Challenges of Humility; Bad Mistakes and Grievous Sins of Righteous Leaders, Part 2
On May 5, 2018, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Challenges of Humility,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Bad Mistakes and Grievous Sins of Righteous Leaders, Part 2.”
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.
A Reminder of How Far Man Has Fallen
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
On a recent annual trip to the Far-East to see family, I was reminded of God’s admonition to the ancient Israelites when He told them in Deuteronomy 12:2-3: “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.”
God wanted them to worship Him in the right way and anything other than true worship of Him was not to be tolerated. This would be, and always is, for our own benefit as the people of God. They usually failed to do this and a prime example was King Solomon who, despite his unique wisdom given as a gift from the great God, fell short in this regard. We read in 1 Kings 11:3-8 how Solomon’s wives turned him away from the true God to follow false religion. That is a sobering reality of how Satan can use circumstances to trap the people of God who are not watchful to the wiles he consistently uses.
There are many instances when God told His people to rid themselves of false worship. I was reminded of these examples as I saw so many pagan shrines in the land that my wife and I were visiting where they seem to be obligatory for every hotel, housing and apartment facilities, and many residents take it upon themselves to put such a shrine in their own garden. They seemed to be everywhere.
Of course, God doesn’t instruct us today to go and remove these shrines in the lands far away from where we live. Nor are we instructed today to remove public shrines or idols in the lands where we live, but we ARE told that we must not have these in our own personal dwellings. In fact, in the UK, the USA and many countries in Europe, we have our own equivalents today. In many church buildings up and down these lands are relics and icons which supposedly represent Christianity but, of course, don’t do so. They are the equivalent of the groves and high places of thousands of years ago. I have seen shrines in the USA along roads; shrines of a supposedly Christian nature but are not when judged by the standards of God.
Yet again, I was reminded of how far man has fallen from the true worship of the true God. What I have mentioned so far is replicated in many other countries around the world. We live in a world separated from God and only His true Church has the answers.
The time is coming when almost everything will change and false religious worship, with all of its accessories, will be very high on the list for replacement, and with immediate effect. That time cannot come quickly enough for the dedicated and faithful people of the one true God.
by Norbert Link
We begin reporting on Angela Merkel’s meeting with Donald Trump in Washington and bring you some analysis as to who was clearly in charge and the broken relationship between the EU and the USA; and we publish articles which propose a stronger EU under German and French leadership and a core nucleus of some European countries. We also quote from an article stating that former German Chancellor candidate Martin Schulz “is back.” In this context, please view our most recent StandingWatch program, titled, “Merkel vs. Trump… No Love Lost.”
We report on America’s new ambassador in Germany and the requirement in Bavaria to hang crosses in all state government buildings.
Focusing on Israel, we report on the miracle of the 70 year existence of the Jewish state (please view our StandingWatch program in this regard, titled, “The Miraculous 70 Years Existence of the state of Israel… What’s Next?”) and point out that Israel is generally hit with a large earthquake every 70 years, which is overdue.
We quote from an article showing that the two temples clearly stood on the Temple Mount (please view our StandingWatch program, “A Third Temple prior to Christ’s Return”); address anti-Semitism in Germany; and focus on a growing military escalation between Israel and Iran. We also show again the frightening ignorance of many Americans with respect to the Holocaust and concentration camps, such as Auschwitz.
We continue with reporting on the shameful conduct of British doctors and the court system regarding the death of Baby Alfie and left-liberal California’s contemplated attacks on homeschooling [which have failed for the time being] and those opposing homosexuality and transgenderism (In this context, read our free booklet, “God’s Teachings on Sexual Relationships”).
We conclude with an insightful article confirming the existence of the biblical fountains of the deep at the time of Noah; and point out the nonsense of the flat earth conspiracies.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
“The Relationship Between the US and German Leaders Isn’t Getting Any Better”
Deutsche Welle wrote on April 28:
“Ultimately… both [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Emmanuel] Macron returned home empty handed… from meetings that were overshadowed by the talks between the two Koreas. Both realized that Trump is determined to implement what he promised his constituents’…”
The World Must Take Trump Seriously
Bild Online wrote on April 27:
“It was not Angela Merkel’s day. It was Donald Trump’s day. What his admired predecessor Obama was not able to do, he did with a mixture of strength and unpredictability…
“The world’s most powerful woman went home empty handed… [Trump] views himself to be on a mission to repair everything which was damaged by his predecessors…
“Trump was scoffed at, ridiculed and hated. All attempts to defeat him diplomatically, psychologically or with flattery have failed. The world—and that is the other message of this travel [by Macron and Merkel]—will have to learn to take him seriously.”
Another Delay re Tariffs
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 1, 2018:
“The Trump administration has pushed back its decision on imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union and other US allies…
“The Trump administration will extend temporary steel and aluminum tariff exemptions for the European Union, Canada and Mexico until June 1, Reuters news agency and the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the decision. One source told Reuters that the US has reached an initial agreement with Australia, Argentina and Brazil concerning the tariffs.
“The temporary tariff exemptions were due to expire at midnight US Eastern Standard Time (0400 UTC), after which the US allied countries would face import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Trump already imposed the tariffs in March, but granted temporary exemptions to the EU, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. South Korea secured a permanent exemption on steel tariffs, but only after agreeing to slash its steel exports to the US by around 30 percent.
“The US administration justified issuing the tariffs, which are aimed primarily at China, on national security grounds. Washington also told its allies that they must make concessions in order to obtain a permanent exemption. In a tit-for-tat move, the EU said that it will impose its own duties on US exports, including bourbon, motorcycles, peanut butter and makeup. Brussels said it will not agree to concessions until it first secures an exemption. On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said any move to impose tariffs on Canada would be a ‘very bad idea.’ Canada is the largest steel importer into the US.”
The delay does not end the concern of a coming trade war between the USA and Europe.
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 2:
“This president does not value his allies… The US president and his trade advisers have made it clear to the EU that they want to dictate the conditions for the trade in steel and aluminum… But the European Union must not yield to this blackmail attempt from the White House… the EU has no reason to be timid; it is an economic power equal to the US.”
A Chance for Germany?
Der Spiegel wrote on April 18:
“The cracks in trans-Atlantic relations caused by Donald Trump’s election provide an opportunity for Germany to finally forge ahead with its own foreign policy. One that draws Europe together and fights for what is right.
“The world has become a more complicated place and the U.S. is no longer a reliable partner… Germany must become more active and become a foreign policy player… Together with France, we need to pull Europe together into a single unit… If Germany and France want to lead together, then they must talk to each other far more frequently…
“The new U.S. supports Israel’s settlements policy and wants to force international recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city. Most Europeans, on the other hand, believe this to be playing with dynamite and also tend to see the Palestinians more as victims than the Israelis. Europe supports the battle against climate change, whereas America, or at least its government, is promoting climate change for ideological reasons. Europe supports international courts, but the U.S. is against them. The same applies to a strengthening of the United Nations.”
Europe Needs France and Germany
On April 27, Germany’s former foreign minister and vice chancellor Joschka Fischer wrote the following in Project Syndicate:
“… without the US, Germany’s only other source of defense is a stronger Europe…at a time when the foundations of the global order are shifting at Europe’s expense, marginal reforms will not suffice… Europe and the West need a Franco-German response equal to that once provided by François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, and by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer before them. And they need it now. History will not stand still.”
Needed… a Stronger Nucleus of European Nations?
Politico wrote on April 10:
“Valéry Giscard d’Estaing wants to restart Europe — and move forward with fewer countries. At 92, the former French president and a preeminent architect of the European Union [is] still trying to shape the future of the Continent…
“Under Giscard’s presidency, France and Germany put in place the European monetary system that laid the ground for a single EU currency, and established the European Council, which is widely considered the most powerful institution in Brussels… For Giscard, the EU’s last major step forward took place in 1992, with the Treaty of Maastricht, which laid the foundations for the euro and widely expanded cooperation between European countries. The lack of progress has left the Continent adrift in a world buffeted by ever more rapid change…
“In a 2014 book, ‘Europa: The Last Chance for Europe,’ Giscard called for a rebooting of the European project, with the ‘urgent’ construction of a ‘strong and federated’ entity of 12 European nations that would include the six founding members (Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) plus Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Austria, Finland and Poland…
“According to its chief executive Erika Widegren, Re-imagine Europa… will focus on Giscard’s ‘clear-cut vision’ of a ‘stronger nucleus’ of EU countries. She added that the countries Giscard thinks could work together may no longer be the 12 from his book since ‘things have changed drastically since 2014.’… ‘At the moment, Europe does not have a government,’ Giscard said.”
A strong nucleus of European core nations will emerge out of the EU. The Bible speaks of ten nations or groups of nations.
Martin Schulz Already Back?
Der Stern wrote on April 19 about former German Chancellor candidate and leader of the SPD, Martin Schulz:
“Actually, he is already back. Martin Schulz is apparently quite ready again…
“As stated, Martin Schulz has already returned … but only very few have noticed it.”
Crosses a Must in Bavaria, Germany
The Local wrote on April 25:
“Bavarian leader Markus Söder has announced that crosses must hang in all the state’s government buildings, saying the move is a ‘commitment to Bavarian identity and culture.’…’The cross is not a sign of religion,’ he said after the cabinet meeting. ‘This is not a violation of the principle of neutrality.’
“The new regulation was approved by the cabinet, allowing the new cross mandate to take effect by June 1st. The ordinance applies exclusively to the offices of the state of Bavaria… Alternative for Germany (AfD) officials reportedly welcomed the announcement, while other parties voiced their concern about the CSU’s religious policies…
“Free Democrat (FDP) leader Christian Lindner said: ‘The way Markus Söder and the CSU permanently instrumentalize religions for party politics is reminiscent of (Turkish President) Erdogan…’
“But the actual cross which was put up by the Minister-President does have a religious background. It hung in the Cabinet Room until 2008, was a gift from the former Munich Cardinal Friedrich Wetter and, according to Söder, was also consecrated by the religious figure… The south German state is one of the most Catholic regions in the country.”
The Local added on May 3:
“Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich and the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, was having none of it — Mr. Söder, he said, was co-opting a clearly religious symbol for his own devices… ‘Seeing the cross purely as a cultural symbol shows a misunderstanding…’”
It is amazing how politicians try to get their way by circumventing the law with ridiculously juvenile arguments.
Germany’s New US Ambassador
The Local wrote on April 27:
“51-year-old Michigan native and ex-Fox News commentator Richard Grenell was officially appointed by the U.S. Senate as ambassador in Germany…
“This Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government grad… [was] appointed in 2001 by then-President George W.Bush to be the American spokesman at the United Nations. He ended up becoming the longest-serving person in this role, leaving the post in 2008.
“He then worked as a national security and foreign affairs adviser to Mitt Romney during his 2012 campaign for the White House. This made him the first openly gay spokesman for a Republican presidential candidate – a fact which he proudly states on his official website…
“While working at the UN, he unsuccessfully fought to have his partner, consumer insights expert Matt Lashey, listed as a spouse in the personnel directory… In 2013, he signed an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
“As a former Fox News contributor, he called the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that granted same-sex marriage across the United States ‘a huge win’, arguing that conservatives should rejoice…
“Grenell’s position representing the United States to Germany may be more confrontational than those who have held the position more recently given Trump’s opposing views with Angela Merkel on key issues, from trade to fighting climate change.
“Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the international Paris climate accord, which Merkel has called ‘unfortunate’, left the US President standing alone on the issue during the G20 summit in Hamburg…
“Grenell could seek to target increased trade between German companies and Iran… He furthermore has recently criticized Berlin’s attitude to the Syrian war: ‘French and British forces are joining the US in attacking Syria over the heinous chemical attack on civilians, and Germany should have joined this P3 group,’ he said.”
The Week wrote on May 3:
“President Trump acknowledged Thursday morning that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. Trump had denied knowing about the payment to Daniels when questioned by reporters on Air Force One last month. Cohen ‘received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement,’ a non-disclosure agreement, Trump wrote.
“‘These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth.’ Trump’s tweets followed Rudy Giuliani’s interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, where Giuliani confirmed that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000.”
Many commentators and journalists concluded that Trump and the White House lied about the entire affair. Calls for impeachment can be heard again. Stormy Daniel’s lawyer echoed the sentiment by some that Trump will not endure his four years in office. However, Trump’s popularity rate is still at 50%. There will be no impeachment; Trump will stay in office for his entire tenure; and we take it for granted that in case of new elections, he will be reelected for another term.
The Miracle of the Jewish State
Bloomberg wrote on April 18:
“In November 1947, one day prior to the expected United Nations vote on partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, the CIA urged President Harry Truman not to throw his weight behind the idea. America would have to defend the new Jewish state when it faltered, the CIA’s secret memorandum warned, adding that ‘the Jews will be able to hold out no longer than two years.’
“Several months later, David Ben-Gurion was about to declare the establishment of the State of Israel. Seated among the dozen or so men who would determine the fate of the state-to-be, he famously turned to one of his top military commanders, Yigael Yadin, and asked him if he thought a new Jewish state would survive the military onslaught that the Arabs would inevitably launch. Yadin, who would later serve as chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, replied that he thought the Jewish state would have a 50-50 chance…
“Today… [a]s the modern Israeli state celebrates 70 years, the prevailing sentiment is one of extraordinary accomplishment… In 1948, there were some 650,000 Jews in Israel, who represented about 5 percent of the world’s Jews. Today, Israel’s Jewish population has grown ten-fold and stands at about 6.8 million people. Some 43 percent of the world’s Jews live in Israel; this population overtook American Jews several years ago and is now the world’s largest Jewish community…
“At times, financial collapse seemed imminent. Food was rationed and black markets developed. Israel had virtually no heavy machinery for building the infrastructure that it desperately needed. Until Germany paid Holocaust reparations, the young state’s financial condition was perilous. Today, that worry also feels like a relic from another time. Israel is not only a significant military power (and in the region, a superpower) but also a formidable economic machine. A worldwide center for technology that has more companies listed on the Nasdaq than any country other than the U.S., Israel’s economy barely hiccupped in 2008. The shekel, its currency, is strong… Israel has become an important cultural center…
“Yet some of the initial worries and troubles of those early years persist. Militarily, the looming enemy is… Iran. The Israeli military is bracing for a possible Iranian missile or drone attack. International support for Israel remains a concern…”
For more information on Israel’s past, present and future, view our StandingWatch program, “The Miraculous 70 Years Existence of the State of Israel… What’s Next?”
Big Earthquake Overdue in Israel
The Jewish press wrote on April 28:
“Starting at 7:45 AM, a series of three small earthquakes shook the Dead Sea region. The epicenter of the quakes were on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea and measured 3.1, 3.5 and 2.8 on the Richter scale.
“The Dead Sea sits right on the Dead Sea Transform (DST) fault system, which is a series of faults that run from the Maras Triple Junction (a junction with the East Anatolian Fault in southeastern Turkey) to the northern end of the Red Sea Rift (just offshore of the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula). Israel is generally hit with a large earthquake every 70 years, and the big one is currently long overdue.”
Confirmed—The First Two Temples WERE on the Temple Mount
Breaking Israel News wrote on April 25:
“A once thoroughly debunked theory that the two Jewish Temples did not stand on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is currently gaining traction in the Christian world. A new ‘Cry for Zion’ video explains why we know the Temples were on the Temple Mount and that it is essential for Christians to connect with the Jews’ holiest site.
“Cry for Zion, a nongovernmental organization of Jews and Christians advocating Jewish rights to the Temple Mount, features Doron Keidar, the founder of Cry for Zion, and John Enarson, the organization’s Christian Relations and Creative Director. Their motivation for producing the video was generated in reaction to Robert Cornuke’s best-selling book titled ‘Temple: Amazing New Discoveries that Change Everything About the Location of Solomon’s Temple,’ published in 2014. According to Cornuke’s theory,both Jewish Temples stood further south in an area now known as Ir David (the City of David). Instead, a massive Roman fort stood on what is now known as the Temple Mount.
“Cornuke presents a theory that sheds doubt on the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount. Coupled with the UNESCO resolutions that designate the Temple Mount as an exclusively Muslim holy site, Keidar fears the Jewish claim to its holiest site is under threat. Cornuke’s theory was criticized for having no archaeological basis and for contradicting Temple-era historical accounts, such as that of Josephus Flavius, a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar who cited the Mount as the location of the Second Temple. Despite being definitively debunked by archaeologists and Biblical scholars, the alternate Temple location theory continues to have a following within some segments of the Christian community…
“‘I was surprised to discover that we have had a continual Jewish presence on the Mount, as well as on the Mount of Olives, east of Mount Zion facing the Holy Temple,’ Keidar said. ‘Thanks to this unbroken chain, we are absolutely sure of the location of the Temple. It is important for Christians to acknowledge that we have never abandoned the Temple Mount…”
Even though some uninformed and ignorant biblical “scholars” deny this FACT, a third temple WILL be built on the Temple Mount prior to Christ’s return. Please view our StandingWatch program, “A Third Temple prior to Christ’s Return.”
Antisemitism in Germany
The Jerusalem Post wrote on April 22:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is ‘burdened’’ by the failure to eradicate antisemitism in Germany… ‘I am embarrassed due to the fact that Jewish institutions require security details in 2018,’ Merkel said. She connected this with the arrival of refugees and ‘people of Arab heritage’ who, Merkel said, ‘bring with them a new form of antisemitism into Germany.’ The chancellor added that ‘to our regret, antisemitism existed in Germany even before [their arrival].’”
And sadly, anti-Semitism will continue to exist in Germany and in most Western European nations.
Israel Accuses Iran of Violation of Treaty
Deutsche Welle wrote on April 30:
“In a televised presentation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of moving nuclear weapons to a secret location. The US administration has indicated it plans to back out of the Iran nuclear deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented on Monday what he claimed was proof that Iran had broken the terms of the nuclear deal signed in 2015with major world powers.
“Netanyahu said he was prepared to share the ‘incriminating’ files on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, ‘Project Amad.’ He said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs from Iran’s ‘nuclear archives.’”
It was also reported that Monday’s missile strikes on Syria “were likely carried out by Israel,” and Haaretz said that Israel was prepared to attack Iran broadly, both on Iranian soil, but also in Syria.
Ignorant Americans… Holocaust—What’s That?
The New York Times wrote on April 12:
“Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million.
“Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. And 52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force.”
Alfie Dies—Shame on the Guilty Parties
Fox News wrote on April 30:
“Alfie Evans, a terminally ill British toddler whose case drew attention from Pope Francis and others around the world, has died, his parents announced Saturday morning. Parents Kate James, 20, and Tom Evans, 21, wrote on Facebook that they were “absolutely heartbroken” that they had lost their son.
“Alfie was born in May 2016. Later that year he suffered a series of seizures and was admitted to a hospital in Liverpool where he has been since, BBC reported. Alfie developed an incurable degenerative brain condition and was at the center of a legal battle over his treatment. Medics struggled to precisely identify Alfie’s condition.
“Doctors said further treatment was futile and recommended that Alfie be allowed to die, but his parents — backed by the pope and Christian groups — fought for months to take him to a hospital in Italy so he could be kept on life support.
“The hospital withdrew Alfie’s life support Monday after a series of court rulings sided with doctors who said continuing Alfie’s treatment was ‘not in Alfie’s best interests.’… Under British law, courts often intervene when parents and doctors disagree over the treatment of a child… News of Alfie’s death has brought an outpouring of messages from people sending their condolences.”
Bild Online wrote on April 29 that German Professor Dr. Nikolas Haas was asked by the British court to prepare an expert opinion regarding Alfie. He argued unsuccessfully that in light of the German history, a society must be able to treat all persons in the same way. He feels that the doctors’ decision to end Alfie’s life was based on the fear of high costs for the national health system and mere arrogance.
He pointed out that in Germany, the wish of the parents would have been accepted and the treatment of Alfie would of course have been ongoing, and that it was surprising that Alfie had not at least been transferred to the parents’ home, in accordance with the parents’ wishes. Bild reported that the wishes of the parents were not honored by the doctors because of the “hatred” of Alfie’s supporters towards the hospital staff.
If all of this is true, then it is abominable to see a “civilized” society use such autocratic and dictatorial powers to place its “judgment” over the judgment of the parents. The worst memories of Hitler’s Nazi Germany surface.
California About to Attack Homeschooling
Fox News reported on April 17:
“… you might think that California’s government has enough on its hands, just trying to keep kids in our public schools safe. But you’d be wrong… The recently introduced Assembly Bills 2756 and 2926 are cases in point.
“This first, AB 2756, requires fire marshals to perform in-home inspections of home-schoolers every year, implying that somehow home-educators are less fire-safe than other individuals. This is, of course, egregiously discriminatory on its face… With AB 2926, Assembly Member Susan Eggman proposes forming an appointed committee to ‘investigate’ homeschooling.The ‘instruction’ committee would subsequently share its findings so that the California legislature might consider how best to regulate those families…
“According to 2016 Census data, California now ranks 44th in the union for pre-K through 12th grade education… In contrast, home educated students typically score 15 to 30 percentile points better than their public school peers. This result is completely independent of whether the home-schooling parent is a certified teacher, and unrelated [to] the degree of state control and regulation. Of course, this annoys teachers unions, so they likely are quite happy about the new legislation. The NEA said in their 2014-15 Resolutions, ‘The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.’…
“We already have mandatory vaccines in California. With the current anti-religious climate, perhaps the bureaucrats would insist all religious items, including Bibles, be removed from private homes… Maybe your family eats too much sugar, so the government would impose candy restrictions in your home…
“In a nation that honors freedom, the government does not belong in our private affairs, and home education is one such environment. California AB 2926 represents the government at its worst, grabbing for any shred of power over the citizen, with absolutely no reason to do so and every argument to invest its time and resources otherwise. Let California’s government fix all that’s wrong in our public schools – the poor scholastic performance, sexual abuse problems, and safety issues – before trying to micro-manage private citizens who are successfully overseeing their children’s education outside of government and union control.”
Breaking Christian News reported on May 1:
“Some traveled hours, others waited hours, all for the opportunity to protest one of the most outrageous homeschooling bills every introduced: California’s AB 2756….
“Nearly 1,000 people spoke out in opposition, reporters said, including a candidate for governor, Assemblyman Travis Allen (R). ‘AB 2756 is absolutely wrong. It must fail. It must fail today,’ he said. ‘California’s parents and children have the right to the very best education this state can possibly provide.’…
“By afternoon’s end, only two people from the surrounding area spoke in support of the controversial bill. Hours later, families got the news they’d been waiting for ‘no member of the committee was willing to make a motion for a vote.’ The bill was dead…”
Still, the power the governments [in this case California] want to impose on their citizens is indeed frightening. The tragic case of Baby Alfie should wake us up to realize where such totalitarian attempts might lead. Also note the next disturbing article.
California About to Attack Opponents to Homosexuality
Christian Headlines wrote on April 13:
“A bill quickly moving through the California state legislature may threaten the religious freedom of those who object to homosexuality… this bill… is known as Assembly Bill 2943… [and] include[s] ‘sexual orientation change efforts.’… For example, a simple monetary transaction – buying a book about overcoming homosexuality, or paying a counselor for help with gender confusion – would trigger AB 2943…
“Christian schools, churches and others who hold to a traditional understanding of marriage and sexuality would be open to lawsuits for teaching biblical truth about homosexuality or transgenderism…”
Please read our free booklet, “God’s Teachings on Sexual Relationships.”
Confirmed—the Biblical Fountains of the Deep at the Tome of Noah
The website of beginningandend wrote the following on April 7:
“…scientists have now confirmed what Scripture refers to as ‘the fountains of the deep.’In the days of Noah and the Ark, these large pools of water beneath the Earth’s crust burst forth onto the surface providing the massive amounts of water needed for the global flood judgment. What has once been a source of skepticism and mockery for those who doubt the Bible, has now been confirmed by secular scientists, again showing that although written over 3,000 years ago, the Bible’s description of the Earth and its natural properties are indeed accurate.
“An international team of scientists led by Graham Pearson, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Resources at the U of A, has discovered the first-ever sample of a mineral called ringwoodite. Analysis of the mineral shows it contains a significant amount of water — 1.5 per cent of its weight — a finding that confirms scientific theories about vast volumes of water trapped 410 to 660 kilometres beneath Earth’s surface, between the upper and lower mantle. ‘This sample really provides extremely strong confirmation that there are local wet spots deep in the Earth in this area,’ said Pearson, a professor in the Faculty of Science, whose findings were published March 13 in Nature. ‘That particular zone in the Earth, the transition zone, might have as much water as all the world’s oceans put together.’
“Ringwoodite is a form of the mineral peridot, believed to exist in large quantities under high pressures in the transition zone. Ringwoodite has been found in meteorites but, until now, no terrestrial sample has ever been unearthed because scientists haven’t been able to conduct fieldwork at extreme depths. The vast oceans of water beneath the Earth’s crust is precisely what the Bible describes in the first book of Genesis…
“Many have questioned the Biblical account of Noah’s flood since the Bible clearly states that the water was 15 cubits (approximately 25 feet) over every mountain. This would require more water than presently exists on the Earth’s surface. However, with the confirmation of the subterranean oceans, that is now possible… Additionally, scientists have also just recently confirmed that large amounts of water could reach the Earth’s surface through deep sea faults. And the area of the globe with the greatest potential to do so [is] in the Pacific ‘ring of fire’ volcanic region… the precise area… as the most likely source for the great geysers that flooded the Earth in Noah’s day.”
Atheists and agnostics won’t be convinced, but for those with eyes to see, these discoveries are truly remarkable.
The Crazy Flat Earth Conspiracies
The website of iflscience reported on May 1:
“Flat-Earthers from around the globe have gathered once again for a conference… hundreds of years after people first circumnavigated the Earth, and thousands of years after we discovered that it was round…
“Hence why people claim that there is a wall around the Earth, or that rocket launches are faked by shooting them in reverse… One speaker even explained how we’re all living in a Pac-Man world. One speaker at the conference said that he had proved that gravity doesn’t exist… He explained at the conference that using a Nikon camera and a mobile app he tracked the movements of the Moon across the sky, and disproved the laws of planetary motion…
“In order to explain people living on the other side of the planet, it appears that flat-Earthers continue to believe that Australia doesn’t exist.”
Will stupidity never cease?
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.
Is Bitcoin the Mark of the Beast?
There has been an increased amount of excitement in the past year when it comes to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Much of that was based on the gains people have made in a short amount of time, yet most people don’t really know what Bitcoin is or what relevance it may actually have in the future. There have also been governmental attacks on Bitcoin in some countries, and biblical “scholars” have suggested that Bitcoin is the “mark of the beast.”
To begin with, what are Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies? An article written in February 2018 from cnet titled, “What is Bitcoin? Here’s everything you need to know,” states the following:
“Bitcoin was invented in 2009 by a person (or group) who called himself Satoshi Nakamoto. His stated goal was to create ‘a new electronic cash system’ that was ‘completely decentralized with no server or central authority.’
“Bitcoin is a digital currency. No bills to print or coins to mint. It’s decentralized — there’s no government, institution (like a bank) or other authority that controls it. Owners are anonymous; instead of using names, tax IDs, or social security numbers, bitcoin connects buyers and sellers through encryption keys. And it isn’t issued from the top down like traditional currency; rather, bitcoin is ‘mined’ by powerful computers connected to the internet.
“A person (or group, or company) mines bitcoin by doing a combination of advanced math and record-keeping. When someone sends a bitcoin to someone else, the network records that transaction, and all of the others made over a certain period of time, in a ‘block.’ Computers running special software — the ‘miners’ — inscribe these transactions in a gigantic digital ledger. These blocks are known, collectively, as the ‘blockchain’ — an eternal, openly accessible record of all the transactions that have ever been made.
“Using specialized software and increasingly powerful (and energy-intensive) hardware, miners convert these blocks into sequences of code, known as a ‘hash.’ Producing a hash requires serious computational power, and thousands of miners compete simultaneously to do it. When a new hash is generated, it’s placed at the end of the blockchain, which is then publicly updated and propagated. For his or her trouble, the miner currently gets 12.5 bitcoins — which, in February 2018, is worth roughly $100,000. However, the amount of awarded bitcoins decreases over time.
“Ultimately, the value of a bitcoin is determined by what people will pay for it. In this way, there’s a similarity to how stocks are priced. The protocol established by [the creator] Satoshi Nakamoto dictates that only 21 million bitcoins can ever be mined — about 12 million have been mined so far — so there is a limited supply, like with gold and other precious metals, but no real intrinsic value. This makes bitcoin different from stocks, which usually have some relationship to a company’s actual or potential earnings. Without a government or central authority at the helm, controlling supply, ‘value’ is totally open to interpretation. This process of ‘price discovery,’ the primary driver of volatility in bitcoin’s price, also invites speculation and manipulation.”
There are currently more than a thousand other cryptocurrencies in existence today. Aside from Bitcoin, which is the real progenitor of them all, other well-known alternative currencies include Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin.
Many have stated that Bitcoin is in a bubble and that it will collapse, but Bitcoin is still holding strong, hovering at around $9,000.00 as of April 2018, which is still a sizable increase since last April when Bitcoin was only at around $1,300.00. Bitcoin is even a hit in countries where they face currency troubles, including Sudan, Kenya, South Africa and Brazil.
In a January 2018 article by The Wall Street Journal, they state that “Bitcoin has been a means of navigating financial obstacles, like the lack of conventional banking services or limited access to foreign currencies, and even to skirt sanctions… The main attraction in bitcoin is the ability to transfer money without any restrictions or going through a bank. ‘This was very important as there were U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan,’ said a web developer who was one of the earliest bitcoin enthusiasts in Sudan.”
The article goes on to say that “In the developed world, central banks and senior bankers have warned investors away from such currencies, which they say they don’t trust. In frontier markets, some people are turning to Bitcoin precisely because they don’t trust the country’s bankers or the state. Buying cryptocurrencies is seen as a protection by people who have been constantly disappointed by central banks and politics… When conventional money fails, Bitcoin wins.”
The article continues, “Bitcoin, a digital form of money with no government or central bank behind it, is often seen as a replacement currency in countries rocked by political or economic instability. People can use Bitcoin, and similar digital currencies, as a store of value or as a way to circumvent government money-changing limits.”
Some have wondered and contemplated the following questions: If more and more countries get involved and ultimately the whole world, could Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies be the future of where money is headed, especially in light of all the technological advancements we see today? Is the world leaning towards a cashless society since many use debit and credit cards for their financial transactions rather than cash?
A recent YouTube video about Bitcoin and its future claims that the current financial system is based upon debt since most nations of the world have a central bank which prints their nation’s currency and loans it to the nations. The video goes on to say that ever since the great recessions of 2007 and 2008, the main central banks of the world have been engaging in something called “quantitative easing,” which involves printing a large amount of currency which drastically increases the money supply. When it comes to supply and demand, the more you increase the supply of something while demand remains consistent, the value of that supply gets reduced. This is how the financial system has been propped up, creating massive bubbles which will eventually pop. When it does, the current global financial system will implode and those in power will look for a new answer. The video suggests that this answer is Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies which will be the global currency replacing the current global financial system.
We do not imply or suggest that we believe that we will see a cashless worldwide society in the future. For instance, recent attempts in Germany to diminish or even eradicate bills and coins were strongly rebuked and rejected by the overwhelming majority of Germans who like their coins and bills too much and are unwilling to give them up. We also strongly believe and have declared that the Euro will not fail and that it will be maintained by the prophesied ten European core nations or groups of nations, as the Euro will be the glue which will keep them together.
On the other hand, it is noteworthy that financial institutions around the world perceive Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a major threat to their existence and survival and have become anxious to advocate or “warn” against them—sometimes with mean, deceptive and fabricated arguments such as the concept that cryptocurrencies are being used for illegal and criminal activities such as money laundering or even child pornography. These “charges” are totally untrue in the vast majority of cases. With that same rationale, one could say that much of the money, deposited in big financial institutions, is being used for or has been gained by criminal activities, and such a statement might even be much closer to the Truth. At the same time, some governments are anxious to forbid or severely restrict cryptocurrencies in their countries, being afraid that they could be a threat to their big banking institutions, while other governments are anxious to get a piece of the pie by trying to tax severely those who are investing in cryptocurrencies.
Such inconsistent and hypocritical conduct and approach should not surprise us in a world which is ruled by Satan the Devil. In addition, as alluded to at the beginning of this article, uninformed and ignorant biblical scholars, ministers and religious “experts,” especially in traditional “Christianity,” have been deceived to suggest that cryptocurrencies may constitute the “mark of the beast.” But could this possibly be the case?
The above-mentioned video refers to Revelation 13:16-17 which says, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” The video makes reference to the popular concept that the mark is an actual microchip inserted into people’s hands which provides many different benefits such as tracking, storing health records, financial information, which can serve as identification so there is no need for wallets and ID cards and which gives you access to doors without a physical key. The video concludes by saying that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will be part of the implementation of the mark of the beast, though it will never be labeled as such.
But is this what the Bible is referring to when talking about the mark of the beast? Satan knows what the mark of the beast is, and so he will try to deceive gullible people to focus on something else… such as a microchip or Bitcoin. The Truth is, however, that the mark of the beast is something altogether different.
First of all, Revelation 13 describes two “beasts” which are symbolic descriptions of powerful political and religious world empires. The first beast is described in Revelation 13:1-10 where John sees in a vision a beast rising out of the sea which has seven heads and ten horns, and on his head ten crowns. This is very similar to the description of Satan in Revelation 12:9 where he is identified as a dragon, showing that Satan is giving his power to the beast (compare Revelation 13:2, 4). For more information on what this beast is actually all about, please see our Q&A.
The second beast is described in Revelation 13:11-18 where John sees a beast with two horns coming up out of the earth. It looked like a lamb but spoke like a dragon. Quoting from the same Q&A, we say that “This second beast is obviously a religious power which is influenced by Satan, while pretending to speak on behalf of Christ. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:15 that Satan’s ‘ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.’ Jesus warned that many would come in His name, admitting that He was the Christ or Savior, and deceive many through their wrong teachings (compare Matthew 24:4-5).”
“The second beast will be able to perform ‘great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do…’ (Revelation 13:13-14). We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11 about the end-time representative or leader of this second beast power, as follows: ‘The coming of the lawless one [the man of sin or son of perdition, who will claim to be God, verses 3 and 4] is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them [that is, He will allow it] strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…’
“We read in Revelation 13:14 that the second beast will make an ‘image’ to the first beast, which we identified as the Roman Empire. Historically, the Roman Church gradually adopted the governmental system of the Roman Empire and created for itself an ‘image’ of the same.”
We see then that the mark of the beast is inseparably tied to political and religious powers—not to cryptocurrencies which these powers try to regulate, suppress or defeat. Revelation 13:16-17 explains that the image will cause people to accept “a mark” of the first beast “on their right hand” or “on their foreheads.” Without it, they cannot buy or sell (compare Revelation 14:9). Continuing on with the Q&A we state that “This mark of the first beast is clearly associated in Scripture with the violation of God’s Sabbath commandment (compare Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:20; Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 58:13; Amos 8: 5; Exodus 16:23, 26; Exodus 31:15). In the Bible, the ‘right hand’ is associated with work (Psalm 90:17; 137:5). The ‘forehead’ is the seat of thoughts (Ezekiel 3:8; 9:4; Revelation 7:3). We are told that the ‘little horn’ would try to ‘change times and law’ (Daniel 7: 25)—that is, God’s law regarding holy time. The Roman Church has changed the calendar in Europe which identifies Sunday as the last day of the week, rather than the 7th-Day Saturday-Sabbath. It commands that Christians are to rest on Sunday, and it did command in the past that they were to work on Saturday. We will experience something similar very soon. The ‘image’ will influence the first beast–the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire–to enjoin people to work on the Sabbath, while prohibiting to work on Sunday. As in the past, it will thereby ‘cause’ the death of true Christians (compare Revelation 13:15).
“God warns us not to worship the beast and his image, and not to receive his mark on our forehead and on our hand (Revelation 14:9). If we do, we will ‘drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation’ (Revelation 14:10). On the other hand, true Christians WILL be killed for their refusal to worship the beast and its image, and to receive the mark. But notice how Revelation 20:4, 6 describes their glorious future: ‘… I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads and on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years… Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection… they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’”
When referring to the number of the beast, Revelation 18 states that this is the “number of man” which is the number “666.” We are told that we are to “calculate the number of the beast” with “understanding.” Continuing on in the Q&A, “In the Greek, every letter has a numerical value. The numerical value for ‘Lateinos’ is 666. Therefore, the first beast is again clearly identified as the Roman Empire, as the number 666 identifies the founder of the Roman Empire–Lateinos. Although the designation ‘beast’ in Revelation 13 describes the Roman Empire, it can also refer to the representative or ruler of the final revival or resurrection of that Empire (compare Revelation 16:13; 19:20). It is likely that the numerical value of the name of that human leader–referred to as a MAN (compare again Revelation 13:18)–will also be 666.”
The mark of the beast has been in existence for a long time and even though it will reach its climax in the days ahead, it cannot possibly be a reference to microchips or Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as these did not even exist in times past. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Ten European Revivals of the ancient Roman Empire.”
Lead Writer: Michael Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
PENTECOST will be observed on Sunday, May 20, 2018. We will broadcast both morning and afternoon services, at 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM Pacific Time, respectively.
A new Member Letter (April / May 2018) has been written and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, the ministry reports on highlights from our recently conducted Ministerial Conference.
“Merkel vs. Trump… No Love Lost!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington in an attempt to persuade Donald Trump to change his mind on, among other things, imposing tariffs on European goods. Even though a decision was postponed for four weeks, “the German government is pessimistic about avoiding a trade war between the United States and Europe. The German-American relationship is in a profound crisis, hitting ‘ground zero,’ with disputes over the Iraq War in 2003 seeming trivial in comparison” (Handelsblatt, April 27). While the world is being admonished to “take Trump seriously” (Bild, April 27), Europe is anxious to “pull together unto a single unit” under French-German leadership (Der Spiegel, April 18), with a strong nucleus of EU countries (Politico, April 10) and with the perception that it must not allow itself to be blackmailed by Trump, as it constitutes “an economic power equal to the US” (Deutsche Welle, May 2).
“The miraculous 70 years existence of the State of Israel… what’s next?” is the title of new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
When the modern State of Israel was established 70 years ago, most did not give it a chance of survival. Today, it is viewed as an extraordinary accomplishment. This did not happen by accident. God gave several prophecies for our time declaring in advance that there would be a prosperous State of Israel prior to Christ’s return. However, the Bible also shows that disaster, occupation, defeat and captivity are decreed to occur very soon for the State of Israel because of their many atrocious sins.
“Beweist der Fluch des Konja, dass Jesus nicht der Heiland war?” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon. Title in English: “Does the Curse of Coniah Prove that Jesus was not the Messiah?”
“The Work of God,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The plan of God has been the work of many individuals down through the ages. Nehemiah was one such individual whom God worked with powerfully to help rebuild Jerusalem. But the way in which it was accomplished is truly incredible. We can expect the same today as God is willing to work in and through us if we diligently seek Him.
“Bad Mistakes and Grievous Sins of Righteous Leaders – Part 1,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The lives of some of the ancient kings of Judah should tell us a lot today. How could it happen that righteous leaders made terrible mistakes and sinned grievously at the end of their lives? Why do we find ourselves in the position that we transgress God’s Word, even though we know better?
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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