January 12, 2018
Seek Righteousness and Be Courageous; A Body that Cannot Survive
On January 13, 2018, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Seek Righteousness and Be Courageous,” and Robb Harris will present the sermon, titled, “A Body that Cannot Survive.”
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 Kalon Mitchell
For our 11th anniversary, my wife gave me a Bonsai tree. I have often admired Bonsais and the ability to craft and grow a tiny miniature tree. What I was not prepared for was the instruction sheet that came with this little tree. In order to keep this tree healthy, alive and growing, one has to do multiple things for it. It is not a get it and forget it type of plant. Nurturing, watering, plucking, replanting, growth wire, misting, and hibernating are just a few things that it needs.
This really reminded me of our Christian Way of Life. There are so many things that we have to be aware of as Christians, so that we stay alive spiritually. We come into our Christian life through a gift. That gift is God’s calling. He has known us for all eternity, and He also knew since then when He was going to call us and how He would call us. It was not a spur of the moment decision. God has called us because He knows that we can make it. Philippians 1:6 should be well known to us. God’s Will is to continue this good work in each of us to the very end.
Once we are called and we respond, we start to grow in this Way of Life. We keep our eyes on the prize of the Kingdom of God. Why else would we want to suffer so much through life’s trials? If we didn’t have an end goal in mind, there would be no reason to endure. I think that is why so many people walk away from the Truth in one way or another. They never truly understood or grasped the importance of our calling.
In Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; and Luke 13:18-19, Christ likens the Kingdom to a mustard seed that continues to grow into a massive tree. This is both in the sense of what the Kingdom will become, but also how we ought to view it in our lives as humans. If it is all important to us, we will continue to work towards it. Matthew 17:20 and Luke 17:5-6 show us that our faith, even if it is as the size of a mustard seed, will be able to accomplish great things, because we have also the faith of God and Christ living in us.
Leviticus 26:3-4 shows us that through obedience to the Truth, we will receive the things that we need to continue living. We will receive blessings from God. Blessings come in many ways, even ones that we don’t expect. Psalm, chapter 1, shows us that when we are obedient and meditate on God’s Ways until they become our Way of Life, then we shall prosper like a tree planted by a river.
With water and blessings also comes the need to be pruned. Romans 11:11-31 and Luke 13:6-9 show the amazing possibilities that come from our calling and that God is the one who directs and places people where He wants them. But we should not ignore the fact that God will and does prune where He needs to, so as to help His people. John 15:1-9 shows that we cannot wander off on our own, on some pointless tirade because we want to be right or think we know something that the ministry does not know. Christ’s very strong warning here is that we must stay in the Church; otherwise, we will wither and be thrown out.
Our goal is not that far out in front of us now. Let us make sure we stay on track in regard to this Way of Life. We need to make sure we have the proper goal(s) in front of us so that we stay focused. Like a tree that continues to grow with the right care, we too can continue to grow stronger in our faith and confidence that we are doing God’s Will and accomplishing what He has set out for us to accomplish.
by Norbert Link
We report on the continuing embarrassing domestic and international circus created and perpetrated by the Trump Administration, including President Trump’s Twitter war and his behavior in general which has caused some observers to question his memory and/or capability. We also speak on the ongoing debate regarding the protection of “Dreamers” and Jeff Sessions’ controversial conduct as Attorney General. We emphasize in this context the annulment of alliances and the forming of the United States of Europe under German and French leadership in an attempt to fill the gap caused by the USA. In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “America and Britain–Global Leaders No More!”
At the same time, we notice a clear orientation of some European countries towards the far right, including Hungary, Poland and Austria, which will have an impact on the rest of Europe. We focus especially on developments and restrictive measures in Austria and Germany which cast a dark shadow on things to come.
We conclude with articles on Facebook restrictions; the bitcoin success; and the California flu outbreak which raises again some very uncomfortable questions regarding the faulty reasoning of “medical science.”
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
No More Alliance between Pakistan and USA
Breitbart wrote on January 5:
“Pakistan’s foreign ministry claimed to annul its alliance with the United States after the Trump administration reportedly suspended an estimated $1 billion in security aid for refusing to take decisive action against jihadists who are fighting American troops and their allies in Afghanistan…
“Pakistan has long rejected accusations from the United States, Afghanistan, and India that it supports terrorist groups in South Asia. The Afghanistan-Pakistan region is home to the ‘highest regional concentration’ of terrorist groups in the world, according to the U.S. military.
“In response to the Trump administration’s aid cuts, Pakistan’s opposition leader Imran Khan has urged Islamabad to expel some American diplomatic personnel and cut off supply routes for the U.S./NATO-led coalition forces as well as close its airspace to American troops.”
The Bible prophesies that Far Eastern nations, including Pakistan and India, will form an alliance in opposition to the West… especially Europe. Before and while this is happening, any collaboration with the USA will diminish and disappear. This is not only true for Far Eastern countries, but also for “allies” such as Europe. Please note our articles below on the coming United States of Europe under German leadership.
“Fire and Fury”
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 5:
“‘Fire and Fury,’ the new tell-all book from journalist Michael Wolff about the chaotic, unhappy inner workings of the Donald Trump White House is full of juicy stories – betrayal, accusations of treason, infighting, and name-calling… Wolff… spent months conducting interviews and watching the routine inside the White House…
“The White House has dismissed Wolff’s book as ‘lies,’ and sent a letter to publisher Henry Holt & Co. to stop the book’s release. In response, the company brought forward the publication to Friday instead of next week. Wolff… has presented records of his interviews with both President Trump and several staffers, including former adviser Steve Bannon, as evidence that the stories presented in the book are true.
“On Friday, Wolff also jokingly thanked the president for increasing his book sales by trying to suppress it.”
Wollf has been accused of fabricating stories, changing names and dates and even resorting to lies to get access to the White House, but the most substantial accusations in his book, especially pertaining to Steve Bannon, have so far not been repudiated, except that Bannon apologized for his comments of treason by Donald Trump Jr., according to a report of Deutsche Welle on January 8:
“After accusing Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, of committing treason by meeting a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer, Bannon reversed his comments by reaffirming his support for the administration and praising Trump Jr as ‘both a patriot and a good man’… He [was also quoted in the book as saying] that a prosecutors’ probe into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Kremlin would ‘crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.’ Despite backtracking, Bannon stopped short of denying the comments.”
Trump’s Twitter War Diminishes US Credibility
Star Tribune wrote on January 7:
“Countries are unsure whether to take his words as policy pronouncements or believe they can be safely ignored. If Trump’s threats are seen as hollow, what does that do to American credibility? In a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, Trump reacted to questions about his mental fitness by calling himself a ‘very stable genius.’ Even if there is a recognition that Trump’s tweets may be largely intended to let off steam or reassure his domestic base, there is an increasing sense that the credibility of the administration, and the presidency itself, is being eroded.
“While allies do not necessarily take his Twitter posts as policy pronouncements, they still create significant confusion, said Pierre Vimont, former French ambassador to Washington and former top aide to the European Union foreign policy chief. Even in areas where allies agree… ‘we have a hard time understanding the real policy line from Washington,’ Vimont said.”
President Trump’s posts on Twitter are most certainly unpresidential… but then, his followers don’t care a bit about that. But Trump’s tweets DO backfire… note our article below, titled, “Trump vs. Trump.”
Does Donald Trump Suffer from Dementia and/or Lack of Capability?
Daily Mail, January 9, 2018:
“United States President Donald Trump is being dragged on Twitter after he appeared to not know the words to the National Anthem during his appearance at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia. He appears to do pretty well in the beginning, but later his mouth appears to go awry. Twitter was quick to take Trump – who has been a vocal critic of football players who do not stand for the National Anthem – to task for appearing to mumble his way through it.
“But tweeters also wondered whether Trump’s botched Anthem singalong was more a sign of forgetfulness and early dementia. The public debate about Trump’s mental health has intensified in the face of author Michael Wolff’s assertion that he is increasingly forgetful.”
In an apparent attempt to counter allegations pertaining to Mr. Trump‘s mental instability, forgetfulness and dementia, USA Today reported on January 9 that “Trump and his top advisers sat down Tuesday with 25 members of Congress — 16 senators and nine representatives, 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats. And in an unusual move, the White House opened nearly an hour of the meeting to the press.” The meeting dealt with immigration issues and the passing of the spending bill by January 19 to prevent a government shutdown. The publically broadcast meeting was designed to show that Mr. Trump is in control.
The Washington Post wrote on January 9:
“He acted the part, listening intently and guiding the conversation with the control of a firm but open-minded executive… President Trump on Tuesday tried to show that he could do his job… Trump sought to definitively answer the question that has been nagging at him for the past week: Is the 71-year-old mentally fit to be commander in chief? And for the 55 minutes that the scene unfolded on television, the president demonstrated stability, although not necessarily capability. In trying to erase one set of queries (is he up for the job and a ‘very stable genius,’ as he claimed on Twitter?), he inadvertently opened another: What, exactly, is going to be in that immigration bill? On that, Trump left a cliffhanger.
“The former reality television star… offered captivating television drama, [but] he also muddled through the policy by seeming to endorse divergent positions… [Trump’s conduct] so alarmed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that he interjected himself… ‘Mr. President, you need to be clear, though,’ McCarthy said… Later, again attempting to nudge the president back on track to a more conservative plan, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) made a similar pitch for precision. ‘We have to be very clear, though,’ Perdue urged…”
For the Time Being… Dreamers Protected from Deportation
The Associated Press and Newsmax reported on January 10:
“A federal judge [of the 9th Circuit] on Tuesday night temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s decision to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation. U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted a request by California and other plaintiffs to prevent President Donald Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while their lawsuits play out in court.
“Alsup said lawyers in favor of DACA clearly demonstrated that the young immigrants ‘were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm’ without court action. The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial. DACA has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas. The program includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students.
“U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September that the program would be phased out, saying former President Barack Obama had exceeded his authority when he implemented it in 2012. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice said the judge’s decision doesn’t change the fact that the program was an illegal circumvention of Congress, and it is within the agency’s power to end it… ‘DACA covers a class of immigrants whose presence, seemingly all agree, pose the least, if any, threat and allows them to sign up for honest labor on the condition of continued good behavior,’ Alsup wrote in his decision… DACA recipients are commonly referred to as ‘dreamers,’ based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act…”
More Confusion as to Trump’s Position
The Week wrote on January 10:
“President Trump is being criticized by immigration hard-liners after signaling his flexibility Tuesday to work with Democrats on an immigration deal, including a solution for the 800,000 ‘DREAMers’ brought to the United States illegally as children. A frustrated Tucker Carlson wondered ‘what was the point of running for president’ on Fox News while Ann Coulter, the author of In Trump We Trust, called it the ‘lowest day of his presidency.’ Trump praised his own ‘performance’ at the bipartisan meeting, saying he ‘got great reviews’ and ‘I’m sure their [TV] ratings were fantastic.’ The president, however, called the court system ‘broken and unfair’ after a federal judge ruled the administration must continue accepting and processing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewal applications while lawsuits are pending.”
One should not forget that previously, repeated promises were made by the Trump Administration and also by Paul Ryan NOT to deport Dreamers. God hates those who give their word and don’t keep it. This does not exclude politicians in high places. Note the next article. On the other hand, conservatives pointed out that Trump had promised during his presidential campaign that Dreamers would never obtain amnesty or American citizenship.
Trump vs. Trump
The Washington Post wrote on January 10:
“Trump himself had expressed support for DACA on Twitter in September, just days after Department of Homeland Security officials rescinded it. ‘Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!’ the president wrote in a Sept. 14 tweet. Another read: ‘Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!…
“Those lines seemed to capture the program’s benefits in a nutshell, Alsup wrote in a 49-page order. ‘We seem to be in the unusual position wherein the ultimate authority over the agency, the Chief Executive, publicly favors the very program the agency has ended,’ the judge wrote. ‘For the reasons DACA was instituted and for the reasons tweeted by President Trump, this order finds that the public interest will be served by DACA’s continuation… The main, if not exclusive, rationale for ending DACA was its supposed illegality. But determining illegality is a quintessential role of the courts,’ Alsup wrote…
“[Alsup] noted that the plaintiffs had suggested the administration had terminated the program so it could be used as a bargaining chip to demand funding for a border wall. And again, he cited the president’s Twitter feed as evidence… The tweet in question, posted by Trump on Dec. 29, read: ‘The Democrats have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration etc.’ Alsup granted a request by the plaintiffs to take ‘judicial notice’ of the tweet. Alsup’s order notwithstanding, Trump appeared to double down on the proposal Tuesday night, stubborn as ever. ‘Our country needs the security of the Wall on the Southern Border,’ he tweeted, ‘which must be part of any DACA approval.’”
