July 6, 2018
Turbulence Along the Way; Great Leadership
On July 7, 2018, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Turbulence Along the Way,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Great Leadership.”
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.
by Eric Rank
Magicians are impressive to watch. While their skill at performing seemingly impossible feats is fascinating, I find the psychological aspects mostly intriguing. The most important element of a well-performed trick involves causing the observer to form a false belief by manipulating his or her attention. Magicians perform tricks by drawing attention away from the hand that pulls an object out of a secret hiding place, and instead brings the observer’s focus to the other hand whose purpose is to distract. The simple action of paying attention to the wrong thing causes the unwitting observer to draw all kinds of false conclusions.
Magic tricks are designed to entertain, so the impact on those sitting in the audience is generally inconsequential. However, not all tricks that employ the use of deception are harmless. Satan is a master at distracting people from the Truth. He does this just as a magician does — by drawing attention to some other tantalizing fiction while the actual Truth is concealed. By misrepresenting facts, Satan has successfully drawn angels away from serving God. He has likewise deceived the world to believe that all of creation has somehow materialized from nothing. The contrived creation theories inspired by Satan to leave God out of the picture fit the profile of a magic trick. These creation theories provide so-called intelligent explanations that distract people from seeing how Satan hastily hides the actual Creator of all existence behind the curtain. Unlike entertaining magic tricks, Satan’s tricks have a severely dangerous effect. Those who fall for his lies are led away from obeying God.
Avoiding deception is very challenging though. Just as a magic trick can leave the observer wondering how it was possible to defy the laws of physics, a deceptive argument that is logically sound can derail good judgment — unless we are rooted in faith. Paul warned the disciples of his time about this: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (compare Colossians 2:8). If we allow ourselves to focus our attention away from the Truth that can be proven from the pages of the Bible, and instead give our trust to any other way of understanding, we allow ourselves to be cheated. When we turn our beliefs away from the simple Truth of God and entertain other contradictory teachings instead, we set in motion a process which may lead to our eternal death. Unless we reverse the process of embracing and following Satan’s lies, we become cheated out of our salvation.
Fortunately, we have a choice as to what to give our attention. We can choose to pay attention to the Truth of God, hanging on to it faithfully, or we can choose to believe the lie. It might sound like an easy thing to focus on the Truth, but it can be a great challenge. The world that we live in bombards us with ideas that tug at our faith, which may compel us to give up on the Truth that stands so opposed to the ways of the world. But we need to dig in our heels and trust in God’s Truth, not man’s. Our love for the Truth is what will keep us grounded, protect us from becoming cheated, and keep us far from condemnation (compare 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Our sight must remain fixed on God so that we don’t become deceived by distracting arguments and ideas that pull us away from the Truth. Even though the world says otherwise, we have to remember that seeking pleasure in unrighteousness has an ultimate end that is deadly. We are instructed in this regard by the wisdom of Solomon: “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:20-22). If we don’t want to allow ourselves to be fooled by the tricks of Satan, we need to focus on the Truth and never allow our gaze to turn away from it.
by Norbert Link
We begin with a thought-provoking article pertaining to America’s Independence Day, and continue with reporting on the inconsistent and unsuccessful attempts of Europeans to deal with their “migrant crisis,” showing complete disharmony, backstabbing, blackmail, compromise, selling out and defeat of moderate voices, while the view points of the extreme right seem to become more and more victorious. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Europe’s Immigration Nightmare.”
We speak on President Trump’s unhappiness with European failure to pay adequately for their defense and rumors of US willingness to withdraw American troops from Europe, as well as a catastrophic worldwide trade war.
We also address, among other things, Prince William’s controversial visit to Jerusalem; France’s reintroduction of mandatory national service for minors; North Korea’s continuation of producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons; the ongoing military collaboration between Russia and China; the upcoming summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Finland; and Mexico’s new leadership.
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
What Would Jesus Do?
Fox News published the following article on the occasion of America’s 4th of July Celebrations:
“What does it mean to be a patriotic American in today’s divisive climate? What are our values as a nation? How should we treat each other and those outside – or at – our borders? It’s an understatement to say we don’t all agree. The only way I can cut through the confusion is to cling to my identity in Christ. I love this country and have always felt blessed to live here. But I’ve seen enough of the rest of the world – more than 60 countries – to know that people outside of America face hardships we can’t even imagine. And I wonder just what God expects from us when so many are suffering…
“My true citizenship is in heaven. I’m a Christian first and an American second… there’s no better way to think through the hotly debated issues of our day than to ask, ‘What would Jesus do?’… Jesus was one of the least politically correct people of his day… Jesus didn’t care about politics; he cared about people. His love for little children is clear. His regard for women is well-documented. When he saw someone in need, he stopped what he was doing and responded with compassion. He treated everyone with dignity, no matter their choices or circumstances.
“… Jesus was clear about priorities. When religious leaders tried to trap him with questions about the law, he boiled it down for them – and for us: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments’ (Matthew 22:36-40).
“Let’s not forget, the ‘neighbor’ Jesus commands us to love doesn’t only apply to citizens of our country. The parable of the Good Samaritan is Jesus’ timeless lesson on who our neighbor is: anyone in need. So what would Jesus do with unborn children? With immigrant families arriving at our border or refugees seeking safe haven? With people of different races and religions? With disadvantaged children in the U.S. lacking basic necessities?…
“As citizens of God’s kingdom, we’re called to stand apart and resist cultural and political influence… When we wield spiritual power rather than political power, Christians become a force for good – in any country… This can happen here in America, if we choose biblical correctness over political correctness; if we follow Christ, not the platform of either political party…”
The following articles on the topic of European immigration are selected to show the reader the hopeless attempts to deal with migrants, while resorting to controversial means and playing into the hands of far right voices, leaders and movements. We do not only quote these articles to show the way in which Satan rules this present evil world, but also, how these developments in a divided Europe pertaining to the migrant crisis will contribute to the biblically prophesied formation of a strong CORE Europe under the leadership of a powerful charismatic political and military leader. Present developments do not appear to give reason for much hope in a future peaceful and humane European power bloc.
European Immigration Deal because of Blackmail?
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 29:
“After 12 hours of negotiations, exhausted EU leaders presented an agreement on migration. It is above all a shift to the right of the political spectrum toward making it harder to cross into the EU. The populists have prevailed.
“The problem is supposed to be moved outside of Europe’s borders where screening centers will be set up. They’re supposed to scare off Libya and other North African countries, so that African migrants don’t even try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in the first place… The EU wants to strengthen its partnership with Libya of all places, where migrants face exploitation and torture. The Libyan coast guard, already receiving EU support, will in future be responsible for fishing migrants out of a much larger area of the Mediterranean…
“Lots of money will cloak this strategy, as will the praise for EU-African cooperation… This is, of course, much too tedious for the current political problem. It’s unfortunate that Italy’s new government of right-wing populists, with its ruthless rejection of people stranded at sea, came out on top: Reception centers in the bloc will be closed. So, Italy got its wish, at least on paper. Blackmail, as it turns out, was effective…
“Hungary’s prime minister, Victor Orban, can now rightly point to the fact that his idea – fences, fear and forcing people back to the border – won in the end… The number of migrants heading for Europe has dropped by 95 percent compared to 2015, according to the summit agreement. The question is how to prevent the remaining 5 percent from entering the EU.”
EU Plan Immigration “a Farce”
Daily Mail wrote on June 29:
“A Brussels plan to build EU migrant detention centres descended into [a] farce last night as European leaders lined up to refuse to host them… French president Emmanuel Macron said he would not host one of the ‘controlled centres’ and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz mocked the prospect of one being built in his country… Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte rejected Mr Macron’s suggestion that the asylum centres would be hosted in countries such as Italy.”
Egypt Refuses EU Call for Migrant Reception Centers
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 1:
“Egypt… will refuse to host migrants aiming for the European Union… Egypt… will not build refugee camps for migrants deported from the European Union if asked. The announcement came after details of a new EU-wide migration deal revealed that bloc leaders will seek to build centers for asylum seekers in ‘partner countries’ in the Middle East and Africa.
“The leaders of Albania, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria have also said they will refuse to build reception centers for migrants attempting to reach the EU…”
Hungary’s New Anti-Immigration Measures
Herald Net wrote on June 29:
“… lawyers risk jail time if they so much as help a client fill out a complicated Hungarian-language form. Hungary’s parliament last week approved a legislative package aimed not only at barring the gates to almost any outsider — but also decreeing punishment for those who try to aid would-be migrants…
“Even before the latest stringent measures, Hungary earned a reputation for hostility toward migrants who surged through Europe three years ago… Hungary erected a barrier on its border with Serbia and Croatia…”
In the Arms of the Extreme Right?
The Daily Mail wrote on June 29:
“From Greece to Germany, from Sicily to Scandinavia, people are unhappy about mass migration, are punishing the politicians they blame for it and are increasingly drifting into the arms of the extremist Right.
“In Austria, the 31-year-old Right-wing Chancellor Sebastian Kurz sent hundreds of troops to the border to prepare for a possible migration surge this summer. In Hungary, the authoritarian leader Viktor Orban recently announced plans for a special 25 per cent tax on organisations that support migration…”
Core Europe–Merkel’s Deal with EU Nations
Express wrote on July 1:
“[The] German Chancellor secured ‘rapid return’ migrant return deals with 16 countries at an EU summit on Friday. At the EU summit, Germany, Spain and Greece reached a trilateral migration deal of ‘reciprocal cooperation’, along with a wider EU migration agreement. Mrs Merkel struck the deals with countries including Hungary, Belgium, France, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia and Luxembourg…
“The wider EU migration agreement aims to minimise the ‘secondary movements’ of migrants, who register in one EU country and then cross into another. Asylum seekers whose ‘first entry into the European Union was Spain’ will be returned by Germany to Spain, the Spanish government said in a written statement. Germany will also pay for the cost of their return… In return, Mrs Merkel will give the go ahead for family reunification to take place in Germany. The move will see 2,900 people who presently live in Greece, reunited with their families in Germany…”
Even though some of the above-mentioned countries subsequently denied that such a deal was struck, it still shows that a core Europe or a Europe with two speeds is bound to develop. Some don’t seem to understand that a core Europe IS prophesied in the Bible. God’s Holy Word speaks of TEN European nations and groups of nations… not of 28 European member states. By no stretch of the imagination can 28 member states constitute 10 nations.
Merkel Safe for Now by Agreeing to “Transit Centers”?
Deutsche Welle reported in July 2:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian conservative leader Horst Seehofer have reached a deal on migrant policy that could save the governing coalition [if the] Social Democrats accept the deal…
“Merkel said Germany would be putting in place national ‘transit centers’ [on the Austrian border] to ‘order and steer secondary migration’ — the movement of migrants within the EU… In order to retain its absolute majority, the CSU is anxious to present a hard line on migrants and head off competition from the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party…”
Newsmax republished the following article by AFP, dated July 2:
“The deal… drew immediate fire from critics, such as Bernd Riexinger of the opposition far-left Die Linke party, who on Twitter slammed the plan for what he labelled ‘mass internment camps…’”
Breitbart London added on July 2:
“While Seehofer’s comparatively strong stance has caused this clash with Merkel, the Bavarian leader remains a centre-right figure fundamentally unopposed to mass migration, and the new compromise will do nothing to undo the effects of decades of mass migration to Germany…”
Germany’s Junior Coalition Party SPD May Have to “Compromise”
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 3:
“Anyone hoping for quick approval by Social Democrats [CDU’s junior coalition party] was sorely disappointed… one of the biggest problems is that the party [SPD] already resoundingly rejected transit centers back in 2015 during Germany’s previous grand coalition government.
“In late 2015, SPD leaders including now-Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Ex-Foreign Minister and former Party Chairman Sigmar Gabriel and Secretary-General Lars Klingbeil took to social media to portray the zones as ‘gigantic prisons’ and ‘mass camps in no man’s land.’ ‘The SPD has won the day,’ Gabriel wrote on Twitter back then. ‘Transit zones are off the table. No house arrest, no fences.’
“With that in mind, the SPD is almost certain to insist at least upon a change in name for the facilities proposed by the CDU and CSU… That choice of phrase leaves enough wiggle room for Social Democrats to reach some sort of agreement with conservatives on new migrant processing facilities, provided they’re called something else. But whether the SPD’s own grass roots will allow the leadership to exploit that leeway is another matter…
“It’s in the SPD’s best interest to facilitate a reconciliation between Germany’s two conservative parties. A divorce between the CDU and CSU would almost certainly prompt a fresh national election. That’s something that the SPD, currently mired in historic lows of 16 to 18 percent in public opinion polls, can ill afford.”
And in fact, they did compromise.
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 5:
“The leaders of Germany’s three-way governing coalition [CDU, CSU and SPD] agreed on a deal concerning migration and asylum policy after German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a deal with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to introduce tougher controls at Germany’s border with Austria…
“The leaders agreed on ditching so-called transit centers to process incoming asylum-seekers, rather there will now be ‘transit processes in police centers,’ CSU leader Seehofer told reporters.”
The fact is that the “transit centers” are to remain, only with a different name. Seehofer now speaks of “transfer centers.”
What political dishonesty and despicable maneuvering.
Merkel Under Fire
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 4:
“Addressing parliament for the first time since her clash with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the German chancellor sought to stress a common way forward. But things remain tense both inside and outside her coalition… if Merkel was trying to sell peace and prosperity, the largest opposition party, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), wasn’t buying. Before Merkel’s speech, AfD joint parliamentary leader Alice Weidel, took direct aim at the chancellor. [Weidel] called the deal on migrants a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ and prophesied that the governmental crisis over the issue would continue. She added that the conflict was symptomatic of a general failure on the part of the government… The far-right populist concluded by calling upon Merkel to resign…
“[The SPD] insisted that the foundation of government policy remained the coalition agreement signed by the CDU-CSU and the SPD in March and not any deals struck between conservatives alone… ‘You lost sight of the basics,’ the co-leader of the Green party’s parliamentary group, Toni Hofreiter, said [to Merkel]. ‘What you’ve created is chaos.’”
“Merkel Hangs on by Selling Out”
Handelsblatt Global wrote on July 3:
“If you believe their spin, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and Horst Seehofer’s Christian Social Union last night snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. One moment Seehofer was still heard jibing that ‘I won’t let myself be sacked by a chancellor whom I made chancellor in the first place.’ A few hours later, besotted by the thought of clinging to his office a bit longer, he was gloating that the deal they had struck contains everything he had demanded and ‘allows’ him to remain interior minister.
“There is nothing good about this deal. Neither for this governing coalition… nor for Germany, which will keep teetering on the brink of a governmental crisis; nor for Europe, which now lacks a reliable partner in its largest member state; nor for refugees, who will be caught in a legal and humanitarian limbo as Europe keeps fighting about them…
“For Merkel, this amounts to 99 percent capitulation. Since the fall of 2015, and with renewed vigor in recent weeks, she had insisted that Germany’s nine borders (which all lie within the Schengen area) remain open, and that no asylum seekers will be turned back before their case is heard. Now they will be turned back: into camps that mustn’t be called by that name (lest they remind people of concentration camps). Any reverse flow from the camps to Austria or Italy will cause those countries to close their borders, which amounts to precisely the ‘nationalist’ and ‘un-European’ solution Merkel had claimed to oppose…
“Merkel has sold out. The deal… will not restore peace to the relationship between CDU and CSU. There is no more trust among them. The sparring parties will stumble from fight to fight, all the way up to the regional election in Bavaria in October. It remains hard to imagine that both Merkel and Seehofer can stay in office. Meanwhile, the Social Democrats are fed up with both of them…”
The Chicago Tribune wrote on July 2:
“Relations between Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister have been badly strained, and the CSU itself is now riven by competing factions… ‘How often have… Merkel and… Seehofer said they’ve found a “good compromise” that then resulted in an escalation just a few hours / days / weeks later?’, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the leader of the Green Party, tweeted after the compromise was announced. ‘It’s exhausting. It doesn’t solve any problems, it just creates new ones.’”
“Transit Zones” Already Exist in Hungary
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 3:
“The transit zones… already exist in Hungary.
“In the transit zone, which Hungary has declared a no man’s land, officials… check whether the asylum-seeker has been registered in another European Union country or whether the asylum application is obviously unfounded for other reasons…
“Rejected asylum seekers are returned to Serbia from the transit zone. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg condemned this practice back in March 2017… The court called their internment illegal. The deportation to Serbia was also criticized because there was a risk of a ‘chain deportation’ to Greece. Hungary has appealed this judgment. A final verdict is still pending…
“For transit zones to work, it is imperative to seal off the border with a fence or very tight border controls… In the case of Germany, this would mean that the border with Austria would have to be closed off and controlled along its entire length of 817 kilometers. But this wouldn’t comply with the rules of free movement within the Schengen area…”
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: The EU’s New Power Broker?
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 30:
“Austria takes over the EU Council presidency on July 1. Its conservative new leader Sebastian Kurz sees himself above all as a gatekeeper, with migration at the top of the agenda for his country’s mandate… With a right-wing populist chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, at its helm, the bloc is about to be led by a country whose policies on migration in recent years have shown little willingness to compromise…
“Austria’s EU presidency coincides with the final stretch of the Brexit negotiations, set to be finalized this year in order to pave the way for the UK’s exit from the bloc in early 2019. Whether such deadlines can be met remains to be seen…”
It also remains to be seen what else Austria will do while “in charge” of the EU.
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 3:
“Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz… said that a migration deal that ended a bitter dispute between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, would force Austria to ‘protect’ its southern border…
“Analysts have warned that other EU countries may mimic Austria’s reaction…”
“US Considering Troop Withdrawal from Germany, Report Says”
Deutsche Welle reported on June 30:
“The US Department of Defense is examining options for withdrawing US forces stationed in Germany after President Donald Trump expressed interest in such a move, The Washington Post reported on Friday. The newspaper… said officials were analyzing the cost and consequences of shifting either some or all 35,000 US troops to the US or Poland…
“The US Department of Defense rejected The Washington Post‘s report on Friday evening. A Pentagon spokesman told German news agency DPA that the National Security Council had not received any cost analysis from the Ministry of Defense for relocating US troops stationed in Germany. Trump had reportedly showed interest in shifting US forces during a White House meeting earlier in the year after he had voiced shock at how many US troops were in Germany, the largest contingent of US forces in Europe…
“European officials have learned about the analysis, according to the newspaper, and are trying to ascertain whether it reflects Trump’s intentions or is part of a negotiating ploy ahead of a July 11-12 NATO summit in Brussels…”
“Trump Warns NATO Allies to Spend More on Defense, or Else”
The New York Times reported on July 2:
“President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies – including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada – taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance… In his letters, the president hinted that after more than a year of public and private complaints that allies have not done enough to share the burden of collective defense, he may be considering a response, including adjusting the United States’ military presence around the world.
“‘As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised,’ Mr. Trump wrote to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in a particularly pointed letter… ‘The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us… Continued German underspending on defense undermines the security of the alliance and provides validation for other allies that also do not plan to meet their military spending commitments, because others see you as a role model.’”
Handelsblatt Global wrote on July 3:
“Trump actually has half a point. At another NATO summit in Wales in 2014, the allies had agreed to a long-term goal of spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Germany currently spends only 1.3 percent… The budget for 2019 does include more money for the army: €42.9 billion, or €4 billion more than this year. But that only sounds good until you realize that Germany should in theory be spending more like €72 billion a year… In a nightmare scenario, Trump starts drawing down the US military presence in Europe, or makes other gestures that cast doubt on NATO’s ability and will to defend itself…”
Ultimately, Europe will have their own powerful army, as the Bible clearly prophesies.
Trade War Between USA and its Allies and Foes
AFP wrote on June 29:
“Canada hit back at the United States Friday with retaliatory tariffs on $12.6 billion in American goods, including summer barbecue essentials such as orange juice, ketchup and bourbon. The 25 percent tariffs on steel products and 10 percent on consumer goods take effect on July 1 in the opening salvo in a trade war with President Donald Trump.
“Ottawa also announced Can$2 billion (US$1.5 billion) in aid for Canadian steel and aluminum industries and workers hurt by US metals tariffs.”
AFP wrote on July 4:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday warned US President Donald Trump against unleashing an all-out trade war after he threatened to impose steep tariffs on cars from the European Union. In a speech to the Bundestag federal parliament, Merkel said both sides were effectively locked in a ‘trade conflict’ since Trump’s decision to slap punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium [sic] imports. ‘It is worthwhile to prevent this conflict from becoming a real war’… Trump on Sunday charged that Europe is ‘possibly as bad as China’ on trade, as he reiterated that he is mulling import taxes of 20 percent on EU cars.
“The EU has slapped tariffs on iconic US products including bourbon, jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as a symbolic tit-for-tat response to the metals duties. Taking aim at Trump over his complaint that the EU, and in particular economic powerhouse Germany, is running a massive trade surplus against the US, Merkel said that his calculation is skewed as it is based only on goods, not services.”
Fortune wrote on July 2:
“The European Union is reportedly preparing to slap tariffs on up to $300 billion of U.S. products, if the White House goes ahead with its threatened tariffs on auto imports from the EU. This is based on a letter, reported by the Financial Times, from the European Commission to the U.S. Commerce Department.
“The threatened figure is enormous, dwarfing the levels of tariffs that have been lobbed at the U.S. in the early stages of what may turn out to be a fully-fledged trade war. It’s around the same as the value of U.S. imports of foreign cars and parts…”
Newsmax wrote on July 3:
“Major U.S. trading partners including the European Union, China and Japan voiced deep concern at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday about possible U.S. measures imposing additional duties on imported autos and parts… Over 40 WTO members, including the 28 countries of the European Union – warned that the U.S. action could seriously disrupt the world market and threaten the WTO system, given the importance of cars to world trade… A Russian official told the WTO meeting that the issue of U.S. investigations had been raised over the past year in different WTO meetings, only to see things change for the worse. The United States was losing its reputation as a trusted trade partner, the Russian delegate told the meeting…
“China, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Singapore, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Qatar, Thailand and India all echoed the same concerns and said they doubted the U.S. tariffs were in line with WTO rules…”
AFP wrote on July 5:
“Steep American tariffs on Chinese goods worth tens of billions of dollars are due to take effect at midnight Thursday, as US President Donald Trump fires the decisive salvo in a trade war between the world’s top two economies.
“Beijing has vowed to retaliate dollar-for-dollar, ‘immediately’ imposing counter-tariffs on American exports despite warnings the burgeoning conflict will send shockwaves around the global economy and strike at the heart of the world trading system…”
“Horribly Intolerant Behavior” by Democrats in Opposition to Trump’s “Disgraceful Policy”
Piers Morgan wrote on June 25 in the Daily Mail:
“Last week was a very bad week for President Trump. His disgraceful new policy of separating migrant children from their parents rightly blew up in flames of hellish vitriol and scorn. There was no defence for such a vile, heartless action and Trump fully deserves all the criticism that has since rained down on his head – including from his own wife and daughter, and senior Republicans. You can tell just how bad it was by the way he performed an almost unprecedented, panicky U-turn within days of the scandal being exposed.
“Yet America’s liberals… still conspired to get it horribly wrong and allow Trump to regain the high moral ground. First, actor Peter Fonda tweeted: ‘We should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if mother will stand up against the massive giant [real bad language] she is married to.’ I read this disgusting post with a mixture of shock, horror and head-scratching bemusement. What on earth possessed Fonda to write such a thing about an innocent young 12-year-old boy who must already be suffering considerable angst from being the son of such a divisive president?
“… the owner of a Red Hen restaurant in Virginia threw out Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the weekend – simply because she works for Trump… This incident came a few days after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was interrupted by protestors in a Mexican restaurant in Washington DC, and after Trump adviser Stephen Miller was branded a ‘fascist’ while dining in another Mexican restaurant…
“Regardless of what you think of Trump, it’s absolutely pathetic that a White House employee like Sarah Sanders cannot eat with her family in an American restaurant without being humiliated in such a way. It’s even more pathetic that U.S. politicians are now demanding more of this kind of nonsense…
“Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters openly called for more Trump staffers to be targeted in public… This is a member of Congress actively encouraging crowd disorder against anyone in the Trump administration, regardless of whether they are out in a private capacity, perhaps with young family. It’s hard to think of a more intolerant, or dangerous, command from someone who professes to want more tolerance.
“… This kind of horribly intolerant behaviour only serves to further strengthen Trump’s support, especially amongst those who voted for him, and thus further increases his chances of winning another term in 2020. So ironically, and inexplicably, liberals are currently doing everything in their power to help get Trump re-elected.”
This shows how terribly divided the USA is today.
How the Post-War German Government Used Nazis for their Services
Fox News reported on June 29:
“The daughter of Heinrich Himmler [Gudrun Burwitz-Himmler], who led Adolf Hitler’s ruthless SS, worked as a secretary for West Germany’s [foreign intelligence] spy agency [BND] in the 1960s [from 1961 until 1963] in Munich under a different name despite never renouncing Nazism and remaining active in far-right extremism for decades…
“Burwitz-Himmler, who was famously photographed with her father at various Nazi events when she was a child, was a notorious postwar supporter of the extreme right and remained active in those circles into her old age. She died last month in Munich at 88… She worked at the BND at a time when it was led by Reinhard Gehlen, a controversial ex-WWII German general who also worked for U.S. intelligence postwar and employed many former military officers and Nazis as spies. Gehlen ran the then-West Germany spy agency until 1968.
“After the war, Burwitz-Himmler was arrested and made to testify at the Nuremberg trials and repeatedly sought to justify her father’s actions. She married journalist Wulf Dieter Burwitz, who later became a party official in the Bavarian section of the far-right NPD. She was also affiliated with Stille Hilfe, or “Silent Assistance,” which helped accused Nazi war criminals find refuge and avoid extradition. It is believed the group was first created by a group of SS officers and right-wing German clergy. She remained a committed Holocaust denier until her death.
“… the BND has come under criticism in recent years for failing to root out right-wing extremists in the post-war era. Critical historians have said ex-Nazis and far right sympathizers working inside security agencies after World War II may have protected others. Himmler, who as commander of the SS was a principal architect to the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust, killed himself while in British custody in 1945.”
Prince William’s Controversial Trip to the State of Israel
Breitbart wrote on June 28:
“Prince William reportedly refused a request to meet with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in the capital out of concern that it would come across as a political statement. Barkat in turn refused to meet with the British royal outside the capital. According to Israel’s Channel 2, Barkat asked to meet with the British royal in the capital but was told that meeting in that location would imply British recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Instead the prince was told that he could meet with Barkat at a reception at the British ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan. Barkat refused, saying he would rather not meet at all ‘out of respect for Jerusalem.’…
“The prince’s trip was the first official visit by a member of the royal family since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The visit sparked a minor controversy even before it took place when Kensington Palace used the term ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’ to describe his upcoming visit to Jerusalem’s Old City. UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey defended the decision, saying that all ‘the terminology that was used in the program was consistent with years of practice by British governments. It’s consistent with British government policy.’
“The prince also drew criticism for referring to ‘our two countries’ during his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas… Britain’s Foreign Office said… that ‘the UK government supports the creation of a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state… The UK will recognize a Palestinian state at a time when it can best help to bring about peace.’…
“William had a poignant last day on Thursday, with visits to the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and the [Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene to visit the grave of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice] on the Mount of Olives… The prince also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and received special dispensation to enter the Dome of the Rock, despite the fact that he is not Muslim.”
The Times of Israel wrote on June 27:
“Although prince visited PM and president, a mayoral meet in the capital was apparently a step too far, given UK stance on [the] disputed city… Apparently a meeting by the prince with the mayor in Jerusalem, however, would have implied an unacceptable degree of British recognition of Israeli rights in the city.”
The Bible shows that ultimately, Israel will find no support from either Britain or America, let alone from Europe or other nations.
France to Reintroduce Compulsory National Service for all 16-Year-Olds
The Independent wrote on June 28:
“The French government has begun putting into action its promise to reintroduce national service for all 16-year-olds. During his election campaign Emmanuel Macron, France’s prime minister, said restoring national service would inspire patriotism and social cohesion. Both girls and boys will serve in the two-stage programme.
“The first stage will be a compulsory month-long placement with a focus on civic culture… The options being looked at include voluntary teaching and working with charities, alongside traditional military training with the army, police or fire service. This would largely take place during France’s school holidays.
“A second, voluntary stage of at least three months and up to a year would also be available. In this phase, young people would be encouraged to serve… in an area linked to defence and security… However, they would also be able to volunteer for work in social care, culture or the environment…
“The plan represents a watered-down version of the ‘direct experience of military life’ Mr Macron promised during his election campaign. Between 600,000 and 800,000 young people would have faced military training and spent at least a month with the armed forces…
“Mr Macron is the first French president not to have done military service, as he came of age after the practice was scrapped. National service ended in Britain in 1957, though military service remains compulsory in Greece, Russia and Finland.”
This crazy but dangerous idea reminds us of the type of compulsory national services in communist countries and in Nazi Germany. The fruits of such indoctrination have always been terrible. Furthermore, we feel strongly that France will, in due time, introduce compulsory military service, and other European nations will do likewise.
North Korea INCREASES Production of Enriched Uranium for Nuclear Weapons
The Huffington Post reported on June 30:
“North Korea has been secretly increasing production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons at clandestine sites, several U.S. intelligence sources have told NBC News.
The information, based on the latest U.S. intelligence assessment, follows CNN’s publication of satellite photos earlier this week showing expanding work on a nuclear research site in North Korea.
“The news also comes just weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with President Donald Trump in a historic summit in Singapore. The leaders said they would ‘work toward’ denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but they didn’t settle on specific details or deadlines…
“The North Koreans have stopped nuclear tests, but ‘there’s no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production,’ said one U.S. official, the network reported Friday. ‘There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S.’ Another senior intelligence official told NBC: ‘Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles’…
“Satellite images from June 21, which CNN revealed Wednesday, appear to show upgrades to a major nuclear research facility in North Korea. Analysts at 38 North, which tracks North Korean activity, said the images revealed that ‘improvements to the infrastructure at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center are continuing at a rapid pace.’”
Was it really believable that one could trust the North Korean dictator’s “promises” to denuclearize his country?
China and Russia to Collaborate Militarily
MSN wrote on July 3:
“China’s defense minister has pledged his country’s support to the Russian army in the latest in a series of high-level contacts between the top U.S. military rivals… [It was] emphasized that the military leaders expand and deepen cooperation in all areas… [and that] the friendly cooperation between Chinese and Russian militaries has maintained a sound momentum of high-level development, and the two armies have yielded great results in such fields as personnel training, joint training and exercises, and military competitions…
“China and Russia… both expand their military power and enhance their political clout abroad. They have pursued a number of joint military exercises, enhanced bilateral economic relations and have vowed to support one another in the face of what they see as U.S. Cold War-era aggression toward their rise.
“… China and Russia also have unique relationships with their mutual neighbor, North Korea… China and Russia attempted to persuade the United Nations Security Council last week to introduce measures that would gradually remove tough sanctions against North Korea amid a thawing in its relationship with the U.S., but Washington refused, citing a lack of progress in Pyongyang’s denuclearization.”
Upcoming Trump-Putin Summit on July 15 in Helsinki
Breitbart wrote on June 29:
“President Donald Trump will demand Russian leader Vladimir Putin force Iran to pull out their military presence from Syria, an unnamed source told the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat. ‘If the Putin-Trump summit is held on July 15, its core will be to negotiate Washington’s insistence on Iran’s withdrawal from Syria,’ a Western diplomat told the newspaper in anticipation of the meeting between the two men next month. Iran, alongside Russia, has been providing military assistance to Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Arab Army in its civil war against the government rebels…
“The Kremlin has since confirmed that preparations are underway for the meeting, with the Finnish capital of Helsinki as the chosen location… this meeting will be the first official one solely between the two leaders. Their relationship has been subject to much speculation from the media, as Trump remains under investigation by the FBI for alleged collusion that occurred during the 2016 election with the Russian government…”
On July 4, Newsmax re-published the following article of The Associated Press:
“As a meeting last August in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, President Donald Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country? The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration…
“In an exchange that lasted around five minutes, McMaster and others took turns explaining to Trump how military action could backfire and risk losing hard-won support among Latin American governments to punish President Nicolas Maduro for taking Venezuela down the path of dictatorship… But Trump pushed back. Although he gave no indication he was about to order up military plans, he pointed to what he considered past cases of successful gunboat diplomacy in the region, according to the official, like the invasions of Panama and Grenada in the 1980s.
“The idea, despite his aides’ best attempts to shoot it down, would nonetheless persist in the president’s head. The next day, Aug. 11, Trump alarmed friends and foes alike with talk of a ‘military option’ to remove Maduro from power… shortly afterward, he raised the issue with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos…
“Then in September, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Trump discussed it again, this time at greater length, in a private dinner with leaders from four Latin American allies that included Santos… Trump… went around asking each leader if they were sure they didn’t want a military solution [and] each leader told Trump in clear terms they were sure.
“… a National Security Council spokesman reiterated that the U.S. will consider all options at its disposal to help restore Venezuela’s democracy and bring stability. Under Trump’s leadership, the U.S., Canada and [the] European Union have levied sanctions on dozens of top Venezuelan officials, including Maduro himself, over allegations of corruption, drug trafficking and human rights abuses. The U.S. has also distributed more than $30 million to help Venezuela’s neighbors absorb an influx of more than 1 million migrants who have fled the country.
“Within days of the president’s talk of a military option, Maduro filled the streets of Caracas with loyalists to condemn ‘Emperor’ Trump’s belligerence, ordered up nationwide military exercises and threatened with arrest opponents he said were plotting his overthrow with the U.S….”
Mexico’s New Leadership
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 2:
“Mexico’s new left-wing president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (“AMLO”), has all the political means he needs to reinvent the country, for better or for worse… [He] will have an enormous amount of political power. Not only did he and his Morena party make history by capturing more than half the presidential vote for the first time in modern Mexico in a competitive election, they also won several state governorships, the influential post of Mexico City mayor and… the majority of both chambers of congress…
“Lopez Obrador… is regarded as a messiah. He has made many promises, too. He wants to put a stop to organized crime’s rising influence, curb Mafia-like government bureaucracy, end impunity, be an advocate for the poor, fight for justice, commit himself to democracy and national sovereignty and, of course, be tough in the face of US President Donald Trump.
“AMLO will have to unite Mexico’s various political groups if he wants to make good on his promises, in particular to reduce the huge gap between rich and poor… Every single day, 70 percent of Mexican exports go to the US… to prevent a further deterioration in US-Mexico relations, continued cooperation in important areas like immigration and cross-border crime is vital.
“Mexico needs peace. These days, the universities are empty because young people prefer to make easy money in organized crime. Last year alone, more than 26,000 people were murdered in the country. AMLO must change that if he wants to show that millions of Mexicans were right in supporting him. There will not be a run-off ballot, so the dye is cast. There is no second chance — Mexico has reached a crucial turning point in its history…”
Tarot Cards an Ancient Evil
Breaking Israel News wrote on June 25:
“Sales of tarot cards have risen sharply in the last year as self-proclaimed witches claim that divination and dark-magic are effective…
“The BBC published an article last week noting a 30-percent increase in sales in tarot cards last year, citing data collected by US Games Systems, a publisher of tarot games. Tarot may be a modern trend but its roots are ancient, with some sources claiming the deck has its origins in the Book of Thoth, a legendary tome of Egyptian occult and idolatry. Based on four suits, tarot cards are similar to common playing cards but with some significant differences that serve its primary purpose: divination.
“The Latin root of the word ‘divination’ means “to foresee, to be inspired by a god,” but the Torah expressly forbids the practice. ‘Let no one be found among you who consigns his son or daughter to the fire, or who is an augur, a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer’ Deuteronomy 18:10.
“Rabbi Daniel Asore, a member of the Sanhedrin, noted that the anti-divine aspect of divination is precisely the reason why the practice is proscribed and considered one of the more egregious forms of evil…”
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.
How and When to Keep the Second Passover (Part 1)
There are two passages in the Bible which deal expressly with the “second Passover.” It is first introduced in Numbers 9:1-14, where we read:
“Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: ‘Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight [literally, “between the two evenings,” designating the time between sunset and nightfall], you shall keep it at its appointed time. According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it.’ So Moses told the children of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, at twilight, in the Wilderness of Sinai, according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did.
“Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day [compare Numbers 5:2; 19:11-12]; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day. And those men said to him, ‘We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the children of Israel?’ And Moses said to them, ‘Stand still, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you.’
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying, “If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the LORD’s Passover. On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.
“‘”But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off among the people, because he did not bring the offering of the LORD at its appointed time, that man shall bear his sin. And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep the LORD’s Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.”‘”
In the Old and the New Testaments, the Passover was to be observed as a memorial once a year. In our free booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days“, we state:
“We read in 1 Corinthians 11:26: ‘For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.’ Many have interpreted this Scripture to say, ‘Take it as often as you please.’ But this is not what the Scripture teaches. By reading in context, we learn that Paul was reminding the disciples of the events that happened on the ‘same night in which He (Christ) was betrayed’ (verse 23). Paul stated that on that night, Christ took the bread and the wine, gave it to His disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat…do this in remembrance of Me… This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’ (verses 24, 25)…
“Christ commanded His converted disciples to partake of the symbols of bread and wine ‘in remembrance’ of ‘the Lord’s death.’ This is clearly a memorial—as the first and last Days of Unleavened Bread are memorials—and memorials of momentous occasions are always observed annually—once a year—on the anniversary of the event they commemorate. It should be noted that God specifically denotes seven ANNUAL Sabbaths or Holy Days to be observed in their appointed times. These annual Holy Days are either memorials of events that have already taken place, or they foreshadow events that will still occur. It is during these annual observances that we are instructed to keep exactly what God has commanded.
“Christ and His disciples were keeping the Passover—an annual celebration of the time when Old Testament Israel was spared from death… the Israelites had to take some of the blood of the Passover lamb and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel of the houses where they ate the lamb (Exodus 12:7–8). God had promised to ‘pass over’ the Israelites when He saw the blood (Exodus 12:13, 23). The entire service was called the ‘LORD’S Passover’ or the ‘Passover sacrifice’ (Exodus 12:11, 27).
“Luke 22:15 tells us that Christ had ‘desired with fervent desire to eat this Passover.’ We read in Matthew 26:17–20 that the disciples had prepared the Passover, and that Christ and His disciples ate it—the Passover lamb—’when evening had come’ (Matthew 26:20; notice also Mark 14:12–18, 22). Christ changed the symbols that night from the flesh and the blood of a lamb, to the bread and the wine of the true ‘Passover Lamb’—Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7)…
“By partaking of the bread and the wine on the Passover night, Christ’s disciples symbolically partake of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ for the continued forgiveness of their sins, as well as for their physical and spiritual healing, eventually leading to eternal life (John 6:58). So we see that it was the night of Jesus’ last Passover supper that He introduced the new symbols. Note that the Passover symbols were changed, not WHEN, or how often, Passover itself was to be observed.
“The Passover was kept once a year—’as a memorial.’ On the night when Christ was betrayed, He kept the Passover. The Passover was, at that time, celebrated as a supper—that is why it is called in Scripture ‘the Lord’s supper.’ Christians are today to continue keeping the Passover, but not as a meal—not as ‘the Lord’s Supper.’ They are only to partake of the symbols of bread and wine on the Passover night. They do not eat a full meal during the Passover service… Christians are told that they must ‘discern the Lord’s body’—they must distinguish the symbols of bread and wine from an ordinary meal (1 Corinthians 11:29). 1 Corinthians 11:20, 34 tells us, ‘Therefore when you come together in one place, it is NOT to eat the Lord’s Supper… But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home.’ (As an aside, nowhere does the Bible describe the Passover service as ‘communion,’ when we are to partake of bread and/or wine)… Paul did NOT say in 1 Corinthians 11 that Christians should partake of the ‘Lord’s Supper,’ and that they can do so ‘as often as they please.’ Rather, they are partaking of the New Testament Passover symbols of bread and wine once a year—during the Passover service—in memory of and as a memorial of Christ’s death and sacrifice. Every year, when they do so, they proclaim Christ’s death until He returns.”
The introduction of the second Passover does not change anything in regard to what is stated above. Those who are allowed to observe the second Passover did NOT keep the first Passover. Those who have kept the (first) Passover would not keep it again one month later. That means, the Passover is still being kept only once a year.
As Israel forsook God and His laws, they also forgot to keep the Passover and the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread, which follow the Passover. In due time, King Hezekiah of Judah restored the proper worship temple service in Judah, and in the process, he told the Jews and those from the house of Israel who had not been taken away by the Assyrians to keep the Passover (2 Chronicles 30:1, 6). However, as “they could not keep it at [the] time [of the first Passover], because a sufficient number of priests had not sanctified themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem” (verse 3), the king, his leaders and all the congregation in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month (i.e., to keep the second Passover) (verse 2). Many of the remnant of the house of Israel refused to come to Jerusalem for the second Passover, but some “humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem” (verses 10-11). Some of those who assembled had not “cleansed themselves” “according to the purification of the sanctuary”, even for the second Passover, they “ate the Passover contrary to what was written.” Hezekiah prayed for God’s forgiveness for them, and God healed them (verses 18-20).
God had decreed that the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread were to be kept in the first month, following the (first) Passover. The king and the people proceeded to keep them however in the second month, following the second Passover (2 Chronicles 30:13, 21-22). And because of the restored feelings of gladness and joy, it was decided to observe the Days of Unleavened Bread for another seven days (verse 23). We read that “since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem” (verse 26).
We note that the first Passover was not observed because there were not sufficient priests who had [ritually] sanctified themselves “because the cleansing of the temple was not finished until the sixteenth day, see 2 Chronicles 29:17 and… because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently; that is, a sufficient number of them were not sanctified, to slay all the passover lambs” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible); and because the people had not gathered together in Jerusalem which “they could not do, because neither was the matter agreed upon, nor were the people summoned thither, till the proper time was past” (Benson Commentary).
In addition, we read that there were those who ate the second Passover even though they had not cleansed themselves. They were not ceremonially clean, but God forgave them upon the prayer of Hezekiah.
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains that the priests slaughtered the Passover lamb for those who were ceremonially unclean (see verse 17), stating: “This was a deviation from the established rules and practices in presenting the offerings of the temple. The reason was, that many present on the occasion having not sanctified themselves, the Levites slaughtered the paschal victims… for everyone that was unclean. At other times the heads of families killed the lambs themselves, the priests receiving the blood from their hands and presenting it on the altar. Multitudes of the Israelites, especially from certain tribes (2Ch 30:18), were in this unsanctified state, and yet they ate the [second] passover—an exceptional feature and one opposed to the law (Nu 9:6); but this exception was allowed [better: it was not held against them] in answer to Hezekiah’s prayer (2Ch 30:18-20).”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds the following comments to verse 17: “For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified,…. Or purified from uncleanness, contracted either by idolatry, or through such things which, according to the ceremonial law, made them unclean, and from which they had not now time to cleanse themselves according to the law: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for everyone that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the Lord; this they did for the masters of families, who were ceremonially unclean, who otherwise might have killed their passover lambs themselves, see Exodus 12:6, but now the Levites did it for them, that their passovers might be sanctified and consecrated to the Lord; for, as Philo the Jew says… one day in a year the whole sacrificed, everyone acted as a priest, and brought and slew his own sacrifice, meaning at the passover.”
The Benson Commentary adds this in commenting to verse 18:
“A multitude of the people had not cleansed themselves — Either they did not know, after such a long night of ignorance and superstition, what ceremonies were required, in order to their purification, or they had not time to use them. Yet having an eager and pious desire to commemorate their wonderful deliverance out of the Egyptian bondage, they were permitted, in their uncleanness, to eat the [second] passover, lest they should be discouraged if they were denied it, in this their return to the true religion. But Hezekiah prayed for them — It was his zeal that had called them together in such haste, and he would not that they should fare the worse for being straitened for time in their preparation. He therefore thought himself concerned to be an intercessor for those that ate the [second] passover otherwise than it was written. And he had confidence that God was so gracious that he would not, on account of the omission of some prescribed ceremony, be wroth with men whose hearts were upright before him.”
We need to emphasize that the second Passover is still to be observed today with the new symbols introduced by Jesus, but ONLY by those who did not and could not partake of the first Passover. We note that in Old Testament times, the second Passover was observed exactly in the same way as the first Passover, only that it was kept exactly one month later, but still on the 14th day of the (second) month, “at twilight” (between the two evenings of sunset and nightfall); with unleavened bread and bitter herbs; and with Passover lambs which were not to be kept until morning, and the bones of which were not to be broken. (Of course, blood was not put on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses during the first or the second Passover, as this was strictly done during the very first Passover night. That part of the original ceremony was not carried out during subsequent first and second Passover celebrations.)
We should also note that Numbers 9:10-12 does not say anything about observing Seven Days of Unleavened Bread AFTER the observance of the second Passover. We will discuss in the next installment as to how we are to understand and apply today the events described in 2 Chronicles 30.
In addition, we read that only those could observe the Old Testament Passover (both the first and the second Passover) if they were physically circumcised (compare Exodus 12:48). This fact has important ramifications for the observance of the New Testament Passover as Paul warns against partaking of it in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27, 29). In ancient Israel, a foreigner could not partake of the Passover if he was not physically circumcised, and from this, the Church of God has concluded and teaches that a person must be “spiritually” circumcised in order to partake of the Passover.
Note this from our free booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days,” regarding the Passover:
“The Old Testament demands that no male who was uncircumcised was to participate at the Passover… Even though physical circumcision is no longer a requirement for New Testament Christians, they are circumcised spiritually (Colossians 2:11–12; Romans 2:26–29). This can only occur through the indwelling Holy Spirit, which God gives us after proper baptism. Christ’s disciples had been baptized (even though, in the extraordinary case of the eleven apostles, they had not yet received the Holy Spirit—they would receive it, however, on the Day of Pentecost)…
“No male was allowed, in Old Testament times, to partake of the Passover, unless he was circumcised. True Christians are circumcised spiritually, in the heart, by and through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, after proper baptism. Therefore, only properly baptized members of the spiritual body of Christ—the Church—who don’t hold grudges against anyone, and who do not have hate toward others in their hearts, are to partake of the annual symbols of bread and wine. In doing so, they reflect on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. This teaching is supported by the fact that Jesus waited until Judas had left them, before He introduced the New Testament symbols of bread and wine…”
As there is, in spiritual application, “neither male nor female” in God’s Church today (Galatians 3:28), the requirement of having been “spiritually circumcised” by having been properly baptized and having received the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to partake of the Passover symbols applies to both men and women.
We should take note of the fact that the second Passover was for those who could not take the first Passover because, among other reasons, they were ritually unclean or defiled by having touched a corpse. When they became ritually clean, they could take the second Passover. In the next installment, we will discuss if and under what circumstances the spiritual analogy might apply when a person who is spiritually unclean and therefore prevented from taking the first Passover, as he or she would take it unworthily, would be able to take the second Passover after he or she has become spiritually clean. In this context, we will also address the important point that the men who were not able to keep the first Passover due to ritual uncleanness asked Moses why they should be deprived from presenting the offering of the LORD on Passover. Finally, we will explain how eligible participants should observe the second Passover.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A Tech Team Meeting was conducted on July 1, 2018, via SKYPE. Hosted by Eric Rank, plans for ad campaigns on the Internet, podcasts and specific equipment needs for our live broadcasts were discussed.
“Europe’s Immigration Nightmare,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Europe is involved in an unparalleled immigration scandal, showing complete disharmony, backstabbing, blackmail, compromise, selling out, a defeat of moderate voices and a victory of the far right. A European “deal” of establishing “screening centers” in African countries has been described as a “farce.” Germany’s Angela Merkel is fighting for her political survival and striking controversial and probably illegal deals with Bavaria’s Horst Seehofer regarding transit centers on European soil. Austria’s Sebastian Kurz is proposing more controversial ideas. Where will this all end?
“Europas katastrophale Einwanderungspolitik,” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. This is the German language version of the subject described above.
“Die Bibel zeigt: Der Dritte Weltkrieg kommt bald!” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Bible Shows: World War III Comes Soon.“
“Hungering for the Unknown,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Man’s arrogance led him to build the tower in Babel, not to glorify God but to stand as a monument to man. God commanded man to be prosperous and fill the earth, something quite opposite to what those in Babel were doing. We must not fall into a similar trap, through arrogance, assuming our own desires and knowledge are sufficient to please God.
“Is This the Time of the End?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We live in a period when things are about to change. In fact, they already are—IF we understand what to look for! By all indications, this is the time of the end spoken of in the Bible. It is the closing generation of Satan’s rule over mankind.
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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