for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, told HuffPost.
“Robert Bank, president and CEO of American Jewish World Service, noted that there was a time when the U.S. ‘acted with indifference to Jewish and other refugees from Europe during World War II.’ He urged the Trump administration not to let history repeat itself. ‘We object in the strongest terms to the demonization of Muslims by the new American administration,’ Bank said in a statement. ‘We understand what it means for a community to be demonized by authoritarian powers, and we regret that President Trump does not understand this lesson from the darkest chapters in world history.’
“Leaders from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Unitarian Universalist Association, Church World Service, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the United Church of Christ and a host of other faith-based organizations also criticized Trump’s actions. ‘If the president does go through with an executive order to suspend refugee resettlement and to close access to asylum seekers, we know that many lives will be put at risk and hopes for a future will be destroyed,’ said Susan Krehbiel, of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Faith organizations and local congregations may need to pick up the slack, she added, ‘to mitigate the abandonment of the federal government to this cause’…
“John C. Dorhauer, who serves as the general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, said: ‘As a religious leader, I am gravely concerned. I ask myself: when do we stop being America?…’
“Despite the outcry from many faith leaders, some of Trump’s own religious advisors argued that although the Christian faith commands believers to welcome the stranger, this imperative does not apply to the government. ‘It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that’s not a Bible issue,’… Franklin Graham, a prominent evangelical pastor and the president of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, told HuffPost.
“But Sister Campbell urged senators and representatives to ‘remember what Pope Francis said when he addressed Congress, “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.”’”
The Huffington Post also stated that according to Section 9 of the draft executive order, it is planned to “suspend the visa interview waiver program indefinitely” and to instead require everyone seeking entry into the USA, including visitors, to undergo “an in-person interview” at the American consulate or embassy. If enacted, this short-sighted and ill-conceived procedure would be extremely burdensome for tourists or business personnel from any country, including all European nations, and it would have serious consequences and repercussions for the USA, as foreign countries would surely enact similar burdensome laws for Americans wishing to enter their countries. This could result in a serious decline of the American economy and would certainly contribute to further anti-Americanism around the world. In addition, it would definitely hurt the Church of God tremendously, which gives us an indication as to who is truly behind these contemplated measures.
Jewish Organizations Oppose Trump’s Proposed Executive Order on Immigration
JTA wrote on January 25:
“Several liberal Jewish groups have decried a leaked draft of an executive order from President Donald Trump that would temporarily bar refugees and immigrants from some Muslim countries from entering the United States. The draft, which was leaked to the media Wednesday, bars the entrance of noncitizens from certain Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, for 30 days. It also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, and bans refugees from Syria from entering the U.S. until further notice. When the refugee program resumes, the government may prioritize asylum claims from members of persecuted religious minorities.
“The executive order would begin to make good on Trump’s pledge during the campaign to bar Muslims, later amended to citizens of countries compromised by terrorism, from entering the United States. A chorus of Jewish groups criticized the proposal when Trump first announced it in 2015, and several liberal Jewish groups slammed it again Wednesday. ‘History will look back on this order as a sad moment in American History – the time when the president turned his back on people fleeing for their lives,’ read a statement from Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. ‘This will effectively shut America’s doors to the most vulnerable people in the world who seek refuge from unspeakable pain and suffering.’
“Other groups also recalled past Jewish suffering in opposing the executive order. Ahead of the Holocaust, the United States denied entry to Jewish refugees, most notably turning back the M.S. St. Louis, a ship carrying nearly 1,000 German Jews. ‘As Jews, we recognize the danger in any action that singles out people based on their religious beliefs,’ read a statement by Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center, the Reform movement’s legislative advocacy arm. ‘If the order is issued as anticipated, it is deeply troubling, rooted in exclusion and discrimination, and echoes the most shameful parts of our history. ’
“Bend The Arc Jewish Action, a liberal advocacy group, endorsed a rally opposing the executive order to be held Wednesday in front of the White House. Other groups that oppose the draft order include the American Jewish World Service, which provides aid to poor countries, and Jewish Voice for Peace, which endorses the movement to boycott Israel. ‘Making decisions on who is welcome in our country based solely on their religion or national origin is fundamentally un-American,’ said a statement by Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc. ‘As Jews, we know what it’s like to be scapegoated and we will not be silent now.'”
Donald Trump Rebuked for Condoning Torture
Reuters reported on January 26:
“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) have joined global human rights groups in their rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump for condoning torture.
“Trump told ABC television in an interview on Wednesday that he thought waterboarding ‘worked’ as an intelligence-gathering tool but would defer to his cabinet on whether to use it in interrogations.
“‘These practices of torturing detainees and “disappearing” them in black sites are serious crimes which must never be repeated,’ Ian Seiderman, Legal and Policy Director of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said in a statement.”
The State Department’s Entire Senior Administrative Team Resigned
The Washington Post wrote on January 26:
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era… [It] amounts to a near-complete housecleaning of all the senior officials that deal with managing the State Department, its overseas posts and its people…
“Several senior Foreign Service officers in the State Department’s regional bureaus have also left their posts or resigned since the election. But the emptying of leadership in the management bureaus is more disruptive because those offices need to be led by people who know the department and have experience running its complicated bureaucracies…
“By itself, the sudden departure of the State Department’s entire senior management team is disruptive enough. But in the context of a president who railed against the U.S. foreign policy establishment during his campaign and secretary of state with no government experience, the vacancies are much more concerning…”
UK and USA to Be Global Leaders?
The Guardian wrote on January 26:
“In a foreign policy speech that marks a clear break with the liberal interventionism of the Tony Blair and David Cameron eras, the UK’s prime minister said there must be ‘no return to the failed policies of the past’ that saw Britain bogged down in conflicts in the Middle East.
“As she prepared to meet Donald Trump in Washington, amid profound anxiety in Europe about how he will choose to exercise American power, May insisted that the ‘days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over’.
“But she stressed that the two countries should still meet their ‘obligations of leadership’ to tackle ‘new global challenges’, including the conflict in Syria and the fight against Islamic State.
“… Downing Street is keen to demonstrate that Britain intends to play a key role in world affairs after leaving the European Union…
“May suggested global leadership by the US and the UK had become all the more necessary, because of the rise of ‘new enemies of the west and our values’ and fears that fast-growing economies such as China and India could ‘eclipse’ the west…”
“UK Government Covered Up ‘Disastrous Failure’ in Nuclear Missile Test”
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 22:
“A British newspaper [the Sunday Times] has alleged that an unarmed nuclear missile veered off course and headed toward the US in a 2016 test…
“The newspaper cited an anonymous senior naval source who claimed that the unarmed Trident II D5 missile failed after being launched from a British submarine off the coast of the US state of Florida in June. The cause of the failure was top secret, but the source said the missile may have accidentally veered towards the mainland. ‘There was a major panic at the highest level of government and the military after the first test of our nuclear deterrent in four years ended in disastrous failure,’ the source told the paper. ‘Ultimately, Downing Street decided to cover up the failed test. If the information was made public, they knew how damaging it would be to the credibility of our nuclear deterrent.’…
“According to ‘The Times,’ Britain has conducted only five tests of Trident missiles from submarines since 2000, partly due to the 17 million pound cost of each launch. Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a strident critic of nuclear weapons, said it was a ‘pretty catastrophic error’ for a missile to go in the wrong direction…”
If these allegations are true, then we can easily see how nuclear war could occur due to inadvertent mistakes.
Doomsday Clock Moving Closer to Midnight
The Telegraph wrote on January 25:
“The Doomsday Clock, which symbolises the current threat of global annihilation, is expected to be moved closer to midnight by scientists. The countdown was established in 1947 by a group of experts who were working on the Manhattan Project to design and build the first atomic bomb. They wanted a simple way of demonstrating the danger to Earth and humanity posed by nuclear war. The clock is currently running at three minutes to midnight, where 00.00 represents the end of humanity. But the Bulletin of the Atomic Science is expected to move it forward by one minute on Thursday, the closest it has ever been to the apocalypse since 1953 when the US took the decision to upgrade its nuclear arsenal with the hydrogen bomb…
“In a statement the scientists said: ‘Tensions between the United States and Russia that remain at levels reminiscent of the Cold War, the danger posed by climate change, and nuclear proliferation concerns – including the recent North Korean nuclear test – are the main factors influencing the decision about any adjustment that may be made to the Doomsday Clock.’ On Sunday it posted an article on its website warning that ‘terrorism involving nuclear or radiological materials remains one of the gravest threats to humanity and to global stability’. The scientists also warned of ‘accidental, unauthorised, or inadvertent nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia’, saying that the two countries had 800 warheads on high alert, ready to launch.
“… The clock was last moved in 2015, when the scientists took it two minutes forward, so that it currently reads three minutes to midnight. That sent a message that the Earth was closer to oblivion than any time since the early days of hydrogen bomb testing and 1984…”
Deutsche Welle reported on January 26:
“The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists unveiled its updated Doomsday Clock on Thursday – and it doesn’t look good. The symbolic countdown to man-made global destruction now stands at two and a half minutes to midnight – the closest it has been since 1953.
“The clock – which serves as a visual metaphor for how close humans are to destroying the world with technology – has moved up for the first time by 30 seconds due, in large part, to the comments by the new US President Donald Trump… about expanding the US nuclear arsenal…”
Russia Warns of World War III
The Russian government-sponsored Pravda wrote on January 20:
“… a war between Russia and the Western bloc would drag the whole world into it. Only 100 years ago the world was dragged into a serious war that went on for four years. The ambitions of European politicians thrust the world into an irreversible conflict in three weeks. This conflict was the First World War and led to deaths of 20 million people. Twenty years later, even before the ink on the peace treaties dried, another much deadlier world war broke out. By the time the warring parties sat round the peace table, 50 million people had lost their lives. A century after all these events, there is no doubt that the conditions have changed dramatically. A potential world war in the 21st century would likely claim several hundred millions of lives…
“In various places of the world, hundreds of thousands of people are arming themselves with weapons to fight every morning. At any moment, some kind of provocation can ignite the fuse of a great war as the Sarajevo assassination did in 1914… In the civil wars of Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, there are tens of thousands of mercenaries. As for [the] Mediterranean, five aircraft carriers, over a hundred warships, warplanes, helicopters, amphibious transport docks and tens of thousands of soldiers are advancing. An environment where deadly weaponry is stocked with such intensity is no doubt a very risky one…
“War with Russia is a disastrous scenario that shouldn’t even be considered. Tensions with Russia mean putting the entire world into danger…”
The article is filled with ridiculous Russian propaganda, trying to show Russia’s peacefulness vs. European warmongers. We have chosen not to quote those sections. But the sections quoted above are worthy of contemplation.