Trump To Bring About Extinction of Human Race?
Breitbart wrote on January 8:
“Yale professor and clinical psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee has warned that President Donald Trump may bring about the ‘extinction of the human species’ because of his mental instability. Lee, who has briefed members of congress on the president’s psychological state, insisted that her extreme prediction was ‘not hyperbole’ but ‘reality.’ Dr. Lee [told] Newsweek that the situation is so grave that ‘a public health emergency’ should be declared that would need to be ‘responded to as quickly as possible.’
“After a series of tweets from Trump that appeared to threaten North Korea with nuclear war, Lee was one of the hundreds of self-described mental health experts who issued a statement calling the President’s mental health into question after he responded to a challenge from North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un…
“Following on Trump’s assertions on social media of his mental stability and intelligence, Lee said that deflecting or projecting ‘are often concerning signs,’ and seemed to suggest that Trump could even be a candidate for forcible commitment…”
What a circus… It is remarkable that Breitbart under Executive Chairman Steve Bannon would publish a report like this. Subsequently, Bannon stepped down from Breitbart.
Newsmax reported on January 9:
“Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon is resigning — unable to quell a firestorm over his remarks in a new book disparaging President Donald Trump and his eldest son. The [news site] announced the exit on its website Tuesday afternoon. The New York Times reported the departure was forced by his former financial patron, Rebekah Mercer.”
Further Outrage Caused by Trump’s Vulgar Comments
The Week wrote on January 11, 2018:
“During a meeting with both Democratic and Republican senators on Thursday, President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as ‘s… countries’… Trump asked why they would want people from ‘all these s… countries’ coming to the United States. Trump… said the U.S. should try to instead attract people from Norway and similar countries. In a statement, the White House did not dispute the remarks, merely saying Trump ‘will always fight for the American people’…
“Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, [said] that he and the Haitian government ‘vehemently condemn’ President Trump’s comments on Haiti and other countries being s…’
“The Haitian government has formally summoned a U.S. official to explain the comments, Altidor said, and Haiti’s embassy in Washington, D.C., has heard from outraged Haitian-Americans demanding Trump apologize for what he said. ‘Haitians fought along U.S. soldiers in the Revolutionary War and we continue to be great contributors to American society,’ Altidor said.”
Deutsche Welle added on January 11:
“Previously, the Trump administration announced it would end a temporary residency program that allows nearly 60,000 Haitians to live in the US.”
Sessions’ Foolish Hypocritical Witch-Hunt
The Associated Press wrote on January 5:
“The Trump administration announced Thursday that it was ending an Obama-era policy to tread lightly on enforcing U.S. marijuana laws. The declaration renewed anxiety, confusion and uncertainty that has long shadowed the bright green leafy drug still forbidden under federal law but now legal in a majority of states as medicine and in a handful of those for recreational purposes…
“In 2013, President Barack Obama’s attorney general advised prosecutors not to waste money targeting pot growers and sellers that were abiding by state laws, but to go after flagrant violations such as trafficking across state lines or selling to minors…
“Advocates for the drug that is classified in federal law in the same category as heroin have argued that it has medicinal qualities and causes less harm than alcohol…
“Pot proponents along with some members of Congress, including Sessions’ fellow Republicans, roundly condemned the change in direction Thursday and said it was an intrusion upon the rights of states whose voters had approved use of the drug. ‘If … Congress allows the Department (of Justice) to crack down on individuals and state governments, it will be one of the biggest derelictions of duty I will have witnessed,’ said U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska…
“It was not clear how Thursday’s announcement might affect states where marijuana is legal for medical purposes. A congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where it is allowed. Justice officials said they would follow the law, but would not preclude the possibility of medical-marijuana related prosecutions…”
Such incredible hypocrisy by ALL involved parties supporting or at least not opposing Sessions on this issue.
AG Sessions’ Unconscionable “Guidance”… Congress MUST Act Now!
Newsmax and The Associated Press reported on January 7, 2018:
“Forty-six states — including Sessions’ home state of Alabama — have legalized some form of medical marijuana in recent years… Eight of those states also allow recreational marijuana… Among the guidance that Sessions rescinded was the so-called Ogden Memorandum of 2009 that instructed federal prosecutors not to pursue cases against medical marijuana patients and distributors who complied with state laws…
“Georgia state Rep. Allen Peake, a Republican who sponsored a bill in his state’s legislature that legalized possession of medical marijuana in 2015, denounced the move. ‘I’m very disappointed in Jeff Session’s actions,’ Peake said Friday in a telephone interview. ‘He will be hurting the grandfather with Alzheimer’s, the soccer mom with breast cancer, the college student with Crohn’s disease, the young child with seizures — these are the people that will be impacted by this action by the attorney general.’
“[Some] legal protection… for medical marijuana growers, processors, sellers and users is a temporary measure sponsored by Republican California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer prohibiting the U.S. Department of Justice from using government funds to target them. Rohrabacher, in a conference call with reporters and four other members of Congress, said Sessions’ move should galvanize national support for marijuana legalization…
“Many politicians, including Republicans, have cast Session’s move as an infringement on states’ rights. Only Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas do not allow any access to marijuana…
“Georgia’s General Assembly passed that state’s medical marijuana law in 2015. Called Haleigh’s Hope Act, it was named for a girl who was suffering from hundreds of seizures a day… ‘This is as bipartisan an issue as you can get,’ [Peake] said. ‘Cancer doesn’t ask if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. There are people of all races and creeds who benefit from medical cannabis, so that’s why it’s so crucial that Congress get together and take action.’
“The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment that restricts U.S. attorneys from taking legal action against people who use medical marijuana or produce it was maintained in a last short-term funding bill passed by Congress. But that funding bill expires on Jan. 19… Rohrabacher said a better, more permanent solution is a bill he submitted last year that amends the Controlled Substances Act so it doesn’t apply to people who produce, possess or deliver marijuana in compliance with state marijuana laws… New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker has also introduced a bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level.”
The amendments and repeal of the ridiculous federal restrictions of medical marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act are long overdue, but because of the incredible influence of the money-grabbing pharmaceutical industry, Congress has so far refused, in a cowardly political fashion, to do what is right. But ironically, Sessions’ foolish action and the uproar it created, coupled with the double-talk of the White House, might cause a desired change.
Time for Sessions to Resign
The Week wrote on January 7:
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has come under broad criticism for his performance at the Justice Department in general and specifically his decision, reported Thursday, to do away with an Obama-era policy permitting states to legalize marijuana without federal meddling.
“Among Sessions’ critics are Republican lawmakers including Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), who slammed Sessions’ pot policy on the Senate floor, and Reps. Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio), who published an op-ed Friday calling for him to resign because ‘he has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world.’ Sessions is ‘really on borrowed time,’ Republican strategist Brian Darling told The Hill.”
United States of Europe a Worthwhile Goal
Der Spiegel Online wrote on January 8:
“European Commissioner Günther Oettinger, 64, says in an interview with DER SPIEGEL that a United States of Europe is a worthwhile goal…
“Oettinger [said:] ‘… Konrad Adenauer also spoke of the United States of Europe as did, much earlier, Victor Hugo. What they meant is more relevant than ever: There are challenges that we Europeans can only meet together — controlling migration, for example, and making research more effective, and our militaries… As bad as Brexit is, it has brought Europeans together to a certain degree…
“Austria’s new government has earned a chance. There is nothing in their coalition agreement that is inconsistent with European law and the rule of law… The completion of the economic and currency union is an urgent task that we should complete before European elections in spring 2019…'”
The establishment of the United States of Europe is just a matter of time. The comment that nothing in the Austrian coalition agreement violates European law is a startling and at the same time frightening admission. Note our articles below on Austria.
“The American Void—Time for Germany to Learn to Lead”
Der Spiegel wrote on January 5:
“The liberal world order that the United States spent seven decades building is disintegrating. The U.S…. is withdrawing from the global stage on three different fronts: militarily, morally and a key leader of the international community…
“In recent years, Germany has shown a greater willingness to take on the responsibility commensurate with a country that is the most economically powerful and populous in Europe… Looking ahead… Germany will have to lead. But where to?…
“The new global situation will… mean a departure from the good Germany. When principles collide with pragmatism, when values clash with interests, Berlin will be forced to make difficult decisions…
“German foreign policy experts are still debating how radically the estrangement between the U.S. and Europe has become. Atlanticists are calling for optimism, even though Trump, so far, has served to affirm the worries of the pessimists. They continue to cling to the illusion that, Trump aside, trans-Atlantic relations are actually still entirely intact. They see the U.S. president as a painful, but temporary illness. They believe that once America returns to health, the status quo will return to trans-Atlantic relations.
“The problem with that view, however, is that America’s retreat from its role as a shaper of global politics began before Trump — and it won’t end with his departure, either…”
France to Counter Trump in China
The New York Times wrote on January 9:
“President Emmanuel Macron of France, during a three-day visit to China this week, has worked at every turn to win over China’s leaders, hoping to reinvigorate ties between the two countries as they grapple with the strident nationalism of President Trump. Mr. Macron and President Xi Jinping, during meetings this week, articulated a vision sharply at odds with Mr. Trump’s worldview. They spoke of a need for free trade and rallied against protectionism.
“They embraced multilateralism and praised institutions like the United Nations. And they emphasized the importance of working together to combat climate change, as the United States backs away from global efforts to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Mr. Macron… repeated one of his favorite jabs at Mr. Trump, saying it was time to ‘make our planet great again.’… Analysts said Mr. Macron was positioning himself as a reliable ally of China at a time when… [t]he United States, under Mr. Trump, is withdrawing from the world stage…”
The “Liberal” EU and the Right-Wing Visegrad Group
The Guardian wrote on January 6:
“… the EU’s biggest challenge in 2018… comes from within. It has been slowly emerging along the bloc’s central and eastern flanks since the so-called Visegrád Group of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic acceded in 2004…
“Front and centre in this fight is Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, who… has called for the defence of Europe’s ‘Christian culture’ against ‘Muslim invasion’…
“Orbán now claims a new friend in the almost but not quite neo-fascist coalition that won power in Austria at the close of 2017. But it is Poland, under the ugly tutelage of the authoritarian Law and Justice party, that has emerged as his closest ally…
“Speaking alongside Orbán in Budapest last week, Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, predicted a ‘year of great battles’ against western Europe’s multicultural and integrationist values…”
The strong far-right position of the Visegrad Group and Austria will not lead to a disintegration of an united Europe, but rather, it will influence the entirety of Europe and especially core European nations to move further towards the right.
Turkey vs. the EU
The Telegraph wrote on January 5:
“[The] EU must end [its] ‘hypocrisy’ of letting Turkey think it can become [a] fully-fledged member says… President Emmanuel Macron of France [said], who added that progress on the application was not possible given human rights concerns. Mr Macron’s remarks came during a tense press conference with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the French leader warned against flouting the rule of law and freedom of expression while his counterpart accused some writers and journalists of acting as ‘the gardeners’ of terrorism.
“During the exchange, the authoritarian Turkish leader, who ordered the arrest of up to 55,000 security force members, judges, academics, journalists and activists in the wake of the 2016 failed coup, said his country was ‘exhausted’ after 54 years in the ‘antichambre’ of the EU… But Mr Macron said that political developments in Turkey were effectively blocking its EU accession bid…
“Ankara was hoping to warm frosty relations with Europe during Mr Erdogan’s trip, but the talks were overshadowed by concerns over Turkey’s huge post-coup crackdown and the arrest of journalists. Over 140,000 people have been sacked or suspended, accused of links to the movement run by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of orchestrating the attempted coup…
“Mr Macron suggested that the pair should work towards a ‘partnership’ rather than full membership to ensure that ‘Turkey remains anchored in Europe’… [a]fter signing multi-billion euro trade agreements… The talks came as Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for a fresh start in his country’s rocky relationship with Germany, holding out the prospect of closer economic cooperation if ties improved…”
Muslim Turkey will never become a member of the “Christian” EU, but a partnership, as suggested by Macron, is very likely, due to a mutually developing antagonism toward the state of Israel.
German Military Recruits More and More Minors
Deutsche Welle reported on January 9:
“The German government has admitted that the Bundeswehr is recruiting more minors than ever before as it continues its complex transition from a conscription-based to a volunteer military… the Defense Ministry said that some 2,128 under-18s had been recruited as volunteers into the military in 2017, including 448 young women. Ninety of the 2,128 recruits were still underage at the end of their six-month trial period. That represented a continuing increase, with the number of underage recruits more than tripling since 2011… when Germany ended conscription.
“Left party Bundestag member Evrim Sommer… used the opportunity to condemn the trend… ‘Young people should not be used as cannon fodder in the Bundeswehr as soon as they come of age. As long as Germany recruits minors for military purposes, it cannot credibly criticize other countries. The German government is endangering its own efforts towards an international ban on the use of child soldiers.’
“… in a 2014 report on Germany, the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) noted that, ‘Some advertising campaigns for the armed forces specifically target children, and representatives of the armed forces are sometimes present within the school context, speaking with pupils and organizing activities.’
“… The Bundeswehr is not allowed to advertise recruitment drives directly to minors, though that does not stop military officers giving talks in high schools, something else that is criticized by peace campaigners… ‘The Bundeswehr does all it can to make itself attractive to young people,’ said [Wolf-Christian Ramm, spokesman for the children’s rights group Terre des Hommes International Federation]. ‘They have videos on YouTube and ads that talk about all the fun of joining the military, and compare it to playing an adventure game. That’s a part of the problem too. That hides the fact that military service is dangerous and can be deadly.’”
The same terrible and ungodly praxis of trying to make the military attractive to children and teens is also used in many other “civilized” Western countries, including the USA.
Dangerous New German Law Leads to Suppression of Opinion
The Local wrote on January 5:
“On January 1st the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (network enforcement act) came into force. Germans are furiously debating whether it is a necessary tool against hate speech or a form of censorship…
“The Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz was formulated by the German government last year in response to a rising tide of hate speech on the web. It obligates social media companies to delete offensive posts within 24 hours of them being reported, with the companies facing huge fines if they fail to comply. But days after it came into force, the legislation has had hefty criticism.
“The AfD have labelled it ‘censorship legislation’ after two of their MPs had their accounts on Twitter blocked. Party deputy leader Beatrix von Storch was unable to tweet for twelve hours after she attacked Cologne police for sending a New Year’s greeting in Arabic on Twitter… Her colleague, MP Jens Maier, also fell foul of the law after he described former tennis star Boris Becker’s son Noah as a ‘little half-negro’ on the social media platform. Becker has since indicated that he will take legal action over the tweet, which he describes as racist.
“AfD leader Alexander Gauland responded to the blockades by saying that ‘private individuals, in this case Twitter employees, should not be taking over the work of judges.’
“It is not just the far-right who have been hit by the legislation, though. Satirical magazine Titanic was banned from using Twitter for two days after it parodied von Storch by using the phrase ‘barbarian hordes’ in a tweet. Even after the satirical magazine was allowed back onto the platform on Friday, three tweets remained blocked for readers in Germany.
“Twitter has so far rejected requests from the media to clarify its deletion policy. In the deleted tweets, the company says that the content is unavailable ‘due to local law.’ Dietmar Wolff, head of the Association of German Print Media (BDZV) complained of the law that it was encouraging social media companies ‘to decide when in doubt against freedom of expression.’…
“Justice Minister Heiko Maas, who was largely responsible for bringing the law onto the books, came to its defence on Thursday. Speaking to Bild, he argued that the law would prevent calls to murder, hate speech and Holocaust denial, all of which he claimed were attacks on other people’s freedom of expression. But the law also faced criticism from inside the government. Christian Social Union (CSU) deputy Dorothee Bär said it had ‘led to chaos’ since it came into force. ‘Nobody knows why things are being deleted,’ she said. ‘It doesn’t help anyone if certain views can no longer be expressed because a company decides that they are not acceptable.'”
These are indeed dangerous and frightening developments. If that new censorship law can be used to justify deleting comments at whim, then it is clearly illegal, and the laughable opinion of Germany’s highly controversial Justice Minister is blatantly wrong. After all, Germany is not a dictatorship … so far…
Austria Wants to “Restore Order” by “Locking Away” Migrants
Daily Mail wrote on January 5:
“Migrants in Austria will be held in disused barracks and subjected to curfews in order to restore ‘order’, under proposals announced by the country’s far-right deputy leader. Heinz-Christian Strache said that the plan should be introduced amongst a raft of drastic measures, such as taking money and mobile phones from new arrivals, to combat Europe’s ‘open’ migration policy…
“Mr Strache, who has repeatedly batted away accusations of fascism despite his party being founded by former Nazis, wants the government to usurp charities to take control of asylum issues. Under the plan, he said that asylum seekers in Austria could be sent to live in ‘underutilised’ barracks and told to return to the building at a specified time every evening. ‘Order is needed, as long as there is an open asylum procedure,’ he said, announcing the plan.
“But the call provoked fury from rival politicians who said that the policy amounted to internment whereby migrants are ‘locked away’ and denied the chance to ‘stand on their own two feet’… The FPO has been given control of Austria’s interior, defence and foreign ministries under the coalition agreement with new chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the world’s youngest elected leader…
“Despite raising eyebrows across Europe with the decision to enter an agreement with the FPO, Mr Kurz has vowed to commit to hard-line election promises on migration and asylum. In a 182-page coalition agreement, the two parties said they would take money from new asylum seekers which would be used to cover the initial costs of care. Mobile phones belonging to migrants would also be seized so that that data contained on the devices could be used to determine their identity and route into Europe. The measures also outline how benefits and payments offered to new arrivals will be cut, while they will be barred from accessing many social services during their first five years.”
National Post wrote on January 6:
“Strache back-pedalled from his remarks in a press conference with the chancellor yesterday, suggesting Kurz may have exerted pressure behind closed doors. ‘Housing refugees in barracks is currently not an issue,’ a subdued Strache said. ‘There are currently no plans for mass accommodation.’”
However, the other measures mentioned above are still “on the table,” as part of the coalition agreement, which is telling in light of comments quoted earlier herein that nothing in that coalition agreement violates European law.
Facebook Removes Christian Website for Upholding Biblical Teaching
Christian Headlines reported on January 9:
“Facebook has removed the Christian ministry ‘Warriors for Christ’ page, saying the page violated community standards on bullying and hate speech. Warriors for Christ, a West Virginia-based ministry, are a group that opposes any sinful behavior. Its Facebook page had more than 225,000 followers. Its administrators frequently post memes that criticize LGBT rights and abortions, among other topics. Videos from Pastor Rich Penkoski are also posted on the page.
