July 13, 2018
Truth or Legend?; The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Present and the Future, Part 2
On July 14, 2018, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Truth or Legend?,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Present and the Future, 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.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
by Dave Harris
We wouldn’t say we have too much love for God or our neighbor, nor say that we are way too zealous in serving God or that our faith is far too strong. In fact, we would all very likely admit to wanting much more of such good things as these.
Nevertheless, some good things might actually be too much if we aren’t careful!
There is a deeply profound lesson for all of us in the example of the young man who had great wealth and who asked Jesus what good thing he should do to have eternal life (compare Matthew 19:16-22). What Jesus told him required an abrupt reshaping of his life—and he was unwilling to go that far. Riches and the lack of commitment stood in his way to eternal life.
When the children of Israel were about to enter the land which God had promised, they were sternly cautioned to beware when abundant blessings came to them (compare Deuteronomy 8). Here is God’s warning:
“‘Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God’” (Deuteronomy 8:19-20).
We must be very careful to not suffer the same kind of fate. We live in a time of remarkable and unparalleled abundance—so much so, we might get caught up in pursuing things that will not last. Things which are not eternal! Most of us don’t have great wealth, but we can become self-satisfied with our circumstances and lose our true focus. Jesus left this message for us—for those who understand the gospel of the Kingdom of God:
“‘Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful’” (Matthew 13:22).
My title is a phrase we have probably all heard. We get its meaning by experience. We know that too much dessert, for example, is just too much of a good thing (compare also Proverbs 25:16; 25:27). It takes understanding to balance the use of things. And so it is when it comes to our daily living as Christians in this world.
There is, however, something which lies ahead which will never be too much of a good thing, and that is eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
by Norbert Link
We begin reporting about events pertaining to President Trump’s attendance at the NATO summit in Brussels which started with a bang; and the increasing controversy and escalation between the USA and especially Germany as well as the concern that the USA might withdraw its troops from Europe (Please view our new StandingWatch program, “How God Views the 2018 NATO Summit”) and we speak about the vulnerability of Germany’s present government, especially of Angela Merkel and Horst Seehofer, and the rising star of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, as well as some concerns of former EU Parliament President Martin Schulz.
We address the current Brexit disaster after the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, evolving around concepts of a “hard Brexit,” a “soft Brexit” and a “disorderly no deal.”
We point out the increasingly dictatorial and autocratic government of Turkey’s President Erdogan; and we report on a new-found friendly relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the escalation of a worldwide trade war with grave consequences for everyone concerned.
We conclude with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice; the struggle of the unpopular Jehovah’s Witnesses with the EU’s new data protection law and their persecution in many countries; Jimmy Carter’s strange and unbiblical opinions about Jesus Christ; and the reported odd opposition of a US delegation to breastfeeding.
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
“Brace Yourselves—Donald Trump Is Coming”
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 8:
“On Wednesday, the US president will be in Brussels for the NATO summit, where he will likely continue to ruffle feathers… And then, on July 16, Trump will travel to Finland to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin…
“There is great anxiety at NATO about how the meeting will go… At a recent speech in the state of Indiana ahead of the US midterm elections in November, Trump made clear his anger about Germany… He directly attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel, claiming that the United States pays for Germany’s security but receives little in return. And then he accused Germany of prioritizing energy deals with Russia and leaving the United States to foot the bill. Trump… has already indirectly threatened to pull US troops from Germany if the country does not increase its defense spending.
“In the worst-case scenario… the United States could demand that European members directly pay for US troops to be stationed on the continent…”
Die Welt wrote on July 9:
“When more money needs to be spent [by the Europeans] for their own defense, then it must be done as efficiently… as possible… Nothing but a unified European army would fulfil those demands—not as replacement, but as a compliment to NATO which becomes less and less interesting for the USA.“
It may be interesting to note that “Donald” is an Anglicization of the Scottish Gaelic name, Domhanll, which means world-ruler. As the above-quoted articles predicted, President Trump did indeed ruffle feathers after arriving in Europe. Note the next articles.
Trump Attacks Germany—Merkel Counters
The EUObserver wrote on July 11:
“US leader Donald Trump, backed by Poland, has begun the Nato summit with a tirade against Germany’s plan to build a pipeline with Russia [The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russia to Germany’s northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany]… ‘Germany is a captive of Russia,’ Trump said after meeting Nato head Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Wednesday (11 July). ‘Germany’s totally controlled by Russia because they’ll be getting from 60 to 70% of their energy from Russia, and a new pipeline … and I think it’s a very bad thing for Nato,’ he said. ‘We [the US] are supposed to protect you [Europe] from Russia, but Germany is making pipeline deals with Russia … explain that’, he added. ‘We’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,’ he said.
“Trump… was loose with the facts, given that Russian oil and gas account for just 20 percent of Germany’s energy mix and that NS2 is being financed by private firms from Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, rather than by German public money. His comment on Berlin being Moscow’s ‘captive’ also overlooked Germany’s leadership on EU economic sanctions against Russia.
“The remarks… met with a swift rebuttal by German chancellor Angela Merkel. ‘I experienced first hand that a part of Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union. It’s good that we can now make our own decisions,’ she said…
“Trump’s assault on NS2 pleased Poland, which sees the pipeline as a strategic threat… ‘NS1 helped Russia to modernise its army, then attack Georgia and Ukraine and violate international law. NS2 would also help Russia to pursue revisionist policy. The question is what we are going to do about that?,’ Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz said… he also repeated calls for the US to create a permanent military base in Poland, despite German concern that this could mean moving out tens of thousands of US troops from Germany…
“[NATO-chief] Stoltenberg indicated that other allies, as well as Germany, were increasingly confused by US foreign policy.”
The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline–Trump Has a Point!
The Telegraph wrote on July 11:
“Donald Trump was right to criticise Germany for its billion dollar energy deals with Russia at the Nato summit in Brussels on Wednesday morning. He hit the nail on the head – and Angela Merkel where it hurts – when he took aim at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project… The lead Russian company is the state-owned Gazprom, which has former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on its staff roster and a controlling 51 per cent share in the project, which will cost at least $15 billion.”
The Guardian wrote on July 11:
“Trump is not only one to ask questions.
“… the US president’s view that this will make Europe particularly dependent on Russian gas is widely shared by European politicians, thinktanks and energy specialists, including some in Berlin. No country is more angry about the pipeline than Ukraine [which] stands to lose billions of much needed dollars if Russia can transfer its gas transmissions to Europe across the Baltic Sea, away from a pipeline running across Ukrainian territory…
“Sweden, Denmark and Finland have expressed ecological reservations about a second natural gas pipeline at the bottom of the Baltic… The UK has also been objecting, albeit less stridently… The biggest fear is that the pipeline allows Russia a boot on the throat of Europe. It had not been afraid to cut off supplies faced by price disputes with Ukraine.”
The Gloves Are Off
The Guardian wrote on July 11:
“[Merkel] also hit back at Trump’s criticism that Germany contributed too little to European defence. ‘Germany does a lot for Nato,’ she said. ‘Germany is the second largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to Nato and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan. In that we also defend the interests of the United States.’…
“This summit is shaping up to be the most divisive in Nato’s 69-year history…
“Trump [seems to be] keen to see Merkel replaced as chancellor. His outburst could be part of a strategy to try to undermine her at a time when she is domestically vulnerable. Merkel has been one of the most outspoken critics of Trump among European leaders… Trump’s antagonism towards Merkel is partly personal, a reaction to a senior European politician standing up to him and her very evident dislike of him, which she makes little attempt to hide…”
Merkel has been known to be very timid in her criticism of Donald Trump. When she is described as “one of the most outspoken critics of Trump,” then imagine what would happen if a leader were to come to power in Germany who would be REALLY outspoken, and whose words would be followed by actions. The Bible prophesies that this is exactly what will happen soon.
Handelsblatt Global commented: “‘Germany is totally controlled by Russia.’ Donald Trump, US President. Quote of the Day. Always the diplomat.”
On July 11, Newsmax re-published the following article by The Associated Press:
“Trump predicted as he departed Washington that the ‘easiest’ leg of his journey would be his scheduled sit-down [with] Putin — a comment that did little to reassure allies fretting over his potential embrace of a Russian leader… European Council President Donald Tusk pushed back against Trump’s constant criticism of European allies and urged him to remember who his friends are when he meets with Putin in Helsinki. ‘Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have all that many,’ he said.”
America will soon lose even those few remaining allies…
Now Up to 4%?
The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 11:
“President Donald Trump pressured allies to double their military spending target to 4% of GDP, while questioning NATO’s value… Following the 4% proposal, Mr. Trump and NATO’s 28 other leaders agreed to a joint summit declaration that recommitted them to moving toward the 2% target by 2024… Then, after leaving the summit, Mr. Trump called for allies to raise their military spending to 2% ‘IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025’—misstating the year and avoiding mention of his 4% proposal…”
The Week wrote on July 12:
“President Trump told NATO leaders in person and on Twitter that he wants member nations to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending more quickly than the 2024 deadline agreed to in 2014, and maybe raise it to 4 percent, prompting an emergency session of NATO leaders Thursday morning.
“Trump also reportedly threatened to break with NATO and go it alone if other members don’t raise defense spending quickly. In a news conference afterward, Trump said he believes he can withdraw the U.S. from NATO without Congress but sees no need to after the other countries, he said, made ‘a real commitment’ to raise spending to 2 percent of GDP in a ‘relatively short period of years.’…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 12:
“French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters the alliance had not agreed to anything new during the meeting. ‘There is a communique that was published yesterday,’ he said, adding, ‘It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That’s all.’ A German government spokesman also said the meeting had merely reaffirmed the 2 percent goal by 2024.”
BBC News wrote on July 12:
“… no other country has confirmed any increased commitments as yet… French President Emmanuel Macron meanwhile said that no country had signed up to anything more than what was agreed four years ago.”
Will America Withdraw Its Troops from Europe?
McClatchydc.com wrote on July 6:
“European leaders… fear the United States may… begin to bring American troops home from the continent… Some worry… Trump, at the U.S.-Russia summit, could agree to take the first steps to embolden Russia, such as halting military exercises or agreeing that Crimea, a region of Ukraine annexed by Russia in 2014, belongs to Russia…
“A third of active-duty U.S. military troops overseas – more than 60,000 – are stationed in Europe, including 35,000 in Germany, 12,000 in Italy, 8,500 in the United Kingdom and 3,300 in Spain… Thousands more rotate into other European countries temporarily…”
At this point, the White House has denied that plans are being discussed to withdraw troops from Europe, and it is alleged that Congress would have to agree to such withdrawal. If so, one cannot take it for granted that Congress would necessarily oppose such withdrawal, given the tremendous amount of expenses necessary for stationing US troops in Europe.
Many Germans for US Troops Withdrawal
The Local wrote on July 11:
“A survey… has revealed that close to one in two Germans want all the US troops still stationed on German soil to leave… 42 percent of Germans would be happy if the US pulled its troops out of the Bundesrepublik. At the same time 37 percent said they want the US soldiers to stay, while 21 percent gave no answer.
“In particular, voters for the far-left Die Linke and far-right Alternative for Germany [AfD] wanted an end to US army bases, with 67 percent and 55 percent, respectively, saying the Amis should go. On the other hand, only 35 percent of voters for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) support this.
“… Germany… still hosts more US soldiers than any other country except Japan.”
Germany Must Step Up and Lead
Handelsblatt Global wrote on July 12:
“The consequences for security and German identity are vast. Angela Merkel understands this. That’s why she is worried. She knows that the German domestic debate lags far behind these geopolitical realities.
“The question is not when exactly Germany reaches the NATO goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense. It is how to explain to Germans that their country must start leading Europe to create… a European substitute for American power, as America increasingly turns its gaze from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Ready or not, Germany must step ‘up’.”
Europe’s Key Problem
The Project Syndicate wrote on July 5:
“Europeans are more worried about the future than they were a decade ago, not least because they are not convinced that their political leaders can respond effectively to current challenges…
“A key problem lies in the intricacy of the EU, which is poorly equipped to function amid chaos… The world of 2018 is one of chaotic play… Europe has too many moving parts. The EU is deliberately complex… That complexity is fine in normal times, but it is problematic at exceptional moments, when the play is frenetic. At those moments, the EU looks more like the Habsburg empire…
“The Habsburg empire had its own potential grand deal… but it was never concluded. Instead, the political elite began to believe that only an external political challenge – in the event, a brief war – could solve the problem. But World War I was no brief war, and far from rescuing the empire, it destroyed it. After 1918, nostalgia for the old empire surged. It looked better, more tolerant, and even more capable than the group of competing nation-states that succeeded it…”
In other words, what is being advocated, but missing at the moment, is a unifying authority with more or less swift and dictatorial powers. The Bible predicts that this is exactly what Europe will get very soon, at a time when, to reiterate a statement from the article, “the political elite began to believe that only an external political challenge – in the event, a brief war – could solve the problem.”
“Merkel Must Go”
The New York Times wrote on July 5:
“Admirers still speak of Merkel as if she is Europe’s last lion, the only leader with the vision and capacity to save the E.U… the longer she’s in office, the more the forces of reaction will gain strength…
“Europe needs a real security policy, backed by credible military power and less dependence on Russian energy… The stakes are too high for a muddler like Merkel to stick around.”
Half of the Germans agree.
The Circus of the Immigration Fight Continues…
News Channel 5 wrote on July 10:
“Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer presented his migration ‘master plan’ Tuesday in another jab at Chancellor Angela Merkel and her asylum policies. Seehofer has been pushing for more hard-line immigration and asylum policies and even threatened to quit over Merkel’s open-door policies. A recent agreement within Merkel’s governing coalition strengthened Germany’s asylum laws slightly.
“But Seehofer wants to take it a step further. Notably, his plan includes the establishment of ‘transit centers’ along Germany’s border, where migrants would be held during asylum proceedings. That term had been removed from the coalition’s agreement, in part because the Social Democratic Party feared the centers might be compared to World War II-era internment camps…”
Seehofer Asked to Resign
The Local wrote on July 11:
“An Afghan man deported from Germany has been found dead in a hotel room in Kabul after committing suicide, officials said Wednesday. The 23-year-old man… was forcibly returned to the Afghan capital on July 4th along with 68 other failed Afghan asylum seekers. He had been staying at a hotel used by the International Organization for Migration as temporary accommodation for returnees while he waited to go to the western city of Herat…
“According to Spiegel, he lived in Hamburg where he had been convicted of theft and assault. He came to Germany in 2011 and applied for asylum but his case was rejected. The apparent suicide is set to heap pressure on Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who had already faced criticism for a comment made on Tuesday in which he joked that the 69 deportations to Afghanistan had coincided with his 69th birthday.
“Kevin Kühnert, leader of the youth wing of the Social Democrats responded to the news of the suicide by calling for Seehofer to resign… ‘Horst Seehofer is a reprehensible cynic whose character doesn’t befit his office. His resignation is overdue.’…
“Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the bloody conflict that has been raging since 2001, making the issue of deportations from Germany and other European countries highly controversial. Germany itself is deeply divided over the issue… Some of the deportees have spent most of their lives living outside of Afghanistan before being deported. More Afghans are likely to be deported after Merkel’s shaky three-party coalition agreed last week on a tougher migration policy that will reduce the number of asylum-seekers in the country…”
Seehofer’s popularity has sharply declined in Germany, and the call for his resignation gets louder, while the right-wing AfD party—Germany’s biggest opposition party– has gained further support.
How Martin Schulz Sees It
El Pais wrote on July 6:
“Martin Schultz’s story is right out of a Greek tragedy. President of the European Parliament from 2012 to 2017, he did not seek re-election… [He gave the following] joint interview with EL PAÍS, La Repubblica and Le Figaro:
“It is almost fascist for the interior minister [of Italy] to want to register the Roma people. What we are experiencing is a brutalization of language in politics… this means the end of democracy… the right has been organizing itself for a long time now… In this case, ‘the right’ means anti-democratic, anti-European and populist forces. It is disgraceful the way they attack minorities…
“This will take us to the abyss… Matteo Salvini in Italy, Heinz-Christian Strache and Sebastian Kurz in Austria, Viktor Orban in Hungary and other right-wing populists are determined to liquidate the EU…
“It’s understandable that people want more security and simple things. Those who paint the world in black and white, like Trump or Salvini, propagate their simple ideas and that’s very attractive. You need to have the courage to say that the world is complicated…
“The domestic chaos [in Germany] caused by the Christian Social Union (CSU) is dramatic for Europe. At a time when we are experiencing American unilateralism and Russian authoritarian expansion, Europe cannot engage in regressive politics… I want to be a deputy who will defend the European chapter of [Germany’s] coalition agreement. This coalition must wage the battle for the European Union.”
Schulz’s assessment that Kurz is willing to liquidate the EU, is overblown. Kurz supports the EU, as the next article shows, but not that kind of EU which Schulz would like to see.
Sebastian Kurz—Europe’s New Leader?
Bloomberg wrote on July 6:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel has often been called the European Union’s real leader… A different chancellor seems positioned for leadership now: Austria’s Sebastian Kurz…
“Few people care much about the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, which Austria assumed on July 1. It’s usually just a public relations opportunity for member states that otherwise get little time in the limelight. It’s different with Kurz, though. In the six months since he became chancellor at the head of a coalition between his center-right People’s Party and the far-right Freedom Party, he has positioned himself as a go-to figure for European politicians as well as for powerful outside forces…
“Kurz has said that he’d like to be a ‘bridge-builder’ between the Visegrad Four (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and the rest of the EU.
“… Russian President Vladimir Putin, who rarely travels to Europe, has visited Kurz in Vienna and asked for his help in arranging a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump… The Austrian chancellor is one of the Trump administration’s favorite European politicians. ‘Look, I think Sebastian Kurz is a rock star,’ Richard Grenell, Trump’s unloved ambassador to Germany, told Breitbart News in a recent interview. ‘I’m a big fan.’
“… Kurz is at the center of events, hated by no one, blamed for nothing… a poll in May showed that if he led a party in Germany, it would have won more votes than Merkel’s center-right bloc, the country’s most popular political force…”
England’s Brexit Disaster
Breitbart wrote on July 9:
“Prominent Brexiteer and senior government minister Boris Johnson resigned his cabinet post Monday afternoon, following his colleague David Davis who departed as Brexit Secretary Sunday evening. The development will leave Theresa May looking increasingly vulnerable, as a growing Brexit rebellion attempts to face off her move to lead Britain into a so-called Brexit in name only [so-called “soft Brexit”], where Britain will remain mostly tied to the European Union…”
The Project Syndicate wrote on July 9:
“May now has a full-blown political crisis on her hands – and all the while, the massive economic and social costs of crashing out of the bloc are beginning to sink in.”
Newsmax added on July 9:
“If Davis’s resignation rattled May, Johnson’s shook the foundations of her government… Johnson is one of Britain’s best-known politicians, and one of the most prominent advocates for Brexit… With Britain due to leave the currently 28-nation bloc on March 29, 2019, EU officials have warned Britain repeatedly that time is running out to seal a deal spelling out the terms of the divorce and a post-split relationship…
“Britain and the EU hope to reach broad agreement by October so the national parliaments of the remaining countries can ratify a deal before Britain leaves. The timetable increasingly looks overly optimistic, and EU frustration with British division and chaos is growing. European Council President Donald Tusk said Monday that ‘the mess caused by Brexit is the biggest problem in the history of EU-UK relations and it is still very far from being resolved.’
“Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the government was incapable of delivering Brexit… The fear among May’s allies is that more resignations may follow…”
The Huffington Post wrote on July 9:
“May promised to deliver a ‘hard’ Brexit when she came to power, but has since dialed back those aspirations… ‘Theresa May’s Government is in meltdown,’ deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson said. ‘This is complete and utter chaos. The country is at a standstill with a divided and shambolic government. The Prime Minister can’t deliver Brexit and has zero authority left.’”
Coming—a Disorderly No Deal?
Politico wrote on July 11:
“May herself conceded to MPs that unless the EU changes its negotiating position, ‘there is serious risk it could lead to no deal.’ She said this would be a ‘disorderly no deal’ as well because neither side would be able to countenance signing a withdrawal treaty under this scenario. Despite the chaos in the British Cabinet Monday, Brussels showed no sign of changing track…
“But if the EU’s red lines do not change, May will be back facing another crisis by the end of the year. Only this time, she may not be able to survive.”
Trump Backs Johnson
Breitbart wrote on July 10:
“President Trump has poured petrol onto the flames of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit crisis by coming out for her chief opponent Boris Johnson…
“To his numerous enemies – in which the UK media abounds: even in the conservative press, Trump coverage is almost uniformly negative – this will [be] seen as yet further evidence that Trump is entirely unsuited to any political office, let alone the leadership of the free world. To his admirers, though… this is precisely the kind of behaviour that makes Trump one of the most… winning presidents ever…
“At the weekend, Britain was effectively hijacked by a Remainer coup… Trump does not want that coup to be successful for a number of obvious reasons, from his friendship with ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage… and his instinctive loathing of the EU project to his sense that the Brexit vote in the UK was the precursor to his own victory in the presidential elections.”
Turkey’s Dictatorship Increases
The Week wrote on July 8:
“The Turkish government on Sunday fired and canceled the passports of some 18,000 civil servants, about half of them police officers, alleging ties to terrorist organizations. Another 6,000 are members of the military, and many of the remaining 3,000 are teachers and professors.
“The move comes shortly before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to lift the two-year national state of emergency imposed following a failed coup in 2016. About 160,000 Turkish civil servants have been similarly purged since the coup attempt, and 50,000 of them have been charged and jailed.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 9:
“Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to hold greater powers than any other Turkish leader has seen in decades… Turkey’s transition from a parliamentary democracy to a system featuring an all-powerful executive president marks the country’s largest shift in governance since the Turkish republic was founded out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago.
“Several foreign leaders were set to attend Monday’s inauguration. They included leaders from Ankara’s allies in Africa, the Middle East and Soviet Union, although relatively few EU figures. The only sitting EU leaders expected were Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Hungary’s hardline Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
“Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was set to attend on behalf of the German government. According to a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, it was usual for the government to send to a former leader to such an inauguration ceremony.”
Schröder was invited by Erdogan as a special friend. This fact, combined with Schröder’s special friendship with Putin, has led to much consternation in Germany.
Ethiopia and Eritrea End War
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 9:
“Ethiopia and Eritrea officially declared an end to a two-decades-old war on Monday, a day after their leaders held a historic summit in the Eritrean capital Asmara. The two neighbors also agreed to resume flights, open embassies and develop ports together… The rapprochement is a result of the peace talks… in a bid to end 20 years of enmity. Eritrea was part of Ethiopia until 1993, when it declared its independence in a referendum.
“The two neighbors started a frontier war in 1998 that killed an estimated 80,000 people. Full-blown fighting ended in 2000, but their troops have faced off across their disputed border ever since…”
The united country of Ethiopia/Eritrea fulfilled an end-time prophecy in Daniel 11, when it, as the “king of the South”, pushed against the king of the North (the emperor of Italy) who then responded via an attack under Mussolini. It will have to be seen whether the prophecy was dual and will find a further fulfillment in the days ahead through a modern king of the North and a king of the South.
Trade War Escalates
Politico wrote on July 10:
“The Trump administration escalated a mounting trade war with China on Tuesday by publishing a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that it proposes to hit with an additional 10 percent tariff. ‘Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products,’ U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said… ‘There is no justification for such action.’
“The new tariff list broadens the types of goods caught up in the trade war by targeting items like seafood, minerals, chemicals, and personal care items, such as shampoo and soap. It also includes a number of consumer products such as handbags, luggage, gloves and paper. The new U.S. move came after China retaliated in kind against tariffs that President Donald Trump imposed last week. Other Chinese-made goods [are] slated to face the new 10 percent tariff. The list include[s] building supplies, such as plywood and floor panels; certain wool products, cotton yarns and threads; woven cotton fabrics; and certain automobile parts, including tires…”
JTA wrote on July 11:
“Israel will not be exempt from steel and aluminum tariffs recently imposed by the Trump administration. The 25 percent tariff on steel and the 10 percent tariff on aluminum has the potential to seriously harm the Israeli metal industry… The United States is Israel’s largest goods export market…
“The lack of an exemption was announced Monday… Canada, Mexico and the European Union also did not receive exemptions. Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea have received permanent exemptions.”
Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice
The Associated Press reported on July 9:
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Judge Brett Kavanaugh [a practicing Roman Catholic] is a ‘superb’ Supreme Court pick and that senators should ‘put partisanship aside’ in considering him… Democrats are already lining up against Kavanaugh as too conservative. But McConnell says senators should give him ‘the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command.’…
“Republicans hold a mere 50-49 Senate majority, with the prolonged absence of the ailing Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain. The defection of one Republican would kill the nomination unless at least one Democrat votes yes.”
Kavanaugh first faces a bipartisan Senate committee, which will issue a recommendation to the full Senate following their hearing. That is followed by a debate and vote by the full Senate. Kavanaugh will need at least 51 votes to receive confirmation. Vice President Mike Pence can cast a vote to break a tie.
The Huffington Post wrote on July 9:
“If confirmed, the 53-year-old U.S. circuit judge could tilt the balance of the court in a solidly conservative direction for decades to come, likely affecting decisions on abortion… gay rights and capital punishment…
“Kavanaugh’s most prominent opinion on abortion rights came in 2017 when he wrote in dissent not to allow an undocumented teenager to seek an abortion while in federal custody at the U.S. border in Texas… Kavanaugh also dissented with the majority in Priests for Life v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that the Obama administration had imposed a “substantial burden” on the rights of religious groups by requiring them to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans…”
JTA wrote on July 9:
“Kavanaugh… is well respected by the Republican establishment, although some on the right have said he is not conservative enough. Trump reportedly was wary of Kavanaugh’s close ties to George W. Bush, who nominated him to his current position in 2003… He helped draft the Starr Report, which called for President Bill Clinton to be impeached because he lied about having had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky… He fought on the legal team urging Florida not to have a recount in the 2000 presidential election between Bush and Al Gore, Clinton’s vice president. The Supreme Court decision not to do so led to Bush becoming the president…
“… the Jewish establishment tends to take progressive stances on domestic issues such as reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, gun control and separation of church and state…
“Orthodox groups are likely to welcome a court that protects public religious expression over strict separation, as it did in recent rulings confirming a baker’s right to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding…”
Jehovah’s Witnesses Bound by EU Data Protection Law
Reuters reported on July 10:
“Jehovah’s Witnesses must obtain consent from people before they take down their personal details during door-to-door preaching in order to comply with EU data privacy rules, Europe’s top court ruled on Tuesday. The case arose after Finland in 2013 banned Jehovah’s Witnesses from collecting personal data during door-to-door visits.
“The U.S.-based Christian denomination… challenged the decision, saying that its preaching should be considered a personal religious activity and as such the notes taken down during such visits are also personal. A Finnish court subsequently asked the Luxembourg-based Court of the Justice of the European Union (ECJ) for advice, which said on Tuesday that such religious activity is not covered by exemptions granted to personal activity…
“Jehovah’s Witnesses differ from mainstream Christianity in a number of their beliefs, including rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity and opposing blood transfusions and military conscription.”
Newsweek elaborated on July 10:
“‘The Court concludes that EU law on the protection of personal data supports a finding that a religious community is a controller, jointly with its members who engage in preaching, of the processing of personal data carried out by the latter in the context of door-to-door preaching organised, coordinated and encouraged by that community, without it being necessary that the community has access to those data…’
“The group’s tenets significantly differ from other mainstream sects of Christianity and forbid participating in military service, giving blood and celebrating holidays, including religious feasts [the reference here is to “religious feasts” such as Christmas, Easter or New Year’s] and birthdays…
“As a result, the EU court found that ‘the concept of a “filing system” covers a set of personal data collected in the course of door-to-door preaching, consisting of the names and addresses and other information concerning the persons contacted, if those data are structured according to specific criteria which, in practice, enable them to be easily retrieved for subsequent use…
“The Jehovah’s Witnesses have run into trouble elsewhere, too. Russia has arrested a number of the group’s followers in the country after declaring the religious community to be an ‘extremist organization’ in 2017 and utilizing other methods to crack down on their activities.
“Like Russia, South Korea has mandatory military service and has so far denied offering Jehovah’s Witnesses a pass. Seoul’s constitutional court ruled last week that such a strict stance was unconstitutional and that the government must present an alternative option, but the group’s representatives told Newsweek that over 2,000 of its followers remained imprisoned in South Korea for refusing military service.”
Jimmy Carter: Jesus Would Approve of Gay Marriage and Certain Abortions
Breitbart wrote on July 9:
“Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Sunday that Jesus would approve of gay marriage and certain abortions… Asked about gay marriage, he replied that it is ‘no problem with me. I think everybody should have a right to get married regardless of their sex.’
“Regarding whether he thinks Jesus would approve of gay marriage, Carter replied ‘I don’t have any verse in Scripture,’ but added, ‘I believe that Jesus would approve of gay marriage.’ ‘I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else,’ he said… ‘The only thing I would draw a line on,’ he said, is ‘I wouldn’t be in favor of the government being able to force a local church congregation to perform gay marriages if they didn’t want to. But those two partners should be able to go to a local courthouse or to a different church and get married.’
“Mr. Carter said that abortion has always been a struggle for him, because he does not believe Jesus would be in favor of most abortions… ‘I have a hard time believing that Jesus would approve abortions unless it was because of rape or incest or if the mother’s life was in danger’… he said.”
Well, the Jesus Mr. Carter believes in is most certainly not the Jesus of the Bible who taught marriage between a man and a woman and who condemned homosexuality and the killing of innocent life (abortion) for any reason.
US Delegation Opposed to Breastfeeding?
Ars Technica added on July 9:
“In May, a US delegation to the World Health Organization issued stunning trade and military threats in its opposition to a well-established and otherwise uncontroversial resolution encouraging breastfeeding… The resolution simply put forth that mother’s milk is the healthiest option for infants and that countries should work to limit any misleading or inaccurate advertising by makers of breast-milk substitutes. It affirms a long-held position by the WHO and is backed by decades of research.
“But more than a dozen participants from several countries—most requesting anonymity out of fear of US retaliation—told the Times that the American officials surprised health experts and fellow delegates alike by fiercely opposing the resolution. At first, the US delegates attempted to simply dilute the pro-breastmilk message, voiding language that called for governments to ‘protect, promote, and support breastfeeding’ and limit promotion of competing baby food products that experts warn can be harmful. But when that failed, the US reportedly put the squeeze on countries backing the resolution by making aggressive trade and military threats—a move that further stunned the assembly.
“The Ecuadorian delegation, for instance, was expected to introduce the resolution but was weaned off the idea after the US threatened to impose harmful trade measures and withdraw military assistance—which the US is providing in the northern part of the country to help address violence spilling over the border from Colombia. Officials from the US, Uruguay, and Mexico said that at least a dozen other countries—many of which are poor countries in Africa and Latin America—dropped the resolution…
“The Times notes a 2016 series in the Lancet in which researchers estimated that universal breastfeeding could spare the lives of 823,000 children each year and save $302 billion in economic losses. The WHO has long said that breastfeeding is the optimal feeding method for infants and recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life and continued feeding with introduction of other foods up to two years of age.
“In the end, the US’s effort to dash the WHO resolution encouraging breastfeeding was largely unsuccessful. Russia ultimately sponsored the resolution and the American delegation did not issue any threats to the country.”
We wonder why the US delegation opposed encouragement of breastfeeding. It is indeed well-established and beyond any reasonable dispute that it is the most preferable feeding method for infants.
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 2)
In the first part, we discussed the biblical passages pertaining to the second Passover, i.e. Numbers 9 and 2 Chronicles 30. We read that those who were unable to partake of the first Passover [at the beginning of the 14th day of Nisan, the first month in the Hebrew calendar], due to ritual uncleanness or absence because of a long journey, were allowed to take the second Passover. They would do so EXACTLY 30 days later [at the beginning of the 14th day of Iyar, the second month in the Hebrew calendar], and in EXACTLY the same way as the first Passover was observed. We also saw that under King Hezekiah, the whole congregation kept the second Passover, and they proceeded to keep seven Days of Unleavened Bread, followed by another seven days of celebration.
In the past, there has been some confusion as to whether or not to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread [or some resemblance of abstaining from unleavened bread for seven days], following the second Passover.
For instance, it has been recommended that if a person keeping the second Passover did NOT observe the Days of Unleavened Bread after the first Passover, he or she should observe seven days of unleavened bread after taking the second Passover. It was also mentioned, however, that the first and last days of this period of unleavened bread following the second Passover would NOT be Sabbaths.
This approach does not seem to find biblical support. Numbers 9 does not mention anything about keeping any of the Days of Unleavened Bread after the second Passover. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible points out correctly that in Old Testament times, the second Passover was to be eaten “in the same manner as the first passover was eaten, Exodus 12:8; only no mention is made of keeping the feast of unleavened bread seven days…”
When reading about how the Jews observe the second Passover (“Pesach Sheni” in Hebrew), it is pointed out that the festival is only one day this time, rather than seven. In other words, a “shifting” takes place from a seven day festival to a one day event (the Jews consider the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as constituting one festival, calling it “Passover,” even though technically, the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are two different festivals). They continue explaining that it is not necessary to remove leaven from one’s premises for seven days, following the second Passover, or to abstain from eating leavened products during that time.
When reviewing the incident in 2 Chronicles 30 under King Hezekiah, we find that the whole occurrence was quite unorthodox in that people partook of the second Passover who were, under the ritual law, not permitted to do so, due to their ceremonial uncleanness (verse 18), but that Hezekiah prayed to God for “atonement” (verse 18) and God listened to him and forgave and “healed” them (verse 20), while the Levites ate throughout the feast for seven days, “making confession” (verse 22). Subsequently, the whole assembly agreed to continue the celebration for another seven days (verse 23; notice that the words “the feast” in this verse are in italics, meaning that they are not in the original Hebrew). The 14-day observance after the second Passover was done voluntarily; there was no biblical command to do so.
We do not know how exactly those 14 days were kept. But in any event, this occurrence cannot be used as a precedence for those today who keep the second Passover, so that they would need to also keep seven days of unleavened bread, because IF we were to look at the occurrence under King Hezekiah as binding for us today, then 14 days would have to be kept in some way, not just seven.
We should also understand why God was willing to “overlook” or pass over the inaccurate observance of the Passover at that time. Until King Hezekiah, there is no record that the children of Israel and Judah even kept the Passover after Joshua and Samuel (compare 2 Chronicles 35:18). They might have done so, but not with the same zeal and dedication as they did under King Hezekiah. And it appears that they did not keep it again after Hezekiah, at least not with the same zeal, until the service was temporarily restored under King Josiah (2 Chronicles 35). In the incident of 2 Chronicles 30, under King Hezekiah, God forgave them their inadequacies as He looked at their new-found zeal and dedication to His Word, even though their understanding was not perfect. Even under Moses, it appears that only very few Passovers were actually held.
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers states the following pertaining to Joshua 5:10:
“This is the third Passover in Israel’s history. The first two were kept under Moses–(1) in Egypt, when the Lord delivered them; (2) the second at Sinai, when He had ‘brought them unto Himself.’ (3) The third is on the other side [of the] Jordan under Joshua. Two belong to the Exodus, or going out; one to the Eisodus, or coming in… The law in Exodus 12:48 is, “no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.” Hence, while they wandered in the wilderness, this uncircumcised generation could not keep the Passover.”
The Benson Commentary agrees, stating this pertaining to Joshua 5:10:
“The children of Israel kept the passover — Which was their third passover: the first was in Egypt, Exodus 12.; the second at mount Sinai, Numbers 9.; the third here; for in their wilderness travels, these and several other sacrifices were neglected, Amos 5:25. While they were in the wilderness, they were denied the comfort of this ordinance, as a further token of God’s displeasure. But now God comforted them again, after the time that he had afflicted them.”
Likewise Matthew Poole’s Commentary: “This [in Joshua 5:10] was their third passover: the first was in Egypt, Exo 12; the second at Mount Sinai, Num 9; the third here; for in their wilderness travels these and all other sacrifices were neglected, Amos 5:25.”
Very little has been published in the past in Church of God literature about the specific circumstances allowing or even encouraging a person to take the second Passover, when he or she did not partake of the first Passover. If anything was said at all, it was stated that the person was “unable” to take the first Passover; that “he or she inadvertently misse[d] the first Passover due to circumstances beyond their control”; that “strenuous circumstances occurred”; or that they were “not able” to keep the first Passover “due to illness or other emergency circumstances.”
Commentaries are also very vague. Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states that it “was understood in later days to include all good reasons which might prevent anyone from keeping the festival.” The Benson Commentary says that “the Hebrews think that other hinderances [sic] of like nature are comprehended; as if one be hindered by a disease, or by any other such kind of uncleanness.”
We are informed that the definition of “distant journey” has been interpreted very liberally by the rabbinic tradition.
In the Church of God, it has been understood for a long time that the examples in Numbers 9 are not exclusive. A baptized person who was unable to keep the Passover because of sickness (perhaps lying in a hospital bed without any privacy) was always permitted and encouraged to take the second Passover.
There might be additional unusual circumstances which might have to be scrutinized carefully; and it is important to provide here a few more specific details for the purpose of assisting and guiding in this process. The following comments are not introducing “new doctrine,” nor are they meant to be understood as providing definitive doctrinal or administrative decisions of the Church, but rather, to help sharpen our thinking pertaining to what might or might not constitute “unusual circumstances” in specific situations. However, converted members contemplating to take the second Passover should never do so without prior consultation and counsel with the ministry.
If baptized members did not take the first Passover because of what might be described as “spiritual uncleanness” (more on this term below), which was followed by genuine repentance, would they be allowed to partake of the second Passover, or would they have to wait another year and then partake of the next first Passover? Would this situation be analogous to the ritual uncleanness prohibiting a person to partake of the first Passover? Persons who were ritually unclean could not take the first Passover, but they could take the second Passover when they had become ritually clean. Would the spiritual analogy apply so that those who were “spiritually” unclean could not/should not take the first Passover (that is why it is always emphasized during the Passover ceremony that no one should take the Passover if he/she is harboring grudges against someone else), but once they became spiritually clean, they could partake of the second Passover?[On the other hand, a person thinking that he or she should not partake of the first Passover because of “spiritual” uncleanness would make a mistake when unilaterally deciding not to do so. Such a person might very well be sinning, as Paul commands us to examine ourselves and then to TAKE the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:28). A decision in this regard, pro or con, should always be first discussed and counseled with the ministry.]
In addition, when someone is not baptized, he would not be spiritually “clean,” but once he is baptized, he would be spiritually “clean” and therefore able to take the Passover. Does this understanding help us in determining certain developments pertaining to the second Passover? Let us suppose that someone would be ready for baptism prior to the (first) Passover, but could not be baptized just before the Passover, because of practical problems, such as no minister being present prior to Passover. Would this person who becomes baptized a few days after the first Passover be allowed to take the second Passover? We saw that a person could not partake of the first Passover when he was ritually unclean, but he could partake of the second Passover if he became ritually clean in the meantime. Would this analogy apply to spiritual cleanness due to baptism; in other words, could the spiritual analogy apply that when an unbaptized 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 becomes spiritually clean through baptism?
One argument against this concept might be that the ritually unclean person was physically circumcised; that is, he could have taken the first Passover if it had not been for his ritual uncleanness or his being on a journey. The spiritual analogy might mean that the person was baptized (spiritually circumcised), but could not take the first Passover for reasons other than not being baptized, while an unbaptized person could not have partaken of the first Passover in the first place. In addition, there is no biblical record that a man who was not physically circumcised could partake of the Passover. On the other hand, as mentioned above, there are very few biblical records when the Passover was kept in the first place, and the command of physical circumcision only applied to men, not women, but women did participate in the Old Testament Passover observances.
One might also consider that just because conditions prevented the baptism from taking place before the first Passover through no one’s fault, should this preclude taking the second Passover after baptism which took place right after the first Passover? Had all the relevant conditions been in place; e.g., availability of a minister and a suitable place for baptism, then the baptism would have taken place prior to Passover. The person had no fault in not being baptized in time for the first Passover. The Israelites who could not keep the Passover because they were defiled by the dead body of a man, asked Moses: “Why are we kept from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the children of Israel?” (Numbers 9:7). Today, a person presents himself, as a living sacrifice, to God the Father and Jesus Christ at Passover, while accepting THE Sacrifice of Christ for the ongoing remission of his sins.
We should also consider that in the situation under King Hezekiah, the first Passover could not be observed, among other reasons, as there were not enough Levites present who had “consecrated “ themselves (2 Chronicles 30:3). Could this analogy apply in a situation today when no minister was present prior to the first Passover to baptize a person?
In Matthew 18:18 we read Christ’s words to His ministry: “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
It ultimately requires a decision by the Church ministry, considering all the facts and circumstances in a given situation, as to whether it should be recommended to a person who did not observe the first Passover to be allowed to observe the second Passover. It would have to be an individual decision of the local minister, reviewing all the facts and circumstances, whether to recommend the second Passover for someone who was baptized right after the first Passover, because the baptism could not take place before the first Passover, through no fault of the person. The same might apply when a baptized person did not take the first Passover due to “spiritual” uncleanness but subsequently genuinely repents and is desirous of taking the second Passover. This might also include a situation when an ill-advised “decision” by a member was made not to take the first Passover which might turn out to have been incorrect, due to a wrong evaluation of the circumstances or due to a wrong understanding of pertinent facts, and when the member repents of his or her mistake and has the strong desire to take the second Passover. In either case, an individual should not take it upon himself or herself, without the consultation with a minister, to take the second Passover on his or her own. Although the ultimate decision rests with the individual member, it is strongly recommended that he or she counsels first with the ministry on the matter of the second Passover.
From the way Numbers 9:10-12 is rendered in some translations, one might conclude that a person MUST take the second Passover if the situation warrants it, and that the person were to sin if he or she would not do it. The Authorized Version states that those who could not keep the first Passover “shall” keep it on the 14th day of the second month. (The Revised Standard Version and the Revised English Bible state it in similar terms, i.e. “shall” keep it, or even “must” keep it). However, this is not what Numbers 9:10-12 seems to want to convey. Rather, the idea seems to be that when the second Passover is to be observed, it must be at that particular time; it must be “to the LORD”; and it must be in accordance with the ordinances of the (first) Passover. The New King James Bible renders these verses in this way, thereby accurately reflecting the intended meaning:
“… 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 of the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.”
Also compare the New International Version; the New American Bible (“he may still keep the LORD’s Passover”); and the New Jerusalem Bible (he “can still keep a Passover for Yahweh”).
In any event, applying the principles of Numbers 9 to the New Testament Church, it will be the ministry who is to make a recommendation in a given situation, as to whether it is advisable or recommended to take or not to take the second Passover, based on godly inspiration, conveying what God may bind or loose in heaven in a specific case. Undoubtedly, the ministry has been given authority to make decisions in such cases, as God has given the ministry authority to declare, based on godly-revealed wisdom and discernment, whether someone has repented of his or her sin, or not (John 20:23). However, if the ministry, under godly inspiration, concludes that the second Passover “may” or “should be” taken, then a person’s decision to ignore the ministry and act contrarily might very well be sinful.
This would also be true for the first Passover when the ministry concludes, under godly inspiration, that there are no reasons to prevent someone from taking the first Passover, and the member just chooses to ignore such advice. The reverse is true as well: When the ministry, under godly inspiration, concludes that the first or second Passover should not be taken under the particular circumstances, then the member might sin if he or she acts contrary to that conclusion and partakes of the first or second Passover anyhow. It really boils down to the question as to whether we believe that God inspires His ministry in cases like these, or whether we are entitled to just do whatever we please (compare Judges 17:6; 21:25). [Of course, if it is concluded that a second Passover should not or does not need to be taken, then the person is of course required to partake of the next first Passover, unless circumstances dictate otherwise, as discussed above.]
Another question is how the second Passover is to be kept. The answer is: Similarly as to how the first Passover is being kept at home by those who are scattered and unable to attend the Passover service in person. The Church of the Eternal God and its international affiliates have prepared pre-recorded material for those baptized Church members who are eligible to take the first (or second) Passover at home. Normally, the Passover service consists of three parts: The footwashing; the partaking of the bread; and the partaking of the wine. When only one person is observing the Passover at home, then the footwashing ceremony must be dispensed of, for obvious reasons.
When two or more persons are partaking of the Passover at home, then—if husband and wife—they would wash each other’s feet, and if additional men and women are participating, then men would wash the feet of the other men, and women of the other women. If a ministerial couple who had partaken of the first Passover are present for the second Passover in order to assist someone who might need help, then the minister could officiate the second Passover service, but he and his wife should not partake of the Passover themselves, as otherwise, they would keep the Passover more than once within a year, which would be against God’s Law.
In conclusion, we would strongly recommend that converted members who may be in doubt as to whether or not to take the first or second Passover, should not make a unilateral decision in this regard, but counsel first with the Church ministry for guidance and direction.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (July 2018) has been written and mailed our subscribers. In this letter, Michael Link encourages Christians to set our goal to be victorious in God’s calling.
“How God Views the 2018 NATO Summit” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
It started with a bang. President Trump voiced his strong objections to Germany’s plan to build a pipeline with Russia that would bring gas from Russia to Germany, thereby becoming dependent on and being held captive by Russia. Mr. Trump is not alone with his criticism of Germany. In addition, he chided NATO members, especially Germany, for not paying enough to NATO, comparing it with the huge amount which the USA provides. Disagreements exist as to what was really committed to during the summit. Fears have resurfaced that the USA may leave NATO and withdraw its troops from Europe, especially Germany. What DOES the Bible say about these developments?
“Schon sehr bald–Weltweite Vernichtung vor Christi Kommen!” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Very Soon–Worldwide Destruction Before Christ’s Coming!”
“Turbulence Along the Way,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Frank Bruno, is now posted. Here is a summary:
This sermonette makes the point that true chaos as we humans experience it is well within God’s plan for his creation. What appears to be chaotic and discordant is actually quite ordered and precisely designed by God. We are not unlike a small creature living among the branches of a great tree with seemingly endless limbs, sub-branches, and intricate leaves—each with their own complex structure that God planned and designed. When we are converted and we trust and believe in God our Creator—all falls into place with His order.
“Great Leadership,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Throughout the history recorded in the Bible, leaders emerge and come to power with a wide range of quality. Some leaders were bad, some were good, and a few were great. What are the attributes that make a great leader? What can we learn and apply in our own lives where we have a scope of leadership?
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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