Will the Trump Administration Attempt to Stop an EU Army?
Express wrote on January 22:
“The controversial 1000-strong Euro Corps was formed in 1993 and is spearheaded by a German-Franco brigade of troops. It provided HQ staff for operations in Afghanistan in 2004 and currently supports an EU maritime operation against pirates off Somalia. Directed by Brussels it is manned by 10 EU member states and Turkey. While in the EU, Britain used its influence to block its expansion.
“Brexit was met with the immediate publication of plans to build a military new headquarters, as the EU scrambled to reinforce the project’s identity. Separately, Germany’s defence white paper revealed its own ambitions to lead a pan-European force. The moves have caused concern in the Trump camp. ‘… there is big concern about the EU moving towards an EU army, a military of Western Europe,’ said Ted Malloch, President Trump’s new ambassador to the EU, recently.”
It has been our experience that one must be careful with articles published by the Express, dealing with continental European developments. But if it is indeed President Trump’s goal to prevent a powerful European army from developing, he is predestined to fail in this endeavor.
Unprecedented Deterioration between USA and Europe under President Trump
Global Research published the following article on January 19, which was originally published by the World Socialist Web Site:
“Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States heralds an unprecedented deterioration in post-war relations between the US and Europe, above all between the US and Germany… Trump praised Britain’s exit from the European Union, describing the EU as a vehicle for German domination… Trump threatened Germany’s auto industry with sanctions and attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel, blaming her refugee policy for destabilising Europe…
“Never before has a US president set as his explicit goal the breakup of the EU. Trump made clear in his interview [with Bild and Times of London] that he was seeking to pit the UK against Germany…
“The response from Europe’s political elite was uniformly hostile. In Germany, Merkel replied, ‘I think we Europeans hold our fate in our own hands.’ Sigmar Gabriel of Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, insisted, ‘We must not adopt a servile attitude now… In dealing with Trump, we need German self-confidence and a clear stance.’ French President Francois Hollande said that ‘transatlantic cooperation’ will from now on be based on Europe’s own ‘interests and values.’
“Europe’s think tanks and media predicted escalating militarism and an eruption of nationalist tensions. ‘EU member states will have to consider increasing strategic autonomy by reinforcing collective defence inside the EU,’ said Felix Arteaga of the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid…
“The last time tensions emerged sharply between the US and Europe was in 2003, during the run-up to the Iraq War, when US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denounced France and Germany for failing to support the US in Iraq. Rumsfeld called the two countries ‘old Europe’ and counterposed to them the states of Eastern Europe…”
The article was written from a socialist viewpoint, and we have chosen not to cite most of it. However, the excerpts quoted above are noteworthy.
Donald Trump’s New World Order… Biggest Enemies: Germany and Japan
Der Spiegel wrote on January 20:
“For more than 60 years, the U.S. has promoted European unity. The country introduced the Marshall Plan, it supported the single European market and backed Europe’s eastward expansion following the collapse of the Iron Curtain. But now, a man is entering the White House who is counting on the disintegration of the EU. He would rather negotiate with each country individually, believing that will be more beneficial for America… His only goal is America’s profitability, particularly in global trade, which he sees as a brutal fight for survival…
“The situation could hardly be worse for German Chancellor Angela Merkel… Can Merkel’s Europe now hold together? Can she become a worthy adversary to Trump in the approaching conflicts…?
“That which had seemed inconceivable just a short time ago now appears to be a foregone conclusion: A new era is beginning… For the most part, that is because the 45th president of the United States of America is simply not interested in the world order that has developed since 1945. He is just as disinterested in the trans-Atlantic partnership and the long-cultivated alliances with Western allies…
“Europe finds itself on the eve of an epochal shift of the kind it hasn’t seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Is this the end of the West as we know it, as former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned a month ago?…
“Russia’s annexation of Crimea was the first indication that the global order that we had enjoyed for 25 years was under threat — and the world simply stood by and watched. Apart from a couple of sanctions, U.S. President Barack Obama left the problem to the Europeans… The new president will likely continue the process that began under his predecessor: America’s withdrawal from global politics. Just that the incoming president is expected to formulate that withdrawal more clearly than Obama did…
“For the last 70 years, Europe could depend on having America at its side. Now, this is no longer a certainty…
“Merkel’s staff has become certain that conflicts with the new U.S. administration will primarily be focused on two policy areas: foreign trade and relations with Russia. The decisive question is: Can Merkel rely on European backing? After the in-coming president made clear this week that he believes the EU has outlived its usefulness, it wasn’t long before European leaders closed ranks…
“The incoming U.S. president has always viewed the EU as an alliance aimed at weakening America’s economy… If Trump sticks with his positions, it is the chancellor’s view that Europe could be facing a great threat…
“America’s Greatest Adversaries [are] Japan and West Germany. That is particularly true when it comes to trade policy, which Trump has for decades seen as a conspiracy against America. For the past several weeks, a March 1990 issue of Playboy magazine has been making the rounds in Merkel’s Chancellery… Inside is a long interview with Trump, in which he talks about what he sees as America’s most dangerous adversaries. He doesn’t mention Russia or Red China, but Japan and West Germany, countries that he said had robbed the U.S. of its self-esteem. ‘Their products are better because they have so much subsidy,’ he said, while America is ensuring that those countries aren’t ‘wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes.’ He concludes his point by saying: ‘Our “allies” are making billions screwing us.’…
“Trump is the end of the world as we know it — that much is clear. Or, as the Economist recently wrote: ‘Things could get much worse.’”
Another Financial Crisis Coming Soon?
The Telegraph wrote on January 21:
“‘If the Trump administration does just half of what it says it’s going to do in economic policy and financial regulation, another financial crash is almost certain and sooner rather than later,’ is the informed verdict of Dennis Kelleher, the head of the Better Markets think tank…
“During the last crash central banks cut interest rates from around 5 per cent to zero and bought up trillions of dollars of bonds and loans to stabilise the system. Governments spent vast amounts of public money to stop banks going bust and devastating the wider economy.
“But today interest rates across the developed world are still close to zero and government debt is much higher than it was in 2008, giving policymakers considerably less room for manoeuvre if the system fails again. The bottom line is that we can’t afford another financial crisis. Yet, thanks to Trump, one may well be coming.”
Wall Street Boom Despite or Because of Trump?
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 26:
“What a historic moment on Wall Street! The Dow Jones industrial index cleared the 20,000-point threshold for the first time ever…
“For most observers, it’s pretty obvious what the current bullish mood on Wall Street is based on. They claim the latest boom is all about hopes the new US president may provide fresh momentum to the domestic economy. There’s a feeling that Donald Trump’s first moves in office have met investors’ expectations…
“One should assume that investors have enough economic wisdom to know where to put their money. They should know tax reductions, investment programs and measures to reduce the debt burden do not really go hand in hand. In principle, financial market players have an inkling that Trump’s plans may not be realistic at all.
“What if the bubble bursts?… After withdrawing from TPP and numerous warnings to carmakers to produce their vehicles in the US, the president is now also getting serious about erecting a Mexican border wall.
“Donald Trump doesn’t seem to realize that the US economy stands to suffer long-term from such measures, which will disrupt well-attuned cross-border supply chains. Some investors are beginning to nurture doubts already. The ‘Global Fund Manager Survey’ says almost 30 percent of big US investors polled fear trade wars might break out as soon as this year.
“Right now, stocks on Wall Street keep rising because of Trump, but soon people will realize they’ve been rising despite Trump… investors are well-advised to be cautious despite the current euphoria around them… shares are a crucial part of people’s old-age pension schemes in the US. Their provisions could be severely hit, should the Trump bubble burst one fine day. And it would be the middle class that would be affected the most – the very people the president has promised to support…”
How Europe Views Donald Trump
The Guardian wrote on January 20:
“Most newspapers across Europe predict that Donald Trump will be a reckless world leader, viewing him as a buffoon and fearing that he will undermine transatlantic relations and weaken the European Union. They are also worried that he might make deals with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, at the expense of smaller countries in central and eastern Europe.
“Newspaper articles published over a seven-day period prior to Trump’s inauguration are said to reveal a level of trepidation about the incoming American president that is probably unparalleled in recent history…
“These findings emerge from an analysis by the European Journalism Observatory of the content of three daily newspapers in each of 10 European countries from 12 to 18 January. The countries studied were Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Ukraine and the UK…
“Among the reactions: ‘Europe’s nightmare’ (Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung); ‘Trump ruins the European Union’ (Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza); and ‘Europe could be the first victim of Trump’ (commentator in Italy’s Corriere della Sera)…”
Reaction to Donald Trump’s Inauguration Speech
Most world leaders congratulated Mr. Trump on his inauguration. But reaction from Germany, the United States’ biggest trading partner, and China took a different tone.
Bild wrote on January 21:
“Trump’s Speech was a Declaration of War on the World… Trump will become a big radical experiment of perhaps historical proportions…”
The Guardian wrote on January 21:
“‘What we heard today were high nationalistic tones,’ [Germany’s vice chancellor Sigmar] Gabriel said… ‘I think we have to prepare for a rough ride.’… Europe and Germany must stand together ‘to defend our interests.’…”
“China’s Global Times, a Communist party tabloid, said the ‘impressive’ address signalled that the start of the Trump era would herald ‘dramatic changes’… ‘Frictions between the US and its allies, and trade tensions between the US and China seem inevitable within the four years ahead,’ the state-run newspaper said in an editorial. ‘Undoubtedly the Trump administration will be igniting many “fires” on its front door and around the world. Let’s wait and see when it will be China’s turn’…”
The Pope’s Reaction
AFP wrote on January 21:
“Pope Francis on Saturday warned against populism, saying it could lead to the election of ‘saviours’ like Hitler. In an hour-long interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais conducted as Donald Trump was being sworn in as US president, the pontiff also condemned the idea of using walls and barbed wire to keep out foreigners. ‘Of course crises provoke fears and worries,’ he said but added that for him ‘the example of populism in the European sense of the word is Germany in 1933. Germany… was looking for a leader, someone who would give her back her identity and there was a little man named Adolf Hitler who said ‘I can do it’. Hitler did not steal power,’ the pope said. ‘He was elected by his people and then he destroyed his people.’
