|Live Services||Glorifying God; Believing Multitudes Persecute Jesus|
|Editorial||Do We Have the Right Focus?|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Which Death is Romans 6:23 Referring to?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Glorifying God; Believing Multitudes Persecute Jesus
On February 10, 2018, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Glorifying God,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Believing Multitudes Persecute Jesus.”
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.
Do We Have the Right Focus?
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
It is interesting to read that the disciples who had daily contact with Jesus Christ for three and a half years still didn’t, at times, have the right focus. That is hard to understand but would we have done any better? It is easy to see our mistakes in hindsight, and we all have made our fair share of them.
In Luke 9:46-48, we read: “Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.’”
Here Jesus showed them in the clearest possible way that humility and service were necessary, not being the top man at the table. Having been given this lesson, you might be forgiven for thinking that the lesson would have been learnt. However, we read about a later incident in Luke 22:24-27: “Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called “benefactors.” But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.’”
Their focus had slipped again, and Jesus had to put them right. He did so with clarity and, hopefully, they got the point.
Their focus, and ours, should and must be on the soon coming Kingdom of God; not on personal position, power or authority. The way of this Satan-inspired world is one of self- aggrandizement, putting self before others in a multitude of ways. Satan, the master of deception, can also encourage us to lose focus in so many other respects by encouraging us to focus on minutiae. He is a master of distraction; he can lead us to becoming overly interested in our job, our hobbies and anything else that we may be interested in, so that they become a higher priority than the Way of Life that we have been called to. As Satan won’t be in the Kingdom of God, he wants us to fail, too!
Do you think that it can’t happen to you? Remember: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Let us avoid the obvious trap of letting down on prayer and Bible study, but also in less obvious areas where we can lose focus on our priorities in this life. It can be so easy to let down that we can do it without fully realising it, and, in so doing, let our adversary get the upper hand.
With the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread coming up, now is the time to review our situation. Using this time as a period of introspection and self-examination, we ought to make sure that we do indeed have the right focus!
by Norbert Link
The world has experienced several days of crazy trading. The Dow Jones bounced back late Tuesday, but dropped again Wednesday and on Thursday, it plunged again more than 1,000 points. The loss has been tremendous [for instance, time.com reported that Warren Buffet’s net worth dropped by $5 billion on Monday alone] and the world is getting a foretaste as to what is surely going to happen very soon.
The Vatican and Turkey, as well as the Europeans, are ganging up on Israel and are fighting for the Temple Mount, and our new StandingWatch program, titled, “The Vatican’s Fight for Mount Zion and Jerusalem,” addresses this prophetic development in detail.
Poland is anxious to deny any responsibility for the Holocaust, and a political move by Germany’s controversial foreign minister (SPD) supports Poland and angers Israel. However, these questionable actions are only helping the right-wing AfD to gain further ground in Germany. As we predicted, Angela Merkel (CDU) and Martin Schulz (SPD) finally struck a coalition deal to form a new government, which still needs to be approved by the membership of the SPD.
At the same time, Germany seems to abide by EU rules only when they are advantageous to Germany.
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
U.S. Dow Industrial’s Biggest Intraday Decline in History
Reuters wrote on February 5:
“U.S. stocks plunged in highly volatile trading on Monday, with the Dow industrials falling nearly 1,600 points during the session, its biggest intraday decline in history [it closed down Monday with a drop of about 1,170 points]… the Dow suffered their biggest percentage drops since August 2011 as a long-awaited pullback from record highs deepened…”
The Week added on February 5:
“The Dow’s decline follows a rocky week that culminated in a 666-point drop last Friday…”
Deutsche Welle added on February 5:
“Banks fell the most as bond yields and interest rates all plunged. Health care, technology and industrial companies all dropped steeply while energy companies and oil prices sank…”
Dow Jones Rallies Back, and Drops Again
CNBC wrote on February 6:
“After two huge sell-offs in a row, U.S. stocks are all over the map on Tuesday. Investors blamed the wild moves on a combination of interest-rate fears, computer-driven trading [note the next article] and the obscure volatility funds that use leverage.
“The Dow Jones industrial average opened with a big whoosh lower, then rallied all the way back. As of 3:08 p.m. ET, the Dow is 500 points higher [later that day, it climbed to 568 points] and trading at a new session high…”
However, on February 7, CNBC reported:
“Dow is headed for a more than 100-point drop at the open, following Tuesday’s wild ride. U.S. stock index futures dropped deep into the red ahead of Wednesday’s open, pulling back from the roller coaster ride seen on Wall Street in the previous session.”
In addition to Wednesday’s drop, the Dow plunged more than 1,000 points on Thursday (cp. Bloomberg, February 8, 2018).
These roller coaster rides are not very reassuring. And we can expect much worse developments. Note the next articles.
Wall Street Victim of Trading Machines
CNN wrote on February 6:
“On a typical trading day, computers account for 50% to 60% of market trades… When the markets are extremely volatile, they can make up 90% of trades… It’s not that humans didn’t play any role in the stock market’s moves. A stronger-than-expected wage increase in Friday’s jobs report led investors to make trades based on the assumptions about what that might mean for inflation and the Federal Reserve’s actions going forward. But once they gave the stock and bond markets that initial push, the computers took those initial moves and ran with them…
“The program trading that sends stocks down so quickly can send them up just as fast. That’s one reason why the market came off its lows and rebounded more than 400 points late Monday. It’s also probably why markets opened down more than 500 points Tuesday, only to jump several hundred points in the first hour of trading.”
This is not very comforting. Being a helpless victim to machines sounds like a horror scenario of a science fiction movie.
European and Asian Markets Plunge
Deutsche Welle reported on February 6:
“European markets took a big hit as Tuesday’s trading began, following major losses across Asia and particularly in Japan… European markets [are still] down as Tuesday trading closes.”
As the USA will be blamed, Europe and Asia won’t be very happy.
America’s Crazy Borrowing Politics
CNBC wrote on February 5:
“Last week… the Treasury Department quietly released data estimating its 2018 borrowing needs would check in at $955 billion, then top $1 trillion in the next two fiscal years… Given the turmoil in markets and the broad-based tax cut just signed into law, the Treasury’s timing arguably couldn’t come at a worse time…
“Conventional economic wisdom suggests that in the long term, Uncle Sam’s burgeoning debt load will put upward pressure on interest rates and hammer the dollar… While printing money to erase debt seems like an easy solution, most economists warn it would put the world’s largest economy on a fast track to hyperinflation and a devalued currency…
“As for the U.S. and its relentless borrowing needs, the stakes are high.”
Why there are relentless borrowing needs for the USA is very hard to comprehend.
UK Unprepared for a Global Financial Crisis
Express wrote on February 5:
“[The] WORLD ‘is due’ an economic crash that would cause chaos…
“Any financial crash caused by the collapse of the US stock market would likely have a massive knock-on effect in Britain [and around the world] with growth slowing in recent months… Figures from the Insolvency Service also reveal that in 2017 the number of people who declared themselves bankrupt [in the UK] reached its highest level since the financial crisis… the UK has dropped to the 13th fastest growing economy in the world because companies are unsure of Britain’s plan after it leaves the EU.
“Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility has declared it overstated the UK’s economic performance over the past seven years, meaning the British economy is weaker than previously thought. Speaking in Davos a fortnight ago Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley gave a stark warning that the world is unprepared to deal with the next global financial crisis… Also speaking in Davos the Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, Kenneth Rogoff, said: ‘If we have another financial crisis, there isn’t even a plan A.’”
Worldwide Market a Casino on Steroids
CNBC wrote on February 6:
“Billionaire Carl Icahn told CNBC on Tuesday there are too many exotic, leveraged products for investors to trade, and one day these securities are going to blow up the market… The billionaire investor says, ‘The market itself is way over-leveraged,’ and at some point could ‘implode.’…
“The market is a ‘casino on steroids’ with all these exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes, he said. ‘These funds, especially the leveraged ones, are the “fault lines” that will eventually lead to an earthquake on Wall Street, he said. ‘These are just the beginnings of a rumbling.’”
Even though he and many others feel that the latest crisis was only temporary, there can be no doubt that there are warning signs for worse developments to occur very soon.
Turkey and Pope Francis United Against Israel
The Jewish Press wrote on February 5:
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday was the first Turkish head of state to visit the Vatican since 1959, and given the tense relations between the Sultan wannabe from Istanbul and the Pope, some wondered how the two leaders would be able to conduct a peaceful meeting. Turns out they had nothing to worry about, they both can’t stand the fact that Israel still insists Jerusalem is its capital, and now a US president is backing them up…
“Three years ago, in April 2015, Pope Francis and the Turkish leader were entangled in a fierce dispute over Turkey’s refusal to accept its responsibility for the 1915 Armenian genocide. Aware that conceding responsibility for the death of a million and a half innocent civilians would put modern Turkey’s Ottoman ancestors in the same category as Nazi Germany, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, Ankara denies that there even was an Armenian genocide, never mind who did it…
“So, to be clear, that whole Armenian genocide thing is put aside, so that everybody can concentrate on getting the Jews to give up their crazy idea about Jerusalem belonging to them.”
The Battle for Mount Zion
Breaking Israel News reported on February 1:
“Mount Zion, a site of great importance to the Jewish people, is almost entirely owned by the Vatican. It happens to also be a focal point of a political battle being fought, oddly enough, underground. Harry Moskoff is an executive producer and writer of The A.R.K. Report, an account of his research into the location of the lost Ark of the Covenant.
“One segment of his documentary will focus on Mount Zion specifically, located directly west of the Old City outside of the ancient walls. Moskoff notes that when the Bible refers to Mount Zion, it is actually using one of the names for the Temple Mount, which is also known as Mount Moriah. In that regard, he will investigate a theory of his that King David moved from his palace in the City of David, located on the southern slopes of the Temple Mount, to Mount Zion in the latter parts of his life. While some archaeologists believe that King David is buried near the City of David, Moskoff contends that his tomb is in fact located on Mount Zion…
“Eli Dan, who served as assistant director of the Diaspora Yeshiva, a Torah institution on Mount Zion, which was charged with running the compound of King David’s Tomb after the Six-Day War in 1967, has witnessed what he describes as a ‘long and complicated war’ with the Vatican. ‘The Vatican fought for years to gain control of Mount Zion,’ Dan told Breaking Israel News.
“‘Their main interest lies in the room where the Christians believe the Last Supper was held… The previous Pope promoted a political agenda that advanced the Palestinian cause because he wanted to gain control of the site,’ he elaborated. ‘But that room is in a building adjacent to the Tomb of King David.’
“Dan explained that King Solomon, King Hezekiah, and several high priests are also believed to be buried at the site. ‘The battle going on now for Mount Zion goes much deeper,’ Dan added. ‘The battle is for the identity of the site: whether it is a Jewish religious site, a Catholic site, or whether it is simply a tourist attraction with no religious significance.’”
For more information, please view our new StandingWatch program, “The Vatican’s Fight for Mount Zion and Jerusalem,” and read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People,” and “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire.”
Former Pope Benedict in Last Phase of His Life?
Reuters wrote on February 7:
“Former pope Benedict said in a letter published in an Italian newspaper on Wednesday that he is in the last phase of life and on a ‘pilgrimage towards home’. Benedict… in February 2013 became the first pope in six centuries to resign… Since his resignation, the 90-year-old Benedict, a conservative German whose seven-year papacy was marked by mismanagement and financial scandals, has been living in a former convent in the Vatican gardens.
“He has made only a handful of public appearances, mostly at major Church events but has received friends. Those close to him say he is still sharp mentally but has mobility problems and needs a walker to get around.”
Israel to Deport African Migrants
Newsmax reported on February 4:
“Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese…
“For now, the notices are being given only to men without families, officials said. Israeli newspaper Haaretz said ‘anyone recognised as a victim of slavery or human trafficking, and those who had requested asylum by the end of 2017 but haven’t gotten a response’ would also be exempt for now…
“Israel refers to the tens of thousands of African migrants who entered the country illegally from neighbouring Egypt as ‘infiltrators’. Israeli officials tacitly recognise that it is too dangerous to return Sudanese and Eritreans to their troubled homelands, but local media say the notices do not specify where departing migrants would be sent. Aid workers and media have named Uganda and Rwanda, although both countries deny being a destination for migrants being expelled involuntarily.
“Public opposition to the plan has been slow to build, but some Israeli airline pilots have reportedly said they will not fly forced deportees. Academics have published a petition and Israeli Holocaust survivors wrote an open letter to Netanyahu last month pleading with him to reconsider. The UN refugee agency has called on Israel to scrap the plan, calling it incoherent and unsafe.