“The page was first taken down on Dec. 29. The page was reinstated after an online petition called for Facebook to reverse its decision. The page was then again removed last Friday.
“Penkoski told The Christian Post that the group’s Christian beliefs are being ‘censored.’ ‘We can’t even use the term “LGBT” in any context whatsoever or else it immediately gets flagged and banned. If we type those four letters out in our page, it gets removed,’ Penkoski said. He said that only 3 percent of their 3,000 posts referred to LGBT issues. The organization’s focus is counseling, he added. ‘Yet, homosexuality is the focus that everyone keeps talking about with us. We talk about abortion. We talk about adultery. We talk about fornication… When Facebook pulled our page [for the first time], we were actually counseling with a young woman who was suicidal.’
“Facebook did not comment, but instead pointed to their policies on hate speech and bullying, which says bullying or harassment is not tolerated and pages that ‘attack’ people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender and gender identity will be removed.”
Woe unto those who call evil good and good evil.
J.P. Morgan Regrets Calling Bitcoin a Fraud
CNBC wrote on January 9:
“J.P. Morgan Chase CEO said he regrets calling bitcoin a fraud. ‘The blockchain is real,’ Dimon tells Fox Business. Dimon remains concerned about how ‘governments are going to feel about bitcoin when it gets really big….
“The price of bitcoin declined 1.4 percent to $14,760 Tuesday…The digital currency is up more than 1,500 percent in the past 12 months.”
California Flu Outbreak
The Los Angeles Times wrote on January 9:
“California health officials said Tuesday that the state’s flu season could turn out to be one of the nastiest the state has seen in a long time… Most people in California and nationwide are catching a strain of influenza A known as H3N2, which tends to be deadlier than other strains. H3N2 was the culprit in Australia’s most recent flu season, which led to record numbers of sick people as well as the nickname ‘Aussie flu.’
“… officials are recommending a flu shot for everyone over 6 months old. Experts say the flu shot may only be 30% effective this year, but can reduce the severity of symptoms for people who still get the flu. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect. Among the 27 Californians under 65 who have died from the flu, 30% had been vaccinated against the flu…”
We must be allowed to ask whether these vaccinations actually CAUSE flu sickness, rather than preventing it. How can 30% of vaccinated persons catch the flu, if such vaccinations are so important and successful and designed to prevent flu sickness? And what about the nonsensical allegation that it takes two weeks for the flu shot to become effective? By then, the flu has passed in most cases, while the poison of the vaccinations remains in the body. Clearly, medical science has it all backwards.
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.
Will God’s People be Protected at a Certain Place on Earth During the Time of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? (Part 2)
If so, who will and who will not be at that place; where is it; and how can one get there?
In the previous Q&A, we discussed God’s promise of protection for some Church members at a special place on earth during the times of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. In this Q&A, we will address additional pertinent questions on this subject, including how God’s people might get to the place of safety; who will be those who will be protected; and who will belong to those who won’t be protected at the place of safety.
How Will God’s People Get to the Place of Safety?
We read in Jeremiah 4:6 that God’s people are to “Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction.”
Isaiah 26:20–21 states: “Come, My people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.”
These passages seem to imply some active conduct on the part of those who are to receive God’s protection. They are to “take” refuge; and they are to “hide” themselves without delay.
As we saw in the previous Q&A, Revelation 12:14-16 pictures the flight of a particular group of people. Christ compares the time preceding His coming with the time of Noah (Matthew 24:37–39), and as God protected Noah and his family in the ark—here on earth—so He will protect His people on this earth in the way that HE has chosen. God delivered Lot by leading him out of Sodom and providing a place of refuge for him at a particular location. Early Christians escaped from Jerusalem and fled to the city of Pella, just before the Romans invaded and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (compare Eusebius in his Church History; and Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, Book VI, chapter 3, section 3). In all of these cases, active conduct was required—Noah had to go into the ark; Lot had to leave Sodom; and the early Christians had to walk to Pella.
On the other hand, some Scriptures might imply God’s supernatural intervention, as well as transfer of human beings from one place to another location here on earth. In Luke 17:37, Christ is addressing the general time of His return (verses 24, 30), stating that at that time, “‘…two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left. And they answered and said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ So He said to them, ‘Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together’” (verses 36-37).
The word “body” is translated from the Greek word soma, which refers many times to the “body of Christ”—the Church of God (compare Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23).
Although Christ is describing events leading up to His return, the fact that some will be taken, and some may be left behind, could be a reference to the short time span of 3 ½ years JUST PRIOR to His Second Coming, when His Church will stay in a place of safety here on earth, to be PROTECTED from the terrible things to come. God’s protection is many times associated with eagles, or eagle’s wings. God will give His Church, often pictured as a “woman” or “virgin,” “two wings of a GREAT EAGLE, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time [3 1/2 years], from the presence of the serpent [Satan the devil]” (Revelation 12:14).
In similar ways, God protected ancient Israel when they left Egypt. Please note Exodus 19:4: “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on EAGLES’ WINGS and brought you to Myself.” We know that God compares Himself and His loyal angels with eagles. Certain angels are described as having characteristics of eagles (Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14; Revelation 4:7). When God told Israel that He brought them out of Egypt on eagles’ wings and “bore them and carried them” (Isaiah 63:9), He signified His supernatural involvement and protection (compare Deuteronomy 32:10-12; see also Psalm 91:4 and Psalm 17:8).
It is therefore possible that Christ was addressing, in Luke 17:37, a SUPERNATURAL PROTECTION of God’s Church, through ANGELIC involvement, here ON THIS EARTH, just PRIOR to His Second Coming. Those who qualify for such a protection will be “taken” away from dangerous surroundings, while others, who are not considered worthy, will be left behind. We are NOT told HOW, exactly, God will bring those whom He considers worthy to the place of safety. Ancient Israel left Egypt BY FOOT. Similarly, we read that Christ asks us to pray that our FLIGHT would not happen in winter or on the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20). This seems to indicate that SOME will go to the place of safety “by foot” or by means of physical transportation. But even then, supernatural protection during this “flight” will be guaranteed, in the same way as God protected ancient Israel on their exodus out of Egypt.
At other times, God protected human beings by SUPERNATURALLY TRANSPORTING them–or “taking them”–to another place on this earth. Acts 8:38-40 describes a supernatural transport of Philipp to another place here on earth. We also read that Enoch and Elijah were supernaturally transported to another place on earth.
In speaking of Enoch, the Bible records that he “walked with God” (Genesis 5:24), and “he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5). Because of this and because of the rebellious society in which Enoch lived, God “took” him away, so that he “should not see death” (Hebrews 11:5, Authorized Version). God “translated” or transported him to another place on earth, in order to spare him from the second death. John 8:51 confirms that if we keep God’s Word, we shall “never see death” — the second death, that is, as it is appointed to men once to die the first death (Hebrews 9:27). In addition, God might have transported him to another place on earth to protect him from physical death at that time. We do know for certain, based on the biblical teaching and evidence, that Enoch did die at a relatively young age for his day and that he did not ascend to heaven! Paul also said in Hebrews 11:5 that Enoch was “not found.” This does not mean that he lived on forever. Moses died, and God buried him at a secret place, and he was not found, and “no one knows his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6).
Regarding Elijah, we read, in 2 Kings 2:1, 11, that Elijah was taken up “into heaven by a whirlwind.” We also read that the disciples understood that Elijah did not go to the third heaven, as they were concerned that “the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley” (verse 16). In fact, God transported Elijah to another place here on this earth, where Elijah continued to live until his death. He wrote a letter and had it delivered to King Jehoram, AFTER he “went to (the first) heaven,” as Jehoram became king right at the time of Elijah’s disappearance (2 Kings 1:17; 3:1). 2 Chronicles 21:12-15 gives us the contents of the letter, referring to the evil deeds of King Jehoram that he had committed after Elijah had been taken away and transported through the air to another place here on earth. Elijah was transferred, supernaturally, to another place here on earth.
Another description of a supernatural transport from one place to another location on this earth could perhaps be found in Ezekiel 3:10-16.
So, it appears that in the end time, some might, in some way, “physically” flee towards a place of safety, while others may be taken or transported supernaturally. In any event, they all will have angelic protection. Luke 17:37 seems to imply that eagles or angels will be gathered together to protect Christ’s body (soma in Greek)–the Church. We might also consider this possibility: As Satan will assemble the kings and nations of this earth at a place called “Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16), from where they will march to Jerusalem to fight Christ there (Zechariah 14:1-4; Joel 3:2), could it be that God’s Church will assemble at or supernaturally brought to a certain place to move from there, with supernatural angelic protection, to the place of safety? Satan’s conduct would then just be a diabolical counterfeit to God’s plan regarding His Church.
But, this does not mean that Christ will return before the Great Tribulation and take His Church to a place of safety here on earth, where He will dwell with His Church during the time of the Great Tribulation. This teaching is without any biblical support; in fact, Christ warns against such teaching, when He says in Matthew 24:26-27: “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out… For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” His return will be clear and obvious and visible for all alive. Revelation 1:7 says: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, AND EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM.”
Jesus said in Matthew 24:19-22:
“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies IN THOSE DAYS. And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For THEN there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until THIS TIME, no, nor ever shall be. And unless THOSE DAYS were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake THOSE DAYS will be shortened…”
Even though some commentaries state that Jesus’ sayings were restricted to the time of 69 A.D. and 70 A.D., when true Christians fled to the city of Pella before the Romans invaded and destroyed Jerusalem, it is clear from the context that those events, even though constituting a forerunner, did not describe the final fulfillment of the prophesied events. There was no “Great Tribulation” at the time of 70 A.D.–worse than it ever had been or will be–nor did those events precede “the end of the age”–this present civilization–and “the coming of Christ” (compare verses 29-30).
It is true that Christ specifically addressed first “THOSE who are in Judea,” telling them to “flee to the mountains” (verse 16). But then, His statement is all-encompassing, stating in verse 20: “And pray that YOUR flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.”
Travelling in winter can be very uncomfortable and dangerous. It would most certainly not be easy “in those days” to have to flee “in winter.” Remember, Christ said in Matthew 24:19: “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in THOSE days.”
In addition, Christ asked us to pray that our flight may not be on the Sabbath. At the time of the end, the Satan-induced governments of this world and followers of “orthodox Christianity” will have begun a thorough persecution of all those who keep the Sabbath. We read that Satan will influence the governments of this world to persecute those who will be fleeing to a place of safety here on earth (compare Revelation 12:14-16). Those who keep the Sabbath and have probably already been under surveillance by the governments, will be in danger of additional persecution, and the governments might step in to prevent their flight. If that were to happen on the Sabbath, one can easily see how difficult, even mentally and spiritually, the conditions would be for the continuation of the flight.
We read that Christ’s true disciples will be hated by all nations in those days (Matthew 24:9). This would include hatred by professing Christians, because true Christians won’t accept the pagan concepts and worship which have become part of orthodox Christianity. This would also include hatred by Jews, because true Christians won’t accept Jewish traditions and fairy tales, and they will confess Jesus Christ as the ONLY Savior of the world, which concept the Jews (as well as the Arabs and other non-Christian religions) universally reject. True disciples will become the target of worldwide persecution from every corner, and fleeing on the Sabbath would contribute to additional hostilities.
Where Is the Place of Safety?
The Bible might give some indication as to how God’s people who are worthy of protection will reach the 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.” First of all, the Bible does not clearly reveal where the place of safety will be. We are only told that it is in the wilderness and that it is a secret place where some will be hidden, which might indicate a somewhat isolated location which will not be surrounded by many people. And even though it may be possible that the place of safety will be somewhere in the Middle East, we cannot be sure about this.
Most importantly, we should not try to prepare physically for our “flight,” by saving money for the purpose of buying plane tickets to an airport close to the [assumed] particular place; or preparing some survival kit. All of this would be manifesting a totally wrong priority. We are to prepare spiritually to be counted worthy to be protected at the place of safety, because if we are not counted worthy or if God should decide for other reasons that we are not to be at the place of safety, then all our efforts for our physical preparation would be futile anyhow.
Who Will Not Be Protected?
The fifth seal in the book of Revelation describes the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6:9-11). It refers to a future martyrdom of the saints. It undoubtedly includes many (but not necessarily all) who are converted members, but who have allowed themselves to slip, become lukewarm and embrace the spirit of compromise, pride and self-sufficiency. We also saw in a previous Q&A that the 144,000 and the great multitude will suffer during the beginning years of the Great Tribulation, without receiving protection at the place of safety, but God will save or deliver them from the seven last plagues during the Day of the Lord.
We read in Revelation 12:17 that some will not be protected at the place of safety even though they “keep” God’s commandments and “have” the testimony or the words or teachings of Christ. They will profess Christ and claim to be His true most dedicated followers, but they will not really be willing to live God’s Word from the heart and with uncompromising and unwavering determination and conviction.
The Elberfelder Bible comments that the word for “keep” can either convey the meaning of “to preserve” or “to do.” It does not have to mean both. God told the Israelites through Moses to “keep” and “do” the commandments (compare Deuteronomy 4:6. Authorized Version). The Elberfelder Bible translates: “to preserve and do them.” Generally speaking, the scribes and Pharisees “preserved” or “kept” the Law of God, but they most certainly did not “do” it (compare Matthew 23:1-3).
The Greek word for “keep” is tereo, and it includes the meaning of “watch over, preserve, keep, watch” (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). The passage in Revelation 12:17 could then be understood to say that they persevered or “watched” or “watched over” the commandments, but they were not really doing them. They called themselves Christians, but were not really conquered and led by God’s Holy Spirit.
In addition, it is obvious that even some very dedicated and zealous Christians will not be protected at the place of safety. God has decreed that some will have an important responsibility to fulfill during the Great Tribulation. This is self-evident for the two witnesses. We are told in Scripture that during that future time of Jerusalem’s occupation, “two witnesses” will prophesy for 1260 days or 3 1/2 years (compare Revelation 11:3). This will apparently happen at the same time when certain Church members will be at a “place of safety” here on earth to be protected from the beast and the false prophet (compare Revelation 12:14). The time frame for the testimony of the two witnesses of 1260 days or 3 ½ years corresponds with “a time and times and half a time” or 3 1/2 years in Revelation 12:14, describing how long Church members will be at the place of safety (Please remember that one year has 360 days according to the Hebrew calendar, and that the term “time” means “year”, compare Daniel 4:16).
God will give the two witnesses great powers during the time of their preaching (verses 5-6), but at the end, He will allow them to be killed and to be dead for 3 ½ days (verses 7-9). Following that event, God will resurrect them to eternal life (verses 11-12), together with all the other saints who have died in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The two witnesses will not be at the place of safety. It is not inconceivable that other converted members who would “normally” be worthy of protection at the place of safety, will assist and work with the two witnesses. These true Christians will not be at the place of safety either–and some, if not many of them, might likewise have to endure martyrdom–not necessarily because of any character flaws, but because they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake and God’s glory (compare Revelation 6:9-11; John 21:17-19; Acts 5:40-41; 1 Peter 4:12-19).
Even though the Bible speaks only of the two witnesses, many times, God’s prophets did not act alone, but they were accompanied and supported by other disciples or followers. This is true for Moses and Aaron (we might think of Joshua, as well as the elders of Israel or the Levites etc.); John the Baptist; and even Jesus Christ, as well as, of course, the original apostles. In the case of Elijah and Elisha, we find a few references to their disciples or “apprentices” in 2 Kings 2:5; 4:38; 6:1; and 9:1.
Who Will Be Protected?
King Solomon indicates in Proverbs 14:26 that young children and teenagers of those Church members who are counted worthy will be protected in the coming times of trial: “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence, and his children shall have a place of refuge” (Authorized Version). As the Ryrie Study Bible points out correctly, “his children” refers “the children of the one who fears the Lord.” The New International Version translates: “He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.”
Since children or teenagers would not be converted and would not have received the Holy Spirit, they would not be “worthy” per se, but God promises their protection because of the “worthiness” of their parents or parent. It is also not inconceivable that well-meaning adults could be protected, who are not yet converted, but who understand and accept God’s calling and promises, as God looks at the heart and does not judge as man judges. During the time of the Exodus, not only Israelites were departing from Egyptian slavery, but also a mixed multitude (Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4).
One might ask, why would God consider “unconverted” people worthy of protection at the place of safety, while He would not protect certain converted, but lukewarm members. The answer is that God looks at the heart, and He expects more from converted members than from those who may not yet be converted. It is interesting to see how enthusiastic and zealous, as well as teachable, prospective members can be, who are being introduced to the Truth, while at the same time, certain converted members in God’s Church who have been in the Church for many years, might have lost their original zeal and their first love and their humility, having allowed themselves to slip and to become proud, ending up as being neither hot nor cold.
In conclusion, God will provide for some a place of safety on this earth for the purpose of physical protection during the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Even though we are asked to watch always and pray that we are to be counted worthy to escape the terrible times which are ahead of us and to be protected at that special place of refuge and shelter, it is up to God as to who will be at that place. In many cases, God will not count some worthy enough to be allowed to be there; in other cases, God may have important duties and responsibilities assigned to them which would prevent them from being at the place of safety. However, it is critical to realize that our ultimate goal is to become worthy to be accepted by Christ when He returns, not only to be protected from physical harm at the place of safety. Rather than concentrating on the thought that we have to be among those for whom God will provide a physical and temporary place of safety, we ought to concentrate on qualifying to be able to enter the eternal Kingdom of God at Christ’s Coming (Matthew 25:34).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A Tech Team meeting was conducted via SKYPE last Sunday morning (January 7, 2018). Hosted by Eric Rank, podcast reports, video production and advertising were among some of the topics discussed along with details for the German live services broadcast.
“America and Britain–Global Leaders No More!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
“In 2017, Trump relinquished America’s 70-year role as global leader”; “The largest trend today is the decline of American influence”; “American leadership has reached its end”; “America’s power and global influence have plummeted like a stone”; “The United States is withdrawing from the world stage”; “The incredible shrinking Britain”; “Brexit has taken its toll on Britain’s foreign policy”; “The UK presence has been barely noticeable.” These quotes from several news articles show the declining role of the USA and the UK on the world scene. But who will fill the power vacuum? Some point at Russia and China. But the real future world leader is rising somewhere else.
“Schutz vor der großen Trübsal, Teil 1,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Protection from the Great Tribulation, Part 1.”
“Are You Counterfeit?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The ability to differentiate between godly truth and the lies that permeate today’s religion requires spiritual insight. Even the greatest can succumb to the subtle hypocrisies that Satan deceives with. We must stand with vigilance to protect this precious truth.
“God’s Deliverance,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Impossible—Overwhelming—Hopeless! Have you ever faced life feeling what these words express? And they might apply if we were without God in this world! But God is with us—if we are righteous. Still, we will face problems.
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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