“The Germans at that time also wanted to protect themselves with ‘walls and barbed wire so that others cannot take away their identity,’ he said. ‘The case of Germany is classic,’ he said, adding that Hitler gave them a ‘deformed identity and we know what it produced.’
“Pope Francis however underscored that it was too early to pass judgement on Trump. ‘Let’s see. Let’s see what he does and then we will evaluate,’ he said.”
The Pope’s comments about Hitler’s Germany are only partially true. There is no evidence that Germany, under Hitler, was trying to “protect” itself with walls and barbed wires. Rather, this was the official “justification” of Russian-controlled East Germany for building the Berlin Wall.
Vatican Takes Over Knights of Malta Catholic Order
Newsmax wrote on January 25:
“The Vatican said Wednesday it was taking over the embattled Knights of Malta lay Catholic order in an extraordinary display of papal power after the Knights’ grand master publicly defied Pope Francis in a bitter dispute over condoms. The move marks the intervention of one sovereign state – the Holy See – into the governance of another, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an ancient aristocratic order that runs a vast charity operation around the globe… The Knights of Malta is a sovereign entity under international law, making the Vatican intervention all the more remarkable.
“… The Order of Malta has many trappings of a sovereign state, issuing its own stamps, passports and license plates and holding diplomatic relations with 106 states, the Holy See included. The Holy See, however, has a unique relationship with the order since it is a Catholic entity… The knights trace their history to the 11th-century Crusades with the establishment of an infirmary in Jerusalem that cared for people of all faiths.”
Leading European Right-Wing Populists Attend Meeting in Germany
Deutsche Welle reported on January 21:
“The political group Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), which consists of representatives of several populist and anti-immigration parties including Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the French National Front, is holding a convention in the western German city of Koblenz on Saturday. The ENF is the smallest group in the European Parliament… Prominent European populist politicians, including AfD co-leader Frauke Petry, the National Front’s leader and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and the Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, are attending, along with Matteo Salvini, who head Italy’s Northern League (LN).
“Wilders… hailed the advent of Donald Trump onto the world stage as newly inaugurated US president, saying: ‘Yesterday a free America, today Koblenz, tomorrow a new Europe.’ Trump, who took office on Friday, has advocated a vehement ‘America first’ nationalist stance.”
These parties will not prevail in trying to destroy European unification; rather, their existence will lead to the opposite result: To counter anti-European “nationalism,” European leaders will make an extra effort to facilitate stronger European unity.
Schulz, not Gabriel, Will Run Against Merkel
The Local wrote on January 24:
“Vice Chancellor and the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, made the surprise announcement on Tuesday that he would not run against Chancellor Angela Merkel in September’s general election. Gabriel told Die Zeit newspaper that he would recommend that former European Parliament president Martin Schulz take his place as SPD party chairman and candidate for chancellor.
“… Gabriel told Stern and Die Zeit that he now aimed to become foreign minister, replacing Frank-Walter Steinmeier who is expected to be elected German president next month… The news… came as a shock to political observers in Berlin…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 24:
“Until now, Schulz has been a European politician: He was a European parliamentarian… and served as the president of the European Parliament from 2012 to 2017. But now, Schulz has come into the fold as a national politician in Germany…
“His… character… makes him a popular guest on talk shows. Schulz rarely avoids a confrontation, but that may also be what makes the 62-year-old seem so surprisingly fresh when it comes to debating political issues at home in Germany…
“Schulz has proven time and again, in Brussels and Strasbourg, that he can pack a punch on the issues that will confront him in German domestic politics… Schulz’s clear words are perhaps also why he is so surprisingly popular.
“According to the latest opinion polls, he is as popular among Germans as Chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He is also far more popular than SPD leader and current Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 25:
“By naming former EU Parliament President Martin Schulz to run against Angela Merkel for chancellorship, the Social Democrats are back in the game… [They] have started the election year with a bang…
“Martin Schulz, the new chancellor candidate, is someone who is able to match Merkel in terms of popularity, and comes closer to her as a rival for the chancellorship than any other Social Democrat in the last decade. He is a proven supporter of Europe and a great communicator who is able to attack fiercely as well as defend himself with confidence…
“For the voters, the Social Democrats have suddenly become visible again… It is all about showing the Germans that it truly makes a difference who they vote for, that the main parties are not all the same. But one thing is unchanged: a firm commitment to Europe. Amongst the parties represented in the federal parliament in Berlin, there is no room for the nationalism that is growing in parts of Europe and the world – not even in an election year… After years of weakness, the Social Democrats now have a chance to show themselves as a real alternative for Germany.”
How Does the Church of the Eternal God and its International Affiliates Differ From Other Christian Churches? (Part 4)
In the first three installments of this series, we discussed our belief in the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures; our doctrinal foundation; and our Church government. We also emphasized that while the Church of God is a spiritual organism, this fact does not exclude the necessity of physical organizations. In that context, we showed the importance of the Church’s correct biblical name. We also began to explain Christ’s commission to His Church; that is, to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness. We showed what is meant with the terms, “gospel,” “the kingdom of God,” “to all nations”, and “as a witness.” In this installment, we will address another aspect of the Church’s commission; i.e., to warn the nations.
To reiterate, our Statement of Beliefs points out under “The Church’s Commission”:
“We believe that it is the Church’s commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations as a witness, to warn all nations, and especially the lost tribes of the house of Israel (mainly in the United States, Great Britain, certain Commonwealth nations and nations in Northwestern Europe) of impending danger, and to feed the flock of Christ—the Church—spiritually and physically.”
Part of the gospel message is a warning proclamation. It is the responsibility of the Church of God to warn all nations of impending danger (Isaiah 34:1-3), especially the lost tribes of the house of Israel (Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:2-11). This emphasis on the house of Israel is placed as God had chosen them to be a good example to the rest of the world, but they have miserably failed in this regard (Exodus 19:5-6; Ezekiel 20:5-32). So, God will deal with them first, and they will require to hear a warning before He does. But a specific warning must also go out to all nations, because God will deal with them subsequently (Isaiah 24:5-6; 28:22). In addition, a warning message must even go out to members and prospective members of the Church of God (Colossians 1:28; Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:14).
In order to warn the nations of the house of Israel (and, by extension, the modern house of Judah), it is necessary to know who they are today. This knowledge is one of the distinguishing signs showing the difference between the Church of God and most other church groups, who do not know anything about the modern tribes of the house of Israel; who and where they are; and that a warning message must be given to them today, prior to Christ’s return. As we state in our Statement of Beliefs, the lost tribes of the house of Israel can be found today in the USA (where we find descendants of Manasseh, the first-born son of Joseph and grandson of Jacob or Israel); the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa (all descendants of Ephraim, the second son of Joseph); parts of France (descendants of Reuben, Jacob’s first-born son); Denmark and Ireland (descendants of Dan, one of Jacob’s twelve sons); Norway and Iceland (descendants of Benjamin, another one of Jacob’s twelve sons); The Netherlands (descendants of Zebulon, one of Jacob’s twelve sons); Finland (descendants of Issachar, one of Jacob’s twelve sons); Switzerland (descendants of Gad, one of Jacob’s twelve sons); Belgium and Luxembourg (descendants of Asher, one of Jacob’s twelve sons); and Sweden (descendants of Naphtali, one of Jacob’s twelve sons). In addition, modern descendants of Jacob’s son Levi might be found today in Wales; and descendants of Simeon and Levi might also be found in Scotland. Furthermore, a warning message must go out to the modern descendants of the house of Judah—the Jewish people.
But as we said, the warning message must also be given to non-Israelite peoples as well, which would include powerful nations such as Germany and Austria (modern Assyria); Italy (in part descendants of the ancient Chaldeans and Babylonians); and countries such as Russia, China, Japan, India, nations in the Middle East, Africa and South America. It will remain to be seen whether and to what extent such a warning will reach some of the non-Israelite or “Gentile” nations prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
In addition, the message must be proclaimed about what is prophesied for the descendants of the house of Israel and the entire world if the warning is not heeded. God’s Church is able to announce this, as Christ leads and inspires it, and Christ’s Spirit is a spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10; compare Amos 3:7-8; John 16:13; Isaiah 44:26; 1 Corinthians 13:2).
To be clear, the warning message must precede the time of the beginning of the Great Tribulation (which will NOT last longer than 3 ½ years; there is NO reference in the Bible saying that it would last for seven years) and of the Day of the Lord (which may last for about 1 year, compare Isaiah 34:8; 61:2; 63:4, equating a day with a year, beginning no later than about 2 ½ years after the start of the Great Tribulation). It is true that the warning message will continue to be given during those times, especially through the testimony and prophecies of the “two witnesses” (Revelation 11:3-6). Finally, when the two witnesses have completed their testimony, they will be killed in Jerusalem (showing that they are human beings and not angels), and after 3 ½ days they will be resurrected to immortal life as God beings in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 11:7-13). This resurrection will be part of the first resurrection, when all true Christians will enter eternal life and meet the returning Christ in the air, on clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), to descend together on that same day to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4-5). The Bible does not teach, nor do we believe, that the returning Christ and His resurrected saints, who will be meeting Him in the air, will ascend to Heaven and then return to this earth at a later time.
Today’s warning message of the Church is directed especially at the tribes of the house of Israel, as well as the Jewish people, who will both be defeated in war and either killed or enslaved. This will occur at and constitute the very beginning of the Great Tribulation which can also be described as Satan’s wrath against Israel (Luke 21:20-24). And yes, it is prophesied that Satan’s wrath will also be directed at the same time against God’s Church—spiritual Israel—and a martyrdom will occur for many of God’s people (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:13-14; 12:12, 17). Other members of the true Church of God will be protected during that time at a physical location or “place of safety” here on earth (Revelation 12:13-16; 3:10). The Bible might give some indication as to how God’s people who are worthy of protection will reach this place of safety, but it is useless to prepare for it in a physical way or contemplate where it might be and how to get there, as God will “work out the specifics.”
As we stated, the warning message must also go out to all nations who will be involved, either directly or indirectly, with attacking Israel (Zechariah 14:2-3, 12-15), and even though God had decreed that Israel and Judah are to be punished, this does not make Israel’s enemies any more righteous (Habakkuk 1:13). While at the very end all nations (including Russia and China) will be involved in attacking Jerusalem, the original onslaught will occur through ten European nations or groups of nations (Daniel 2:40-44; Revelation 17:12-13) under the leadership of a charismatic political military leader, the “beast,” who will work together with a worldwide religious system, “Babylon the Great,” under their religious leader, the “false prophet.”
The Church of God understands and believes that the confederacy of ten European nations or groups of nations will occur under “Assyrian” leadership (Isaiah 10:5-7, 12, 24-25; 30:30-33; 31:8-9). The future “King of Assyria” is also identified as “King Jareb,” the “king of the North” and the “beast.” This coming European power bloc will fight a nuclear war against America and Great Britain, leading to the destruction of all major cities in those countries (Ezekiel 6:6). The Church of God has proclaimed for a long time that Germany (who was defeated in World War II and which became subsequently divided in East and West Germany) would unite and become the most powerful nation in Europe; that Great Britain would ultimately leave the EU, while Italy would not leave; that the euro would stay; that Europe would build a powerful army; and that the relationship between the USA and Europe, especially Germany, would deteriorate.
We understand that the European religious system has nothing to do with Islam, but that it is a false belief and practice of Christianity which is described as a fallen woman, as she and her daughters fell away from true and pure Christianity (Revelation 17:1-6, 15, 18; 18:23-24). We also understand that this religious system has been working together with the European political system for many centuries, known as “revivals of the ancient Holy Roman Empire,” under Justinian; Charles the Great; Otto the Great; Charles V; Napoleon; and Hitler and Mussolini. None of that can be said in any way about Islam, which played no role in the above-mentioned revivals and which did not depart from true Christianity. In fact, it never knew nor accepted true Christianity to begin with.
We also understand that just prior to Christ’s return, the false prophet or the man of sin will occupy the future temple of God in Jerusalem, claiming to be God, and that this will occur at the time of an end-time falling away from the biblical truth (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). As the religious Babylonian system did not teach or preach the truth for almost two thousand years, it is clear that the falling away cannot and does not refer to the Babylonian system which grows and is getting “bigger,” but that it must refer to a falling away of true Christians from the biblical truth. This, in turn, sheds some light on the fact that God will allow a final martyrdom against some of His people (Daniel 7:25-27; Revelation 13:7), in order to wake them up and make them realize their lack of zeal for His Law and His Work, or even their temporary departure from God’s Way which they once understood and lived.
We also know from the Bible that the last revival of the ancient Roman Empire will at first temporarily collaborate, to an extent, with Arab nations and Turkey against Israel (Psalm 83:1-8). However, there is no biblical suggestion that a seven-year contract will be entered into between the “beast” and Arab nations, which would be broken after 3 ½ years. The passage which is sometimes quoted for this proposition—Daniel 9:27—does not refer to such an end-time physical covenant, but to the death of Jesus Christ in the middle of the week (Wednesday, when He was crucified) after His 3 ½ year-long public ministry, thereby doing away with or “bringing to an end” the sacrificial system and confirming the spiritual New Covenant with His people for one prophetic week or seven years (The remaining 3 ½ years of His seven year-long ministry Christ will fulfill when He returns). It is revealed however that the European invasion of the Holy Land will occur when animal sacrifices will be brought there by the Jews, apparently during or after the completed construction of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount (Daniel 8:11-14; 11:31; 12:11-12).
And so, God will proceed punishing the “Gentile” nations and especially the “beast power” during the Day of the Lord, and the two witnesses and those supporting them will continue the warning during that time, which will be directed to all the nations (Revelation 8:13; 14:6-11), as well as to those Israelites who have survived the nuclear attacks and are by then prisoners in concentration camps or slave laborers in areas occupied by the modern Roman Empire.
The warning message to be proclaimed has to do with the need to change; to repent of sin (Revelation 9:20-21; 16:9-11) and turn to righteousness. This world does not seem to know what sin is. Especially the so-called “Christian” world believes the lie that “grace” somehow supersedes the need to keep God’s Law.
In our Statement of Beliefs, we say under “Law, Sin and Love”:
“We believe that sin is the transgression of the Law, and hence we strive to keep the Law as summed up in the word, ‘love’ (Romans 13:10). Love involves two great principles of love towards God and love towards neighbor. The Ten Commandments compose the ten points of the Law (Matthew 22:37-39; James 2:8-11).”
We do not believe by any means that Jesus came to abolish the Law of God or fulfill it for us so that we do not have to keep it anymore. Sin is the transgression of the spiritual Law (1 John 3:4 in the Authorized Version; compare Romans 7:14); that is, the Ten Commandments and the statutes and judgments, explaining the Ten Commandments even further. It is true that Jesus did away with the sacrificial system of washings and rites, and therefore, the Church of God strongly rejects any attempts by “Christian” groups to uphold and teach superseded Old Testament temporary laws, including ritual washings, animal sacrifices or physical circumcision (compare Galatians 5:2). On the other hand, Christ made very clear that we must keep the commandments of the spiritual Law (1 John 2:4; 5:3; 2 John 6, 10), and James clarified that when we break one of the Ten Commandments, we are guilty of having broken them all (James 2:8-12). The concept of grace does not teach us something differently.
We state in our Statement of Beliefs under “Grace and Works”:
“We believe that true Christians are saved by God’s grace, not according to their works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but that their reward is dependent on the good works they perform (Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12).”
Christ died for us to forgive us our sins and pay the penalty for our sins, which is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Christ did this because of grace or unmerited pardon; we did not do anything which compelled Christ to die for us; we did not deserve His death for us. Nothing that we did made us worthy of Christ’s death. At the same time, accepting His Sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins does not mean that we can now trample Him underfoot and spit at Him by ignoring and violating God’s Law. Grace is not a license to sin (Jude 4). After we have received forgiveness of our past sins by grace, we are obligated to live righteously now; that is, we must avoid sin with all our might so that the righteousness demanded by the Law can be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:3-4). At the same time, we know that we cannot be victorious on our own, but that it must be Jesus Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20); Christ empowers us to overcome our evil human carnal nature, this sin-stricken world and Satan the Devil. The idea that we can sin so that grace may abound is strongly condemned in the Bible (Romans 6:1-2).
As true Christians, we will show through our good works—how we live—that we are in God’s eyes “counted worthy” of protection and eternal life (Luke 21:36; 20:35). It is Christ in us who makes us worthy when we follow His lead and submit to Him. Christ gave His Church a work to do—the work of proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom in all the world as a witness. And the degree of our reward (not eternal life which will be granted us as a free gift) is indeed dependent upon how well we are doing with what we have been given (1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 John 8; Revelation 22:12).
Why then do so many professing Christians believe the lie that Christ came to abolish the Law and that we are “saved” once and for all, no matter how we live? The answer is that the whole world is deceived. And it is Satan and his demons who are responsible for this worldwide deception (Revelation 12:9; 16:14; compare also 1 John 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15; 1 Timothy 4:1).
We understand that this is not God’s world, but that Satan and his demons are the rulers of this world (Ephesians 6:12). We say in our Statement of Beliefs, under “Angels”:
“We believe in the existence of holy angels, who faithfully serve God. We also believe that there are ‘fallen’ angels who are in rebellion to God, and who are referred to in Scripture as Satan and his demons.”
The fact that this is not God’s world and that it is under Satan’s dominion does not mean that we are therefore permitted or obligated to rebel against the human rule of the country we might be living in. At the same time, we must not participate in any activity which is against God’s Law.
To explain this sometimes delicate balance, we state this in our Statement of Beliefs, under “Civic Government”:
“We believe that we are to be subject to the government of our country and its laws (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17); that we are to pay our taxes (Matthew 22:17-21; Mark 12:14-17; Romans 13:6-7); that we are to pray for leaders of government (1 Timothy 2:1-3); and that we are to honor those leaders (1 Peter 2:17; Romans 13:7).”
At the same time, we also state this in our Statement of Beliefs, under “Relationship with God”:
“We believe that a Christian’s duty to God is of a superior and higher nature than our duty arising from any human relationship (Acts 4:18-20; 5:27-29). We therefore, following biblical commands and principles, do not participate in voting for national elections or jury duty, and we do not join the military. On the other hand, we do not object to participation in civil service. If compelled by governments to enlist, we refuse to serve in any capacity that would violate the spirit of the sixth commandment against murder (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:17-21).”
Taking these passages together, we do not believe that we ought to resort to any violence against any governmental regime or rulership. Nor should we participate in wars or in any violent activity against anyone, foreign and domestic. We ought to pray for the leaders of our human government and honor and submit to those leaders (unless their directives violate God’s supreme Law), so that we, the people of God, can live a “quiet and peaceable life” (1 Timothy 2:2) and fulfill our commission to preach God’s gospel—the gospel of the Kingdom of God—to all nations, which includes a warning message to this sinful world, placing it on notice that this present evil world (Galatians 1:4) will end soon and that it will be replaced by a better world; “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5); the wonderful world tomorrow; a truly peaceful Paradise here on earth.
We trust that by now you have already seen many defining differences between us and most other Christian groups or organizations. But much more will be discussed and revealed.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
“At the Brink of Armageddon?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Are we really that close to the annihilation of mankind, as many suppose? What are the reasons for the update of the Doomsday Clock which now stands at two and a half minutes to midnight, where midnight represents the end of humanity? Why is it felt that Donald Trump made this world a much more dangerous place, and whom is he viewing as America’s greatest adversaries? Could failed nuclear tests and computer glitches play a significant role in a nuclear exchange? The Bible predicts Armageddon; but how exactly will it happen?
A German AufPostenStehen program was also produced, covering the same subject. It is titled: “Steht der Weltuntergang bevor?”
“Europe in Prophecy”—a NEW video clip promoting the English booklet, “Europe in Prophecy”—has been produced by Michael Link. A version promoting the German translation of this booklet is also posted on www.aufpostenstehen.de.
We note that the German website, AufPostenStehen, and our posts on YouTube have proven very productive in our efforts to preach the gospel in Europe. A German SERMON from around a year ago about the USA and Europe has over 79,000 views.
“Prophezeiung–Warum die Kirche des Ewigen Gottes? (Teil 4),” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon. Title in English: “Prophecy–Why the Church of the Eternal God? (Part 4)”
“Life is Short!,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
What does the Bible say about the length of our lives on Earth as human beings? What can we do to make the most of the relatively short time we have been granted to live? By following the instructions we have been given, we can be fulfilled to the utmost!
“Jesus Christ Lives!,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Jesus Christ is the most well-known name in the world today, but very few people actually know Him for Who He really is! Even fewer grasp the reality that Jesus Christ lives!
The Church Conference for 2017 will be conducted in Escondido, California, with arrivals on March 23 and ending on March 28.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom