June 8, 2018
Renewal of Your Mind; God or Man? – Part 2
On June 9, 2018, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Renewal of Your Mind,” and Michael Link will present the sermon, titled, “God or Man? – Part 2.
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Changing the World
by Rene Messier (Canada)
There is a lot of talk about making the world a better place, but the reality is that under Satan’s tutelage and administration, this world is not going to get better. Rather, it is heading for complete and utter annihilation.
Matthew 24:22 tells us: “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
THIS LOOKS LIKE A PRETTY GRIM OUTCOME FOR MANKIND. Is there any hope FOR US?
We know that the only viable and enduring solution lies in the return of Jesus Christ to end the madness of man’s rule and to put Satan away for a long duration of time, to give some relief from his negative influence on this world.
When this has occurred, we read about the conditions in the Millennium in the book of Isaiah: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2-4).
These are encouraging Scriptures and should inspire us to maintain our zeal to complete the Work we have been given to accomplish, prior to Christ’s return. The end of war is just one aspect of the changes we will help to bring about in the future. We can also see that the worship of God will be established, including keeping the Sabbath and the Holy Days. Wanting to be taught God’s ways in the above Scripture in the book of Isaiah includes worshipping Him in the prescribed manner, as outlined in Leviticus 23.
It is really important for us to remain faithful to our calling and see the present job through, since we will have such a positive powerful impact on the world in the future. As sons and daughters of God, we will be able to really make enduring positive changes to this world.
Our training now will eventually qualify us to be involved in this worldwide effort to implement the changes to truly make the world a better place. Paul expressed the current situation and looked to a future solution in Romans 8:20-23:
“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption [better: sonship], the redemption of our body.”
Notice, the creation will be delivered from the bondage of Satan. And it groans and labors with birth pangs, awaiting the arrival of the firstfruits of those in the first resurrection to change this current evil world. Let’s ensure we are up to the task in remaining faithful to the end. The world desperately needs us.
by Norbert Link
We begin with reporting on NATO’s refusal to help Israel in case of an Iranian attack; and the divide between Israel and Europe, especially Germany. Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “NATO: No Protection for Israel.”
We continue with the ongoing fight between the USA and the EU, Canada and Mexico regarding the imposition of tariffs (please view our StandingWatch program, titled, “Trade War Coming? US Imposes Tariffs on Europe”; and continue with events pertaining to the upcoming US summit with North Korea on June 12.
We address outrageous and disturbing statements by President Trump’s former and present attorneys in respect to an American President’s legal accountability for criminal wrongdoing; and address the controversial and hypocritical conduct of many Evangelicals towards Donald Trump.
We speak about a narrow US Supreme Court decision upholding the religious rights of a baker who had refused to prepare a wedding cake for a gay couple, and quote an article about openly gay US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, and his appreciation for the support of gay rights by Donald Trump, Mike Pence and John Bolton. We continue with the uproar caused in Germany by Mr. Grenell regarding his alleged comments to empower Europe’s right-wing governments.
We address another uproar caused in Germany by comments of one of the leaders of Germany’s far-right AfD party regarding the Nazi era; and address the viewpoints of Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz regarding the future of Europe; as well as the controversial position of Austrian leaders towards Russia.
We focus on the new governments of Italy and Spain and the “re-elected” government of Egypt; and we conclude with a Canadian Supreme Court decision, holding that courts do not have the jurisdiction to review doctrinal decisions of churches, such as the expulsion of members.
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
NATO: No Help for Israel
WallStreet Online wrote on June 2:
“In light of growing tension in the Middle East due to Trump’s cancellation of the Iran deal, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg made clear that Israel could not rely on protection from NATO in case of an Iranian attack. ‘Israel is our partner, but not a member of NATO. The guarantee for protection of Article 5 does not apply to Israel,’ Stoltenberg said to Der Spiegel.”
The New Jerusalem Post added on June 2:
“In response to Stoltenberg’s announcement, Volker Beck – the German Green Party politician and former head of the German-Israel parliamentary group in the Bundestag – asked on Twitter: ‘That raises the question: What does this clarification mean for the security dialogue between NATO, EU, Germany and Israel?’”
Good question. NATO becomes more and more irrelevant for Israel and Europe, but would the EU intervene on behalf of Israel? View our new StandingWatch program, titled, “NATO: No Protection for Israel.”
Iran Vows Tenfold Response to Any Attack
The Times of Israel wrote on June 4:
“Iran’s top leader said Monday that anyone who fires one missile at his country ‘will be hit by 10’ in response… In a speech, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said he had ordered atomic authorities to increase the country’s nuclear enrichment capacity. The increase he detailed in his speech would not exceed limits set by the nuclear accord, which European countries have said they hope to salvage.
“In a series of tweets on Sunday, [he called] the Jewish state the ‘cancerous tumor’ of the region that must be ‘removed and eradicated.’”
According to some news outlets, Netanyahu responded to Iran’s announcement to increase nuclear enrichment activities that Israel was prepared to strike Iran. Further, news emerged this week that in 2011, Netanyahu had already ordered an attack on Iran within 15 days, but had later withdrawn the order.
Significant Differences between Germany and Israel
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 4:
“Israeli PM Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Germany comes at a politically turbulent time. Israel expert Peter Lintl sums up the divide between Europe and Israel: ‘Europeans have a hard time understanding Israelis… There are indeed significant differences. Germany believes that the nuclear agreement with Iran was a step in the right direction. Israel, on the other hand, says that the agreement offers Iran the opportunity to develop a nuclear bomb…
“‘Germany has rejected any suggestion of relocating embassies to Jerusalem based on the historical background that Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 declaring it the unified capital…’”
Deutsche Welle added on June 4:
“[In their meeting in Berlin on Monday, the] Israeli and German leaders may have stressed commonalities, but on Iran’s nuclear potential they’re miles apart… The two close allies are on diametrically opposite sides of this particular issue… Israel opposes the deal… It wants to see Germany cease doing business with Tehran…
“Fielding questions from reporters, Merkel said that Germany and Israel shared the goal of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons but disagreed on the means to that end. Merkel said that before the UN-sponsored deal Iran had been close to developing such weapons and that the deal would guarantee ‘more transparency.’ Netanyahu countered that the deal would give Iran permission to develop ‘unlimited’ amounts of enriched uranium in the future in return for not enriching uranium now. He said that was unacceptable.
“Netanyahu… was keen to stress that ‘radical Islam’ was the greatest danger faced by the world today and said that Iran continued to call for Israel’s destruction. He also claimed that Tehran intended to start a ‘religious war’ within the Islamic world, which he warned would lead to further masses of refugees who would try to flee to Europe — a pointed reference to the issue that is widely regarded as Merkel’s Achilles heel…”
Even though the article states that Germany and Israel are “close allies,” this manifests itself as a misconception when digging deeper. And the relationship between Israel and Germany, as well as Europe, will further deteriorate.
EU, Mexico and Canada Retaliate Against Trump’s Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
Reuters reported on June 1:
“Canada, Mexico and the European Union retaliated against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum with levies on billions of dollars of U.S. goods from orange juice and whiskey to blue jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The EU took the United States to the World Trade Organization to challenge the legality of the new tariffs and the Trump administration’s national-security justification…
“President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Washington’s closest allies drew condemnation at home from Republican lawmakers and the country’s main business lobbying group and sent a chill through financial markets…
“Canada and Mexico, embroiled in talks with the United States to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), responded swiftly. Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the United States, will impose tariffs covering C$16.6 billion ($12.8 billion) on U.S. imports… ‘The American administration has made a decision today that we deplore, and obviously is going to lead to retaliatory measures, as it must,’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said…
“For the EU, a decision on just how far to push back will require agreement among the 28 member states that make up the world’s biggest trade bloc. Germany, by far the biggest exporter to the United States, is keen to avoid a wider trade war, especially as the Trump administration has floated the prospect of tariffs on cars. Other countries such as France favor more forceful retaliation against what they see as American bullying. EU members have so far given broad support to a European Commission plan to set duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of U.S. exports. EU exports subject to U.S. duties are worth 6.4 billion euros ($7.5 billion)…
“French President Emmanuel Macron telephoned Trump to tell him he believed the tariffs were both a mistake and illegal, his office said. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue warned in a letter to the body’s board that current trade policies could threaten economic progress and cause the loss of more than 2 million jobs, mostly in states that voted for Trump.”
The EU and Canada filed complaints with the WTO. But as Deutsche Welle wrote on June 1: “The European Commission is hopping mad, and it’s ready to fight back… [But] US President Donald Trump has already signaled his country would withdraw from the World Trade Organization, should it side with the EU in its ruling [which might take months to be rendered anyhow]. In other words, Europeans shouldn’t pin too much hope on the WTO.”
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in an interview that he finds it “insulting and unacceptable” that Canada would be described by President Trump as a threat to or a security risk for the USA. “FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has launched a furious attack on Donald Trump, warning his decision to impose trade tariffs on the EU is illegal and could lead to war” (Express, dated May 31).
“Trump Refuses to Back Down as EU and Canada Hit Back”
The Independent wrote on June 1:
“The decision by the Trump administration to finally impose the 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminum weeks after they were announced has sparked outrage among some of Washington’s staunchest allies with Theresa May saying: ‘The EU and UK should be permanently exempted from tariffs’ and she is ‘deeply disappointed at the unjustified decision by the US.’…
“Germany’s Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automaker, warned that the decision could start a trade war that no side would win… The European Union and China have already said they will deepen ties on trade and investment as a result of the move to impose steel and aluminum tariffs…”
USA Being Attacked by G7 Finance Leaders
Reuters reported on June 1:
“The United States’ closest allies attacked the Trump administration on Friday for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and mounted challenges with the world’s top trade body, fouling the mood at a G7 finance leaders meeting…
“Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso… called the U.S. action ‘deeply deplorable.’… Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that the tariffs were ‘imposed under a false pretext of safeguarding U.S. national security.’…”
The media spoke about the G7 meeting as 6 vs. 1.
US Summit with North Korea Set Again for June 12
The Sun wrote on June 1:
“PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s historic summit with Kim Jong-un is back on after he met with a North Korean envoy at the White House [on Friday]. It comes after a letter from Kim Jong-un was today passed onto the US President, which he described as ‘very nice’ and ‘very interesting’ [even though he said later in the same press conference that he had not read the letter]…
“Despite the upbeat message in the US, Kim Jong-un, in a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday, complained about the US trying to spread its influence in the region…
“Kim Yong Chol [was] the most senior North Korean visitor to the United States since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok visited Washington in 2000 to meet President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. That was the last time the two sides, which are technically at war, attempted to arrange a leadership summit. It was an effort that ultimately failed…
“Kim Yong Chol, [former North Korean spy chief and currently the] vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s central committee, was allowed into the United States despite being on a US sanctions list. And North Korean officials are not normally allowed to travel outside the New York area.”
Further, according to President Trump, North Korea’s atrocious human rights violations were not raised during the meeting, either.
More Nonsense from Giuliani and Trump’s Legal Team: “Trump Can Probably Pardon Himself”
ABC wrote on June 3:
“In an interview Sunday with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ‘This Week,’ Rudy Giuliani discussed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the president may have tried to obstruct justice in the probe of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. When Stephanopoulos asked if the president has the power to pardon himself, Giuliani said he ‘probably does.’ ‘He has no intention of pardoning himself,’ said Giuliani… But it is a ‘really interesting constitutional argument: “Can the president pardon himself?”’
“Giuliani added, ‘I think the political ramifications of that would be tough…’
“Giuliani’s comments come on the heels of the publication of a 20-page letter sent to Mueller from Trump’s legal team earlier this year… The letter, dated Jan. 29, argues that, as president, Trump cannot be indicted, cannot be subpoenaed and could not be guilty of obstruction of justice due to his position as ‘chief law enforcement officer’…”
The Washington Post added on June 3:
“… while arguing that the president has the theoretical ability to pardon himself, Giuliani and other Trump allies on Sunday nonetheless rejected the reality of such a brash move — in part because of the political backlash they said could lead to Trump’s impeachment…
“The reality, however, is more nebulous. The Republican Party… has so far failed to assert any clear red line over which Trump could walk that would prompt them to take action against their party’s leader. And Republican lawmakers have remained largely silent as Trump has repeatedly gone to war with his Justice Department and the FBI, intentionally and routinely degrading public trust in the institutions tasked with holding him accountable for misbehavior…
“The president and his allies have long privately played out the strategy that burst into public view this weekend. As early as last summer, for instance, as Mueller’s probe dragged on, the president began asking advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself. His lawyers at the time discussed his pardoning powers as well…”
The Huffington Post added on June 3:
“President Donald Trump’s lawyer says Trump could shoot the FBI director in the Oval Office and still not be prosecuted for it. ‘In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,’ Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost Sunday… Giuliani said impeachment was the initial remedy for a president’s illegal behavior ― even in the extreme hypothetical case of Trump having shot former FBI Director James Comey to end the Russia investigation rather than just firing him…”
CNN wrote on June 4:
“President Donald Trump asserted Monday that he has the right to pardon himself but suggested that he won’t use that power… ‘As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?…’ the President tweeted.”
IF the contentions of Giuliani’s and “numerous legal scholars” WERE even remotely correct, then we would have a totalitarian dictatorship in the USA unheard of and unparalleled in ANY democratic country.
How the Mighty Have Fallen
The Huffington Post wrote on June 2:
“Franklin Graham is on a crusade across California. But unlike his father [the late Billy Graham]… he’s looking for voters he can deliver to the Republican Party…
“Graham’s decision to focus on turning out evangelical voters in the Golden State… demonstrates how much today’s Religious Right has departed from its early history…
“… today’s Religious Right, led by [Franklin] Graham and other Trump supporters, takes a defensive position, angrily defending their sense of occupying a shrinking place in the nation as an oppressed minority. It’s that aggrieved identity that led evangelicals to abandon their formerly high character standards for politicians in order to embrace the thrice-married casino magnate Trump in the first place, a man who may not join them in the church pews on Sunday but promised to fight for them on America’s political battlefields… Graham has… distinguished himself from his father who, after an early flirtation, ultimately abandoned the political realm. Disgusted by his friend Richard Nixon’s vulgarity revealed in the White House tapes (plus embarrassed by how the recordings had also captured his own anti-Semitic statements), Billy Graham distanced himself from politics.
“In marked contrast, neither Trump’s own filthy language nor hateful rhetoric has diminished Franklin Graham’s support for the president. ‘I can’t think of anything mean he’s said,’ Graham told the Times in February. Even more tellingly, Graham has argued that Trump’s affair with the adult film actress Stormy Daniels was ‘nobody’s business.’ Such moral compromises for the sake of politics have long troubled some evangelical leaders, including Franklin’s father. Even in the heady days of the early Reagan years, Billy Graham refused to allow his evangelistic association to help the Religious Right…
“Manipulating religion in service of the Republican Party, and especially Trump, now appears to be exactly Franklin Graham’s project… white evangelicals’ support for Trump doesn’t expose their hypocrisy…”
True Christians are NOT to get involved in politics. And God most certainly requires a high moral standard of a leading politician. Please see our Q&A on this issue, asking and answering the question, “Does it matter what a political leader does in private as long as he does his ‘public’ job effectively?” We said: “The behavior of politicians really does matter. Sadly, in this world which is ruled by Satan, most politicians do not follow God’s Way of Life. Many citizens copy the bad behavior of their leaders.”
US Supreme Court Sides with Baker against Gay Couple
NBC News reported on June 4:
“The U.S. Supreme Court gave a boost to advocates of religious freedom on Monday, ruling that a Colorado baker cannot be forced to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, in a case that involved marriage equality and protection from discrimination.
“But the opinion was a narrow one, applying to the specific facts of this case only. It gave no hint as to how the court might decide future cases involving florists, bakers, photographers and other business owners who have cited religious and free-speech objections when refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage decision.”
Proud to Be Gay… Supported by Trump
Breitbart wrote on June 4:
“Ambassador Richard Grenell expressed nothing but praise for President Trump, Mike Pence, and John Bolton, during an interview with Breitbart London, describing what it is like to be the most prominent [and high-powered] openly gay diplomat in the history of the United States… ‘I’m certainly proud of it…’ Grenell… thanked both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence… ‘It’s never been an issue for President Trump. He communicated that very early’… Things were not the same before the coming of Trump, Grenell said, noting that he had been involved with the Republican Party since the re-election campaign of former President George H.W. Bush in 1992…
“In 2005, John Bolton spoke at the Log Cabin convention in San Diego as the U.S. ambassador to the UN… He was for gay marriage. He was for gays serving in the military even back then, long before many of the Democrat politicians embraced it…
“President Trump has also been a supporter of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group which represents LGBT Republicans, recently issuing an official statement congratulating the group on its 40-year anniversary.”
We feel these statements, and many like them, speak for themselves.
US Ambassador to Germany Under Fire
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 4:
“The German Foreign Ministry says it wants clarity about controversial comments made by the new US ambassador, Richard Grenell. In an interview with Breitbart News… he said he was excited by the rising wave of conservatism within Europe, adding that he saw his task as ‘empowering’ Europe’s right-wing governments and budding leaders…
“Adding fuel to the fire regarding Germany’s perceived lack of defense spending, Grenell said that Germany is losing credibility…”
The EUObserver wrote on June 6:
“US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, rejected on Sunday as ‘ridiculous’ claims that he ‘endorses’ conservatives in Europe… he tweeted: ‘I stand by my comments that we are experiencing an awakening from the silent majority – those who reject the elites & their bubble. Led by Trump’.”
Even though Breitbart might have quoted Grenell incorrectly, his denial sounds more like a confirmation.
Expelling Grenell from Germany?
AFP wrote on June 5:
“Leading German politicians on Tuesday called for the US ambassador to be expelled, after the staunch ally of Donald Trump was accused of meddling in domestic politics and aggravating already tense ties. Richard Grenell had taken up his diplomatic posting in Berlin on May 8, and immediately irked Germany when he tweeted on the same day that German companies should stop doing business with Iran as Trump quit the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.
“He stoked further outrage over the weekend with reported comments to far-right website Breitbart of his ambition to ‘empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders’. Grenell also raised eyebrows with his plan to host Austria’s arch-conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz — who the US envoy describes as a ‘rock star’, for lunch on June 13.
“‘What this man is doing is unheard of in international diplomacy,’ Martin Schulz, former chief of the Social Democratic Party and an ex-European Parliament president, told national news agency DPA. ‘If a German ambassador were to say in Washington that he is there to empower the Democrats, he would have been kicked out immediately. I hope that Kurz’s visit will lead Mr Grenell’s tenure as ambassador in Germany to be short,’ added Schulz, playing on the German word for short ‘kurz’. Schulz had earlier tweeted that the US envoy did not behave like a diplomat but like a ‘far-right colonial officer’.
“… the opposition far-left Linke party’s chief Sahra Wagenknecht said Grenell had disqualified himself as ambassador. ‘Someone like US ambassador Richard Grenell, who thinks he can lord over Europe and determine who is governing here, can no longer stay in Germany as a diplomat,’ Wagenknecht told Die Welt daily…
“Although Merkel herself belongs to the conservative camp, commentators said it was clear that Grenell was not seeking to bolster the chancellor’s party base, but rather its opponents from the far-right. ‘It is bad enough if that’s what he is thinking, let alone saying it,’ said the daily Berliner Zeitung…”
And so, all German parties, except for the AfD, have been condemning Grenell’s statements.
Germany’s AfD Causes Further Outrage
Note: The following article includes a strongly-worded quote from a German politician which might be offensive to some. In order to report correctly as to what was said exactly and the (in some cases exaggerated) reactions to it, we decided not to omit the quote.
AFP wrote on June 2:
“One of the leaders of Germany’s far-right AfD party sparked outrage Saturday by downplaying the crimes of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, saying they were ‘just a speck of bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history.’ The Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the biggest opposition party in Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, with more than 90 deputies…
“Gauland (77) has repeatedly attacked Islam, and argued that Germany should be proud of its veterans of two world wars. In 2016, he took aim at star footballer Jerome Boateng, who was born in Berlin to a German mother and a Ghanaian father. ‘People find him good as a footballer, but they don’t want to have a Boateng as a neighbour,’ Gauland said.
“The head of Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrat Union party quickly hit out at Gauland’s latest remarks on Saturday, saying that the AfD was revealing its true face. ‘50 million war victims, the Holocaust and the total war are nothing more than “bird shit” for the AfD,’ she tweeted…
“Set up in 2013 as an anti-euro party, the AfD recorded a surge in support after it began capitalising on unease in Germany over the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers since 2015.”
Die Welt commented: “Gauland means exactly what he says. And that makes it so dangerous.”
Handelsblatt Global wrote on June 4: “Alexander Gauland, co-leader of the AfD party, said he never meant to “trivialize or deride the victims” of Nazi rule, and that he chose the word Vogelschiss or ‘bird poop’ out of contempt for Nazis.”
Deutsche Welle added on June 4:
“Moderates in the Alternative for Germany have rejected Alexander Gauland’s trivializing characterization of the Third Reich. But hardliners blame the media and say the party chairman’s words were taken out of context… most AfD members defended Gauland, claiming that he had merely misspoken… One of those who is defending Gauland is the AfD’s leader in the state of Thuringia, Björn Höcke. He accused the media of distorting Gauland’s words. ‘Alexander Gauland has once again been quoted out of context by journalists… Before the quote in question, Alexander Gauland spent four or five sentences explaining in detail how he as an AfD member and as AfD chairman accepted Germany’s historical responsibility for the Nazi era.’”
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 6:
“The co-chairman of Germany’s far-right AfD could face legal action for appearing to trivialize the Nazi era. A complaint has been filed with a public prosecutor, accusing Alexander Gauland of inciting hatred… [and describing] Gauland’s remarks as ‘scandalous’ and an ‘intolerable mockery of the victims of the Holocaust.’ Gülegen went on to accuse Gauland of seeking to ‘deliberately downplay’ the crimes committed during the Nazi era.”
In all fairness, it is hard to understand why Gauland’s comments received the kind of condemnation which they did, given the fact that he clearly condemned and distanced himself from Nazism. The terms he used (however one wants to translate them into English) do not in any way support or even belittle the atrocities by Nazi Germany. But such overreaction is typical for German politicians and the mainstream media.
The Future of Europe according to Merkel
Politico wrote on June 3:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday she supports the idea of a joint European defense force… Merkel’s French counterpart Emmanuel Macron has been pushing for the creation of a combined EU military force that could be deployed to trouble spots around the world…
“Merkel also called for the creation of an EU-wide asylum agency ‘that processes all asylum claims at the external borders, based on unified EU asylum law.’…
“Asked about her goals for the EU in the next five to ten years, Merkel said: ‘My goal is that the world knows: In foreign policy, Europe speaks with one voice.’”
Express added on June 3:
“ANGELA Merkel has backed key planks of Emmanuel Macron’s vision for an ever-closer European Union for the first time, including a joint EU army…”
The Telegraph added on June 3:
“The structural integration of the European Union’s armed forces has been a long-standing strategic ambition of the EU, with the latest initiative being based on the 2009 Lisbon Treaty… The United Kingdom, Europe’s pre-eminent military power, blocked this, fearing the creation of a Europe-wide army. However, [after] Brexit [the UK has] no say in the matter and the EU has pushed ahead with plans.
“A resurgent Russia and the election of Donald Trump, on a platform attacking Nato, may have lent a sense of urgency to the process. The Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) was initiated in 2017… The UK is exempted, Denmark and Malta have opted out. All 25 other European Union members are committed. Initial plans envisaged countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland creating permanent military structures to act on behalf of the EU and for the deployment of the EU’s battle groups and 18 national battalions. It could also comprise an EU military planning and operations headquarters in Brussels that would parallel Nato.”
So, it should be clear that a European army IS coming very soon.
Time to Fight
Martin Schulz, former European Parliament president, wrote in Der Spiegel Online on June 5:
“It is time to fight…. We are in the middle of a global fight between systems… It is a matter of survival of a free democracy… With Donald Trump, we have a president who scoffs at Western values… In our immediate neighboring countries, the enemies of the free world grow… they all propagate the spirit of Trumpism… All these phenomena have also reached our own country…
“Those who want to destroy the EU attack a model which has guaranteed freedom and democracy for more than seven decades… We have to fight stronger and more passionately than ever before for this Europe… We have to make sure that Germany will take the leading role in the strengthening of Europe…”
Austria for Lifting of Russian Sanctions because of Ukraine
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 3:
“[Heinz-Christian Strache, the] leader of Austria’s Freedom Party says he wants to end EU sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis. [He] says the measures have damaged the Austrian economy. ‘It is high time to put an end to these exasperating sanctions and normalize political and economic relations with Russia,’ he said. The EU sanctions against Russia were imposed in an effort to return Crimea to Ukraine and end an ongoing conflict in the east of Ukraine.
“The remarks by Strache, leader of Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ), come amid a European diplomatic push to resolve the situation in Ukraine. The vice chancellor is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna during the week…
“Strache, whose pro-Moscow Freedom Party (FPÖ) is junior partner to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives, has previously spoken out against the sanctions and warned against pushing Russia into the arms of China. Austria’s coalition government says it wants to act as a bridge between east and west, while Kurz has stressed its pro-EU stance is secure.
“Top-ranking FPÖ party members went to Moscow in 2016 to sign a five-year cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia party. According to press reports, one of the points described the ‘raising of younger generations in the spirit of patriotism and work enjoyment.’ Sergei Zheleznyak, deputy speaker of Russia’s lower house — who signed the agreement and who is on the EU sanctions list — praised the party for opposing the EU sanctions. “Austria will take over the EU’s rotating presidency for six months in July.”
In addition to Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has the reputation of a hardliner as well. He is very popular in Germany. The German magazine Focus published an article WARNING against the grave dangers stemming from Kurz’s politics.
Italy’s New Government… For Now!
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 1:
“Giuseppe Conte… was sworn in as Italy’s 58th prime minister on Friday, ending weeks of political turmoil that rocked financial markets and prompted concerns from the country’s European Union partners. Italy has been without a government since elections on March 4 failed to produce a clear winner. The far-right Lega (League)… and the anti-establishment, populist Five Star Movement (M5S), despite being diametrically opposed on some issues, have been trying to cobble together a government…
“President Sergio Mattarella… initially refused to approve Conte’s government last weekend. He rejected the inclusion of the ardently anti-euro Paolo Savona as economy minister. With Savona replaced by Giovanni Tria, an economics professor who has never advocated leaving the eurozone, Mattarella finally gave his approval on Thursday…”
In a related article, Deutsche Welle wrote on June 1:
“It would be a miracle if the new prime minister… turned out to be anything more than a puppet controlled by the two party leaders. After all, this unknown law professor has no ties to either M5S or The League… Conte is destined to become a weak figure, a head of government who must call The League and M5S headquarters before making promises to foreign counterparts like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
“And that goes for the whole cabinet, which also consists of novices — few have ever done more than work at city hall… But inexperience can be problematic…”
Daily Mail added on June 1:
“Italy swears in its new PM at the head of anti-EU populist government that is set to launch an immigrant crackdown, cut taxes but STAY in the Euro.”
Spain’s New Government… for Now!
The Guardian wrote on June 1:
“Mariano Rajoy, once viewed as the great survivor of Spanish politics, has been ousted as prime minister in a vote of no confidence after several former members of his party were convicted of corruption in a case that proved a scandal too far. He will be replaced by Pedro Sánchez, the leader of Spain’s opposition socialist PSOE party…
“It cements a remarkable comeback for Sánchez, who regained his leadership a year ago after a PSOE coup saw him deposed over his steadfast refusal to let Rajoy back into office following two inconclusive general elections…
“Rajoy, who served as premier for seven years, had managed to weather a string of corruption scandals within his People’s party (PP) but was unable to withstand political anger after Spain’s highest criminal court found the party had benefited from an enormous and illegal kickbacks-for-contracts scheme, known as the Gürtel case. The 63-year-old’s fate was sealed on Thursday afternoon when the Basque Nationalist party (PNV) joined the anti-austerity Podemos party and the two biggest Catalan pro-independence parties in backing the PSOE motion.
“Sánchez, 46, has promised to call elections but has said his minority government will spend a few months focusing on social and educational reforms before taking Spain to the polls. His time in office is unlikely to yield profound changes and he will have to heed the demands of the parties who backed his motion… [He] also held out his hand to the Catalan independence parties, saying he was willing to engage in dialogue over the long-running territorial and political crisis.
“The leader of the centre-right Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, who had not voted to remove Rajoy, said his party would be ‘very attentive to the concessions’ made to Basque and Catalan nationalists. He also called for early elections…”
“Re-Elected” Egyptian President Sworn In
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 2:
“Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (63) was sworn in for a second term on Saturday, little more than two months after winning an election that critics have widely regarded as a sham… El-Sissi was re-elected to a four-year term after winning 97 percent of the vote with voter turnout at 41 percent in a March election that featured no serious opposition… The top challenger was arrested and his campaign manager beaten up. Other legitimate contenders soon withdrew from the race, citing intimidation.
“El-Sissi, a former intelligence chief and defense minister, led the military coup in 2013 of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Islamist Mohammed Morsi, amid widespread protests against his divisive rule. Under el-Sissi, security forces have waged a widespread crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Islamists as well as secular activists.
“Unauthorized protests have been outlawed and hundreds of websites, including those of independent media and human rights groups, have been blocked.”
This sounds like a Hitler-type dictatorship, as we know it from Turkey as well.
Canada’s Supreme Court: Courts Cannot Second-Guess Church Decisions
LifeSiteNews wrote on June 1:
“Canada’s top court has affirmed the right of religious groups to govern their own affairs. It ruled yesterday that an Alberta court had no jurisdiction to review a decision by a Jehovah’s Witness congregation to expel a member for alleged drunkenness and domestic verbal abuse… all nine Supreme Court justices agreed the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench had no authority to rule on [a] civil action against Jehovah’s Witness brought by [a] former member [who] had argued that his expulsion from the church affected his property and civil rights.
“Courts have neither the ‘legitimacy nor institutional capacity to deal with contentious matters of religious doctrine,’ wrote Justice Malcolm Rowe. ‘In the end, religious groups are free to determine their own membership and rules,’ Rowe concluded…”
This has also been the law in the USA for many years, even though lower courts might try time and again to ignore or circumvent it.
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.
Does 2 Corinthians 3:3-18 invalidate the Ten Commandments? What are the tablets of stone and what is the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones? What is the context of Moses’ glorious face?
A: The entire passage of 2 Corinthians 3:3-18 has been very confusing to many, and most commentaries use it to teach that the Ten Commandments are no longer binding for us today. We discussed this question in our Q&A, titled, “Does 2 Corinthians 3:3-11 teach that the Ten Commandments have been abolished?”.
We will summarize below some statements in the above-mentioned Q&A and then proceed with answering further questions and objections to our explanation.
In the Q&A, we pointed out that verse 3 addresses indeed the Ten Commandments, stating, “… you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”
This statement merely explains that we are to internalize the Ten Commandments. It is not enough to have them in our Bibles or written on posters or on tablets of stone, but they must be part of ourselves. They must be in our hearts, on the tablets of our flesh. This passage does not even remotely suggest that we are no longer obligated to keep the Ten Commandments; just the opposite is the case.
God’s Law must be in our hearts (Isaiah 51:7; Hebrews 10:16). In the context of this Q&A and 2 Corinthians 3, the following passage in Ezekiel 36:26-27 is especially telling: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
Some turn to 2 Corinthians 3, verses 7-8, 11, for their claim that the Ten Commandments have been abolished. However, these verses don’t talk about the tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments had been written. They state:
“(7) But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, (8) how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?… (11) For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.”
Let us compare the different Greek words which are used in verses 3 and 7, when describing the “tablets of stone” and the “ministry of death… engraved on stones.” The Greek word for “of stone” in verse 3 is, “lithinos” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, No. 3035), and means, literally, “made of stone” or formed out of stones. The word is used in Revelation 9:20, describing idols made out of stone. The Greek word for engraved “on stones,” in verse 7, is, “lithos” (Strong’s No. 3037), and it describes complete stones–not something made of stone. It is also rendered as “millstone” in Luke 17:2. The tablets with the Ten Commandments, as mentioned in verse 3, were taken from stones–the tablets did not constitute complete stones. But verse 7 speaks of complete stones.
This distinction is important as much later, massive stones would be used on which the entire Law of Moses would be engraved. The Law of Moses had been written in the “Book of Moses” or the “Book of the Law of Moses” or the “Book of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:4, 7; Deuteronomy 28:58-61; 29:20-21, 27; 30:10; 31:24-26; Joshua 1:8; 8:31, 34). This Book was also called the “Book of the Law of God” in Joshua 24:26. While God wrote twice the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 34:1, 28), He instructed Moses to write all the commandments in a Book (Exodus 34:27). This Book included the Ten Commandments and other spiritual laws which are still valid today, but it also included ritual laws, sacrificial laws, and the penalties or “curses” for disobedience such as the death penalty for capital sins and crimes.
ALL the laws that had been written by Moses into the “Book of the Law” were later engraved by Joshua on massive stones (Joshua 8:30-32, 34), pursuant to the word of Moses (Deuteronomy 27:2-3, 8). These are the stones Paul speaks about in 2 Corinthians 3:7-8 (“… if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious… how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”). The reference to the ministry of death includes the death penalty for violating God’s spiritual law. The ministry of death referred to the Levitical priesthood. They had to carry out the execution of those guilty of death. They had to apply the letter of the law (2 Corinthians 3:6); there was no room for mercy due to repentance. The Levitical priesthood was also a ministry of death for the additional reason that people would still not be able to obtain eternal life, even though they brought sacrifices, as sacrifices did not forgive sins, and the penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
God’s true ministers today do not administer the death penalty for sin–they don’t fulfill the ancient Levitical priesthood’s role and function of a “ministry of condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:9). Rather, God’s true ministry today teaches that sinning man can receive forgiveness of sin, through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God’s ministry today also teaches that man must keep the Ten Commandments. Man can only do this, however, through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within him, which is received after repentance, belief and proper baptism and the laying on of hands. In other words, God’s ministry is a “ministry of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 3:9), teaching man how to obtain righteousness and how to live righteously.
The penalties were first written in the Book of the Law of Moses and then engraved on massive stones. Note that the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments did not include any death penalties. But the massive stones with the entirety of the Book of Moses surely did.
The Ten Commandments, as well as other permanent and temporary laws, were WRITTEN in a book–the Book of the Law of Moses. Verse 7 makes reference to this fact, when it says, “…WRITTEN and engraved on stones.” Quite literally, the meaning is that all of the laws were first “reduced to writing” (“en grammasin” in Greek) and then “engraved” (“entupoo” in Greek) “on stones” (“en lithos” in Greek).
It must be admitted that the literal rendering in verse 7 does not include the word “and” in the phrase, “written and engraved on stones”, but it was supplied by the translator of the Authorized Version and the New King James Bible. But the supplication is correct; otherwise there would be doubletalk, because “written” and “engraved” means the same thing in the context. But it was first written in the Book of Moses and then engraved on stones. The tablets with the Ten Commandments were “written” with the finger of God, but the clause “engraved” is not used in regard to the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments (but compare for example Exodus 28:9-11).
Another objection is as follows: If 2 Corinthians 3:7 makes reference to the massive stones which were mentioned by Moses and later erected under Joshua, why then do verses 7-8, 11-14 refer to Moses’ shining face when he returned from the mountain with the tablets of the Ten Commandments? In order to answer this question, let us quote these particular verses in context:
“(7) But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, (8) how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?… (11) For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. (12) Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—(13) unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. (14) But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ…”
The argument is that Moses’ face had a glorious appearance when he had returned with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, proving that Paul is referring here to the tablets with the Ten Commandments and NOT to the massive stones with the entire Law of Moses, including its ritual and sacrificial laws and its penalties.
Some who understand that Paul was NOT speaking about the Ten Commandments in verse 7 try to explain this verse by giving an interesting rendition of the words “so that” in the phrase, “But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance…”
The argument goes like this (quoted from the Internet):
“In reading the above passage, one might think that there is some close connection between the administration of death and the glory of Moses’ face. Actually, there is no connection. Rather, there is a parallel. In verse 7, where it says, ‘so that the children of Israel,’ the word ‘so’ is translated from the Greek word hoste, which in some contexts, can mean ‘as’—as it certainly must in this case. Paul was using simile (showing similarity using ‘like’ or ‘as’). For instance, if someone says, ‘Bill stared at that glass of water like a lion stalking his prey,’ that doesn’t mean there is a connection between Bill and the lion. There is simply a parallel. So what was Paul saying? He was pointing out that, just as the glory of Moses’ face had a brilliant glory, even though it was only temporary, so the civil ‘administration of death’ at that time had a brilliant glory even though it [too] was only temporary. But, as he goes on to show, that pales beside the much greater, permanent glory of the spiritual ‘administration of righteousness’…”
The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon defines the word “hoste” as: “so that, insomuch that, so then, therefore, wherefore.”
The total of the King James Word Usage of the word “hoste” is 83, as follows: “‘so that’ 25, ‘wherefore’ 17, ‘insomuch that’ 16, ‘therefore’ 9, ‘that’ 6, ‘so then’ 5, ‘to’ 3, ‘as’ 1, ‘insomuch as’ 1.”
However, no commentary has been found agreeing with the explanation that “hoste” can mean “as” in the sense of a comparison or a simile. They all say, it can only convey the concept of expressing the effect or result of anything (cp. Vine’s Expository Dictionary).
In looking at the passages where “hoste” is used, none seems to give the meaning of conveying a comparison. Rather, the synonyms are, “in so much that; so that; therefore; wherefore.” Even when “as” may be used in some (modern) translations, it is not to be understood as a comparison, but only as an expression of the effect.
We do not have to decide whether the meaning of the word “hoste” in the context of 2 Corinthians 3:7 can convey a comparison or simile. The reason is that an incorrect assumption was made regarding the timing of the shining face of Moses.
Let us note that the face of Moses shone with glory after he saw God in His glory (Exodus 33:18-23) and after he had been with God a second time for 40 days and 40 nights to receive the second set of the tablets of stone, containing the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:29-30). His face did not shine when he received the first tablets with the Ten Commandments which he broke in anger because the Israelites had built a golden calf and committed idolatry.
The Soncino commentary points out that “these rays of glory originated with Moses at the time he stood in the cleft of the rock and God covered him with His hand.” Most commentaries conclude that his glory continued to shine throughout his life, and that he continued to put a veil on his face when he showed himself to the Israelites (Exodus 34:33-35).
The Nelson Study Bible states that Moses’ “glory was enhanced on each subsequent encounter with the LORD.”
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says: “The brightness of Moses’ face… remained henceforth a property of his countenance.”
The Benson Commentary states: “He carried his credentials in his very countenance; some think, as long as he lived he retained some remainders of this glory, which perhaps contributed to the vigour of his old age; that eye could not wax dim which had seen God, nor that face wrinkle which had shone with his glory.”
Friedman, Commentary on the Torah, writes: “For the rest of the narrative in Exodus (and in the next three books of the Hebrew Bible), he is to be pictured wearing a veil.”
In fact, Paul does not mention the timing as to when the face of Moses was shining with glory. He does not say that Moses’ face shone only when he returned from the mountain with the tablets of stone, and that therefore, Paul had in verse 7 the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments in mind. Rather, it appears that Moses’ face still shone when he spoke about the massive stones on which the entire Law of Moses would be engraved. So, Paul’s point is still well taken that when Moses announced that the ministry of death (reduced to writing in the Book of Moses) would be engraved on massive stones, the face of Moses was still shining, but that was temporary because Moses would die soon thereafter. In the same way, the ministry of death passed away and ended when Christ died on the cross.
We should also note again that verse 7 talks about the “ministry of death.” The tablets with the Ten Commandments did not include the death penalty or any punishment at all. But the ministry of death, as described in the Book of Moses, did not and could not forgive sin. Animal sacrifices could only provide physical reconciliation with God. The comparison is between the ministry of death, as the letter killed and the Levites had to fulfill their task according to the letter, and the ministry of life, as repentance and forgiveness of sin through Christ’s Sacrifice frees us from death. (Note that Christ refused to stone the woman caught in adultery, when He saw her repentance.)
Paul did not in any way teach that the Ten Commandments were abolished. But he did teach that the “ministry of death” with its rituals, sacrifices and penalties had come to an end. Today, God’s true Church has received the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) and not of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:9), as Christ Himself did not come “to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Our monthly Tech Team Meeting was conducted on Sunday, June 3, 2018, via SKYPE. Hosted by Eric Rank, aspects of complying with the GDPR requirements were discussed—this is a critical necessity for protecting the personal data of those who come to our various web pages.
“NATO: No Protection for Israel,” is the title of a NEW StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg explained that Israel could not rely on protection from NATO in case of an Iranian attack. Whether Israel would receive help from the EU and Germany is highly doubtful, as there is a “divide between Europe and Israel.” Benjamin Netanyahu and Angela Merkel are “miles apart” and on “diametrically opposite sides” on the Iran issue. Iran has announced that it will “increase its nuclear enrichment capacity,” and that Israel “must be eradicated.” What WILL the future bring?
“Netanyahu’s Announcement of a Third Temple?” the recent StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link, continues to have an exceptional response on YouTube—with over 66,000 views. 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 2,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Presence and the Future, Part 2.”
“Through His Blood,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Frank Bruno, is now posted. Here is a summary:
This Sermonette draws the parallel that exists with the human bodies that God created for us, along with the life of the flesh that is our blood. This combined with the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for mankind through the shedding of his own blood and his death on the cross. Our human bodies maintain life through our blood, and Jesus Christ provides the potential for eternal life through His sacrifice and His blood.
“Love Flows,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Jesus’ commandment to love God and love one another is central to Christianity. The Bible reveals the fascinating truth about how this awesome force of love works when we practice it.
How This Work is Financed
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