“A 2016 UN commission of inquiry into Eritrea’s regime found ‘widespread and systematic’ crimes against humanity, and said an estimated 5,000 people flee the country each month. The International Criminal Court has indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide linked to his regime’s counter-insurgency tactics in the Darfur conflict.”
These developments are just terrible, and no country seems to be without guilt when reviewing their immigration practices. Please view Norbert Link’s recent message, “What If Ruth Had Lived Today?”
Poland Denies Responsibility for Holocaust in World War II
Reuters reported on February 5:
“Israel’s education minister said on Monday he was ‘honored’ Poland had canceled his visit to Warsaw this week because he refused to back off of condemnation of a bill that would outlaw suggesting Poland was complicit in the Holocaust. ‘The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it,’ Bennett later said in a statement. ‘The government of Poland canceled my visit, because I mentioned the crimes of its people. I am honored.’
“…Israel has denounced the Polish Holocaust bill, which passed in parliament last week and is awaiting a decision by President Andrzej Duda over whether to sign it. The Polish measure would impose prison sentences of up to three years for mentioning the term ‘Polish death camps’ and for suggesting ‘publicly and against the facts’ that the Polish nation or state was complicit in Nazi Germany’s crimes.
“Poland’s rightwing nationalist government says the bill is necessary to protect the reputation of Poles as victims of Nazi aggression. Israel says the law would ban true statements about the role that some Poles played in Nazi crimes. The bill has drawn criticism from the United States and condemnation from a number of international organizations as well as Polish minority groups.
“Poland, which had Europe’s biggest Jewish population when it was invaded by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union at the start of World War Two, became ground zero for the ‘final solution’, Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe. More than three million of Poland’s 3.2 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. Jews from across the continent were sent to be killed at death camps built and operated by Germans in Poland, including Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.
“According to figures from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis also killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians. ‘The death camps in Poland were built and operated by the Germans, and we cannot allow them to evade responsibility for these actions,’ Bennett said. ‘However, many Polish people, all over the country, chased, informed or actively took part in the murder of over 200,000 Jews during, and after, the Holocaust. Only a few thousand people… risked themselves to save Jews.’”
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 4:
“Germany alone carried out the Holocaust, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said amid a row over Poland’s bill about Holocaust terminology… ‘Individual collaborators’ in Nazi-occupied regions during World War II did not change the fact that Germany was responsible for the Holocaust, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a Foreign Office statement on Saturday. Poland could be assured that ‘every form of historical falsification such as the term ‘Polish concentration camps’ runs into clear rejection on our part and will be sharply condemned,’ Gabriel added.”
However, Gabriel’s statements were clearly political. Note the following dated but still very relevant article:
The Jerusalem Post wrote on January 2, 2018:
“Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan blasted German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday for comparing the Jewish State’s policies in the disputed West Bank territory to the former racist apartheid system in South Africa… Gabriel, who frequently boasts about his anti-fascist credentials because he rejected his father’s hardcore Nazism, has been engulfed in a number of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel scandals…
“‘There are two central narratives to Jewish history in the 20th century – the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. Sigmar Gabriel has already tried to undermine the core of each of them,’ Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post in December… ‘In the past, Gabriel claimed that Social Democrats suffered the same fate as Jews during the Third Reich, a ridiculous assertion with no basis in fact, that undermines the uniqueness of the Holocaust and falsely relativizes the uniquely horrific fate of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis and their helpers.’”
To deny the Holocaust is nonsense. To deny that Poles collaborated with the Nazis is equally nonsense. To criminalize those who deny the Holocaust is nonsense. To criminalize those who use the term “Polish death camps” is equally nonsense. In all these examples, a sound mind is lacking, while deceitful politics wins. In addition, JTA reported on February 6 that “Poland isn’t the only country to police what can be said about the Holocaust. Countries such as Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia have also been accused of whitewashing the past. But they haven’t received the widespread condemnation that Poland has.”
Germany’s Far-Right AfD Climbs and Climbs
DPA/The Local wrote on February 6:
“A poll published by INSA on Monday predicts that the Social Democrats and Christian Union would no longer be able to form a majority government, if elections were held now.
“The poll also puts the anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on 15 percent, just two percent behind the Social Democrats (SPD) on 17 percent. Merkel’s Christian Union (CDU/CSU) would win 30.5 percent of the vote, the poll predicts.
“As the CDU/CSU enter the final stages of trying to thrash out a new deal for a grand coalition government with the SPD [which was finally entered into on Wednesday, see articles below], the poll makes worrying reading for the main parties. Their proposed government has already been dubbed a ‘coalition of losers’ due to the fact that both parties leaked millions of votes at the ballot box in September’s national election. The SPD’s vote share of 20.5 percent was their worst result since the Second World War.
“The popularity of the far-right AfD has been creeping up in recent weeks, with several polls putting them on 14 percent or above. They entered the Bundestag for the first time in September after winning 12.6 percent of the vote. The party was set up in 2013 and fought the election of that year on an anti-Euro platform, but failed to make it over the 5 percent hurdle needed to make it into parliament.
“Last year they ran a campaign fiercely critical of the government’s refugee policy, which had led to over a million people applying for asylum in Germany since 2015.
“The leadership of the AfD rejects the label of far-right, preferring to describe themselves as conservative. However, they remain highly controversial due to various statements by senior party members… Björn Höcke, the AfD leader in Thuringia, has lambasted Germany’s culture of remembrance of the Holocaust, labelling the Holocaust Memorial in central Berlin a ‘memorial of shame.’ Party leader Alexander Gauland, meanwhile, said during election campaigning last year that Germany should be proud of the service of its soldiers in two world wars.
“The party has also been sharply criticized for its attitude to Islam, which it describes as “not belonging to Germany.” There are roughly 4.7 million Muslims in the Bundesrepublik, making up 5 percent of the population.”
Merkel (CDU) and Schulz (SPD) Reach Coalition Deal to Form New German Government
On February 7, the Local published the following article in collaboration with AFP and DPA:
“… the coalition deal has been struck. Now it will be put to a vote of the membership of the SPD…
“The SPD managed to wangel the Foreign Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Labour Ministry out of the talks. They appear to have done pretty well for themselves there. While they held the foreign and labour posts during the last administration, they have added the powerful finance ministry to their portfolio. The centre-left party will also hold onto the justice, family and environment ministries, all of which they held in the last government…
“The CSU, meanwhile, have been given a role at the Interior Ministry which appears to be something of a novelty as it will include responsibility for Heimat (home) – that rather untranslatable German word is a nod to conservatism and its current obsession with ‘German values.’ [Very conservative] CSU leader Horst Seehofer is coming to Berlin to take on the role of interior minister. At the end of last year it seemed like his career was over, but he appears to have rescued it to some degree…
“The only question is – with so many key ministries going to the other parties – what have the CDU kept for themselves? One assumes they have kept defence, but there is not much going other than that.”
Deutsche Welle added on February 7:
“If the [SPD] voters approve the deal — and it could well be close — Merkel could then appoint a Cabinet and the parties could sign the coalition contract. Then, if all goes to plan, Germany would have a new government by Easter…
“The two sides have agreed to tighten Germany’s arms export controls — last updated in 2000 — and will specifically exclude all countries taking part in the war in Yemen. This would be a significant change, as it would mean that Saudi Arabia, historically one of the best customers for German arms outside the EU and NATO, will no longer be receiving German weapons…
“The parties also promised a special focus on… ‘fair taxation of companies — especially the internet giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in Europe.’… the two parties agreed to a ‘billion-euro program’ to extend Germany’s broadband reach to close gaps in a country where many rural areas do not have adequate online access. There will… be ‘a right to a fast internet by 2025’ — in other words, a law guaranteeing all Germans broadband internet connection…”
Bloomberg wrote on February 7:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc has concluded a coalition agreement that hands a half-dozen ministries — including the key foreign and finance portfolios — to her Social Democratic allies, a move that will likely bolster the country’s commitment to greater European integration… Martin Schulz will serve as foreign minister…
“While Merkel sets policy guidelines for the government as chancellor, SPD-led finance and foreign ministries will allow Schulz to make good on his pledge to deepen euro-area cooperation and reach out to France’s Emmanuel Macron, who says the 19-country currency bloc should have a joint budget and finance minister…
“The deal was worked out by a core of about 15 leaders and must now be approved by a broader group of roughly 90. While the pact clears a key hurdle to a fourth term for Merkel, the SPD’s pledge to let its 464,000 members vote on the agreement augurs several more weeks of uncertainty… If SPD members reject the pact, Merkel would have to choose whether to pursue a minority government reliant on opposition votes to pass legislation, or to return to the ballot box for an election that polls suggest would resolve nothing.
“Another alliance between Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc and the SPD, a ‘grand coalition’ between the two biggest parties, appeared almost impossible after the Sept. 24 election, when the SPD suffered its worst defeat since World War II. Schulz initially vowed he wouldn’t again enter a cabinet with the chancellor who’s led Germany for 12 years. He changed position after Merkel’s bid to form a multi-party government with the Greens and the pro-market Free Democrats collapsed in November. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier helped prod the CDU and SPD to the negotiating table, saying the country needs a stable government rather than a repeat election.”
The Washington Post wrote on February 7:
“If the SPD members vote in support of the final coalition treaty next month [on March 3], a new government will go into effect late March or early April. If they don’t, Merkel will likely be forced to form a minority government, and it could mean the end of SPD leader Martin Schulz’s career, and even Merkel’s…”
As we predicted that Merkel and Schulz would be successful in striking a deal, so we predict that the SPD membership will vote for the grand coalition. German papers commented that in order to stay in power, Merkel has given up almost everything else. Bild Online wrote: “The operation was successful, but the patient (Merkel and the CDU) is almost dead” [“Operation gelungen, Patient (fast) tot.”]. Der Spiegel wrote about a “clear defeat for Merkel” [“eindeutige Niederlage”]. At the same time, die Welt commented about the “powerful political ‘master-accomplishment’ [‘machtpolitische Meisterleistung’] of Martin Schulz.” Also note the next article.
Schulz: “Germany Will Lead Europe Again!”
Express wrote on February 7:
“Martin Schulz has promised Germany will lead ‘fundamental EU change’ after forcing his way into Angela Merkel’s cabinet as part of the controversial coalition agreement. The former European Union president suffered a disastrous election, but Mrs Merkel’s poor results insured he would be a key part of the coalition, which was finally agreed today. And Mr Schulz hailed the deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives as a watershed moment for European policy.
“… Mr Schulz said: “You’ll forgive me for thanking Mrs Merkel and Mr Seehofer, especially regarding the European policy chapter of this deal, because what we wrote down in this coalition agreement about the European Union and its future will be a fundamental change of direction in Europe. With this coalition agreement, Germany will take an active and leading role in the European Union again.’…
“Alice Weidel, leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the biggest opposition party, tweeted: ‘Things could not get worse for Germany,’ calling the coalition deal ‘insane’ as it did not contain an upper limit for migration.
“Speaking in December, Mr Schulz called on EU member states to sign up to a ‘United States of Europe’ by 2025 or risk being kicked out of the bloc. He called for a new treaty to formally convert the EU into the United States of Europe, along the lines of the United States…”
“Germany Is the Leading Breaker of EU Rules”
Handelsblatt Global wrote on February 6:
“No other country seems to lecture EU states as much as Germany. But, embarrassingly, Angela Merkel’s government is in breach of European regulations more than anyone else…
“New figures from Germany’s Economics Ministry reveal that Angela Merkel’s government currently faces no less than 74 infringement proceedings for failing to adequately and timely convert EU rules into German law…
“The violations cover key issues affecting health and safety, including air pollution, traffic noise, fire protection measures and water quality, according to the ministry’s figures…
“To a certain degree, the new revelations are a deja-vu of 2003, when Germany was the first country to break deficit rules that apply to all 19 euro-zone countries. Frugal European countries, especially Germany, had been pushing for strict regulations to limit budget deficits and debt levels. When Germany failed to reign in its deficit… it agreed with France the rules didn’t apply.
“The new figures also show that Germany sometimes simply doesn’t bother to create the necessary corresponding laws.”
Christians Immune from the Flu?
Politico reported on February 6:
“An evangelical minister [Gloria Copeland]… sparked an uproar Tuesday by suggesting that Christian faith makes people immune from the flu…
“Public health experts immediately panned the remarks… John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health and a former Centers for Disease Control associate director for policy, said people are best protected against the flu by getting a flu shot…
“Copeland and her husband co-founded Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas. Both were members of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, which disbanded after Trump took office. Other members included former Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.”
While Christians are not immune from sickness, asking God for healing is always important, and flu shots have proven not to be as helpful as doctors would want us to believe.
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.
Which Death is Romans 6:23 Referring to?
Here is the verse:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23—the first part—refers to the penalty of sin. Romans 3:23 adds, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Therefore, all people are under the death penalty because all have sinned (See Romans 5:12).
Sin is the breaking of God’s Law—it is rebellion against God, our Creator (compare 1 John 3:4)! Adam and Eve chose to disobey God’s warning (Genesis 2:16-17; 1 Timothy 2:14) when Satan lied to Eve:
“’You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 3:4-6).
Death came to Adam—just as God had warned (compare Genesis 5:5). His disobedience set the stage for all of mankind:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
It is important to understand that even righteous men and women who have lived throughout human history are included among those who have sinned. They died, and Hebrews, chapter 11, recounts the faith they had for which God would deliver them from death:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth… And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:13, 39-40).
Among these faithful people, King David is specifically mentioned in Hebrews 11:32. Consider what the apostle Peter said of him:
“‘Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day’” (Acts 2:29).
David sinned, and he died. His personal history is plainly written in the Bible. David repented of his sins, as the record of Psalm 51 shows. However, he looked beyond his death to a time when God would resurrect him:
“As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).
But understand—David is still dead, as is everyone who has died, except for Jesus Christ, whom God resurrected from the dead (compare Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15). If you are willing to read and believe the truth of the Word of God, then accepting the idea that dead people are somehow alive right now in heaven, hell or some other state is a hopelessly false belief. Yet, everyone who dies will be resurrected to life—note:
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
Christ’s second appearance will be to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. At that time, the righteous will be resurrected to eternal life as spirit beings in the God Family—they will never die again:
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).
Here is what Jesus taught about those who have died:
“‘…for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [better, judgment]’” (John 5:28-29).
Now the resurrection of those not in the first resurrection will be to physical life. Paul writes that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). All people who have not had an opportunity to know the Truth and to repent of their sins—sins which brought about their death—will be resurrected, they will live again!
In order to receive eternal life along with those from the first resurrection, these billions of people who have lived and died throughout history must choose to turn to Jesus Christ as their Savior and become obedient to God. Otherwise, they will face the second death—which is destruction in the lake of fire. Those who refuse to turn away from sin will die—never to exist again:
“‘He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:7-8).
The “wages”—that is, the penalty of sin, of breaking God’s laws, is death. Because all have sinned, all will die. The good news is that Jesus Christ has paid the price for everyone’s sins, but this is a one-time opportunity which will be given to all people (compare Hebrews 6:4-6; 9:28; 10:26-27). God’s “gift” is eternal life to those who obey Him.
It is through Jesus Christ that death itself will perish:
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).
The Bible shows that death is the penalty of sin. Sin brought death to all men. Because of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, true Christians who repent obtain forgiveness for their sins so that they do not have to die the second death. But all people will have a chance to accept His death in their place. For some, this opportunity will be given in the Millennium; for most of those not being called in this day and age, they will come back to life in the second resurrection. They died the first death, but because of Christ’s Sacrifice, they can escape the second death. However, for those who refuse to obey, the penalty will be the second death—from which there will be no return.
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A Tech Team meeting was conducted via SKYPE on Sunday, February 4, 2018. Hosted by Eric Rank, improvements for live broadcasts for Sabbath services were discussed along with details about Podcasts for the StandingWatch programs.
“The Vatican’s Fight for Mount Zion and Jerusalem,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
President Erdogan of Turkey and Pope Francis collaborate against Israel. The Vatican almost entirely owns Mount Zion. Astonishing? Not so, if you understand biblical prophecy. This program will explain.
“Du sollst nicht schwören!” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “You Shall not Swear.”
“What If Ruth Had Lived Today?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Ruth from Moab came to the land of Judah and married Boaz. Ruth and Boaz became the ancestors of David. Rahab from Jericho became a stranger in Israel and married Salmon, the son of the leader of Judah. Rahab and Salmon became the ancestors of Boaz and of David. Both Joseph and Mary, as well as Jesus, descended from David. But if today’s immigration laws had been in effect at the time of Rahab and Ruth, none of these developments could have happened, and there would have been no David, no Mary, and no Jesus.
“You Shall Not Swear!” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The topic of swearing and giving an oath is not as easily answered as some may think. Many concepts abound, pro and con. The Bible tells us that God swears; that angels swear; that righteous people in the Old Testament have sworn, and that people in the Millennium will swear. But don’t Jesus and James tell us that we are not to swear at all? However, some claim that Jesus and Paul have sworn. What is the answer?
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
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Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom