May 11, 2018
Bad Mistakes and Do You Have to Be and Stay Evil? (Part 3)
On May 12, 2018, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled “Bad Mistakes”, and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Do You Have to Be and Stay Evil? (Part 3).”
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 Third Temple WILL Be Built PRIOR to Christ’s Return!
by Norbert Link
Not everyone will agree with the headline of this editorial, but it points out a FACT, as CLEARLY prophesied in the Bible. Some cannot comprehend this, as God has not opened their eyes. After all, the Holy Spirit is a spirit of prophecy, and only those who are being led by God’s Spirit will grow in God’s understanding, and the more we submit to God and are obedient to Him, the more our minds will be opened to the prophetic Truth. We read that God does not do anything unless He reveals it first to HIS servants the prophets (which includes God’s ministers speaking under inspiration). God will most certainly not reveal His Truth to false prophets or those who falsely CLAIM to be prophets.
A wild accusation has been made against us that we do not preach what the Worldwide Church of God taught on the subject of the Third Temple. Selected articles from 1979 and 1981 were quoted to support this claim. In the articles, it was emphasized that Christ will come back to His glorious temple—the Church of God (Haggai 2:9; Malachi 3:1). And that is of course very true. On the other hand, do those Scriptures negate the teaching that there will ALSO be a physical Temple in existence when Christ returns? Are those truthful who quote from SOME Church articles which seem to hold a particular position, while ignoring other Church articles which hold a different position? Are those truthful who quote selectively from some articles, out of context, only to cement their own opinion on a matter? Of course not—such conduct is misleading.
The point is, in an article which quotes from a speech from Herbert Armstrong in 1981, he said this (as quoted from the Internet):
“[Christ] shall suddenly come to His temple.’ What kind of a temple is He coming to? Are the Jews going to tear down the Dome of the Rock and build a new temple? Oh no! You see no evidence of anything like that happening. I know the people well enough that if the Jews over there were going to do anything like that they would certainly have mentioned that to me. But, He will ‘suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant [which] you delight in.’ A holy temple! Christ is coming to His Church! Christ is coming to His temple! And the Church is the temple. Do we see that? The Church is the temple.”
We should be able to see that Mr. Armstrong believed that Christ’s Second Coming was very near, and since he did not see any evidence for the building of a physical temple at that time, he concluded that it would not happen. However, Christ still has not returned yet, and today, more than 35 years later, events have changed dramatically, as we have been pointing out in our weekly Updates.
The same must be said about a statement which the Church published in The Plain Truth on August 1979, which reads: “It is inconceivable that the Israelis, in the present international turmoil over their possession of old Jerusalem, could ever demolish the Arab Moslem Dome of the Rock—now on the site of Solomon’s temple—and build a new one there of greater splendor and glory than Solomon’s! However, as the second temple Zerubbabel was building was a typical forerunner of the temple to which Christ shall come, even so Zerubbabel was the typical forerunner of one Christ would use in building the far more glorious temple to which Christ shall come in His GLORY!”
Note, the context is again “the present international turmoil over their possession of old Jerusalem.” The timing of the writing was almost 40 years ago.
What has been conveniently overlooked or suppressed are statements in Church articles which clearly pronounced that a THIRD temple WILL BE built prior to Christ’s return–or, which left this question purposefully unanswered.
In Die Reine Wahrheit of October 1967 (German edition of The Plain Truth), it was stated on page 10 (in the article, “2,300 Evenings and Mornings”): “Yes, a temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, as incredible as it may sound.” In The Good News magazine, November-December 1987, the following was stated on page 12 in “A Sealed Prophecy,” at least implying the existence of a Temple before Christ’s return: “The ‘sanctuary’ is to be ‘trampled underfoot.’… the taking away of daily sacrifices and trampling of a sanctuary underfoot is yet a future event. We are nearing the fulfillment of these amazing prophecies about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem…”
In a two-part series in The Good News, February and March 1985, titled, “Coming… A Temple in Jerusalem?”, the answer to this question was purposefully left open. Many issues were raised—pro and con—but no position was taken in these two articles, one way or another.
However, we should also take note of the fact that in times past, the Church taught dogmatically that a Temple would be built before Christ’s return (and it is simply dishonest to suppress this fact when it does not fit into one’s paradigm; or, if one is unaware of these articles, then his research is sloppy and unreliable).
In Herbert W. Armstrong’s editorial in The Plain Truth, June 1967, titled, “Jews take Jerusalem!”, the following was stated (as quoted from the Internet):
“There will be a Jewish Temple built in Jerusalem, with animal sacrifices once again being offered… It is going to take some time to build such a Temple… For a long time the Jewish people have had in mind the rebuilding of the Temple, though they keep it pretty secret. And it must be built on the exact site of Solomon’s Temple. The wealthiest Jews in the world, in the United States, Britain, France and other parts of the world, are going to pour money into that…
“So now, putting the two accounts of Jesus’ Olivet prophecy together, Matthew 24 and Luke 21, two things are to occur, just before the Great Tribulation. 1) There will very soon be a Temple in Jerusalem, with daily sacrifices once again being offered. But the ruler of the soon-coming resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ a political-military union of ten European nations–will stop the daily sacrifices and profane the Holy Place in the Temple; and 2) Jerusalem will be surrounded and captured [Zechariah 14:1-2] by the… armies of the European Empire, already starting to rise now out of the Common Market. They will invade Jerusalem, and take charge of the Temple…
“This European power, resurrecting for a very short while the Roman Empire, will take over the city of Jerusalem [Zechariah 14:2]. They will take the Temple, and plant the palace of their headquarters there. With this coming military leader, pictured in Revelation 17 as the symbolic ‘beast,’ will be a supreme religious leader, called ‘the False prophet,’ [Rev. 16:3; 19:20; 20:10] and the ‘man of sin.’ So will you turn next to II Thessalonians 2:3-4:
“‘Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day’–the Day of the Lord, verse 2–’shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.’
“So there will have to be the Temple there!… And they will put there the ‘abomination’ of which the statue of Jupiter Olympus, placed by Antiochus Epiphanes was the type…
“Then Revelation 11 shows there will be a Temple in Jerusalem, at the time of the two witnesses, who preach for three-and-one-half years, ending at Christ’s coming. Also the prophecy of II Thessalonians 2 shows there will be a Temple.
“So putting all these prophecies together, it is plain the Israelis must soon flood over the ‘no-man’s land’ of the divided city of Jerusalem, and take at least the territory where the ancient Temple stood, and then start to build a Temple.”
The Scriptures which Mr. Armstrong cited in his editorial and many other biblical passages prove convincingly that a Third Temple WILL be built. It is true that the position of the Church, in the past, may not have always been consistent on this point. It is therefore important that we realize that we must always believe the Bible. We have produced several booklets which PROVE to you THAT the Bible PROPHESIES the building of the Third Temple prior to Christ’s return. We challenge you to read them for yourselves. They are, for example: “The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation”; “The Book of Zechariah”; “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire” and “The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People.” And please continue to read our weekly Updates and view our StandingWatch programs which regularly inform you about ongoing developments in the Middle East and Jerusalem.
by Norbert Link
We begin with reporting on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the USA from the Iran deal and impose serious sanctions on Iran and potentially other countries, and the negative reaction of especially the EU, causing further alienation between the two power blocs. Please view our new StandingWatch program, “Iran Deal Gone… Europe furious with USA.”
We address America’s contemplated move of its embassy to Jerusalem and publish interesting reports on Emmanuel Macron (France) and Martin Schulz (Germany).
We speak on the furor caused by inconsistent comments and revelations by President Trump and his new personal attorney, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
We conclude with articles on cloning and the natural disaster in Hawaii.
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
Trump Withdraws from Iran Nuclear Deal, Imposes Sanctions on Iran
JTA wrote on May 8:
“‘I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,’ Trump said, speaking at the White House Tuesday…
“Trump’s decision comes after a full court press by three European nations also party to the 2015 deal not to pull out. Over recent weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have visited Washington to try and persuade Trump to stay in the deal…
“Israel and Saudi Arabia, by contrast, have been U.S. allies pressing for a pullout from the deal. Netanyahu last week unveiled documents showing that Iran had before the 2015 deal hidden the breadth of its nuclear weapons development. Trump credited Netanyahu’s presentation in making his decision. ‘Today we have definitive proof that this promise was a lie,’ he said, referring to Iran’s pledge to roll back its nuclear program…”
The Associated Press wrote on May 8:
“President Donald Trump… dealt a profound blow to allies, deepened his isolation on the world stage and revived doubts about American credibility in the most consequential foreign policy action of his presidency…
“The leaders of Britain, Germany and France immediately urged the U.S. not to take any actions that could prevent them and Iran from continuing to implement the agreement… In Washington, the Trump administration said it would re-impose [the “highest level” of] sanctions on Iran immediately but allow grace periods for businesses to wind down activity… National Security Adviser John Bolton said nobody should sign contracts for new business with Iran…
“For the Europeans, Trump’s withdrawal constitutes dispiriting proof that trying to appease him is futile…”
Breitbart added on May 8:
“[Trump] added that any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear ambitions will also be sanctioned by the United States: ‘We will not allow a regime that chants ‘death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on earth.’”
German Companies Should Wind Down Operations Immediately?
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 8
“Richard Grenell, the new US Ambassador to Germany, sent out a warning to German businesses on Twitter, saying that ‘German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.’”
DPA and the Local wrote on May 9:
“Grenell’s tweet was met with immediate scorn from the German political establishment. Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to Washington from 2001 to 2006, responded on Twitter by giving ‘advice’ of his own. ‘Germans are willing to listen, but will resist taking instructions,’ he wrote.
“The head of the Social Democrats, Andrea Nahles, also responded dismissively to Grenell’s comments. Nahles said that, while it wasn’t her job to tell diplomats how to do their jobs ‘he seems to need a little bit of tutoring.’”
Handelsblatt Global added on May 9:
“The reaction [to Grenell’s post] was fast and furious. His message to Germany was retweeted almost 6,000 times (and counting) and there were close to 1,500 comments, many of them from angry Germans basically telling the ambassador, a longtime critic of the Iran deal, to butt out… German companies doing business in Iran have been preparing for this moment for months… European companies in Iran do not work with dollars at all; they prefer euros or perhaps dirhams…
“Before the last lot of sanctions was imposed, Germany was Iran’s biggest trading partner. After the Iran deal was reached in 2015, German exports there grew by 27 percent. In 2017, German exports to Iran were worth an estimated $3.5 billion and today many of Germany’s biggest businesses are working with Iran, as are hundreds of the country’s medium-sized firms…”
The Iran deal, which was “negotiated” by European powers and the Obama administration, was terribly one-sided in favor of Iran. The withdrawal under President Trump was to be expected, and it constitutes another small piece in the puzzle of biblical prophecies, as it causes now a further rift between the USA and the EU.
German Reaction and Litmus Test for Europe
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 8:
“The historical connections between Berlin and Tehran make Germany a strong supporter of the nuclear deal… There’s hardly an issue on which there is more consensus in German politics than the Iran nuclear deal. From the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) to the Left Party, no one in the country shares the US president’s skepticism about the 2015 agreement…”
While the deal was totally unfavorable towards the USA and Europe, “[n]early two-thirds of Americans oppose the country’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord,” according to Newsmax, dated May 8.
Handelsblatt wrote on May 8:
“The announcement Tuesday marked a rupture with major European allies who helped negotiate the accord and who lobbied intensively with Mr. Trump to keep the deal in place… The unilateral move threatens to further destabilize the tumultuous situation in the Middle East. Oil prices have surged in anticipation of US withdrawal and may rise even further amid concerns about supply from OPEC’s third-largest exporter.
“The US sanctions against Iran add a further note of uncertainty to trade relations along with US threats of tariffs in retaliation to what it sees as trade abuses. Iran is already in a crisis with an economy in decline, a weakening currency and rising prices…
“After a good deal of bluster about forging a different path from the United States, Europeans will now have to prove they are capable of doing so. ‘The Iran deal has become a litmus test for European willingness and ability to protect its interests and to uphold a critical element of the international order,’ Oliver Meier, an expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin…
“The reaction in Germany was predictably unfavorable…”
As the article points out, it will be interesting to see what Europe is willing and capable of doing.
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 9:
“[German] Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany, France and the UK would speak with one voice on the Iran accord: ‘We remain committed to the nuclear deal,’ he said… The German minister said that Trump’s decision was ‘incomprehensible’ and had dealt a blow to stability in the Middle East…”
JTA wrote on May 8:
“One half of the Iranian response is guaranteed to be rhetorical, with an emphasis on persuading Europe to resist the U.S. move by taking actions favorable to Tehran. The other half of Iran’s response will consist of accelerating its nuclear program in order to show that it will not accept the constraints imposed by a nuclear deal that Washington rejects…
“Iran’s rhetorical response to the re-imposition of sanctions will have three likely goals: 1) expedite and exploit a growing trans-Atlantic divide over Iran policy, 2) convince Europe not to comply with any prospective U.S. sanctions against Iran and 3) get Europe to shield entities that do business with Iranian parties. Given Europe’s fondness of the deal, this will not be a hard sell for Tehran…
“Should the Islamic Republic decide to respond more forcefully, it could resume flight-testing medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs), which reportedly last occurred in July 2017. All of Iran’s MRBMs meet the internationally defined standard of being ‘nuclear-capable.’ They also can reach key U.S. partners in the region such as Israel and Saudi Arabia…
“Another way to respond forcefully… would be to harass U.S. warship sin the Persian Gulf, just off the coast of Iran…
“Finally, Iran could also respond via terrorism and assassination, although any such activity on European soil would cause the regime to lose international support. Instead, Tehran might target U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq, or another location in the Middle East… Case in point are the intensifying prospects for war between Iran and Israel in the Syrian theater…”
None of these options sound good for either Israel or the USA.
Ongoing Hostilities between Israel and Iran
The Sun wrote on May 10:
“Iranian forces in Syria have launched missiles at the Israeli military in the annexed Golan Heights region, Israel’s army has claimed. An Israeli air defence (IDF) spokesman said ‘about 20 rockets’ were fired by Iranian Quds Force at the Jewish state’s defensive line in the area – which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. He said that Israeli forces had ‘responded’ after several bases were targeted, adding: ‘The IDF sees this Iranian attack on Israel with severity. This event is not over.’…
“Shortly before the suspected strikes on the Golan Heights, reports within Syria claimed that Israel had attacked targets in the Quneitra province south of Damascus. Syria’s state media said air defences had intercepted ‘hostile Israeli missiles’ on early Thursday morning that were fired over the south west of the capital city. This comes after missiles strikes last night were attributed to Israel following reports of ‘irregular activity’ of Iranian forces in Syria…
“Tuesday’s attacks represent an immediate escalation in tensions in the region after US President Donald Trump walked away from the 2015 nuclear agreement Barack Obama struck with Iran… As… Assad appears to be headed toward victory, Israel fears that Iran, along with tens of thousands of Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen, will carry out attacks against it.”
European Relations with US at a State of “Worrying Change”
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 6:
“German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said he is worried about European relations with the US…
“Trans-Atlantic relations are in a state of worrying change, with a US administration that takes an ‘every man for himself’ approach to global affairs, the German president said on Sunday… His remarks come as Europe remains at odds with US President Donald Trump over trade, defense and the Iran nuclear deal.
“‘Honestly speaking, I’m really concerned about the development of the trans-Atlantic relationship,’ Steinmeier said. ‘Not because I’m looking at a president with some irritating Twitter messages, but because a substantial change is now going on and (there is) a new American administration that no longer sees us as parts of a global community where we act together but sees the world basically as an arena where everyone has to somehow find their own way.’
“Steinmeier’s comments echo those made by several European politicians since Trump took power more than a year ago, pledging to implement a policy of ‘America First.’”
This article was written BEFORE the announcement of American withdrawal from the Iran deal. Since that announcement, the relationship has become worse.
Eurozone Investors Weary of US Debt
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 9:
“While the US economy is strong, a creeping decline in foreign investment indicates that eurozone investors are growing weary of US debt… Foreign investors are buying less and less American debt, yet the US moves onward with a debt-heavy budget and globally unpopular diplomacy…
“The European Central Bank found that after 2015, over half of US debt securities had been purchased by eurozone investors. Germany in particular holds $90.1 billion (€76 billion) of US debt. In 2017 that trend reversed and eurozone investors became net sellers…
“As long-time president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Maya MacGuineas has seen the US economy through highs and lows. The debt is really a symptom of a broken government process, says MacGuineas, there is no economic justification…
“With $21 trillion in debt and a fresh deficit scheduled to pass $1 trillion per year by 2020, the US carries more debt than the entirety of the EU’s debt combined. It is unlikely any other country in the world could pull this off…”
And maybe the USA can’t pull it off, either.
Moving Embassies to Jerusalem
JTA wrote on May 8:
“Paraguay is moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from its current position near Tel Aviv… Paraguay will be the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem. The United States will dedicate its temporary Jerusalem embassy on May 14, followed two days later by Guatemala.”
Handelsblatt reported on May 7 that Jerusalem’s mayor declared that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people. The paper added that Israel views Jerusalem as the undivided capital of its state, while the Palestinians desire the eastern part of Jerusalem (which was occupied by Israel in 1967) as the capital of their future state “Palestine.” Please note in this context our Editorial in this issue.
Macron Gets Charlemagne Prize
Euractiv wrote in May 6:
“French President Emmanuel Macron will receive the Charlemagne Prize, the EU’s version of the Nobel Peace Prize, on 10 May… ‘Macron is a head of state with a claim to European leadership’, states the Board of Directors of the Society for the Conferring of the International Charlemagne Prize…‘In the person of Emmanuel Macron, the Charlemagne Prize Society honours a courageous pioneer for the revitalisation of the European dream’, the Board of Directors state…
“The Charlemagne Prize is awarded annually on Ascension Day by the city of Aachen, where Charlemagne, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, was buried. The City of Aachen refers to Charlemagne as the ‘founder of western culture’, and asserts that under his reign, Aachen was the spiritual and political centre of what is now western Europe.
“Among the most recipients are the current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his former capacity of Prime Minister of Luxembourg (2006), former NATO secretary General and EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana (2007), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2008), Council President Donald Tusk in his former capacity of Polish Prime Minister (2010), former Council President Herman Van Rompuy (2014), and former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, a native son of Aachen (2015).
“In 2016 the Charlemagne Prize was given to Pope Francis in a ceremony which took place in the Vatican, in the presence of Juncker, Tusk and Schulz…”
It appears like Emmanuel Macron will be “used” as an architect for the further unification of Europe. However, the final leader will not be a man from France, but from Germany or Austria.
Macron for Stronger Ties with Catholic Church
Christian Today wrote on May 5:
“President Emmanuel Macron… will travel to the Vatican in June to meet Pope Francis… In April, Macron called for stronger ties between the state and the Catholic Church… The issue is particularly sensitive in historically Catholic France, where matters of faith and state were separated by law in 1905 and which is now home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities…
“Under a tradition that began in the 15th century when France was a monarchy, French leaders are automatically given the title of ‘First and Only Honorary Canon’ of the Rome Basilica of St John’s in Lateran, which is also the pope’s cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome.”
A strong collaboration between the Catholic Church and the entirety of continental Europe (not just France) is clearly prophesied to occur.
Comeback for Martin Schulz?
Der Tagesspiegel wrote on May 4:
“Three years ago, Martin Schulz (SPD) received the Charlemagne prize for his accomplishments as president of the EU Parliament… Schulz’s heart beats for Europe… He gave more power to the EU Parliament than any other politician. Right now, his hands are tied. But this does not have to continue.
“Social Democrats begin to think of Schulz’s grandiose future role… At the end of April, Schulz elated the delegates with his advocacy for the strengthening of Europe… ‘Without a strong Europe, the populists will win,’ he shouted. ‘Then there will be war.’ It is now being discussed within the SPD whether the comeback of Schulz for the big stage of Brussels is being prepared…
“Schulz said that right now, he sees his role in the German Parliament… As former President of the EU Parliament, he says that he knows very well what influence Germany could have in Brussels… ‘That is why I’m pretty established in the German Parliament at this time.’ At this time.”
Schulz might very well be another architect to be “used” for the final unification of European core nations.
Trump Angers France and Britain
Express wrote on May 6:
“In a speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday, Mr Trump imitated the shooting of victims in the Paris attack and said if civilians had been armed ‘it would have been a whole different story.’ The French government has issued its strongest criticism of the US President since he took office… The Paris foreign office said in a statement: ‘France expresses its firm disapproval of President Trump’s comments about the Paris attacks on Nov. 13, 2015 and demands that the memory of the victims be respected. France is proud to be a country where acquiring and carrying firearms is strictly regulated.’
“French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he hoped Mr Trump ‘would come back on his words and express regret’. Mr Le Maire told BFM television on Sunday: ‘His comments are shocking and not worthy of the president of the world’s greatest superpower.’ The mayor of Paris, along with other French politicians, were angered by Mr Trump’s comments after he mimicked the scene of the massacre by Islamist assailants at Paris’ Bataclan concert hall, which left 90 of the 130 victims dead. Mr Trump used his hands in a gun gesture and said: ‘They took their time and gunned them down one by one. Boom! Come over here. Boom! Come over here. Boom!’
“Former French president Francois Hollande took to Twitter to condemn Mr Trump’s comments as ‘shameful’ and ‘obscene’.
“Mr Trump’s comments have also caused upset in Britain, after the US leader linked knife crime to an absence of guns. The US president, whose state visit to Britain is planned for July 13, told NRA members that a ‘once very prestigious’ London hospital, which he did not name, had become overwhelmed with knife attack victims. Making stabbing gestures, he said: ‘They don’t have guns. They have knives and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives, knives.’…”
In a related article, Express wrote on May 6:
“Mr Griffiths, who works at the Royal London Hospital… said he would be happy to invite Mr Trump to tour the hospital and meet police and the capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan ‘to discuss our successes in violence reduction in London’ when the president visits the UK.
“The director of the capital’s major trauma system, Royal London surgeon Professor Karim Brohi, said: ‘Knife violence is a serious issue for London… There is more we can all do to combat this violence, but to suggest guns are part of the solution is ridiculous. Gunshot wounds are at least twice as lethal as knife injuries and more difficult to repair.’…”
Even the relationship between the USA and the UK is prophesied to deteriorate.
Express wrote on May 4:
“Piers Morgan caused uproar from the BBC audience when he said those wanting to thwart Brexit must accept ‘it’s over’ and respect the democratic vote… Mr Morgan said: ‘What I’m absolutely sure about is this – we had a referendum. We had a democratic vote in this country.
“‘Everybody had a chance to go ahead and have their say and this country voted, democratically, to leave. It wasn’t the choice I would have made but that was the decision taken. We are going to get into a very dangerous place in this country, in my view, if we actually go against the democratic result of a democratic referendum in this country. I would urge people to be very careful.’”
Whether many of the Brits want to accept Brexit or not, it is certain to occur.
Mr. Trump’s Credibility Further at Stake
The Editorial Board of the conservative and generally Trump-friendly Wall Street Journal wrote on May 3:
“Most storms pass eventually. This week Donald Trump tried to ensure that Stormy Daniels doesn’t rain down permanent distraction on his Presidency, though at the cost of further damage to his credibility. Mr. Trump contradicted his previous statements that he had no knowledge of payments that his lawyer had made to Ms. Daniels — the pornographic-movie actress whose real name is Stephanie Clifford —to quell stories of an alleged affair.
“Speaking in his new role as Mr. Trump’s lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani disclosed that Mr. Trump made a series of payments to reimburse lawyer Michael Cohen, who had paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 as part of a non-disclosure agreement late in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“In explanatory tweets Thursday, President Trump said that ‘Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.’
“The apparent reason for these contortions is the possibility that the payments if made by Mr. Cohen would have exceeded federal campaign-finance donation limits…
“Messrs. Trump and Giuliani are arguing that Mr. Trump’s payments to Ms. Clifford were made for reasons that fall outside Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. And perhaps these admissions will lessen Mr. Trump’s legal vulnerability. What remains is the political damage. Attempting to quiet a similar storm in 1998, President Bill Clinton said, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.’ Many of Mr. Clinton’s political supporters were unmoved by the allegations against him. Similarly now, Mr. Trump’s most ardent backers believe these charges aren’t relevant to his public initiatives as President.
“That may be true regarding whether Mr. Trump had an affair more than a decade ago. Voters in 2016 knew Mr. Trump was no choir boy, and the irony is that news of an affair would probably have made no difference in his race against Hillary Clinton, who was Bill Clinton’s wife and chief defender.
“But Mr. Trump’s public deceptions are surely relevant to his job as President, and the attempted cover-up has done greater harm than any affair would have. Mr. Trump asked Americans, not least his supporters, to believe his claims about the payments. They were false and conveniently so in putting the onus on Mr. Cohen. Now, as more of the story has emerged, he wants everyone to believe a new story that he could have told the first time.
“Mr. Trump is compiling a record that increases the likelihood that few will believe him during a genuine crisis—say, a dispute over speaking with special counsel Robert Mueller or a nuclear showdown with Kim Jong Un. Mr. Trump should worry that Americans will stop believing anything he says.”
First For, Now Against Gun Control
Bloomberg reported on May 4 (as republished by Newsmax):
“President Donald Trump delivered a strong support for the National Rifle Association at its annual meeting on Friday… ‘You give your time, your energy, your vote and your voice to stand strong for those sacred rights given to us by God, including the right to self-defense,’ Trump told the group’s members…
“But the Parkland, Florida shooting, which left 17 high school students and school employees dead and galvanized gun-control advocates, led Trump to consider supporting firearms restrictions the NRA has long opposed, including expanded background checks. That flirtation didn’t last long. Under pressure from the NRA’s leaders and its allies in Congress and within the White House, he fell back in line and hasn’t taken on the gun group. He pivoted from weighing limits on gun sales to encouraging teachers to arm themselves— a position enthusiastically backed by the NRA.”
Sadly, President Trump is fundamentally wrong when stating that self-defense is a God-given right and when promoting arming teachers. Both positions are strongly condemned in the Bible.
Trump’s “Facts” Change and Change and Change…
Newsmax wrote on May 4:
“Fox News anchor Shepard Smith attacked President Donald Trump on Friday for speaking to the National Rifle Association in Dallas, months after slamming Congress for being ‘afraid’ of the powerful gun lobby in the wake of the Florida school massacre. ‘The president falsely stated that Democrats wanted all guns outlawed,’ Smith said on his program. During a roundtable discussion with school-shooting survivors after the Feb. 14 attack, President Trump had called for such measures as raising the legal age for buying AR-15s from 18 to 21 and tightening background checks on gun buyers. ‘Today, he headlined the NRA convention,’ Smith said.
“The Fox anchor also blasted Trump for the ‘brand-new series of words presented for our consumption’ on the $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels over allegations of an affair with the president in 2006. ‘Maybe Team Trump’s just-shifting strategy’s shifting again,’ Smith said. ‘Maybe they’re trying to confuse everybody.’ Smith noted that Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now on Trump’s legal team, told Fox’s Sean Hannity Wednesday that Trump had reimbursed the $130,000 payment attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels. On Thursday, Trump appeared to back Giuliani on Twitter — but then said on Friday that the former mayor needed to ‘get his facts straight.’
“Last month, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he did not know of the Daniels payment. Smith observed: ‘What Team Trump said last month then changed last week, then reimagined again on Tuesday, was revised and extended again this morning. And space under the bus is now at a premium,’ he continued. ‘Rudy Giuliani found himself wedged there today, when the president said his lawyer still has to get his facts straight.”
“Smith then noted that Giuliani put out his own statement Friday afternoon seeking to clarify the Fox comments. Giuliani said: ‘My references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president’s knowledge, but instead, my understanding of these matters.’ But Smith quipped: ‘Now let this one sink in just in case this version lasts more than a few hours.’”
Shepherd Smith is one of the very few current anchors, commentators and moderators on Fox News who are not just turning a blind eye on everything President Trump does or says, however problematic it may be… unlike many others, including the unofficial spokesperson for Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, who seems to be unwilling or unable to open his eyes to the facts.
According to the Washington Post’s fact-check list, President Trump engaged in over 3,000 exaggerations, misrepresentations or outright lies since his inauguration. The New York Times reported that he knew about the hush money being paid to Stormy Daniels BEFORE he denied any knowledge (As we reported earlier, it stretches the imagination anyhow to assume that an attorney would have paid hush money to a blackmailer without his client’s knowledge and consent.)
On the other hand, Fox News host Neil Cavuto did not hold back in pointing out the chaos which President Trump is creating. See the next article.
“Mr. President, It’s Your Stink! It’s Your Swamp!”
The Washington Post wrote on May 4:
“Fox News host Neil Cavuto ripped into President Trump’s trail of conflicting and false statements in a monologue on Thursday… Speaking directly to the president on his show, ‘Your World With Neil Cavuto,’ he questioned why Trump lambastes the news media for ‘fake news’ when his own statements are often contradictory… ‘Let me be clear, Mr. President,’ Cavuto said. ‘How can you drain the swamp if you’re the one who keeps muddying the waters?
“‘You didn’t know about the $130,000 payment to a porn star, until you did,’ he continued. ‘Said you knew nothing about how your former lawyer handled this, until you acknowledged today that you were the guy behind the retainer payment that took care of this. You insist that money from the campaign or campaign contributions played no role in this transaction. Of that you’re sure. The thing is, not even 24 hours ago, sir, you couldn’t recall any of this.’
“Cavuto went on to tick off a list of examples of statements Trump has made that were incorrect or appeared to conflict with earlier statements. There was ‘the time you said the Russians didn’t interfere in the 2016 election, until a lot of Republicans had to remind you they did,’ Cavuto said. ‘Came back months later, and you said, “Well, I never said that Russia didn’t meddle in the election,” when in fact you had—a lot.’
“There was the time Trump claimed the tax reform bill ‘would cost you a fortune when it turns out it is going to help make you a bigger fortune,’ Cavuto said. And the time ‘you said there was serious voter fraud in New Hampshire, and there wasn’t.’ And the time Trump said ‘millions of illegals voted in the last election, but they didn’t.’… ‘You are right to say some of them [in the press] are out to get you. But oftentimes they’re using your own words to bat you,’ Cavuto said. ‘You probably might not care. But you should. I guess you’ve been too busy draining the swamp to stop and smell the stink you’re creating. That’s your doing. That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.’
“Cavuto, a Fox News host since the network started in 1996, has been known to be critical of Trump and to speak to him in a direct tone, as though Trump were sitting in his living room listening on the other side of the tube. Cavuto’s style breaks from that of many of his Fox News colleagues, particularly commentators who have heaped praise on Trump. But it’s more akin to that of Shepard Smith, who is known to poke holes in the president’s statements.
“Earlier this month, Smith said of Trump’s claims that the U.S. Postal Service was losing money because of Amazon: ‘None of that was true.’…
“In the past, he has told Trump to ‘stop scapegoating’ others following those tirades [on Twitter]… ‘They’re not the problem, Mr. President,” he told Trump, referring to those he targeted on Twitter. ‘You are.’”
Express wrote on May 3:
“Scientists have created a living embryo in a laboratory without using either egg or sperm in ground-breaking but hugely controversial experiments. The experimental research combined two types of stem cells and created a viable embryo – which the team say would provide an unlimited stock for medical research… The researchers believe the wonder creation could see mice being cloned in three years time, and humans two decades later. Lead researcher, Professor Nicholas Rivron of Maastricht University, said the main use for the embryos would be to test drugs and solve the infertility riddle.
“He said: ‘As you know, embryos are very precious, and it is impossible to use to test drugs on them as you don’t have the numbers. With blastocysts you can open up the numbers. This will allow screening medicines in the future.’ Professor Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute added while the experiment was a huge breakthrough for modern science, it may come as a relief it cannot be replicated in humans yet…
“Cloning continues to fascinate the science world, particularly after Dolly the Sheep made headlines across the globe in 1996. The ewe lived for six years after being the first mammal cloned by professors at the University of Edinburgh by Keith Campbell and Ian Wilmut. The animal died five months before her seventh birthday from a progressive lung disease.”
“Major Quake Hits Hawaii, Prompts Further Volcano Eruptions”
Reuters reported on May 7:
“Lava spewing in fountains up to 300 feet high from an erupting Hawaiian volcano has destroyed 35 homes and other buildings… Kilauea, which began exploding on Thursday with fountains and rivers of lava flowing into neighborhoods, has opened 10 volcanic vents since then…
“The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the volcano’s south flank on Friday, the strongest tremor since 1975, and more earthquakes and eruptions have been forecast, perhaps for months to come.
“Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years. It predominantly blows off basaltic lava in effusive eruptions that flow into the ocean but occasionally experiences more explosive events…”
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
Are there Consequences for Sins?
Sin is described in 1 John 3:4 as being the transgression of the law or lawlessness. Note how different translations render this verse:
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (Authorized Version).
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (New King James Bible).
“Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (Revised Standard Version).
There are different kinds of sin—sins of commission, omission and neglect; and also, whatever is not of faith is sin, as Romans 14:23 says: “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”
A further definition of sin can be found in 1 John 5:17, where we read: “All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to [the second] death [that is, when sin is being repented of].”
Sin can be very deceptive in that a person may go through life sinning and seemingly getting away with it. This was reflected on by Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 7:15: “I have seen everything in my days of vanity: There is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, And there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness.”
He also observed this in Ecclesiastes 8:11: “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
In some cases we might not observe immediate visible consequences. Therefore, some people think that they are getting away with sin or bad habits. This is a deception because we cannot escape the consequences of sin, like the saying goes: “You can pay me now or you can pay me later but you will pay.”
We may have a tendency to forget about the seriousness of sin, but God does not, when sin is not repented of. When Israel came out of Egypt, they were attacked by the Amalekites, as we read in Exodus 17:8: “Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim.”
God did not forget this and ordered Saul hundreds of years later to destroy Amalek. 1 Samuel 15:2-3 reports this: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
This was the consequence for attacking Israel hundreds of years earlier. Even though one might say that this was a harsh punishment, including for those who did not personally participate in the attack on Israel, God looked at the heart and determined that all Amalekites still possessed the same attitude as their forefathers, and children growing up would also develop the same hatred and lust for murder. God knew of course that He would resurrect them to physical life later, in the Second Resurrection, when there would be a much better environment for them. Animals had to be destroyed too because there would have been no one left to tend to and look after them. In addition, the implication might be that animals had also been used for terrible sexual abominations, which DOES change the nature of animals. We also might add that God had never intended to have Israel fight, but since they chose to, He used them as His tool for punishment.
In some cases, consequences are more immediate. David is an example. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and she got pregnant which complicated the matter. Trying to cover up his sinful conduct, David brought her husband home from the war, wanting him to go into his wife so that she could claim he was the father, but he refused to do so. 2 Samuel 11:8-9 reads: “And David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house and wash your feet.’ So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.”
The plot thickened so David devised another “solution.” He sent Uriah back to the battle with a message to Joab, the commander of the army, to place Uriah in a location where the battle would be fierce and he was consequently killed (2 Samuel 11:14-16). David’s “problem” seemed to be solved. But were there no consequences for David’s evil actions?
God sent the prophet Nathan to David to let him know what would transpire because of his conduct. 2 Samuel 12:10-14 describes God’s pronouncements of the consequences in vivid and frightening terms:
“‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’” So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’”
Even though David repented of his evil conduct, as shown in Psalm 51, and even though he fasted for his son’s life, God had determined that his son would have to die (The same rationale applies, as mentioned before, in that the innocent son would be resurrected in the Second Resurrection, in a much better and friendly environment; after all, illegitimate children were in no way accepted in Israel at the time and mostly treated as “outcasts”).
These were serious consequences for David’s sins. Even though he repented, he still had to pay the price for his sins, because God wanted him to understand deeply how wicked and abominable his conduct was.
This is an extremely good lesson for us: Before we get involved in sin, we must be aware that there are consequences. Some may be immediately seen, and some may manifest themselves later. Revelation 20:13, in speaking about the Second Resurrection, addresses judgment: “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.” This judgment includes acts which will be committed then, but it also may include acts committed in their prior lives which had not been repented of. Note what it says in Luke 12:47-48: “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
In addition, those who refuse to repent and who commit the unpardonable sin will be burnt up in the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14-15 says: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
What about those in the Church who have been called in this day and age? 1 Peter 4:17 states: “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
Converted Christians are being judged now. When we sin, we can go to God and ask for the blood of Christ to wash us clean and put us in the good graces of God. But there still may be consequences for our sins even though they are repented of and forgiven, as we saw in the case of David. For instance, after a person may have caused a terrible car accident because of drunk driving and might have suffered the loss of a limb as a consequence, he or she might be called and his or her sins might be repented of and forgiven, but this will not suddenly give him or her the missing limb back. The converted Christian will be in the First Resurrection and won’t have to suffer additional stripes since he or she was being judged in this life and had to live now with the consequences of sin. But there is still the aspect of the converted Christian having to “give account” of his prior conduct to those whom he or she will meet in the resurrections, whom he or she might have wronged in this life (for instance, if the accident he caused due to drunk driving resulted in the death of an innocent person whom he or she will meet in the resurrection.)
We must understand that all sins have consequences. Some may fool themselves in thinking they may be getting away with sin because, sometimes, there are no visible immediate consequences; but the consequences are there and might manifest themselves in the future.
For more information, please read our free booklet, “Punishment for Our Sins.”
Lead Writers: Rene Messier (Canada) and Norbert 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 Tech Team meeting was conducted on May 6, 2018, via SKYPE. Hosted by Eric Rank, special emphasis was given to internet promotions featuring the Church’s website productions.
“Iran Deal Gone… Europe furious with USA,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
With America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the announcement of heavy sanctions against Iran and possibly other countries, the relationship between the USA and Europe has further deteriorated. Europeans are determined to oppose America’s decision and are threatening America, while America, in turn, is threatening Europe. The big question is, what are Iran and Israel going to do?
A new German AufPosten Stehen program was recorded and posted as well, covering the same topic, titled, “Trump kündigt Iran-Deal—und Europa will Frieden im Nahen Osten schaffen!” (In English: “Trump withdraws from Iran-deal—and Europe wants to create peace in the Middle East!”)
“Lasst Euch nicht Rabbi, Vater oder Lehrer nennen (Matthäus 23:8-10)!” is the title of this Sabbath’s Germam sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Do not be called Rabbi, Father or Teacher (Matthew 23:8-10).”
“Challenges of Humility,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
If we want to be in the Kingdom of God, we must have a spirit of humility. What are some of the challenges we face in being humble?
“The Failure of Righteous Kings of Judah – Part 2,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
In this second part of this three-part series, we will be discussing additional righteous kings of Judah, including Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah and Hezekiah, as they are featured in 2. Chronicles. In each case, these kings committed serious infractions at the end of their lives, and when they were admonished, they reacted with pride, rejection and even wrath. Do we sometimes react in similar ways?
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom