|Live Services||One of Ten; Living Diligently|
|Editorial||Chasing the Path of Totality|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Has the Bible Always Been Divided Into Chapters and Verses Like It Is Today?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
One of Ten; Living Diligently
On August 26, 2017, Dave Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “One of Ten,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Living Diligently.”
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.
Chasing the Path of Totality
by Dave Harris
This week, people traveled to the U.S. from around the world to experience a total eclipse passing over them. Across America, millions of people visited the path of totality—a 60- to 70-mile-wide ribbon of darkness stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.
During the “Great American Eclipse,” schools closed and businesses paused, all to view this rare phenomenon. Beyond the wonder of celestial events like an eclipse, some people reacted to the experience as intensely emotional, calling it breathtaking—even spiritual.
The time elapsing during totality (the moon completely blocking the face of the sun) was about two minutes for people as the eclipse occurred in their location.
There is an inescapable comparison to be made here between chasing darkness and seeking light. In fact, the Bible draws parallels between darkness and light in describing evil and good—falsehood and truth; and in being called out of Satan’s darkness into God’s marvelous light (compare Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 2:9).
Of the darkness of this age, Jesus said, “‘For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed’” (John 3:20). Then, in verse 21, He adds this challenge:
“But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
I have to wonder at the all-out commitment so many people made to view the eclipse and to “experience” the path of totality. This stands in such contrast to the seemingly irreparable division which now floods across our news day after day! It all comes down to the question of what are people really after—what do they truly seek?
There is most certainly a path of totality—spiritual darkness—covering the whole world at this time (Ephesians 6:12; 1 John 5:19). But this powerful darkness is yielding to the light of the coming Kingdom of God (2 Peter 1:19).
Perhaps we can take a lesson from the enthusiasm of the eclipse chasers. Should we not also make every provision to seek the light of God’s Kingdom and to preach the good news in all the world as a witness to all nations?
by Norbert Link
In this issue, we begin with speaking on developments pertaining to the USA and President Trump, including America’s dilemma in failing to score any international success; North Korea’s provocations; the continuing fear of a nuclear war between the USA and North Korea; President Trump’s isolation after the departure of Steve Bannon; and premature false rumors of Donald Trump’s impeachment or voluntary resignation.
We report on ridiculous and dangerous reactions to Charlottesville; speak on the new American strategy regarding Afghanistan, and warn of an impending market crash.
For many of the topics mentioned herein, please view our new StandingWatch program, “America’s Afghan War and Isolation.”
Turning to the UK and continental Europe, we speak on Queen Elizabeth’s intentions NOT to step down and report on anti-Semitism in the UK and in Spain; address the real reasons for the barbaric actions of ISIS fighters; and introduce to you Sebastian Kurz, the rising star in Austria and the “most recognizable face in Austrian politics.”
We speak on the battle between Martin Schulz and Angela Merkel regarding next month’s parliamentary elections in Germany and show that both competitors are “unified” in their opposition to Donald Trump; continue with the ongoing rift between Germany and Turkey and focus on the Temple Mount; developments in the Philippines; and contaminated pig meat in the UK.
We conclude with two articles on the solar eclipse in August and the astronomical alignment in September, pointing out that false prophetic predictions of fundamental “Christians” play right into the hands of Satan, the author of confusion.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
The Nation (a website maintained in Pakistan) wrote on August 19:
“American president Harry S Truman, when asked about the major achievement of his presidency, said, ‘We totally defeated our enemies and then brought them back to the community of nations.’…
“Reconstruction in Germany was carried out under the auspices of Marshall Plan. Japan rose from the ruins under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur. In the current era, America invaded Afghanistan, ousted the Taliban regime and poured billions to reconstruct the war torn country but failed. Moreover, Washington toppled Saddam in the military offensive ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’; the aim of the invasion was to install democracy and neutralise alleged chemical weapons. America… failed miserably in Iraq and currently the country is the hotbed of regional proxy wars…
“The threat from North Korea is imminent. [The] United States has many options to act but there is hardly any option without the risk of destruction. If [the] United States launches a preemptive strike [then] there is no guarantee that it will neutralise all nuclear launching pads of North Korea and if it fails [then] the result of the Pyongyang nuclear retaliation will be devastating. North Korea has warned of a nuclear strike on Guam, a tiny island [which] is home to 165,000 people and thousands of US soldiers. The island historically acted as the permanent aircraft carrier for [the] US navy in [the] strategically important region of the Pacific Ocean… If a war escalates it will result in devastation and destruction. If [the] United States is able to defend itself from missiles, the chances of defending South Korea are minimal as Seoul is in the range of North Korean missiles…”
The article carried the headline, “America’s Retreat.” It is indeed true that America’s current role in the world has been one of defeat and failure.
“With Color and Fury, Anti-American Posters Appear in North Korea”
The New York Times wrote on August 19:
“The language on the North Korean posters is as bombastic as the images are eye-popping and the colors blindingly bright. One blue-lettered poster shows a barrage of missiles heading toward a map of the United States that is in flames. It boasts, ‘The entire mainland United States is within our range!’ Another says: ‘Military option. Preventive war. Sanctions.’ Then it shows red missiles emerging from a North Korean flag to slam into the United States Capitol and eviscerate the American flag. It carries the words: ‘The Korean answer!’
“A third poster displays a red missile mounted on a giant red tank. It lambastes United Nations sanctions and hails the North’s self-reliance with the words: ‘No one can stop our march forward!’ The posters and defiant slogans were unveiled this past week, the latest sign that tensions remain high between Washington and Pyongyang over the North’s nuclear ambitions and the sanctions imposed by other nations…
“The government in the North has long used posters and rallies to whip up anti-American sentiments and national fervor. They are mainly for domestic consumption. But these military-themed posters also send a message to President Kim Jong-un’s perceived enemies abroad…”
CNN added on August 20:
“North Korea warned Sunday that the upcoming US-South Korea military exercises are ‘reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.’ Pyongyang also declared that its army can target the United States anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the US mainland can ‘dodge the merciless strike.’”
Wars begin with words and propaganda, which can easily get out of hand. Note the next article.
Could Trump Ignite Nuclear War with North Korea?
The Huffington Post wrote on August 19:
“[Trump] raised the prospect of a preemptive strike [against North Korea], marking a radical departure from his predecessors who have always sought to avoid aggravating nuclear armed states… Instead of calming a situation which involves the lives of millions of people, Trump sought to escalate his rhetoric, and enter a dangerous game of nuclear brinkmanship with the mercurial Kim Jong Un.
“… we have certainly entered some dangerous territory. After all, as Trump’s domestic troubles escalate, he may look to military exploits overseas as a means of distraction. As Gideon Rachman writes in the FT, embattled governments are ‘more inclined to adventurism abroad: ‘The German government that led Europe into the first world war felt under acute threat from domestic political enemies. But on the day war broke out, an exultant Kaiser told a crowd: “I no longer recognize any parties or affiliations; today we are all German brothers.”’
“All of this inevitably leads one to question whether Trump could unwittingly ignite another world war. His recent actions towards North Korea illustrate how his erratic behaviour could provoke Kim, leading both sides to escalate out of control until the unthinkable happens…”
A nuclear war between the USA and North Korea is NOT impossible. Note the next article.
The Threat of Worldwide Nuclear War
On August 23, former German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer wrote in project-syndicate.org:
“As someone who was born in 1948, the risk of a nuclear World War III was a very real part of my childhood. That threat – or at least the threat of East and West Germany both being completely destroyed – persisted until the end of [the] Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union…
“As the current situation in North Korea shows, the nuclearization of East Asia or the Persian Gulf could pose a direct threat to world peace… Ultimately, there are no good options for responding to the North Korean threat… as the China-South Korea-Japan triangle has become the new power center of the twenty-first-century global economy, no country would be spared from the economic fallout…
“A North Korea with nuclear weapons and the means to use them would add pressure on South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear capacity, which they could easily do…
“The situation in Asia today has the nuclear attributes of the twentieth century and the national-power dynamics of the nineteenth century. That could prove to be a highly inflammatory cocktail…
“Instability within the US is cause for global concern. If the US can no longer be counted on to ensure world peace and stability, then… [we] will be left with a leadership vacuum, and nowhere is this more dangerous than with respect to nuclear proliferation.
“Another nuclear danger looms this fall. If the US Congress imposes new sanctions on Iran, the nuclear agreement between that country and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany) could fail… All of this would be taking place in a region that is already riven by crises and wars. And, because Russia, China, and the Europeans would stick to the nuclear deal, the US would find itself alone and at odds with even its closest allies…”
What Joschka Fischer does not understand, and most politicians don’t understand it either, is that the power vacuum caused by the failing USA WILL be filled, but not by powers which most expect.
The website of npr published the following article on August 19:
“There is a telling photo that has gotten some attention in social media after Steve Bannon’s exit as President Trump’s chief strategist… It shows President Trump behind the desk in the Oval Office, surrounded by his top advisers… Vice President Pence and national security adviser Mike Flynn;… chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and press secretary Sean Spicer. That was Jan. 28, eight days after Trump was inaugurated. Today, only Pence remains… It’s all a reminder… that for the many stories of palace intrigue in this White House, Trump is Trump. He makes the final call…
“Republican elected officials have broken with him post-Charlottesville, from Bob Corker in Tennessee questioning his ‘stability’ and ‘competence’ to South Carolina’s Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, saying the president’s ‘moral authority is compromised’…
“The ouster could mean less chaos in the White House, but more outside. Shortly after Bannon’s ouster, there were signs Trump could not only be fighting the mainstream media… but also the Breitbarts of the world… After news of Bannon’s exit, Breitbart editor Joel Pollak tweeted simply, #WAR. And a headline on Breitbart’s site was: ‘WITH STEVE BANNON GONE, DONALD TRUMP RISKS BECOMING ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER 2.0.’
“For his part, Bannon said Friday evening… ‘If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America…’ He painted his exit in stark terms in an interview with the conservative outlet The Weekly Standard: ‘The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over…’ However Bannon decides to fight, what is clear is he is not going quietly…”
It is not entirely clear on whose side Bannon will fight. Donald Trump tweeted on August 19: “Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at Breitbart News… maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!”
Is Bannon Going to War Against Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner?
JTA wrote on August 21:
“Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon reportedly is ‘going to war’ against several White House targets, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, according to reports.
“A report Sunday evening in Vanity Fair… said that Bannon’s targets in the West Wing are the ‘globalists,’ identified as Ivanka Trump, Kushner and former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser to Trump and director of the National Economic Council, as well as the ‘hawks,’ identified as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and his deputy, Dina Powell…
“An unnamed Bannon ally told Vanity Fair that [Bannon and Kushner] clashed fiercely on personnel decisions and policy debates, both domestic and international, many of which Bannon lost.
“Unnamed Bannon allies told the magazine that Bannon had lobbied the president ‘aggressively’ to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a move that they say was blocked by Kushner. The report also noted that Bannon stayed away during a May visit by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, texting to a friend that ‘I’m not going to breathe the same air as that terrorist.’
“On Sunday, the Breitbart website’s lead story was headlined ‘Report: Ivanka Trump Helped Push Steve Bannon Out Of The White House,’ based on a Daily Mail report that said ‘Trump’s daughter Ivanka pushed out Bannon because of his “far-right views” clashing with her Jewish faith.’
“Breitbart updated the article to say ‘A senior White House aide informed Breitbart News that the Daily Mail report was “totally false” and called into question the sources in the article of having any real knowledge of the Trump family.’”
Most Divided Administration in US History?
Daily Mail wrote on August 20:
“Steve Bannon has called President Donald Trump’s administration the most divided in history in a candid interview about policy divides in the White House and Republican Party. ‘No administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction about where it should go,’ Bannon told the Washington Post on Saturday, one day after leaving the White House.
“Bannon said that Trump’s base is frustrated by Congressional foot-dragging on his campaign promises, including trade, immigration, and taxes… Media reports suggest that the ‘opposition’ consist of senior economic adviser Gary Cohn, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser HR McMaster, officials Bannon views as moderating forces in the West Wing steering the President away from a nationalist agenda…”
Rumors of Trump’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated
CNBC wrote on August 18:
“It may seem like all Americans are at least frustrated that President Trump often shoots himself in the foot with unnecessary comments and tweets. But this also exemplifies Trump’s fighting nature that so many voters clearly like. Many conservatives feel like they tried ‘nice’ before… but that still resulted in no real reduction in condemnation and bile from the left. For better or for worse…
“Both party establishments still need a vote-getting leader… He has enormous executive power at his fingertips… The U.S. is not a parliamentary democracy where individual leaders can be ousted with previously unscheduled votes of no confidence or by coalitions of once opposing parties that come together to form a new ruling majority.
“That leaves his die-hard opponents praying for long shot outcomes like impeachment or resignation. And those two possibilities aren’t demonstrably closer to reality today than they were [in the past]…”
President Trump won’t be impeached, nor will he resign voluntarily.
Public Stand of the Joint Chiefs of Staff against Their Commander in Chief
Haaretz wrote on August 20:
“This is unprecedented in U.S. history. Never before have the generals and admirals been so united. There was a ‘revolt of the admirals’ against the reduction of naval forces over air force bombers; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff worked together against Chairman Colin Powell and President George H.W. Bush on the issue of tactical nuclear weapons in the ground forces.
“But there is no precedent for this united front, a calculated provocation against the president who is capable – legally and temperamentally – of dismissing them all, even if it also means the resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis… This is a crisis of values the likes of which America has never known before, because it has never known a character like Trump.”
The revolt occurred because of President Trump’s comments pertaining to Charlottesville. This reaction by the chiefs of staff is uncalled for, but such opposition within the military against their leader could make any meaningful unified action against a foreign enemy much more difficult.
America’s New Strategy for “Lasting Peace in Afghanistan”
Fox News reported on August 23:
“President Trump’s comprehensive new strategy to achieve a ‘lasting peace’ in Afghanistan was enthusiastically received Tuesday by the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which praised the increasing number of U.S. troops in the country as another way to strengthen weakened Afghan forces.
“Trump’s speech also created pressure on the Pakistani government, which the U.S. has long suspected of sponsoring terrorism in Afghanistan… Addressing a new plan for the 16-year conflict in Afghanistan Monday night, Trump asked India — Pakistan’s archrival — to help the U.S. economically in Afghanistan… ‘We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,’ Trump also said.
“One senior intelligence official in Islamabad told Fox News, on the condition of anonymity, that, ‘U.S. failure in Afghanistan is evident as casualties of civilians and troops are at record-high level, they are finding a way to get out from Afghanistan, the U.S. can’t run away [from] the failures of their own policies of the Ghani-led government and are blaming Pakistan.’
“‘The U.S. wants a face-saving exit from Afghanistan, and sooner or later they will completely withdraw from Afghanistan, leaving the war-torn country mercilessly on its own fate,’ said Shahzad Chaudhary, a Pakistani defense analyst.”
The Week wrote on August 22:
“… in all likelihood, we are headed toward another disastrous troop surge that will end the way every previous attempt to ‘win’ in Afghanistan has ended: in failure…
“The United States has been fighting without interruption in Afghanistan since October of 2001, when George W. Bush launched a nimble invasion to dislodge the Taliban from power… Ever since, we have been waging what is essentially an unwinnable struggle against Taliban guerillas…”
The Week added on August 23:
“Many anti-war Americans have been sunk in despair over Afghanistan since Barack Obama announced his own troop surge back in 2009, which failed spectacularly just as Trump’s is 100 percent guaranteed to do…
“American troops… should be immediately withdrawn.
“Two years ago… [Afghanistan was] an awesomely corrupt basketcase. It had a fraud-ridden electoral system and ranked 172nd out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s corruption measure. It supplied most of the world’s raw opium, and the Taliban in effect controlled huge swathes of the country.
“Today, Afghanistan is up to a whopping 169th place in the corruption rankings. In other areas, it’s doing even worse than before… the still-ongoing presence of American forces… inflames nationalist resentment. Trump’s announcement that he will ‘lift restrictions and expand authorities’… make this much worse…
“At some point the Afghan government will have to face the Taliban mostly on its own. More American troops can only delay the day of reckoning…”
No matter what arguments may be advanced for the necessity of war, the Bible tells us that war is a curse and will NEVER bring good and peaceful results.
University of Texas Removes Confederate Statues
The Week wrote on August 21:
“Late Sunday night, work crews removed four statues from a main mall on the University of Texas campus in Austin, three of them Confederate leaders and the fourth a former Texas governor. UT Austin President Greg Fenves said the three Confederate statues — two generals, Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, and Confederate postmaster general John Reagan — ‘run counter to the university’s core values.’ The events in Charlottesville last weekend, he added, ‘make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.’”
What utter nonsense and childish reaction! Insofar as General Robert E. Lee is concerned, he was married to George Washington’s granddaughter. It has been reported that he fought with the future General Ulysses S. Grant during the Mexican-American war. He believed slavery was a great evil and his wife broke the law by teaching slaves to read and write. He disliked the prospect of the South leaving the Union. After the Civil War, he became very popular with the Northern states and in 1962, the barracks at West Point were named in his honor.
Most Americans Opposed to Removal of Confederate Statues
Newsmax wrote on August 21:
“The Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday found 50 percent of registered voters agree with Trump’s tweet it is ‘sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.’ According to the survey, 37 percent disagree with the tweet and 12 percent are undecided.
“On whether removal of the monuments will help race relations, 28 percent believe it will – but 39 percent think removal will only hurt relations. Twenty-six percent say removal would not have any impact…
“The findings come in the wake of a Reuters poll showing 54 percent of adults believe the Confederate statues ‘should remain in all public spaces’ while only 27 percent say they ‘should be removed from all public spaces.’”
Note the next article for another unwise response to the threat of neo-Nazism.
Removing Neo-Nazis from the Web Sets Dangerous Precedent
Fortune Magazine wrote on August 18:
“The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital advocacy group, has issued a lengthy statement critical of decisions by several web services companies which effectively removed the white supremacist publication The Daily Stormer from the web. The EFF argues that the decisions set a dangerous precedent that could threaten freedom of speech online.
“The Daily Stormer is a news and commentary operation aimed at neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and rooted in the meme- and troll-driven tactics of the so-called ‘alt-right.’ In response to the role of the Stormer in organizing last weekend’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the site’s domain registration was revoked, first by GoDaddy and then by Google. Security firm Cloudflare has also terminated the publication’s account. The site is no longer accessible through conventional web browsers.
“According to the EFF, the ability of domain registrars and security companies to unilaterally remove a site from the web—even one representing a reprehensible ideology—weakens freedom of speech online. ‘Any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with,’ the group writes…
“Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince seems to agree, despite making the decision to suspend the Daily Stormer’s account. In an internal email, he described his own decision as ‘arbitrary’ and emotional, and acknowledged that he individually held too much power over content on the Internet…
“The Stormer has now moved to the so-called dark web, but the organization faces many new obstacles to spreading its message.
“Stormer’s Twitter and Facebook accounts have also been suspended, and companies from payment networks to music streaming sites are refusing their business.”
These developments do indeed set a dangerous presence and could very well constitute further threats for constitutionally protected free speech.
Market Crash in Less than a Year?
CNBC wrote on August 21:
“The former Republican Congressman from Texas [Ron Paul] believes escalating dysfunction in Washington will create even more pain for Wall Street. ‘A 50 percent pullback is conceivable,’ Paul said… ‘I don’t believe it’s ten years off. I don’t even believe it’s a year off.’ According to his calculations, it would cut the S&P 500 Index in half, to 1212, and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average would collapse to 10,837.
“Paul noted that there’s a lot of chaos in Washington right now, with an ‘unpredictable president’ and those who are inclined to ‘tear him apart’ but if the market takes that big of a tumble, he doesn’t see it as Trump’s fault. ‘It’s all man-made. It’s not the fault of Donald Trump in the last week. If the market crashes tomorrow and we have a great depression, he didn’t do it in six months. It took more like six or ten years to cause all these problems that we’re facing,’ he said… ‘I see the foundation of our system built on sand, and a big wind comes along to blow it down,’ Paul said.”
Christ compared a person who listens to His words and does not do them as somebody who has built his house on sand, which will fall when the winds and rain come.
Bloomberg wrote on August 22:
“HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley see mounting evidence that global markets are in the last stage of their rallies before a downturn in the business cycle.
“Analysts at the Wall Street behemoths cite signals including the breakdown of long-standing relationships between stocks, bonds and commodities as well as investors ignoring valuation fundamentals and data. It all means stock and credit markets are at risk of a painful drop…
“Citigroup analysts also say markets are on the cusp of entering a late-cycle peak before a recession that pushes stocks and bonds into a bear market.”
Queen Has No Intention of Stepping Down
The Times wrote on August 20:
“The Queen has no intention of stepping aside for Prince Charles and insists it is ‘duty first, nation first, I’m going to be there’…
“Royal insiders said the Queen, the world’s longest-reigning living monarch, remained as committed as ever to her duty. They dismiss claims that she will request that the Regency Act come into force in the foreseeable future. Neither Buckingham Palace nor Clarence House is planning for a regency…”
Queen Elizabeth sits currently on the throne of David, which will be transferred to Jerusalem and occupied by Christ after His return. We expect that Queen Elizabeth will be replaced by her son or grandson before Christ comes back.
Anti-Semitism in Britain…
The Jewish Press wrote on August 20:
“… one in three British Jews has become so fearful of mounting anti-Semitic crime and the failure to excise anti-Semites from politics that they have considered leaving Britain altogether…
“37% of UK Jews conceal their Jewish identity in public; 17% don’t feel welcome in their own country; in fact, only 59% of UK Jews say they feel welcome in the UK. 52% of British Jews said that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is not doing enough to fight anti-Semitism, and only 39% of British Jews felt confident that anti-Semitic hate crime would be prosecuted. Also, more than 80% of British Jews believe the Labour Party is harboring anti-Semites in its ranks.”
Anti-Semitism in Spain…
The Independent wrote on August 20:
“Barcelona’s chief rabbi has urged Jews to move to Israel because “Europe is lost” to radical Islam. Meir Bar-Hen has been encouraging his congregation to flee Spain, which he called a ‘hub of Islamist terror for all of Europe.’
“The chief rabbi’s warning came after a terror attack in Barcelona left 13 people dead and over 120 wounded and was followed by another attack hours later that killed one person and injured others in the seaside town of Cambrils. Isis claimed responsibility for both attacks, which authorities believe were the work of a large terrorist cell that had been plotting for some time…
“[Bar-Hen’s] comments were at odds with the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, which said it had ‘full confidence in security forces who work daily to prevent fanatics and radical Muslims from inflicting pain and chaos on our cities.’”
ISIS Fighters Addicted to Dangerous Drug
The New York Post wrote on August 18:
“ISIS fighters have been using a drug called Captagon, dubbed ‘chemical courage,’ to stay alert in battle… Captagon… is highly addictive – and became illegal in most countries in 1986. Captagon keeps users awake for long periods of time. It also makes users feel energetic and happy… [it] produces ‘a kind of euphoria – you’re talkative, you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you’re energetic.’
“It’s made cheaply, with a street value of between $5 and $19, in countries including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Syria. Fake versions of the drug are also widely available…
“Addiction to Captagon is rife within the ranks of ISIS in Syria… Suicide bombers… are said to be pumped full of drugs before they are sent on a mission, giving them red eyes and a distinctive look of confusion. The drug turns the terrorists into ‘unforgiving killing machines,’ Arab News reports. The drugs often leave extremists suffering from a crippling addiction, further boosting their reliance on their cruel jihadi masters. According to reports, a growing number of demoralized Syrian citizens have also resorted to taking the drug.
“A massive shipment of the drug was seized in France for the first time earlier this year, sparking fears that ISIS could be forming Mafia-style organized crime gangs in the country…”
The use of mind-altering drugs and the demonic influence or demonic possession of insane ISIS fighters is a deadly combination.
Meet Austria’s Sebastian Kurz
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 20:
“To call Sebastian Kurz (30) ambitious would be an understatement akin to regarding a hurricane as a light drizzle. In 2013, he managed to become the youngest foreign minister in the world at the age of only 27. And earlier this year, he maneuvered to become chief of one of Austria’s strongest political parties, the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP).
“The ÖVP, which rules in coalition with the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPÖ), promptly called snap elections—to be held a year early, in October 2017… Kurz is aiming not only to become the youngest chancellor in the history of the republic, but to steer his country toward a more conservative migration policy, stop radical Islamist terrorism, ‘break apart the old system’ of politics and shift his nation into a more powerful position in Europe.
“… he is internationally the most recognizable face in Austrian politics – much more so than Chancellor Christian Kern…
“In an interview with Germany’s weekly Welt am Sonntag on Sunday, Kurz outlined his vision for the future should he win the chancellor’s seat in October, including ending the ‘chaos’ of NGOs getting involved in Europe’s migration wave… To stop the chaos, Kurz wants to end ‘economic migration’ to the EU, which he makes clear is different from those fleeing war and violence in countries like Syria…”
Austria will play an important role in European politics, and a person like Sebastian Kurz might very well be someone who might be taken note of.
Austria Sends Troops to Italian Border
The EUObserver wrote on August 17:
“Austria is sending soldiers to stop migrants coming from Italy, while Bulgaria has said the EU should ‘defend’ its borders by ‘force of arms’…. Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Sweden have the European Commission’s blessing to impose temporary border checks despite being part of Schengen, the passport-free travel zone in Europe.
“Italy and Greece are still the main route for asylum seekers and economic migrants trying to enter the EU… The EU border crackdown has been criticised on humanitarian grounds… The majority of those coming to Greece were fleeing the war in Syria. Many of those coming via Libya to Italy had fled poverty, but faced torture and sexual violence in Libyan detention camps…”
Europe feels threatened by the ongoing migration crisis and is willing to resort to armed forces to combat the influx.
Martin Schulz’s Stance on Military Spending and Nuclear Weapons
Reuters reported on August 23:
“The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) pledged to have U.S. nuclear weapons withdrawn from German territory if, against the odds, he defeats Angela Merkel to become chancellor next month. Addressing a campaign rally in Trier late on Tuesday, SPD leader Martin Schulz also said he, unlike Merkel, would resist demands by U.S. President Donald Trump for NATO members to increase their defence spending…
“About 20 U.S. nuclear warheads are thought to be stationed at a military base in Buechel, in western Germany, according to unofficial estimates. The U.S. embassy in Berlin said it does not comment on nuclear weapons in Germany. Taking advantage of Trump’s extreme unpopularity in Germany, Schulz also said he would use the money Merkel had earmarked for increased military spending for other purposes…
“After 12 years in office, Merkel has become increasingly confident on the global stage. She has pushed for Germany to become more militarily self-reliant, partly in response to Trump’s hinting that he might abandon NATO allies if they do not spend more on defence…”
Schulz’s positions in these regards would not be in accordance with biblical prophecy.
Angela Merkel Responds to Donald Trump
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 23:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel had some harsh words for US President Donald Trump… Speaking with reporters, she warned that Germany would not blindly [and ‘automatically’] follow the United States into a war with North Korea. She added that Trump’s ‘America First’ attitude was putting him at risk of decreasing his country’s importance on the world stage.
“‘An America that does not care about the rest of the world and just thinks about itself does not make for a big and great country,’ said the chancellor, contradicting the US president’s insistence that his isolationist policies will make the US ‘win’ against its rivals.”
Fight Between Turkey and Germany Intensifies
AFP wrote on August 20:
“Erdogan… caused consternation in Berlin by urging ethnic Turks in Germany to vote against both parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition in the September 24 legislative elections. Gabriel condemned Erdogan’s comments as an ‘unprecedented act of interference’ in Germany’s sovereignty…
“Analysts estimate that some 1.2 million people of Turkish origin will have the right to vote in the September polls as German citizens.”
The deteriorating relationship between Germany and Turkey totally destroys any realistic hope for Turkey to ever become a member of the EU.
Turkish Arrogance Reaches Spain through Dubious Interpol Activities
The EUObserver wrote on August 21:
“The arrest of a Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU. Armed police arrested Dogan Akhanli on Saturday (19 August) morning at his hotel in Granada, Spain, handcuffed him and drove him for questioning at a regional HQ. The 60-year old writer was later freed, but is not allowed to leave Spain until judges have decided whether to extradite him to Turkey…
“The Spanish police came after him because Turkey had filed a so called ‘red notice’ for his arrest as a terrorist with Interpol, an international police agency based in France. The writer, who is a critic of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and of Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, fled to Germany in the 1990s and later obtained German citizenship after being persecuted in his home country. ‘I thought I was safe in Europe. I thought Turkish arrogance cannot reach Europe, but probably this is not quite true,’ he said. ‘I find it a shame because Spanish democracy has experience with Franco and fascism and such tricks as have just been tried by Turkey,’ he said, referring to a former Spanish dictator…
“The Akhanli case is one of several in recent years to expose Interpol’s openness to political abuse. Germany itself, in 2015, arrested Ahmed Mansour, a journalist for the Al-Jazeera news agency, on the basis of an Interpol notice issued by the Egyptian regime. Belgium, last year, arrested Maxime Azadi, a Kurdish journalist on a Turkish Interpol request. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia have routinely used Interpol red notices and so called ‘diffusions’ to hunt and harass political opponents in the EU.”
Deutsche Welle added on August 21:
‘It was unclear why Turkish authorities issued the arrest warrant, but [it was] suggested that Turkey had targeted the Cologne-based writer for advocating the recognition of Turkey’s mass killing of Armenians as genocide… Akhanli has lived in Germany since he fled Turkey in 1991 and has citizenship. He has written extensively on Turkey’s human rights record and the Armenian genocide…
“The relationship between Turkey and Germany has become increasingly strained following last year’s failed coup. Under a state of emergency, authorities have fired or suspended some 150,000 people and detained over 50,000 people. Those detained include German human rights activist Peter Steudtner and German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel. Turkey accuses Germany of supporting coup plotters and terrorists, charges that officials in Berlin vehemently denies.”
Jewish Visitors of Temple Mount Increase Drastically
The Jewish Press wrote on August 17:
“So far this year, 20,000 Jewish visitors have ascended to the Temple Mount. The record has been 20,060 Jewish visitors ascending to the Temple Mount within one year, and that was set during the first year of the liberation of the sacred site from Jordanian occupation. Last month saw more Jewish Israelis visit the Temple Mount in one month – approximately 3,200 – than in any other month since 1967.
“Jordan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman Safadi described the visits to the Temple Mount by Israeli Jews as ‘extremists who stormed Al Aqsa’ in his speech last month to Muslim nations in Istanbul… Safadi warned at the gathering of Islamic nations that many more ‘crises’ can be expected ‘as a result of continued Israeli violations … if the occupation doesn’t end, if east Jerusalem is not independent and not the capital of the sovereign Palestinian state along the 1967 lines.’”
The Temple Mount will continue to be in the news, while Jordan’s position in the matter is abominable. It destroys any chance for meaningful peace negotiations.
Philippines Catholic Church vs. President Duterte
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 20:
“The head of the influential Catholic Church of the Philippines on Sunday sharply criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs that has left dozens of people shot dead in the past week alone… The scale of the crackdown has brought renewed criticism of Duterte’s ruthless war against alleged drug dealers and users, even as the president praised police when they killed 32 drug suspects in a single day this week.
“Among those gunned downed by police over the past week was a 17-year-old whose death caused a public uproar after evidence emerged he may have been framed and killed by police. The highest-ranking Church official [Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle] said in a statement, read at all Sunday masses across the predominately Catholic country, that those behind the deaths should stop wasting human lives…
“More than 2,000 people have been killed in drug-related crimes and some 11,000 other people murdered under mysterious circumstances. Critics blame the police for extrajudicial killings and using vigilante groups to go after suspected drug dealers or users. The government and police deny the allegations. Several allies of the president have started to voice concern over the scale of the drug war, even as Duterte remains popular and the public largely supports the crackdown…
“The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Sunday echoed Tagle’s criticism and called for church bells to ring every night for 15 minutes over the next three months. ‘The sound of the bells is a wake-up call for a nation that no longer knows how to condole with the bereaved, that is cowardly to call out evil. The sound of the bells is a call to stop consenting to the killings!’ Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.”
The stance of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines is remarkable. The Church sides with most political leaders in the world who strongly condemn President Duterte’s conduct, which, as the article points out correctly, is very popular in the country.
Pig Virus Spreads to Humans
The Sunday Times wrote on August 20:
“A leading British supermarket may unwittingly have infected thousands of people with a pig virus that causes liver cirrhosis and neurological damage… Hepatitis E (HEV) is transmitted by sausages and pork products from Europe, mainly Holland and Germany. UK pigs do not have the virus strain in question.
“Scientists… have traced the shopping habits of infected people and found that a common factor is consumption of own-brand sausages from ‘Supermarket X’… two separate sources said it was Tesco.”
The human consumption of pigs is prohibited by God in the Bible. Eating unclean meat, including pork, is hazardous to human health.
Ignorant “Fundamental Christians”
Express wrote on August 20:
“Monday’s total solar eclipse will be the first for 99 years to cross the US from coast to coast. The eclipse signals the end of days according to some fundamental Christians. Many fundamentalist Christians see this as a significant warning of the impending apocalypse, the second coming of Christ and the rapture. The ‘Great American Total Solar Eclipse’ as it is called is said to be a warning sign from God, as it allegedly fulfils a Bible prophecy. Pastor Paul Begley, host of the Coming Apocalypse radio show, said the eclipse could possibly fulfil a prophecy recorded in the book of Joel. This states: ‘The sun shall be turned to darkness before the Day of the Lord come.’…
“Writing for Unsealed.org, Gary Ray says the eclipse may mean that 2017 will mark the beginning of the Tribulation, a time the Bible describes as a period of conflict and suffering on a scale never experienced in mankind’s history. He said that another solar eclipse in seven years will slash across the US in the opposite direction from Texas to Maine, making an eclipse X over northern America.
“Scott Clarke of ERF Ministries believes the eclipse is intimately connected to a September 23 astronomical alignment. He says it involves the constellations Virgo and Leo, along with Mercury, Mars, Venus and Jupiter. On that date, Jupiter will exit the lower part of Virgo (the virgin) in a way that Clarke says fulfils the ‘man child’ of Revelation 12 being birthed by the woman. He says Regulus and the other stars of Leo—along with the other three visible planets—comprise the ‘crown of twelve stars’ that Revelation 12:1 says will be upon the travailing woman’s head…”
All of this is complete and utter nonsense. The ignorance of these foolish and ungodly opinions is mind-boggling. The eclipse and the astronomical alignment have absolutely NO prophetic relevance. In addition, the Bible makes it very clear that the “heavenly signs,” when the sun shall be turned to darkness, will occur AFTER the great tribulation has begun… not before then. The Bible does not teach a rapture. And the book of Revelation does NOT describe in any way an astronomical alignment. Please view our StandingWatch program, “False Endtime Predictions for 2017.”
But also note the next article:
Are Solar Eclipses Proof of God?
Fox News wrote on August 20:
“So this sort of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else in our solar system. But our planet has just one moon that happens to be just the right size and just the right distance from Earth… Anywhere but here on this planet on Monday, the view of these two objects is nothing special… It’s almost as though what we will marvel at was artfully arranged specifically for our benefit…
“… the diameter of the sun… is precisely 864,576 miles. The diameter of the moon [is] listed at 2,159 miles… the distance from Earth to the sun… is generally given as 93 million miles… the distance from Earth to the moon… is given as 239,000 miles [on an average].
“… I divided the sun’s diameter (864,576) by the moon’s (2,159) and got 400.452… dividing the distance from the Earth to the sun (93,000,000) by the distance from the Earth to the moon (239,000)… yielded 389.121… Was the correlation in these ratios mere coincidence?… our planet has just one moon that happens to be just the right size and just the right distance from Earth.
“I found the precision necessary for all of this unbelievable… there was no way this could be a mere coincidence. It seemed almost planned. In fact, it seemed utterly planned, as all things of such precision must be. Three thousand years ago a man in Israel wrote: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ That man didn’t have a telescope or a Brittanica, but he saw something many of us today still do not see. He saw a God behind it all. It may be true that seeing a Grand Designer behind these breath-taking events requires what we call a leap of faith; but it may also be true that seeing mere coincidence behind them requires an even greater leap of faith…”
These observations are very valid. They prove the existence of God. But the astronomical phenomena in August and September are NO PROPHETIC SIGNS for an impending end-time disaster.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
Has the Bible Always Been Divided Into Chapters and Verses Like It Is Today?
When God, through His Spirit, moved His servants to record their experiences into text, it wasn’t divided up into the form we use today. The original transcripts, as inspired by God, were written down and formed into books and subsequently divided into paragraphs by early Jews. The chapters and verses we are familiar with today came much later in the history of the Bible.
Chapters, as we have them now, didn’t appear in the biblical text until the beginning of the 13th century. Stephen Langton, an archbishop of Canterbury, was credited as first dividing the Bible into chapters. “The custom of referring to chapters when quoting from the Scriptures was rare before the twelfth century… Uniformity was introduced amid such chaotic conditions by the Paris scholars, notably, as it appears, by Stephen Langton… His system, which is substantially the one in use today, was adopted in the earliest printed editions of the Vulgate” (Metzgers, Early Versions of the New Testament). Others tried different means of dividing up the Bible this way, but his method stuck and is in use today.
The Old Testament chapters were first divided into verses in the mid 1400’s. “As for the verses, one Jewish teacher, Mordecai Nathan, divided the Old Testament manuscripts, written in Hebrew, beginning in 1445 A.D.” (www.biblestudy.org).
Further division of the New Testament didn’t occur until the 16th century. “Estienne divided the Christian Greek Scriptures, or what is called the New Testament, into a new set of numbered verses and combined them with those already in the Hebrew Bible. In 1553, he published the first complete Bible (an edition in French) with basically the same chapters and verses that most Bibles use today.” (Chapters and Verses—Who Put Them in the Bible? Retrieved from www.jw.org.)
It is important to understand that these divisions are not inspired by God. But these divisions can be a tool to open up deeper understanding of God’s Word. Paul shows the attitude we should have in our zeal to understand the Bible: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
There are no examples in the Bible of chapters or verses being used, but biblical text was still often quoted or summarized. When confronting Satan, Matthew records the following, “But He [Christ] answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”’” (Matthew 4:4). Christ stated that “It is written” and was referencing a passage in Deuteronomy 8:3. Luke records Christ coming home to Nazareth, “…where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written…” (Luke 4:16-17). Christ went on to read the passage which is now referenced as Isaiah 61, verse 1 and part of verse 2. Christ then continued, “And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:21).
Throughout Christ’s ministry, He often quoted or paraphrased Scriptures. He had no trouble recounting the correct passages because He studied and understood the true intent of all Scripture. Christ understood that the entire body of God’s Holy Word was necessary for the complete understanding leading to salvation. Isaiah was inspired to write, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). We must strive to follow Christ’s example, because properly applying all Scripture is a necessity if we desire Godly understanding.
Lead Writer: Robb Harris
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“America’s Afghan War and Isolation” is the newest StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
A “new strategy for lasting peace in Afghanistan” was announced, but how likely is it that we will ever see peace in that part of the world? Pakistan has reacted very aggressively to President Trump’s proposal, while a nuclear confrontation with North Korea is still looming. America’s allies are distancing themselves from the USA, and Stephen Bannon’s ouster and his “declaration of war,” coupled with a united revolt of US generals and admirals against the President, are of great concern.
Norbert Link recorded this week the Feast sermon for the Feast of Tabernacles 2017. It will be played at the Feast site in the USA and at other locations.
“Wie kann man die wahre Kirche Gottes finden?” will be the title of our newest Germanbooklet in preparation. This will be the German language version of our booklet, “How to Find the True Church of God,” which is being printed right now and which has been posted on our English websites. We plan to print the German booklet shortly and intend to distribute it at the Feast of Tabernacles, which will be held in Templin, Germany. We will send out copies in the mail after the Feast. The German booklet will also be posted on our German website.
“Der gerechte Zorn Gottes,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link.
Title in English: “The Righteous Wrath of God.”
“Gambling on Salvation,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We have a choice to grow or wane in our understanding of salvation. We must be satisfied in the knowledge God gives to us in order to achieve this reward. We are warned of an attitude of always seeking unprofitable knowledge and being content in this state. We must be wary of this attitude because it can cause us to lose out on our promise of salvation.
“The Power of Reconciliation (Part 1),” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Relationships between God and man have been broken by sin, but God has a plan for this! Mankind struggles to get along with one another, and there are ways to do this. In this first of two sermons, biblical principles for reconciling with others will be addressed.
Here are the dates for the 2017 Fall Holy Days:
Feast of Trumpets—September 21
Day of Atonement—September 30
Feast of Tabernacles—October 5-11
Last Great Day—October 12
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
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