|Live Services||“Syria—Preparing for World War 3?”; The Greatness of God|
|Editorial||Choosing Destruction Instead of Life|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Do You Believe the Bible in its Entirety?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
“Syria—Preparing for World War 3?”; The Greatness of God
On April 14, 2018, Norbert Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Syria—Preparing for World War 3?” and Brian Gale will present the sermon, titled, “The Greatness of God.”
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.
The Update will NOT be published for the weeks of April 20thor April 27thdue to our Church Conference. We will resume publication on the week of May 4th.
Also note: The second Passover falls this year on April 29. It is observed in the evening of April 28, after sundown, by those who were unable to partake of the first Passover.
Choosing Destruction Instead of Life
by Robb Harris
With increased frequency and callousness, men and women are choosing death as an easy way out of hardships. For an ever-growing number of people, sustained and meaningful purpose for one’s life is unattainable. Suicide is nothing new but the merciless desire to snuff out the lives of others is becoming more common.
Just this week a young man shot and killed his mother and friend as they slept. After the murders he wrote on Facebook, “What I look forward to is the nothingness after death. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about murder, wondering what it feels like. But I’ve barely felt anything.” He was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot within a day or so of the murders.
Last month a female couple, whose lifestyle demonstrated utter confusion of godly principles, drove off a cliff with their 6 adopted children. While the motives aren’t known, the circumstances point to the car being intentionally driven off the cliff.
To try and understand why people choose these actions is to try and understand the mind of Satan. We are warned to distance ourselves from him by drawing closer to God, “But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (Mark 8:33). Throughout human existence, mankind has proven to have a complete lack of foresight without godly direction. Relying on our own direction leaves us unprepared and susceptible to the deceiver. Satan is single-minded in his intentions towards man and we are warned to “[b]e sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Without God, man can do little to stop reflecting the attitudes of Satan. Exposure to these views long enough will lead to deception and, ultimately, death. Christ was clear on the end result of a godless life manipulated by the Devil. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
The path laid before us is difficult only because we have such a proclivity to stumble onto that broad road leading towards destruction. Like each of us, King David had that same tendency, but he understood how to find light in the darkness: “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word is THE choice and the only means to attain understanding, purpose and most importantly, the path to eternal life.
by Norbert Link
We begin with the landslide election victory of right wing Victor Orban as Hungary’s Prime Minister, adding to concerns of far right views and anti-Semitism all over Europe.
We continue with the ongoing strained relationship between Turkey and Israel and undeniable preparations for the building of the third temple and Jewish worship services on the Temple Mount.
We address Pope Francis’ denial of the existence of hell and the immortality of the soul, infuriating many “Christians” (while the Vatican is again childishly scrambling to defuse Francis’ statements). Please view in this context our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Pope Francis and Hell–Closer to the Truth?”
We quote from a remarkable German article taking the position that the world is preparing for the next war (since that is what people want); and report on America’s new tax law which proves to be a mess.
We focus on President Trump’s economic policy, which is perceived to pose a real threat to Germany and Europe; and discuss the volatile situation in Syria.
We speak on the US Presidency being under siege by the FBI; and conclude with articles on Britain pertaining to Brexit and the Commonwealth.
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
Far-Right Victor Orban Wins in Hungary
JTA wrote on April 9:
“[Hungary’s] Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party won in a landslide, riding a wave of rhetoric and policies that have set Hungary apart from the rest of the European Union for its veneration of pro-Nazi collaborators, anti-Semitic politicians and propaganda campaigns that critics say amount to racist incitement against Jews and other minorities…
“Leaders of far-right movements in Europe – part of a rising force that since last year alone have made unprecedented gains in elections in France, Austria, Holland and Italy — celebrated Orban’s clinching of more than 49 percent as a victory for their cause.”
Der Spiegel wrote on April 9:
“It’s an historic victory for Orbán, but also for Hungary and the rest of Central and Southeastern Europe. Never before in Hungarian history and never since the end of the communist dictatorships has a party in the region scored such a commanding victory in three elections in a row.
“In an extremely divisive campaign, Orbán essentially focused on one single issue, warning against Hungary’s ‘downfall’ at the hands of ‘immigrants.’ It appears that a majority of Hungarian voters view him as the only guarantee against such a scenario.”
Skillful propagandists have always persuaded people to vote for them.
Far-Right Views All Over Europe
The Daily Mail wrote on April 4:
“Polish officials recently blamed Jewish people for their ‘own destruction’ while the Hungarian Prime Minster [Orban] declared Europeans should not ‘mix’ with Africans.
“The Croatian president on a trip to Argentina came under fire from a Holocaust survivors charity for thanking the country for taking in ‘notorious’ pro-Nazi criminals…
“Ever since WWII, such views were taboo in Europe, confined to the far-right fringes. Today they are openly expressed by mainstream political leaders in parts of Central and Eastern Europe…
“Casting himself as the savior of a white Christian Europe being overrun by Muslims and Africans, Orban has insisted that Hungarians don’t want their ‘own color, traditions and national culture to be mixed by others.’…
“Poland’s government has also been embroiled in a bitter dispute with Israel and Jewish organizations over a national law that would criminalize blaming Poland for Germany’s Holocaust crimes… The Balkans, bloodied by ethnic warfare in the 1990s, are also seeing a rise of nationalism, particularly in Serbia and Croatia…
“Meanwhile in Bulgaria, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, the government includes a far-right alliance, the United Patriots, whose members have given Nazi salutes and slurred minorities. Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov has called the country’s Roma minority ‘ferocious humanoids’ whose women ‘have the instincts of street dogs.’…”
German Persecution of Jews Not a Thing of the Past
Deutsche Welle wrote on April 2:
“Jews were driven from their homes by Christians for almost two thousand years. In 1492 the Alhambra Edict decreed that they should be expelled from what is now Spain, after living there under Muslim rule for centuries. Many of these Jews found refuge in the Ottoman Empire… Jewish life blossomed in Ottoman cities like Thessaloniki and Sarajevo for centuries, and lasted until the Nazis arrived. Those are historical facts one should perhaps be conscious of when speaking, on the one hand, of a ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition, and at the same time of Muslims who ‘import’ anti-Semitism…
“Anti-Semitism in Germany is not imported. Anti-Semitism is Germany’s most successful export… The Germans are a people who manage to make the security of Israel and the fight against anti-Semitism a reason of state, while at the same time devoting an entire year to celebrating the reformer Martin Luther, who called for synagogues to be burned down and rabbis banned from their work, on pain of death…
“Anti-Semitism belongs to Germany, and to Europe. It is found on the political right, the political left, and in the so-called center of society…
“Yes, we must talk about anti-Semitic attitudes among Muslims in Europe and Germany… there is the Islamic Republic of Iran, which repeatedly threatens to annihilate Israel. And there is a minority of Muslims in Europe and in Germany who approve of this… And there are prominent German politicians who… share a podium with those who seek to justify attacks on Jews…
“When Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December, and Fatah, the supposedly moderate Palestinian party, called for ‘three days of rage,’ I didn’t need to read about it in the paper. I could see it in my neighborhood. On Sonnenallee, probably the most Arab street in Germany… you can’t venture down Sonnenallee at night in a kippah. In Germany, 2018…”
The abominable evil of anti-Semitism is not dead, but very much alive.
Doubting the Holocaust
Newsweek wrote on April 12:
“One-third of Americans think ‘substantially less’ than 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, according to a new survey that highlights a worrying lack of basic knowledge about the World War II-era genocide…
“The survey shows that 70 percent of Americans believe people care less about the Holocaust than they used to. A majority, 58 percent, said they believe something like the Holocaust could happen again…
“Around two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans believe there is anti-Semitism in the U.S. today, and a majority (51 percent) think there is either a great deal of (17 percent) or many (34 percent) neo-Nazis in the country today.”
Turkey vs. Israel… Who are the Terrorists?
The Jewish Press wrote on April 1:
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being a ‘terrorist’ on Sunday, and Israel of being a ‘terrorist state’ after 16 Gazans – including 10 convicted terrorists – were killed Friday in the Hamas-driven ‘Great March of Terror’ along the Gaza border…
“In response to the epithets, Prime Minister Netanyahu blasted the Turkish leader, saying, ‘The most moral army in the world will not be preached to by someone who for years has indiscriminately bombed civilian populations. Apparently this is the way they mark April Fool’s Day in Ankara.’…
“Erdogan has long championed the rights of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, which was spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Turkey’s Islamist leader has for decades maintained a close affiliation.
“Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also pointed out that the so-called ‘peaceful demonstration’ was nothing of the sort, using women and children as decoys and human shields while terrorists carried out violence against Israel.”
The Bible shows that Turkey will turn completely against Israel.
Preparations for the Third Temple Worship
Breaking Israel News reported on April 2:
“On the second night of Passover, this past Saturday night, dozens of men, women and children went out to the fields to harvest barley, not so much as a reenactment but a real Temple-related Passover ceremony. The following day, the harvest was brought to Jerusalem where it was turned into flour and Kohanim (Jewish men descended from Aaron the Priest) performed a full-dress rehearsal for the Wave Offering, which will take place once again in the Third Temple.
“As are most Temple related activities, the harvesting was done with musical accompaniment…
“The Kohanim wore authentic priestly garments that conformed to the Biblical requirements. Rabbi Baruch Kahane served in the role of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest). In the Temple, a male sheep was brought as a burnt offering, but this was not done at the reenactment…”
Daily Mail added on April 2:
“Ultra-Orthodox Jews congregated at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Thursday for a mass priestly blessing on Passover – a tradition of recent decades echoing a pilgrimage from antiquity. Jewish priests wearing Talit prayer shawls took part in the Cohanim prayer in the Old City of Jerusalem…
“The Western Wall is a remnant of a supporting wall of the Second Temple complex, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. It is accessible to non-Muslims via a ramp. Jews are allowed to visit but not pray at the compound to avoid provoking tensions…”
We know from Scripture that a third temple will be built prior to Christ’s return, and that temple worship services and animal sacrifices will resume, leading to violent confrontations in the Holy Land.
Francis: There Is No Hell!
The Guardian wrote on March 30:
“The Vatican has scrambled to clarify comments made by Pope Francis to a well-known Italian journalist that appeared to deny the existence of hell.
“The Holy See issued a terse statement saying a lengthy article published in La Repubblica on Wednesday by Eugenio Scalfari, 93, the newspaper’s founder, was ‘the fruit of his reconstruction’ and not ‘a faithful transcription of the Holy Father’s words’.
“While the Vatican conceded that Scalfari, an atheist who struck up a friendship with Francis in 2013, had held a private meeting with the pontiff before the Easter weekend, it said an interview had not been granted.
“During the meeting Scalfari asked the pope where ‘bad souls’ go, to which he was quoted as responding: ‘They are not punished. Those who repent obtain God’s forgiveness and take their place among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. A hell doesn’t exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists.’…
“Pope Benedict XVI said in 2007 that hell ‘really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much anymore’, while in 1999 Pope John Paul II announced that hell was ‘the ultimate consequence of sin itself … rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy’…”
However, it was reported by the English press subsequent to 2007 that Pope Benedict had stated in a sermon that there was no hell. At that time, the Vatican chose to remain silent on the issue. In addition, Pope Francis had already declared in November 2016 that hell–or eternal damnation–was not a torture chamber, and he went on to say that the lake of fire in Revelation 20 describes the second death. But at that time, he went on to give an unbiblical explanation of the “second death” and of “the fire,” which was more in line with the official Catholic position.
CNS added on March 29:
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: ‘The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire’…
“As for the human soul,the Catholic Church teaches that it is eternal, immortal in countless places throughout the Catechism…”
The official teaching of the Catholic Church is clearly unbiblical.
Mainstream Media in Furor Over Francis’ Remarks
Life Site News wrote on April 4:
“Mainstream media was in a furor last week over the news of Pope Francis purportedly saying that ‘hell does not exist’ and that unrepentant souls in mortal sin simply ‘disappear.’…
“The story was highlighted in the United States by the Drudge Report… It linked to a March 29 article by Michael W. Chapman of CNS News, who called Francis’s alleged remarks ‘a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul.’…
“The New York Times led with the news that the Vatican had responded to the Repubblica piece with an assertion that Pope Francis does indeed believe in hell…
“Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said that ‘it was easy to see, with this pope, that the left is even corrupting the Catholic Church’…
“The Wall Street Journal intimated that with his remarks, which the Vatican did not deny, Pope Francis had yet again astonished. ‘It was an extreme yet telling example of how Pope Francis has shaken up perceptions of Catholic doctrine,’ wrote Francis X. Rocca, ‘drawing widespread attention from the non-Catholic world and causing turmoil within the church… Part of Pope Francis’ strategy has been generally to play down the importance of formal teaching’…”
This could be his way of trying to unite traditional Christianity under the umbrella of the Catholic Church.
Preparing for War?
Der Spiegel wrote on April 2 (our translation):
“War, war, war… People don’t want peace. Something is lacking for them when there is no war. That is why they are preparing for it… Who demonstrates today for peace?…
“At the end of the Cold War, there was a short-lived hope that a time of peace had begun. But that was an illusion. There is no peace… People say that they hate war. But this is not true… Quite to the contrary, a person is viewed with suspicion when he speaks of peace. Because he supposedly supports “our enemies”: Russia, the Palestinians, Iran, China, North Korea…
“We still destroy cities and countries in order to liberate them. We have learned nothing since Vietnam… until now, everybody who wants to rearm has said, ‘When you want peace, prepare for war.’”
The Bible says that mankind does not know the way to peace. Satan the devil rules this world, and he is the “god” of war. Mankind, being cut off from God, follows their leader and ruler, having adopted his evil desires.
New US Tax Law a Mess!
Yahoo News, Reuters, April 2:
“The largest association of accounting professionals on Monday asked the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to clarify whether the new Republican tax law allows continued deduction of business meals and other work expenses.
“Treasury and the IRS are the two agencies crafting rules to implement the tax overhaul passed in December. It will take effect for the 2018 tax year. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) said taxpayers need ‘immediate guidance’ on deducting business meals and other work-related expenses, such as entertainment and membership dues, all of which are affected by the new tax legislation…
“The AICPA represents more than 418,000 accounting professionals. It asked the agencies for more information on the deductibility of client-related business meals, employer-provided business meals and other food, employer-hosted recreational events, advertising, charitable contributions, transportation expenses and membership dues. While the new law says ‘entertainment expenses’ are no longer deductible, it has caused confusion about the deductibility of business meals, the AICPA said.
“Previously, taxpayers could deduct half the cost of most business meals. The AICPA asked the agencies to affirm the deductibility of such meals, and also for business meals paid for separately that occur before or after an entertainment event.
“There is also confusionon whether costs of employer-hosted events, such as employee appreciation days or holiday parties, are still deductible, the AICPA said. The IRS said it had received the AICPA’s letter and was in the process of reviewing it.
“Tax writers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have acknowledged they will pursue multiple fixes to provisions of the sweeping tax bill with unintended consequences… But passing a separate bill to address other ‘technical corrections’ could be difficult, as the midterm congressional elections near in November 2018, aides have said.
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce last month identified more than 35 portions of the tax law that need additional clarification,either in additional legislation or by agency rulemaking.”
Of course, when laws are pushed through for the purpose of political gain, without reading and analyzing them, then this is the inevitable consequence.
Pax Trumpia Threat to Germany
On March 26, former German Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, wrote in Project Syndicate:
“After a year in which US President Donald Trump did not follow through on his promised protectionism, he has finally done so. It is quickly becoming clear that Trump’s attacks on free tradeare not just about global commerce, but about the entire rules-based international system…
“His decision to impose $50 billion in punitive import tariffs on many Chinese goods could severely disrupt global trade. And while he made a last-minute decision to exempt EU goods from such tariffs, Europe may yet end up in the line of fire…
“Trump’s protectionist policies thus challenge the entire German economic modelas it has existed since the 1950s. The fact that Trump has repeatedly singled out Germany, one of America’s closest allies in Europe, is no small matter…
“In Germany, there should be no illusions about what a transatlantic trade war would mean… now is hardly the time for disunity. The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU is already causing political dissonance among member states, and anti-European populists have just won a combined parliamentary majority in Italy…
“Europeans are on their own. One hopes that Europeans can act quickly to preserve their unity and salvage the international system that has provided them with peace and prosperity for generations.”
Most European nations are aware of the danger they face from the outside and from within. They will move quickly to bring about total unity, under the leadership of a charismatic ruthless and deceiving individual.
Stocks Worst Since the Great Depression
Bloomberg wrote on April 2:
“U.S. stocks had their worst April start since 1929, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The S&P 500 index slumped 2.2 percent, a rout exceeded only by its 2.5 percent decline 89 years ago, a prelude to the devastating crash later that year that brought on the Great Depression. (Back then, the index only comprised 90 stocks.)…
“The stock slide also looked pretty bad when compared to the beginning of other quarters. Equities lost more than on any other quarterly first day since October 2011, when stocks plummeted 2.8 percent, Bloomberg data show.”
These are the signs of the time, and they don’t look pretty.
USA Condemns Syria and Russia for Chemical Weapons Attack
Newsmax wrote on April 10:
“U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday condemned theRussia-backed regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — as well as Moscow and Iran — for a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of mostly women and children in strife-torn Douma.
“In an impassioned speech at the U.N., Haley declared, ‘Only a monster does this.’ She then called the ‘Russian regime whose hands are all covered in the blood of Syrian children.’ ‘We must not overlook Russian and Iran’s roles in the murderous destruction,’ she said. ‘Russia and Iran have military advisers at Assad’s air field and operations centers. Russian officials are on the ground helping direct the regimes starve and surrender campaign. And Iranian allied forces do much of the dirty work.’”
Previously, President Trump named Vladimir Putin as one of those responsible for the Syrian atrocities. The pressure is on President Trump to decide whether or not to launch a military attack on Syria. According the news reports, Israel already launched several strikes on Syria.
Russia Warns USA and Vetoes UN Resolution
The Associated Press reported on April 10:
“A retired Russian general says any clash between the U.S. and Russia in Syria would quickly escalate beyond the region… He said in televised remarks Tuesday that Russian advisers are deployed across Syria and could be hurt by a U.S. strike.
“Russia has vetoed a U.S.-drafted U.N. resolution that would have condemned last weekend’s suspected gas attack near Damascus… The vote Tuesday afternoon in the 15-member Security Council was 12 in favor, Bolivia joining Russia in voting ‘no,’ and China abstaining.”
Why anyone would have thought that Russia would approve the UN resolution is beyond comprehension. The UN is a meaningless paper tiger and incapable of bringing about any substantive change or progress.
Situation in Syria Escalates
Deutsche Welle wrote on April 11:
“A spokesman for the Russian president has dismissed Trump’s ‘Twitter-diplomacy’ in a call for caution. The US president had earlier warned Russia to ‘get ready’ for American missiles that ‘will be coming’ to Syria… Trump… wrote in a Twitter post: ‘Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!’…
“A top official in Iran, which also backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said his country would defend its ally against ‘foreign aggression.’…
“The US has been consulting with France and Britain over a military responseto Saturday’s alleged chemical weapons attack…”
The Sun wrote on April 12:
“Trump has back-pedaled on his threat to bomb Assad… Today, he
posted: ‘Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our ‘Thank you America?'”
President Trump also stated that the current relationship between the USA and Russia is worse than it was during the Cold War.
Fears of World War 3
Express wrote on April 12:
“World War 3: Theresa May calls EMERGENCY ‘war’ cabinet meeting as strike on Syria looms. THERESA May has called an emergency ‘war’ Cabinet meeting to discuss the crisis in Syria and the potential for imminent British military strikes against the Assad regime after US President Donald Trump signalled the US was ready to take action…
“Israel latest to back MILITARY ACTION in Syria as Netanyahu signals he is ready for WW3. ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Wednesday for action to be taken against Syria, as the UK, the US and numerous allies signalled they are gearing up for a military strike against the Assad regime following a chemical attack in Douma.”
“Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull SLAMS Russia and Syria for chemical attack as WW3 fears grow. AUSTRALIA’s Prime Minister appears to have given his backing to military action in Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack on civilians last weekend.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on April 12:
“Macron said… French and US officials were ‘working very closely, and we will have decisions to take, at the time we choose, when we consider it most useful and most effective.’…
“In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would not participate in any military strike on Syria.”
Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would not participate in a military strike either.
US Presidency Under Siege
The Daily Mail wrote on April 10:
“Donald Trumplashed out at his own Justice Department on Tuesday morning, following FBI raids on his longtime personal lawyer’s offices, home and hotel. ‘Attorney–client privilege is dead!’ Trump tweeted.
“The White House has yet to formulate a strategy for dealing with the fallout of an apparent criminal investigation of Michael Cohen by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Trump… is most angry about what he thought was an impenetrable barrier: the decades-old secrecy between Cohen and himself.
“Trump called Monday’s raid ordered by federal prosecutors on his personal attorney Michael Cohen’s hotel room and offices ‘an attack on our country and what we all stand for’…
“Famed Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz…, a liberal who voted for Hillary Clinton, said Monday night that ‘this is a very dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations’. ‘This may be an attempt to squeeze Cohen… to get him to turn against his client,’ Dershowitz said in the clip… If this were Hillary Clinton [having her lawyer’s office raided], the ACLU would be on every TV station in America jumping up and down,’ Dershowitz protested. ‘The deafening silence of the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling.‘
“When FBI agents swooped in on Cohen’s office Monday they seized a trove of documents related to the Stormy Daniels case and communications between the attorney and the president, in a dramatic escalation of Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe. They took his phone, personal computer and bank records – and Cohen is now under a microscope for both possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
“This indicates that Cohen is being investigated for using a home equity line of credit to borrow the $130,000 he paid Daniels, a porn star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. If Cohen did in fact lie to obtain credit from a ‘federally insured financial institution,’ he could be charged with a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. And if the payment is found to be an ‘in-kind contribution’ to Trump’s campaign, as it came just days before the election, Cohen could be facing a second felony. Violating campaign contribution limits is punishable by up to five years in prison…
“The president on Monday also called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators ‘the most conflicted group of people I have ever seen.’ ‘This is the most biased group of people. These people have the biggest conflicts of interest I’ve ever seen. Democrats all, just about all,’ Trump said, although Mueller himself is a Republican…”
It was also reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (a Republican) personally approved Monday’s FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Boehner Promotes Medical Marijuana
The Hill wrote on April 11:
“Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has joined the board of a top cannabis corporation to promote the use of medical marijuana, a shift in his once-adamant opposition to legalization of the substance. Boehner released a statement Wednesday on Twitter saying that his ‘thinking on cannabis has evolved… I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities,’ Boehner said.
“Acreage Holdings is one of the nation’s largest cannabis corporations. Boehner will also be joined on the Board of Advisors by former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who won the Libertarian nomination for vice president in 2016. In a joint statement, the pair said they are hoping to de-schedule cannabis from a Class 1 drug at the federal level so it can be used for medical purposes…
“While dozens of states have moved to legalize marijuana in some form — either recreationally or for medicinal purposes — the substance is still prohibited at the federal level and is classified in the same category as heroin and LSD… Current Republican lawmakers said in February that they were optimistic about passing cannabis legislation in 2018.”
It’s about time. The Federal’s Class 1 drug designation of medical marijuana is totally ridiculous.
Brexit… a Managed Surrender for Britain
Politico wrote on March 23:
“Forget red lines, bellicose declarations and rhetoric about the United Kingdom taking back control — Brexit so far has been a process of managed surrender. British officials acknowledge that Prime Minister Theresa May has mostly had to accept the European Union’s terms for the divorce…
“However, the Brits insist, the real negotiation starts now and much is still to play for… Dream on! The withdrawal talks are likely to become even more lopsided as an unofficial October deadline for agreement on the framework of the future U.K.-EU relationship draws near. Any resemblance with a negotiation among equals is purely cosmetic…
“And that means the rest of the Brexit process is likely to look very much like it has thus far: a thunderous standoff masking a gradual retreat.”
Prince Charles Plans to Make Australia a Republic
Express wrote on April 2:
“Prince Charles, who is next-in-line to the throne wants Australia to become a republic… to be independent of the British Monarchy [it has been reported].
“The Prince will be in Australia this month for the start of the Commonwealth Games. The Games will kick-off with the Royal reading the Queen’s ‘secret message in a bottle.’ Prince Charles will have to remove the message from a baton that has made its way around the former British Empire nations that make up the Commonwealth.
“Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg said: “It all goes back to her speech to the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday in Cape Town in 1947 and dedicating her life to the Commonwealth.”
However, those former days of glory are long gone for “Great” Britain and the “British” Commonwealth.
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.
Do You Believe the Bible in its Entirety?
This subject has been covered, over the years, in sermons and other material, and in our Statement of Beliefs, you will find the following:
“Our doctrines and practices are based upon a literal understanding of the teachings revealed in the entire Bible. We believe that the Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments are God’s revelation of His Will to man, inspired in thought and word, and infallible in the original writings; that said Scriptures are the supreme and final authority in faith and life, the source of Truth and the foundation of all knowledge.”
We have also produced a booklet entitled “Old Testament Laws – Still Valid Today?” and another booklet with the title “God’s Law…Or God’s Grace?” plus many other booklets that will reflect our belief in the inerrancy of the Bible; that it is without error or fault in all its teaching. We also produced a Q&A in January 2006 which addressed the question: “In the Bible, God gives specific instructions and commandments. But weren’t Paul’s writings driven by the prevailing culture at that time?” This is still available on our website, where the question is thoroughly answered.
However, there are numerous people and church organisations who feel that they can “pick and mix.” Let us give you an example of such an approach.
In 2004, the Roman Catholic Church in the UK produced a paper to present in Rome, entitled “The Gift of Scripture”. These are some brief comments on this subject taken from the ekklesia website. The headline on September 14, 2005, was: “Catholics encouraged to give emphasis to the Bible.” It then went on to say the following:
“Roman Catholics throughout Britain are being encouraged to reaffirm the Bible as foundational for their faith, and to make its critical appreciation a key part of their discipleship and church identity. The Gift of Scripture provides an explanation of Catholic teaching on the Bible. The 60-page booklet outlines the basic principles by which it is interpreted, and gives guidance on some difficult questions which arise, says the Catholic Communications Network.”
Four books of the Bible came in for some heavy criticism – Genesis, Exodus, Proverbs and Revelation – and they feel that the first two chapters of Genesis are contradictory rather than complementary.
On page 27 of their document, when talking about the book of Exodus, they state that “The entry into the promised land is seen as a fulfilment of the divine promise, but the narratives raise serious theological questions.”
The book of Proverbs does not escape their criticism – they say: “Some proverbs are profound and weighty, while others are somewhat trivial.”
Then, of course, there’s the book of Revelation. They say, on page 48: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and not be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world.”
In the Times in October 2004, the religious correspondent observed that “the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church – in the UK – has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.”
On the website catholicplanet there is “A Critical Review of the Document ‘The Gift of Scripture’” by Ronald L. Conte Jr. from November 14, 2005 where he writes:
“In summary, it is a heresy (and not a new one), which has been repeatedly condemned by successive Roman Pontiffs, to claim that the Bible is only infallible in matters pertaining to salvation, or only to faith and morals. Yet this document, called ‘The Gift of Scripture,’ not only displays a clear belief in this heresy, but also presumes to teach the same heresy, along with various other errors, as if such was the teaching of Christ.
“Furthermore, most of the text of GS (Gift of Scripture) treats the Bible as if it were merely a set of human books, containing errors, contradictions, and imperfect, time-conditioned human ideas. Despite some paragraphs that proclaim the Divine inspiration of Scripture, most of the document speaks as if it were merely a human book.”
It would appear that not everyone agreed with this booklet, including those within the Catholic church itself.
There is so much criticism from atheists and agnostics who feel that the Bible is not true in whole or part, as well as many “Christians” who will take the parts they like and dismiss those parts that don’t quite suit them.
On the website bibleinfo we read: “When the 66 books of the Bible with their 1,189 chapters made up of 31,173 verses are brought together (in the KJV), we find perfect harmony in the message they convey. As the great scholar F. F. Bruce noted: ‘The Bible is not simply an anthology; there is a unity which binds the whole together.’ In addition, Dr E L Towns noted that ‘there were numerous authors writing over a period of about sixteen hundred years and representing fifty-five generations and even though these authors represent a great diversity of occupations and ethnic/sociological backgrounds, the unified structure and theme of the Bible suggest there is one Mind who put it all together – God Himself, the Author of Scripture.’”
It is an incredible document.
We read in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Inspiration is from the Greek word “theopneustos” which is translated “divinely breathed” which clearly shows the source.
Whom do we believe? God – the author of the Bible or Roman Catholic Bishops or anyone else who have their own ideas about which bits in the Bible they like and which bits they don’t?
The problem with some is that they can take the “social and cultural norms of the time” approach that allows the culture of the day to become more important than God’s clear instructions! That’s dangerous ground!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He says: “For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6) and the Word of God, likewise, is unchangeable. We can’t “cherrypick” Scripture. We must take the Bible in its entirety and that includes Paul’s writings which are now part of Scripture and which cannot be dismissed as only applicable to his own time. If we do take the approach that we can have this bit of Scripture but discard another bit, then we become the arbiters of what is right and what should be in the Bible. We have neither the ability to so discern – nor do we have authority. And as for casting doubt on certain books in the Bible, that is nothing new.
Martin Luther, the 16th century German theologian, was frustrated by the works-emphasis, as he saw it, of the book of James, calling it “the Epistle of Straw”, and questioned its canonicity. He was also irritated with the complex symbolism of the Book of Revelation and once said that it too, was not canon, and that it should be thrown into the river! Apparently, he later retracted these statements, but it does show that leading figures have had their doubts about certain portions of the Bible that do not fit in with their own ideas.
In Acts 24:14 we read that Paul had no doubt about the validity of God’s Word: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.”
Paul believed ALL things written in the law and the prophets. There is no doubt here at all. Did he, one of the great men of the Bible, cast any doubt on Scripture? Not at all, and neither should anyone else who purports to be a Christian!
Jesus Christ also showed that He believed in the inerrancy of the Word of God. When He was tested three times by Satan as we read in Matthew 4:1-11, He said, four times “It is written”, referring to the Old Testament. He also made a statement in John 10:35: “… the Scripture cannot be broken.” In Matthew 5:18, He further asserted: “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
The Catholic Bishops emphasised in their paper the human dimension of Scripture. But the Bible has something to say on this aspect too. In 2 Peter 1:20-21 we read: “… knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
As one internet commentator wrote: “He (that is Peter) wrote these words not long before his martyrdom. They emerge not only from his personal experience of being taught directly by Christ Himself, but also from several decades of His Christian life afterwards. These words were tested by long years of living experience. Under God’s inspiration, this is the true testimony of an authentic apostle of Jesus Christ.”
The Bishops – all of them – are answered from Scripture. We know that when Jesus Christ was tempted by the Devil, He answered not by human reasoning but by quoting the Word of God. That is the way to respond, not making up our own arguments that can come from fallible human reasoning and pre-conceived ideas – but straight from the Word of God. Isaiah 28:10 states: “Here a little, there a little”, as we have long understood that the Bible interprets itself for those with eyes to see.
In Deuteronomy 12:32 is a warning: “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” In Revelation 22:18-19 is another warning: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
The message of the Bible is complete and needs no extra attention from anyone.
What rebukes these are to those who treat the message carelessly or think that they have answers or input over and above that which is clearly stated in the Word of God! We know that these Bishops, and others, are not being called now – their fruits clearly show that they are not in step with the Word of God, but they will have their opportunity in due course, because God is fair.
In the meantime, those of us who have been called into the true Church of God must make sure that we don’t treat the Word of God lightly and that we revere ALL Scripture. Anything less and we will be in serious trouble!
Yes, we do believe the Bible in its entirety!
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Pope Francis and Hell—Closer to the Truth?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Recently, Pope Francis allegedly denied the existence of hell and the immortal soul of the wicked. The Vatican scrambled to “clarify” these comments, and the traditional Christian world responded with astonishment and anger. And even though the official Catholic teaching is clearly at odds with those comments, Pope Francis made similar statements in the past, and other popes did likewise. But who is right–or could they all be wrong? What does the Bible say about life after death?
A new German Video ad was produced by Mike Link, promoting our new German booklet, “Lehre Uns zu Beten” (the translation of our English booklet, “Teach Us to Pray”).
We are pleased to announce that four people were baptized in Germany during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Our congratulations to our new brethren!
The 2018 Ministerial Conference will take place in Fort Collins, Colorado. Participants will arrive on April 18th and depart on April 24th.
“Fehler und Sünden gerechter Herrscher,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Mistakes and Sins of Righteous Rulers.”
“Nearing the Event Horizon,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We must take care in our spiritual walk to not draw near to sin that leads us astray. The pull Satan exerts on each of us will lead us into a state we cannot escape if we allow ourselves to draw too close to sin.
“Detecting and Defeating Pride,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
As Christians, the sin of pride is among the sneakiest and most elusive for us to identify when working to examine ourselves to remove sin. What can we do to detect and overcome the sin of pride, so that we don’t fall into the trap of self-deception and unwittingly lead ourselves away from God?
Several English sermonettes and sermons given during the Feast of Unleavened Bread are now posted. Check our website for further information: http://www.eternalgod.org/sermons/
In addition, all German sermonettes and sermons given during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and on the last Sabbath were posted as well. Check our website http://www.ewigengottes.de/
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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