June 1, 2018
Through His Blood; Love Flows
On June 2, 2018, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Through His Blood,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Love Flows.”
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.
What Are We Seeking?
by Kalon Mitchell
It seems that each week in the United States brings another school shooting, another round of senseless murders. But it is not just here—there are wars, murders and homicides around the world. Death is inevitable. When we peel back the layers of our society, it is not hard to see the cracks in the foundations. Our planet is being slowly destroyed. Our oceans and waters are becoming polluted. Our air is becoming toxic. The land and the food that it produces are poisoned and abused with chemicals.
When we stop and consider what is going on, when we take off our blinders and really look at the world’s condition, it is quite a worrying scene that unfolds. And all to what end?
There is something that we must realize when we look at this world. John 17:15-16 states that while we are “in” the world, we must NOT be “of” the world. This is such a fine line that we walk. So how are we doing on that path?
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 that we are to be ambassadors for Christ. We are representatives of a different country, a different culture, a different way of living and, most importantly, a different mindset. Romans 8:14 tells us that as God’s children, we are to be led by the Spirit of God. In theory, this sounds good and probably gives us good intentions and some notions of motivation. But if we are truly honest with ourselves, our circumstances and our motivations, what is it that we truly convey? What is it that we truly are seeking after?
Having motivation and good ideas and intentions doesn’t produce results. We cannot confuse emotions and good motives with results. We can easily fool ourselves into thinking that we are good Christians. Hence, the mighty warning in the book of Revelation about those who are called Laodiceans. It is NOT enough to go half-heartedly through this Christian life. If we do, we will get tangled up (2 Peter 2:20). What actions, what goals, what prayers are reflecting our way of life? Are we discouraged with where we find ourselves? Do we look back and realize that while we may have thought we were giving it our all, we were in reality just doing enough to squeak by?
We read the encouraging Scriptures which tell us that WE CAN overcome and make it into God’s Kingdom, into which He Himself has called us. But the amount of effort and zeal we put into this is left up to us (Matthew 13:8-9). We should never think that God hasn’t called each of us for a reason. That main reason being, He knows we can accomplish it, because He has ordained us to be successful. Again, it is based on how much effort we put in. Like anything in life, effort we put in affects what we will get out of it. If one’s attitude is negative, angry, self-serving, jealous, hateful, unkind and unmerciful, then that is what will be reaped (compare Romans 6:20-21).
When we really believe what the Bible has to say—meaning, when we stop fooling ourselves and really dig in and set our minds towards obedience, then that is when progress comes, both in our spiritual and physical life. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that when Christians seek God, turn from their evil ways and are obedient, then God forgives and heals, and then He is willing to hear our prayers. And what power comes from those prayers! In Mark 11:24 we find a mind-boggling example of how we should be praying. Jeremiah 33:3 reiterates God’s own words for us, as it is rendered in the New International Version: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Such an amazing opportunity and calling that is ours, individually and collectively!
Finally, we would encourage every reader to study Romans, chapter 12; to put his or her name in there; and to see where our lives stack up in comparison to what Paul is saying. Let’s make it personal. Because in the end, it is each of us who is personally responsible to God. We can continue being miserable because of sin or we can do the hard work NOW and reap happiness and a much better outcome in the future.
by Norbert Link
We begin with reports on the revived desire of the Trump administration to conduct a summit with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un on June 12. At the same time, the White House announced that it will implement high tariffs on Chinese goods.
Turning to Europe, we report on American Imposition of Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on the EU (please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Trade War Coming? US Imposes Tariffs on Europe.”);the growing influence of right-wing populists in Germany and Italy; the resulting chaos in Italy; and the ensuing blame game. We also address Austria’s controversial contemplated measures against immigrants. We are publishing an article about Europe’s contemplated future, and we continue speaking on European institutions supporting anti-Israeli terrorists, and the unprecedented nightmare of the new European Data “Protection” Law.
We point out Ireland’s electorate vote to legalize abortions; the proposal to purge “Christianity” from Prince Charles’ future Coronation Ceremony; and the Pope’s contradictory messages on homosexuality.
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
US Summit with North Korea—Off and On?
ABC News wrote on May 29:
“President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that a high level North Korean official [Kim Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea] is heading to the U.S. for meetings [including with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] surrounding a potential revival of the June 12 Singapore summit with leader Kim Jong Un. The announcement comes a day after the White House described the summit as ‘expected’ in a readout of a call between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe… The White House said Tuesday that Trump will meet with Abe on June 7 at the White House.”
Breitbart wrote on May 29: “The White House also confirmed that National Security Adviser John Bolton continues to speak frequently with South Korean and Japanese officials about the proposed summit.”
It is very likely that North and South Korea will unite in the future, and that a united Korea will become part of a Far Eastern anti-European coalition, including countries such as China, Russia and Japan.
Tariff on $50 Billion Worth of Chinese Goods
The Week wrote on May 29:
“The White House confirmed Tuesday that it will be going forward with the implementation of heavy tariffs on Chinese imports next month following weeks of concern that doing so might spark a trade war. Some $50 billion in imported goods will be subject to the 25 percent tariff, with a finalized list of goods expected by June 15.
“The U.S. also plans to restrict China’s access to American technology, with the administration citing national security concerns. Trade negotiations between the nations are ongoing…”
This will make China very unhappy, and anti-American sentiments will rise.
Trade War Coming? US to Impose Steel, Aluminum Tariffs on EU, Canada, Mexico
AFP wrote on May 31:
“The United States said Thursday it will impose harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports [25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum] from the European Union, Canada, Mexico at midnight—another move sure to anger Washington’s trading partners. [Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross said talks with the EU had failed…
“French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned before the announcement that the EU would take ‘all necessary measures’ if the US imposed the tariffs… German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU would respond in a ‘firm and united’ manner to the tariffs.”
Chancellor Merkel also said: ‘We consider this unilateral measure to be unlawful.” The EU has threatened to retaliate by imposing tariffs worth up to $3.3 billion on Harley-Davidson motorbikes, blue jeans, bourbon whiskey, orange juice and peanut butter. President Trump announced that he would “respond” to the EU if that was to happen.
The Associated Press wrote on May 31:
“Besides the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, the Trump administration is also investigating possible limits on foreign cars in the name of national security…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 31:
“Mexico was the first country hit by the tariffs to announce its response. The country’s Economy Ministry said that it would put penalties on US products including steel sheets, lamps, pork leg and shoulder, sausages, apples, grapes and different types of cheese…
“In a joint statement, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko said the tariffs would ‘cause serious turmoil in the global market and could lead to the demise of the multilateral trading system.’
“On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech at the OECD on the matter, where he warned about the consequences of a trade war…
“The imposition of tariffs comes at a time of high tension between Europe and the US…”
The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 31:
“President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union marks a new low in deteriorating trans-Atlantic relations… it offers another sign that the U.S. administration has broken with decades of American policy by playing down European ties.
“The tariffs are particularly painful for European leaders because the U.S. and EU together built the World Trade Organization three decades ago to promote and regulate free trade… the U.S. and EU had operated as peers on trade. Now the two camps could be headed for a trade war with unpredictable consequences, European officials warned…
“Trans-Atlantic relations are worsening as the EU faces financial pressure from political chaos in Italy, which has prompted fears of a renewed euro crisis…”
Ars Technica wrote on May 31:
“US President Donald Trump wants to escalate his trade war to include a total ban on German luxury cars, says a report in WirtschaftsWoche. According to the German publication, which says its report results from talking to several unnamed US and European diplomats, during French President Macron’s recent visit to Washington, Trump told him that he would ‘maintain his trade policy until no Mercedes models rolled on Fifth Avenue in New York.’
“WirtschaftsWoche’s article points out that just prior to his inauguration in 2017, Trump railed against the Mercedes-Benz vehicles he saw in New York.
“The US market is extremely important for luxury German automakers, and a ban on importing new vehicles would be devastating for brands like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz…”
Please view our new StandingWatch program, “Trade War Coming? US Imposes Tariffs on Europe.”
The Far Right vs. the Far Left in Berlin, Germany
The Associated Press wrote on May 27:
“Supporters of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party marched through central Berlin to protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government Sunday, and were kept away from a raft of counter-demonstrations by a heavy police presence.
“Police said over 5,000 people turned out for the demonstration organized by the anti-migration Alternative for Germany, known by its German acronym AfD. A variety of counter-protests against the far right attracted well over 25,000 people in total, they said.
“The AfD event opened with German flags, placards such as ‘No Islam in Germany’ and chants of ‘Merkel must go’ outside Berlin’s central train station. The party’s supporters then marched to the landmark Brandenburg Gate. Opponents chanted ‘Nazis out’ from the other side of the monument… About 2,000 police officers were in place to prevent trouble, including reinforcements from other parts of Germany. The march concluded without significant trouble.
“AfD won 12.6 percent of the vote to enter Germany’s national parliament last year on anti-migrant and anti-establishment sentiment. It is now the largest of four opposition parties after the country’s two biggest parties finally agreed to continue a centrist ‘grand coalition’ under Merkel earlier this year.”
Even though the demonstrations were more or less peaceful at this time, they remind us of the violent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations of the right and the left before Hitler rose to power in Germany.
More Chaos in Italy
The New York Times wrote on May 29:
“Italy’s quiet, white-haired president, Sergio Mattarella, emerged as the most contentious figure in Italian and European politics. His refusal to confirm a euroskeptic economist as a government minister set off the collapse of a populist coalition hours before it was expected to take control of the European Union’s fourth largest economy.
“Mr. Mattarella’s defenders hailed him as the courageous protector of Italy’s democracy, institutions and financial health, while fuming populists sought to make the usually revered figure of the Italian head of state the country’s public enemy No. 1. They called for his impeachment…
“It was Mr. Mattarella’s loyalty to the euro that prompted the 11th-hour collapse of the nascent government of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League. He determined that the alliance’s proposed economy minister, Paolo Savona, the co-author of a guide to leaving the eurozone, could lead Italy to abandon the euro without sufficient public debate, being that the parties maintained vague and shifting positions on the issue during the campaign leading up to the March 4 elections.
“But in deliberately forcing a new election over the euro, which a majority of Italians say they support, the usually careful and measured Mr. Mattarella expressly put an explosive issue with the potential of transforming Europe front and center…
“Mr. Berlusconi, the former prime minister… also gave his support to Mr. Mattarella, saying the Five Star Movement was ‘irresponsible as always, talking about impeachment.’”
Coalition Agreement Reached?
The Telegraph wrote on May 31:
“Italy’s populist parties finally reached a deal to form a coalition government on Thursday evening after nearly three months of political deadlock… After days of intensive negotiations, the anti-immigrant, hard-Right League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement ironed out their differences.
“The prospect of Western Europe’s first populist, Eurosceptic government will unnerve Brussels and could lead to further turmoil on financial markets, not just in Europe but around the world. Both parties are deeply Eurosceptic and have flirted with the idea of ditching the euro as Italy’s currency, although in the 24 hours before the breakthrough they had been at pains to deny that that was one of their objectives…”
No matter what will happen next, Italy will not abandon the euro or leave the EU.
It’s All Germany’s Fault
Handelsblatt Global wrote on May 28:
“Italy’s populists, angry at being thwarted in their attempt to form a government, have been quick to assign the blame: It’s all the Germans’ fault. After President Sergio Mattarella vetoed their choice for finance minister and put the country on the path to new elections, the populist parties seemed certain to make Germany’s dominance in Europe a campaign issue…
“The caricature of the ugly German matched that of the lazy Italian, which ran through the German media in the past few days as the populists were on the verge of taking power with a plan to provide fiscal stimulus to Italy’s ailing economy. Newsweekly Der Spiegel ran a story titled ‘The moochers of Rome,’ casting Germany as the generous provider of funds to an ungrateful nation of deadbeats…
“Even a normally moderate commentator, Federico Fubini at Corriere della Sera, lit out against the Germans. ‘And this Germany, in the way it thrashes through Europe, is once again the de facto best ally and the greatest gift for the anti-Europeans of Italy.’ He proceeds to catalog once again Germany’s own infractions of EU rules, from its excessive current account surplus to its government aid for banks…
“Markets at first breathed a sigh of relief when the president rejected Mr. Savona. But the naming of Mr. Cottarelli, virtually a provocation in the current political environment, brought new agitation. The euro fell to a six-month low…
“Italy is in a political quandary with little hope of a quick resolution. In Brussels, too, the initial relief at dodging the bullet of a Euro-skeptic finance minister quickly gave way to concern that Mr. Mattarella’s move had fueled anti-European feeling in Italy. The perception is that pressure from Germany and France motivated the president’s rejection of Mr. Savona. But there is little evidence to back this claim…
“The growing worry in Brussels, as in Berlin, is that Italian voters would increase their support for the populist parties out of protest against perceived foreign interference.”
A comparison with the events in Germany and Italy under Hitler and Mussolini is compelling. Then, as now, Germany was the dominant force within the alliance.
Austria Wants to Fight Illegal Immigrants in Their Home Countries
The Associated Press reported on May 27:
“Austria’s chancellor says European border guards should be allowed to go to north Africa to prevent migrants from setting off across the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats. Austria will take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in July. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s governing coalition took office in December after a campaign in which both partners talked tough on migration.
“Kurz told Sunday’s edition of German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that a new mandate for EU border protection agency Frontex should allow it ‘to act in third countries, with the permission of their governments, to end smugglers’ dirty business model and prevent smugglers’ boats setting off on the dangerous route across the Mediterranean.”
Austria Discriminates against Non-German Speaking Foreigners
The EUObserver wrote on May 29:
“Austria’s conservative led government announced on Monday plans to cap minimum welfare payments for non-German speaking immigrants, including refugees, at €563 a month, but with the perspective of reaching the Austrian normal level of €863, provided they passed a German test. The test itself costs €1,000.
“The move brings Austria into conflict with European Union rules requiring EU citizens to be treated equally.”
The controversial measures of Austria’s young chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, find more and more supporters inside and outside Austria.
Europe to Lead without the USA
The website of thecorner published the following interesting article on May 25, 2018.
The article was written by Israel Rafalovich, a “journalist based in Brussels who has over 50 years of experience in Tel Aviv, Brussels, Bonn and Washington, DC.”:
“Things have changed on the international political stage, and the European in particular, which gives the European Union an unprecedented opportunity to mould and shape its own military and foreign policy in a way that makes it possible for the EU to deal with crisis on the European continent and elsewhere without American interference. A key lesson is that the EU has to be the one to call the shots in matters of security, foreign policy as well as the economy…
“NATO is a relic of the past and no new ‘strategic concept’ can revive the irrelevance of NATO… Today, more then ever before, the European Union must take responsibility for its security interests in a way that will result in defence integration and reinforce defence cooperation amongst EU member states.
“Is should be the EU’s assertion of sovereignty that its security is better assured by a dominating European Union and it should seek to become a serious counterpart for the United States.
“The unity among EU member states is a fundamental condition for the EU Security System to be successful… Mistrust of the United States runs deep in EU quarters and the European Union has to decide to what extent and what forum, if at all, the United States should remain politically and militarily engaged…
“EU member states should be working more forcefully for the creation of the new sovereign EU army under combined EU command and control, that will be a capable and powerful military force… They will also have to be ready to contribute to a EU military coalition in time of need according to their capabilities, and they will need to find ways to share resources or buy equipment together…
“If the ability to project force is now a sign of an independent EU foreign and security policy, then the EU has at last to get bolder and more resolute in its action. It is also an opportunity for the EU as well as a challenge to be able to walk alone on the international stage without American crutches. The EU is needed on the international stage and should play a decisive role in calming conflicts, and should become a counter balance to the United States on the world stage.”
The author expresses what many leaders in Europe think without perhaps expressing it in such drastic terms. But the Bible prophesies that this is exactly what is going to happen in Europe very soon.
EU Institutions Support Anti-Israeli Terrorists
Newsmax wrote on May 27:
“European Union institutions have given millions of euros annually to non-governmental organizations with ties to Palestinian terrorist groups and that support boycotts of Israel, according to Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs and public diplomacy.
“Examples include Norwegian People’s Aid, which received 1.76 million euros in EU aid in 2016, Erdan said in a 40-page report issued Friday. The group carried out a project with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is classified as a terrorist group by the EU and U.S. The Norwegian group also provided services to Iran’s energy sector, Erdan said. It was fined $2 million in April by the U.S. Department of Justice because of the links…
“More than a dozen organizations that promote anti-Israel boycotts have together received 5 million euros annually from the EU, the report says.”
Even though the EU gives lip service objecting to such support, and the accused organizations try to explain away their conduct, the facts speak for themselves, and they are very disturbing.
The European Data Protection Law—an Unprecedented Nightmare
Handelsblatt Global wrote on May 25, 2018:
“After thousands of amendments, the European project has finally become a law. And, wow, what a law: The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Yet instead of clarity, the four letters create a lot of question marks. Companies have been complaining that their IT departments have been clogged up for months in preparation for the new rules. Freelancers are considering closing semi-private blogs. And even wedding photographers wonder who they can still photograph without having to fear cease-and-desist letters.
“A hopeless mess with plenty to share the blame… we have a law where it’s unclear whether users need permission to store information from other people’s business cards in their mobile phones… How is a freight forwarder behaving when he stores travel times and movement data about his own vehicles on his computer – is he violating his employees’ privacy? What are accountants, who’ve always informed their clients about current developments via e-mail, now allowed to do? Even law firms are unclear about the law. And doctor’s offices: Will they also need a data protection officer because they deal with sensitive data? Unclear.
“The GDPR… will… become a huge burden for the small ones: for companies with a few dozen employees, a server in the basement, but without a compliance department. A Bitkom survey shows that only 9 percent of startups have successfully implemented the GDPR due to a lack of resources… The law is too bureaucratic and does not answer the important questions ahead…
“… even internet firms in America, Asia and elsewhere have to abide by the new rules if they have European customers, or risk huge fines… the lawmakers overshot disastrously… this week they hit hundreds of thousands of small family firms. These are businesses with only a few employees that need to keep and manage some data about their customers…
“So here we are, like you, feeling confused and overwhelmed. We have given up reading the new privacy notices…”
This is a horrible indictment of harmful and incompetent conduct by European bureaucrats.
“No Need to Be Concerned…?”
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 25:
“The new EU data protection law taking effect May 25 has many small companies worried. But EU Commissioner Vera Jourova stresses that there is no need to panic – authorities will focus on watching the digital giants…
“‘If a company does not process data as its core business, if they do not sell the data and make money with the privacy of people, they will just have to make minimal changes. The data protection authorities will focus mostly on the most risky businesses… We have the law in place. We have the authorities with the power to sanction violations and we have companies and institutions which are aware of these rules…’”
On the surface, such “assurance” sounds good and comforting for smaller businesses (even though the statement that the EU will focus MOSTLY on digital giants and risky businesses should give pause for alarm), but the truth is altogether different anyhow. Note the next article.
A new EU Body Created Just to enforce the Data Protection Law
The EUObserver wrote on May 25:
“The European Data Protection Board is a new EU body tasked with enforcing the EU’s privacy laws with powers to impose massive fines. Its head Andrea Jelinek told reporters complaints against companies are expected to be immediate…
“Andrea Jelinek, a former Austrian police chief, will be in charge of coordinating enforcement of the EU’s general data protection rules as of Friday (25 May) – in a move that has rattled companies worldwide. Jelinek chairs a new EU body known as the European data protection board or EDPB which coordinates all the national data protection authorities in a bid to ensure European rights to privacy are uniformly respected throughout member states…”
This gives us a foretaste as to how it will be when the mark of the beast is enforced on all citizens of Europe… and elsewhere.
Ireland To Legalize Abortions
The Guardian wrote on May 26:
“Ireland has voted by a landslide to legalise abortion in a stunning outcome that marks a dramatic defeat for the Catholic church’s one-time domination of the Republic. The Irish electorate voted by 1,429,981 votes to 723,632 in favour of abolishing a controversial constitutional amendment that gave equal legal status to the lives of a foetus and the woman carrying it. The result was a two-thirds majority: 66.4% yes to 33.6% no.
“By voting yes in unexpectedly large numbers to abolish the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, the country has enabled the government in Dublin to introduce abortion in Ireland’s health service up to 12 weeks into pregnancy… The eighth amendment – article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution – which prohibited abortion, will be replaced with a clause stating: ‘Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.’
“… The prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said he wanted the new law to be enacted by the end of the year. Between 12 and 24 weeks, abortion will be available only in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, a risk to a woman’s life or a risk of serious harm to the health of the mother. After 24 weeks, termination will be possible in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. There will be provision for conscientious objection among medical practitioners, although doctors will be obliged to transfer care of the pregnant woman to another doctor…
“Victory for the yes side means that the only part of the United Kingdom and Ireland where abortion remains banned in almost all circumstances is Northern Ireland…”
Human life begins with conception. Abortion violates God’s sixth commandment against murder.
“Will Christianity Be Ditched When Prince Charles Becomes King?”
CBN News wrote on May 24:
“A new report from a leading UK think tank argues that Christianity should be reduced or purged from Prince Charles’ future Coronation Ceremony. Prince Charles is next in line to the throne and will be the first king in decades after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Before that happens, University College London’s Constitution Unit, says the coronation ceremony should cut back on its overtly Christian rituals for the sake of progress. ‘The UK is no longer a global or a colonial power. Celebration will therefore need to reflect what the UK has become rather than what it once was,’ the report said. ‘… a wholly Anglican coronation service is no longer capable of reflecting or responding to modern British society.’
“The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who anoints the Monarch with oil, administers communion, and leads them in pledging their obedience to God in a series of Oaths. In the Oaths the monarch affirms he or she is a ‘faithful Protestant,’ and will preserve the church. The Constitution Unit says this needs to change, noting that half of the UK’s population has ‘no religious affiliation.’ The report suggests that a separate non-Christian ceremony could take place at Westminster Hall to honor Britain’s religious diversity…
“It is yet to be seen how Prince Charles’ coronation ceremony will proceed, especially since it is the first one the country will see in more than 50 years. While Prince Charles has been quiet about his own personal relationship with God, he has been a strong advocate of the persecuted Church.”
Even though the current Coronation Ceremony does not reflect TRUE Christianity, it is still remarkable that voices propose to abandon any reference to Christianity because of Britain’s modern unchristian society.
The Pope’s Contradictory Messages on Homosexuality
Christianity Today wrote on May 25:
“Pope Francis has warned Italian bishops to be wary of priesthood applicants suspected of having homosexual tendencies… ‘Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open,’ the pope said, according to the Vatican Insider service of Italian newspaper La Stampa. ‘If in doubt, better not let them enter.’
“The remarks were reportedly made at a closed-door gathering at the Vatican on Monday, opening the 71st general assembly of the Italian bishops’ conference. The pontiff reportedly called for ‘careful discernment’ of seminary applicants, including caution about those with ‘deep seated tendencies’ or who ‘practise homosexual acts’. These tendencies could lead to scandal, compromising both the priest and the Church, he said.
“The pope’s reported comments were confirmed by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, in a press conference yesterday… They appear to affirm the traditional Catholic teaching that practising homosexuals should not be admitted to the priesthood.
“The remarks will be seen by some as an attempt by Pope Francis to appease conservatives agitated by widely publicised comments the pope has been reported as saying, such as when he told a gay Chilean man who had suffered clerical sex abuse that God loved him the way he had made him…
“In now-famous remarks on his first overseas trip in 2013… Pope Francis said: ‘If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?’ In 2016 he said that ‘when a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say: “Go away because you are homosexual.”‘
Pope Francis is always good for surprises, and one never knows what his position is on any given subject—or how long it will be maintained. His prior comments on homosexuality were controversial for sure, in light of the Catholic Church’s official teaching, but now it seems that he is backpedaling to appease the strong conservative fold in the Vatican. One wonders what his TRUE position is on the issue.
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.
Would you please explain Daniel 12:4, stating that “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase”?
Surprisingly perhaps, there are different explanations given by Bible commentaries for this phrase, and all seem to have some validity.
Let us read Daniel 12:3-4, realizing that the context refers to the time of or close to the great tribulation (verse 1) and the resurrection (verse 2):
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Also, verses 9-10: “And he [the angel] said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.”
One explanation of the phrase, “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase,” refers to the unique worldwide travel in the end time with cars, buses, trains and airplanes, as well as the increase of physical knowledge (e.g., how to build an airplane and rockets, sending people into space and to the moon and back). Note, for instance, that the New Living Translation renders this phrase as follows: “But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.” The GOD’S WORD Translation says: “But you, Daniel, keep these words secret, and seal the book until the end times. Many will travel everywhere, and knowledge will grow.”
The Living Bible translates or interprets verse 4 as follows: “But Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal it up so that it will not be understood until the end times, when travel and education shall be vastly increased.”
There are several explanations for this understanding. First, while it says in Daniel 12:4 that knowledge will increase, we read another end time prophecy in the book of Hosea that the knowledge of God is lacking, and so, the argument goes, the knowledge in Daniel 12 cannot refer to godly spiritual knowledge, but must address physical knowledge. Hosea 4:1, 6 reads: “Hear the word of the LORD, You children of Israel, For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land… My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest for Me…”
The Hebrew word for “knowledge” is “daath” and can indeed refer to physical knowledge as well as spiritual knowledge. Even though it is mostly describing godly knowledge, it can also refer to the knowledge of man being cut off from God, as they are eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Note Jeremiah 10:14 in the Authorized Version: “Every man is brutish in his knowledge.”)
In addition, the phrase “run to and fro” (Hebrew: “shut“) can refer to travel or movement from one physical place to another. For instance, we read in Jeremiah 5:1: “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem… If you can find a man… who executes judgment, Who seeks the truth, And I will pardon her…”
Also, note this end time prophecy in Amos 8:12: “They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; they shall run to and fro seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it.”
Another reference can be found to the “eyes of the LORD” (angelic beings) who “run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chronicles 16:9). A parallel passage can be found in Zechariah 5:10 in the Authorized Version.
The Hebrew phrase “shut” is also used in 2 Samuel 24:2, 8 (“go throughout” and “go through” the land of Israel); Numbers 11:8 (they “went about” and gathered the manna); and Job 1:7; 2:2 (Satan “goes to and fro” on the earth and walks back and forth on it); as well as in Ezekiel 27:8 (“mariner”) and in Ezekiel 27:26 (“rower”).
We can see that in all these places where the Hebrew word “shut” is used, some kind of physical movement is being referred to. The German Pattloch Bible states: “Many will roam searching, and the thirst for knowledge will be great.”
However, most commentaries and Bible renditions convey the thought that the reference in Daniel 12:4 is not to travel and physical knowledge, but to the searching of the Scriptures and the gaining of spiritual knowledge. The thought is that people—the wise—will go to and fro in the Scriptures, searching them daily to see whether the things are so (compare Acts 17:11), and thereby increasing in godly knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).
For instance, Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers states: “The verb ‘to run’ [in “run to and fro”] is used in Jeremiah 5:1 of searching after knowledge. In this sense it is used of ‘the eyes of the Lord’ (Zechariah 4:10; comp. Amos 8:12). In the same sense it is used in this verse. Many will anxiously search in this book for knowledge of the manner of God’s dealings with His people, and will derive comfort and understanding therefrom.”
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary agrees, pointing out:
“run to and fro—not referring to the modern rapidity of locomotion, as some think, nor to Christian missionaries going about to preach the Gospel to the world at large…, which the context scarcely admits; but, whereas now but few care for this prophecy of God, ‘at the time of the end,’ that is, near its fulfilment, ‘many shall run to and fro,’ that is, scrutinize it, running through every page. Compare Hab[akuk] 2:2…: it is thereby that ‘the knowledge (namely, of God’s purposes as revealed in prophecy) shall be increased’. This is probably being now fulfilled.”
The commentary of Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges seems to agree as well, stating:
“A famous passage… interpreted… as signifying that the complete exploration of the world… would coincide with great discoveries in science… This explanation of the words is, however, unhappily, too foreign to their context to be probable. But it must be admitted that the words are enigmatic… the sense generally given to the passage is that many will then run to and fro in the book, i.e. diligently explore and study it, and so the knowledge of God’s providential purposes, to be obtained from it… will be increased.”
This understanding is adopted by most German translations. The revised Luther Bible of 1984 states that “many will search in it (the book), and that they will find great knowledge.” The Zuercher Bible, the Menge Bible and the Schlachter Bible state that “many will search in it, and so knowledge will grow” or “increase.”
This understanding makes a lot of sense, when reviewing the context. We are informed that the book is sealed until the end, but then the wise will be purified and understand. In this context, the phrase “many will run to and fro” and “knowledge shall increase,” might very well refer to the searching of the Scriptures (running to and fro through the books of the Bible, and finding passages, here a little and there a little, which open up the understanding of the reader, compare Isaiah 28:9-10). This conclusion is not in conflict with the passages, previously cited, that the nation is destroyed for lack of knowledge, or that people will try, unsuccessfully, to hear or comprehend the Word of God. While unconverted people, being cut off from God, will not understand, those whom God has called and whom He is opening their minds, WILL understand.
This conclusion is not in conflict with the fact either that in the end time, there will be a falling away from the Truth. First of all, in order to fall away from the Truth, one has had to know the Truth first. (Also compare Daniel 11:33-35). Then, we read that after the time of the falling away has occurred, 144,000 Israelites and a great multitude of Gentiles will be sealed by God on their foreheads, having the name of their Father written on their foreheads (Revelation 7:3-4; 14:1). They will become worthy of protection from the plagues of the Day of the Lord, which will begin approximately one year prior to the return of Christ.
There is still a third way in which the phrase in Daniel 12:4 has been rendered and understood. The revised Luther Bible of 2017 translates: “Many will wander around (in the sense of, walking around in error, “herumirren” in German), and wickedness will increase.” The Elberfelder Bible states that the rendition “wickedness will increase” is due to a “change” of the text.
The commentary of Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges explains:
“The text, it must be owned, is open to suspicion. Prof. Bevan making a slight change… in a sense suggested by the LXX., obtains the rendering ‘many shall run to and fro (viz. in distraction), and evils (calamities) shall be increased.”
However, the Septuagint or LXX, the earliest extant Greek translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew, does not state, “evils,” in the sense of “calamities,” but “wickedness [or evil] shall increase.”
This general understanding is not unbiblical, as Jesus Christ warned that in the end time, just prior to His return, “lawlessness will abound,” and “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). In the end-time prophecy of Joel 3:13, we read that “their wickedness is great.” In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul gives a striking description of this present evil world (Galatians 1:4) and the end-time conditions of evil people and their wicked doings. Compare also Revelation 9:20-21; 11:18; 16:4-11. As it was in the time of Noah, when wickedness was great on the earth, so it will be again in the days of Christ’s coming (cp. Matthew 24:37-39 with Genesis 6:5, 11-13).
Daniel 12:4 shows, in context, that the Bible is a LIVING book. ALL of these different attempts to comprehend the meaning of this passage make sense to those who search in and believe the Bible and who KNOW their God and God’s Word. These different interpretations do not contradict each other (cp. John 10:35), but they complement each other in the spirit of biblical understanding.
It is undoubtedly true that in these end times, people travel a lot from one end of the earth to the other and that their physical knowledge has tremendously increased in comparison to earlier generations. It has been rightly said that this world is a world of awesome progress and appalling evils.
It is also true that while the gospel of the Kingdom of God is being preached as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14), those who are called by God respond and search the Scriptures to see whether these things are so, and, in the process, their spiritual knowledge increases.
Finally, it is true that while those drawn by God respond and become wise, others will reject the Truth, and wickedness and evil will increase on the earth. In fact, if Jesus Christ would not intervene and stop man’s madness and desire for destruction through nuclear and biological/chemical weapons, no flesh would be saved alive; everyone on this earth would die in a coming horrible World War, but for the elect’s sake—the chosen ones and the wise—Christ WILL intervene to shorten those days (Matthew 24:22).
As God is alive, so is His Word—the Bible. It is truly worthwhile and greatly rewarding to study it deeply.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new Member Letter (June 2018) has been written by Brian Gale (United Kingdom). In this letter, Mr. Gale poignantly reminds us of the ingratitude which so characterizes our society—with a further caution that Christians must not take our blessings for granted.
“Trade War Coming? US Imposes Tariffs on Europe,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
The US is imposing harsh tariffs on European steel and aluminum. A total American ban on German luxury cars is also being investigated. The Europeans are furious and threaten with retaliation by imposing tariffs on American products. We have reached a new low of the deteriorating trans-Atlantic relationship. A trade war with unpredictable consequences could be on the horizon. Voices demand the creation of a “sovereign EU army” which would be independent from NATO or the USA.
“Kommt ein Handelskrieg? Amerikanische Strafzölle für Europa!” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. This video covers the same topic as described above.
“Netanyahu’s Announcement of a Third Temple?”, the recent StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link, has received an exceptional response on YouTube—with views already over 50,000. Three booklets were offered on this program: The Book of Zachariah-Prophecies for Today; Is That In the Bible? Mysteries of the Book of Revelation; and, The Fall and Rise of the Jewish People.
“Der Prophet Elia in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft, Teil 1,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Present and the Future, Part 1.”
“Your report Card,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We who have been called by God are being judged for eternal life—are we doing the things we must?
“Is Feeling Believing?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Most forms of religion focus on the importance of personal feelings as part of worshiping. Political and social beliefs are increasingly falling into this same mode of thinking. While our emotional state is important in how we relate to God, we must take care to not let it override our decision making process.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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