November 16, 2018
Finding our Way Through Faith; Paul’s Final Instructions
On November 17, 2018, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Finding our Way Through Faith,” and Robb Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Paul’s Final Instructions.”
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.
The Hope That Is in You
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
We read in 1 Corinthians 13:13 where the apostle Paul stated that there are three important things in life, faith, hope and love. Of course, as he said, the greatest of these is love.
Of the three, hope is mentioned in God’s Word significantly less often than either faith or love. So how important is hope?
Hope is not wishful thinking, like hoping a rich relative will die and leave us a fortune. That is more correctly termed inappropriate desire rather than godly hope. But real hope is mentioned in Hebrews 11:1 in this way: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And this hope is extremely important to us.
In the book of Job, while he was suffering great affliction, Job felt he was without hope. He believed that God was destroying him for no reason. Yet even in his time of great despair, he realised that after his death, God would call him and he would answer, that God would desire the work of His hands (Job 14:14-15). This shows that even while he felt hopeless in his physical life, he knew there was hope for him in the resurrection.
In the book of Psalms, there are many mentions of hope by David and other writers—hope in God, in His mercy and judgements, in His Word and salvation. Their lives were based around that hope.
In the 37th chapter of Ezekiel, God states that the bones, representing the whole house of Israel, figuratively say, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off.” And yet, God shows there was hope for them as He will open their graves and they will live, and He will also put His Spirit in them. He would also bring them into the land of Israel (Verses 11-14). Their hope was not lost even though that was their belief.
There are many other prophecies where God gives hope to the houses of Israel and Judah, to bring them back from their captivity to their former homeland. One specifically to the house of Judah during their time in captivity in Babylon is in Jeremiah 29:11-14. God thought to give the house of Judah a future and a hope and to bring them back to their own land.
The apostle Paul is an outstanding New Testament example of hope. At the beginning of his calling, God explained what his commission would be, but He also showed him, “how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16). At the very beginning of his calling, Paul (he was then known as Saul) was made aware his life was not going to be easy.
Here are some instances of the trials and the reason Paul endured them. When he was standing before the council after declaring that he was going to preach to the Gentiles, his defence was, “concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” (Acts 23:6). Again, in Acts 24:15, Paul’s hope was in the resurrection of the dead.
In many of his epistles, he taught the resurrection of Christians to glory, the glory of God (Romans 5:2). He also taught that, “we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). See also Titus 1:2.
Paul gives a long discussion of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Some were saying there is no resurrection. If this was true, then all who have died in Christ have perished. They have no hope. He goes on to say, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (Verse 19). Also he says, “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” (Verse 32).
He points out earlier in this chapter, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen. But since there had been hundreds of witnesses to Christ’s life after His resurrection, including Paul himself, then he knew the resurrection was indeed a fact.
This hope was what enabled Paul to be willing to go through all the sufferings he experienced. 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 gives a listing of some of the things he suffered, finally leading up to his death as a faithful witness.
In what many believe to be his final epistle (his second letter to Timothy), he sums up his life in God’s service. He mentions many who had left the church (2 Timothy 1:15), and that, in the future, others would be turned aside to fables (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Because he knew he was soon to be put to death, he stated, “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
This was his belief, that his faith in God and Christ gave him his personal hope of eternal life. And this hope enabled him to carry out his part in the Work of God, no matter what trials and sufferings he experienced. He saw the wonderful reward that was awaiting him and others who also believed.
There are a number of other prophecies in God’s Word of many being offended and falling away from God’s Truth, especially at the end times. Because of this, we should follow the apostle Paul’s example of having unwavering hope that will enable us to continue to do our part in God’s Work, finish our race and achieve salvation and eternal life.
Hope is extremely important for us, for without it we could easily give up. But with it we can indeed endure to the end and receive our glorious resurrection.
by Norbert Link
We begin with the memorial celebration of world leaders in Paris, France, regarding the end of World War One on November 11, 1918; address America’s isolationism and the strong and very appropriate condemnation of nationalism by French President Macron; and continue with the ongoing demand of European leaders for a real European Army to “protect and defend” against American influence. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Coming—A European Empire with a Real Army.”
We speak on Germany’s 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht and the resurfacing anti-semitism especially in Eastern Germany; address Germany’s future after Angela Merkel’s demise; and report on the possibility of the election of conservative German politician Manfred Weber as the next president of the European Commission.
We continue with the Brexit debacle; proposed American sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline; and the investigation of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder which is pointing at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government; speak on Israel’s political turmoil in light of a ceasefire agreement with Hamas; and discuss remarkable developments pertaining to the desire of building the biblically-prophesied third temple in Jerusalem.
We address the unprecedented devastating wildfires in California; speak on real and imagined legal trouble for President Trump; and the false teaching of the concept of purgatory and indulgences; and we conclude with reporting on the next economic crisis which may lead to major global military confrontations and the claim of a financial expert that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin will boom during the next global financial crisis due to the unsustainable debt level of world economies, especially of the USA.
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
World Leaders Mark 100 Years Since End of World War One
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 11:
“Some 70 world leaders gathered at the famous Arc de Triomphe in the French capital to mark 100 years since the end of World War One. Commemorations in Paris had been scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. local time (1000 UTC), the time that the Armistice signed by the Allies and the Germans on November 11, 1918, went into force… The large number of countries represented in Paris reflects the widespread nature of a conflict in which an estimated 37 million people, including 10 million soldiers, lost their lives. The city of Paris itself was a key objective in the war, with the Allies fighting successfully against German efforts to capture it in 1914…
“Trump and Putin greeted each other and shook hands at the ceremony, Russian television showed. The gesture comes as relations between their two countries remain strained, among other things because of alleged Russian interference in recent US elections. The US president pointedly did not extend his hand to Trudeau. Earlier this year, Trump described the Canadian premier as ‘dishonest and weak’ amid a dispute over what he alleges are Canada’s ‘unfair’ trade practices…”
The Daily Mail reported on November 11:
“The President put on a very friendly display with Putin despite both men showing up minutes after the bells had finished tolling to signal the moment guns fell silent at 11am 100 years ago. Other world leaders who arrived to the ceremony on buses also missed the crucial moment and were walking in rain-soaked line towards the Arc de Triomphe as the bells finished tolling…”
This could be symbolic. World leaders arrived late to celebrate the end of World War I—the war which was supposed to end all wars. It did not, of course, and neither will today’s world leaders prevent the outbreak of another world war. They are just too late in their endeavor to do so… even if they were wholeheartedly committed, albeit misguided, to creating peace.
The Associated Press wrote on November 12:
“For President Donald Trump in Paris, America First meant largely America alone. At a weekend commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the president who proudly declares himself a ‘nationalist’ stood apart…
“On Sunday, he listened as he was lectured on the dangers of nationalist isolation, and then he headed home just as the inaugural Paris Peace Summit was getting underway… His France trip made clear that, nearly two years after taking office, Trump has dramatically upended decades of American foreign policy posture, shaking allies… Trump, who has made clear that he has limited patience for broad, multilateral agreements, sat mostly stone-faced as he listened to Macron…
“Trump was terse during some of his private conversations with world leaders… One of the people described the president as ‘grumpy.’… Trump, who ran on an ‘America First’ platform, has jarred European allies with his actions…”
Foreign Policy wrote on November 9:
“President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ platform echoes the isolationism that followed the war 100 years ago. That didn’t end well… Trump has sought to detach the United States from the world… In less than two years in office, Trump has withdrawn from several multilateral pacts, including the nuclear deal with Iran and the Paris climate agreement; announced his withdrawal from the most significant nuclear arms control accord in four decades, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; begun a multifront trade war with China and U.S. allies; and declared his hostility to NATO, the G-7, the European Community, and the World Trade Organization…
“It is unclear how much of the international system Trump can tear down in the next two years—or the coming six if he wins another term in 2020. It’s taken a long time to build this system up… Trump could probably do a lot to destroy it.”
Macron Denounces Nationalism
Newsmax and The Associated Press wrote on November 11:
“French President Emmanuel Macron warned against the dangers of nationalism in a speech aimed directly at the rising tide of populism in the United States and Europe. With President Donald Trump and other world leaders looking on during an Armistice Day centennial observance in Paris on Sunday, Macron said the ‘ancient demons’ that caused World War I and millions of deaths are growing stronger.
“The French leader said: ‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. In saying “Our interests first, whatever happens to the others,” you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values.’
“Trump has proudly declared himself a nationalist. Macron has set himself up as Europe’s foil to nationalist movements that rail against global approaches, like ones that have taken hold in Hungary and Poland among other countries.”
Breitbart wrote on November 11:
“‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is treason,’ Macron said, according to a Euronews translator… ‘If we think our interests may only come first and we don’t care for others, it is a treason of our values, a betrayal of all moral values,’ he said… He lamented that the spirit of revenge and humiliation after World War I sparked renewed nationalism that led to World War II….
“In an interview with CNN, Macron continued his condemnation of nationalism… ‘I would say I’m a patriot,’ he said, but added:… ‘I’m not a nationalist, which is very different for me from being a patriot.’”
Deutsche Welle added on November 11:
“Although Sunday’s ceremonies celebrate an act that brought a short-lived peace to the world, they are taking place at a time of growing nationalism and international tensions. US President Donald Trump, one of the leaders attending the event, is seen by many as undermining the Western alliance and world bodies such as the UN with his self-declared nationalism…”
As we can see from the articles in Newsmax and Breitbart, the reporting differs widely, showing how one has to be careful with “translations.” According to Newsmax and most other news outlets, Macron never used the word ”treason.” On the other hand, nationalism is wrong, and the Church of God has consistently preached against nationalism for many decades. A true Christian can be a patriot, loving his country, but he must never be a nationalist. Nationalism is defined as “identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations” (Oxford Dictionary). Also, as “exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). This way of get (the opposite to the way of love or give) can be seen in slogans such as, “Deutschland ueber alles,” or “America above all.”
Macron: Europe To Develop Autonomous Military Capacities
Politico wrote on November 11:
“Europe must increase military spending, but the money should go to European, not American companies, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview… Macron clarified his point to say that he very much wants to see European allies not only spend more but to develop their own autonomous military capabilities and to buy European-made materials. France just happens also to have one of Europe’s biggest defense manufacturing industries…
“Macron also talked in the interview about the need to strength[en] the euro’s position as a global reference currency…”
Trump vs. Macron and the Fight for a European Army
Bloomberg wrote on November 9:
“President Donald Trump began a weekend visit to Paris with an attack on his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, for proposing Europe create its own continental military force. Trump sent a tweet calling Macron’s proposal ‘very insulting’ as the U.S. president’s plane landed Friday evening for celebrations with world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
“Macron this week said in a radio interview that a ‘strong and sovereign Europe’ was needed to defend the continent’s interests against China, Russia and ‘even the U.S.’ ‘We can’t defend Europe if we don’t have a real European army,’ he said. ‘We must have a Europe that can defend itself more, without just relying on the U.S.’…
“Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both publicly questioned whether Europe can depend on the U.S. to come to its aid in the event of war.
“Macron also criticized Trump’s plan to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty… Trump and Macron also have extensive differences over trade and U.S. sanctions on Iran.”
Sorry, But There Was no Misinterpretation!
Deutsche Welle reported on November 10:
“US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron held talks on Saturday after a public spat over the French leader’s suggestion that Europe should rely less on the US for its security. The US and France attempted to smooth over differences over a European defense mechanism, with Trump assuring Macron that Washington would ‘help’ Europe with its defense. Trump, however, reiterated that EU member states must pay their fair share toward NATO expenses…
“Macron’s office said Saturday that the French president’s comments about a European army had been misinterpreted. ‘He never said we need a European army against the United States,’ a statement released by Macron’s office said…”
It was suggested by the EU that Macron had been referring to computer hackers who could attack Europe from anywhere, including from inside the United States. This is ridiculous. Hackers were not part of the discussion. Clearly, Macron proposed a real European army to defend against Washington, and he did state what most European leaders feel.
EU Commission Agrees with Macron’s Initial Proposal for an EU Army
The Sun wrote on November 10:
“The presidents of the United States and France met today for talks at the Elysee Palace where Macron, 40, called Trump ‘my friend’ despite the pair openly disagreeing over the creation of an EU army… In an extraordinary attack on the US president, Macron lumped Washington together with Moscow and Beijing as Europe’s biggest foes. The arch euro federalist insisted only a fully fledged EU defence force can protect the continent against the trio’s aggression…
“[Macron’s comments] were welcomed by the EU Commission, which said it has already put the wheels in motion for the eventual creation of a euro army…
“But the remarks were savaged by former British Army commanders, who said the revelations showed why the UK must pull out of the EU’s defence plans. Major General Julian Thompson, who led British forces in the Falklands, told The Sun: ‘The EU Commission now openly admits it has created the preamble to an EU army…’ Colonel Richard Kemp, a commander of UK troops in Afghanistan, added: ‘This is precisely what eurosceptics have been warning about…’”
German SPD Leader Demands European Army
Bild Online wrote on November 11:
“Andrea Nahles (48), leader of Germany’s coalition party, the SPD, demands a ‘European Army.’ Her rationale: There are 28 armies, 27 air forces and 23 marines. ‘No wonder that we spend incredibly much for the military,’ she said… [Europeans] ‘should work closer together and form a counterbalance to President Trump.’”
When even the left-liberal SPD demands a European Army (albeit for different reasons), we should understand that its arrival time is near.
Angela Merkel Joins In
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 13:
“The German chancellor has addressed MEPs in Strasbourg… ‘We need to take our fate into our own hands,’ Merkel told the assembly. To that end, she said she would also propose the establishment of a European Security Council with a rotating presidency that would help to streamline European defense and security policy… In a clear show of support for [Macron’s] plans to create a European defense force, Merkel said the EU should work on a vision for a European army ‘that would complement NATO,’ and not undermine it. A European army, she said, would ‘show the world that there will never again be war between European countries.’”
She actually said, “We should work on the vision to also create one day a real European army (“eine echte europaeische Armee)” (compare Die Welt Online and Der Spiegel Online, dated November 13.) She also said, according to the Local, dated November 13: “… only a stronger Europe is going to defend Europe.” And, according to Express, dated November 13: “… it would be a lot easier to cooperate with us if we have more than 160 different weapons systems and the US has only 50 or 60.”
President Trump tweeted before on November 13, pointing out that France was liberated by the USA at the end of World War II: “Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”
Haaretz interpreted this tweet as follows, on November 13: “While the text of the tweet is cryptic, Trump appeared to be warning that Germany may invade France again without NATO and U.S. protection.”
The Guardian added on November 13:
“Guy Verhofstadtt, the chief representative for the European parliament on Brexit shot back at Trump. ‘What Trump doesn’t seem to realize is that without French money, the USA would not even exist as France financed the American revolution. They even gave you the Statue of Liberty to celebrate this!’ Verhofstadt tweeted…
“On Tuesday morning, the president’s tweetstorm continued. He said Macron was suffering low approval ratings while France suffers from high unemployment, then added: ‘By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France…’ He finished the sequence by taunting… ‘MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!’”
The Independent wrote on November 14:
“The European Commission has said it is ‘delighted’ that the leaders of France and Germany have backed the creation of a ‘real’ EU army. A spokesperson for the commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker said he was ‘pleased’ that the argument for the force seemed to be ‘going in our direction’…
“‘Let me clarify that the first one who spoke about the EU army four years ago was someone called Jean-Claude Juncker,’ they said…
“In 2016, then defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the UK would use its veto to stop the creation of any EU army. However, the UK is leaving the EU, and will therefore no longer have any say in its governance.”
Bild Online reported on November 14 that its new poll revealed that 79 percent of its readers support a real European Army.
“We need a European Empire”
Handelsblatt Global wrote on November 13:
“… genuine unity – political, financial and military – is still lacking inside the European Union, according to France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire… The European Union should become ‘a peaceful empire’ in order to stand up to China and the US, Le Maire argued. And although thanks to their wartime history, some Germans may find his talk of empire unattractive, Le Maire explains that, ‘I am using this phrase because, in tomorrow’s world, it’s going to be all about power … technological power, economic, financial, monetary, cultural power – all will be decisive. Europe cannot be shy any longer about using its power.’… ‘Everybody knows it takes guts to stand in the way of Donald Trump’s administration,’ Le Maire said. ‘The people of Europe… want to see action.’
“Without Germany’s support in all these issues, Le Maire will find it difficult to turn Europe into an ‘empire.’ Franco-German agreement has been the engine of European integration…”
The ancient Roman Empire is rising one more time in the form of a European Empire, as clearly prophesied in Scripture.
Germany Remembers the Kristallnacht
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 9:
“Germany is marking the 80th anniversary of attacks on Jews that foreshadowed the Holocaust. November 9 has been a fateful date for Germany… Merkel warned that racism in Germany did not end in 1945. ‘If we look at the situation today… we see a worrying anti-Semitism, which threatens Jewish life in our country.’… Merkel tied… this to the rise of populism in times of uncertainty created by political instability.”
The EUObserver wrote on November 9:
“Germans are becoming more hostile towards immigrants, people of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, and other minorities like the Roma, according to a new study…. Some 44 percent of Germans… now want a ban on Muslim immigration, compared to 36.5 percent in 2014… Anti-semitism is also on the rise in eastern Germany… [where up] to one-third… agree at least in part with anti-semitic statements…”
We should realize that anti-semitic movements are not limited to antagonism against the Jews. Martin Luther famously once wrote a book “about the Jews and all those who keep the Sabbath.”
Der Spiegel wrote on November 8:
“Merkel’s announcement that she would withdraw her candidacy for CDU leadership ahead of the party’s December party convention released a dynamic that immediately changed the entire architecture of the country’s political framework. The leadership battle in the CDU had long been simmering. Now, it has burst out into the open. For almost two decades, internal party democracy had been frozen, Merkel’s grip on leadership tight and unyielding. Now, though, there are several candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring to determine the future course of the CDU — and nobody in the party’s leadership can control what will happen next. More than that, few in the party believe that Merkel will remain chancellor for long following the CDU convention in December — no matter who emerges victorious in the race to succeed her…
“Once upon a time, a trio of men thought that it was up to them to lead the CDU out of the era of Helmut Kohl. It seemed guaranteed that Friedrich Merz, Roland Koch or Christian Wulff would take over leadership of the party and, later, of Germany. The future was clear before it had even arrived. But then came the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Angela Merkel, who cleverly took advantage of a major party donation scandal to take control of the CDU…
“Merkel… now realizes that she no longer has any influence over the direction her party will take or over how much of her legacy will remain. She also senses that her tenure as chancellor could come to a much quicker end than she would like. Back in 2004, when then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder gave up leadership of the Social Democrats… under a similar situation to the one Merkel now faces, she blasted the move as ‘a complete loss of authority’ and ‘the beginning of the end.’ She knows that the same could now apply to her…
“Merz is the great hope for all those who would like to see the Merkel era come to an end as soon as possible. Furthermore, many see him as the one who can bring back those disgruntled CDU voters who have jumped ship in recent years for the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany. And that hope might even be justified. When Merz speaks of a ‘national identity’ and ‘traditional values,’ it doesn’t sound forced. Furthermore, his pro-European stance protects him against accusations of being a parochial nationalist…
“The only one who looks to be in a position to stop his comeback is Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer… her entire political career is at stake. Should she fail, she has said she would also give up the general secretary position… Kramp-Karrenbauer’s greatest weakness is likely her proximity to Merkel… the openly gay [Jens] Spahn recently opted to marry his partner…
“When the votes are cast on Dec. 7 in Hamburg, there will be a run-off if none of the three candidates emerge with more than 50 percent of the votes in the first ballot. It seems likely that such a run-off would pit Merz against Kramp-Karrenbauer. For Spahn, Merz’s candidacy is a significant nuisance. He even admitted to confidantes that Merz’s comeback came as a surprise. Currently, he is seen as the candidate with the weakest chances…
“The result of the election won’t just carry significant consequences for Angela Merkel. The fate of the current governing coalition could also hang in the balance and snap elections are one possible outcome…
“If Merz or Spahn were to win, Merkel’s tenure would likely soon be over. It is hard to imagine a constellation of Spahn being both CDU chair and a member of Merkel’s cabinet. The two lack even the minimum amount of mutual trust that would be necessary for such a situation to work. The end would likely come even more quickly if Merz were to emerge victorious. He loathes both Merkel and her confidantes with a fervor that is rare even in politics… Should Merz win in early December, confidantes say, she wouldn’t stick around for long.
“[What] then? Swapping out a chancellor is no small thing. There is little chance that the Social Democrats, as junior coalition partner, would support Merz. He himself assumes that the SPD would move further to the left and begin looking for an excuse to end the coalition with the conservatives.
“An encounter with Merz these days… makes it clear that he has lofty goals. He didn’t reenter politics to play third fiddle to the chancellor and parliamentary floor leader… Merz doesn’t just want to become CDU party head. He wants power.”
Manfred Weber the Next President of the European Commission?
Handelsblatt Global wrote on November 9:
“A leading member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance, Manfred Weber, was chosen to head the center-right ticket in the European Parliament’s elections next May. This puts him in line to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission – maybe… Weber, who is the floor leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, easily won the backing of his colleagues to head the ticket for the grouping, the largest in the legislative body. He won 79.4 percent of the vote at a special EPP congress in Helsinki. Juncker headed the ticket in 2014 and was duly appointed commission president after the party bagged the most votes.
“… Amid the political fragmentation in Europe, new far-right, far-left and hard-to-define forces are coming into play. Italy’s eurosceptic Five Star Movement, for instance, which many consider left-leaning, belongs to the same group as the UK Independence Party of Nigel Farage, who no one would consider leftist. The other radical party in Italy’s ruling coalition, the League, belongs to the far-right grouping along with French National Front leader Marine Le Pen. Greece’s ruling Syriza party is in the marginal far-left grouping.
“Weber.. has no experience in government… Weber has never even had a cabinet post… Weber is virtually unknown outside of Bavaria and Brussels. Besides his native German, he speaks only English. Neither language will help him as he campaigns in the 27 remaining EU countries taking part in the May vote. Even Martin Schulz, the longtime president of the European Parliament, had a higher profile when he became the Spitzenkandidat for the Socialist grouping in the 2014 elections. No national leader has endorsed Weber – not even Merkel, who was in Helsinki on Thursday to give him a hug on stage when he accepted the nomination to be Spitzenkandidat.”
Theresa May and the Brexit Debacle
The Huffington Post wrote on November 15:
“The British prime minister was clinging to power by the thinnest of threads on Thursday after a wave of resignations from her Cabinet and the beginnings of a political coup to oust her as leader.
“Theresa May presented her draft deal for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union on Wednesday evening in a mammoth five-hour meeting with her top ministers. In a speech after the meeting, May gave a warning to those who might oppose her…
“But by Thursday morning, just over 12 hours later, her Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, and her work and pensions minister, Esther McVey, both quit, saying they could not support May’s deal because it still requires the U.K. to follow some European Union rules. Politicians pushing for a so-called ‘hard Brexit’… don’t want any deal to tie the U.K. too closely to Brussels, arguing the U.K. should not be following any rules it no longer has a role in shaping…
“She now faces a serious threat by eurosceptic politicians, who are threatening to attempt to remove her as head of the Conservative Party by sending 48 letters of ‘no confidence’ to the chair of the party’s organizing committee, which would trigger a leadership contest.
“… her deal came under a sustained attack in the Commons. Only a handful of Conservative parliament members (those in May’s party) spoke in favor of the agreement…
“The developments threaten to derail the prime minister’s Brexit strategy ahead of a crucial EU summit, which European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed would take place on Nov. 25, ‘if nothing extraordinary happens.’
“What happens next depends on whether May can survive as prime minister. Assuming she does, she still faces a huge uphill battle to get her Brexit deal through a vote in the Commons scheduled for December.
“She could withdraw the current deal and ask the EU for an extension of negotiations, but that would likely be fatal for the already embattled prime minister. If she is ousted, Britain’s already fraught political atmosphere will be further complicated by a Tory leadership battle…
“More disruptive still would be a Commons-wide vote of no confidence, which could trigger a general election…”
US Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Pipeline?
Oil Price wrote on November 12:
“Late last week, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that Washington could still impose sanctions related to the building of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would bring Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Perry made his comments in Warsaw as the Trump administration tries to convince EU members to sign LNG deals with U.S. producers to offset over reliance on Russian pipeline gas…
“When asked at a news conference whether Washington could impose sanctions on companies working on the project, Perry replied: ‘I saw no signals where we would ever get to the point where we can support Nord Stream 2’…
“In a televised meeting with reporters and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg before a NATO summit in Brussels earlier this year, Trump said it was “very inappropriate” that the U.S. was paying for European defense against Russia while Germany, the biggest European economy, was supporting gas deals with Moscow. However, since then, Germany has indicated that it wanted to buy more LNG from the U.S., with plans to build three LNG receiving terminals. Germany also remains firm in its support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The $11 billion gas pipeline will stretch some 759 miles (1,222 km), running on the bed of the Baltic Sea from Russian gas fields to Germany, bypassing existing land routes over Ukraine, Poland and Belarus…
“Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in September that the pipeline would go forward even if sanctions were put in place. ‘We hope that there will be no sanctions. If U.S. restrictions are imposed, the project will be implemented anyway, the pipe laying has already started,’ Novak told reporters, adding that the plan envisions the project to be completed by the end of 2019.”
Whatever Happened to the “Investigation” of Khashoggi’s Murder?
The Guardian and Reuters wrote on November 10:
“Ankara has given recordings on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, the US, Germany, France and Britain, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. Khashoggi, a critic of de facto Saudi ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate last month in a hit which Erdogan says was ordered at the ‘highest levels’ of the Saudi government…
“They include the killing itself and conversations pre-dating the operation which Turkey subsequently uncovered… These had led Ankara to conclude from an early stage that the killing was premeditated, despite Saudi Arabia’s initial denials of any knowledge or involvement. Saudi Arabia’s prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb has since said Khashoggi’s killing was planned in advance, although another Saudi official said Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the specific operation.”
Are the “investigating” powers willing to ignore and sweep the evidence of Saudi Prince Mohammed’s involvement under the carpet?
The Guardian added on November 15:
“Saudi Arabia says it will pursue the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of… Khashoggi in the latest effort to distance the country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, from the grisly murder…”
Sanhedrin Urges Candidates for Jerusalem Mayor to Prepare for Third Temple
Breaking Israel News wrote on November 8:
“Jerusalem will have a new mayor next week and more than any other election this year will decide the religious nature of Israel’s capital. The nascent Sanhedrin has addressed a letter to the two candidates emphasizing the role of the Third Temple in municipal current policy. The Jerusalem mayoral election held last week ran five candidates, but the results were so close that an additional runoff vote next week is needed to choose between the top two. Moshe Lion with 33 percent of the vote and Ofer Berkovitch with 29 percent will run off against each other – with neither achieving the 40 percent of the electorate required to win office…
“‘With God’s merciful approval, one of you will be chosen as head of the city, may it be built and made ready for its ultimate purpose,’ the Sanhedrin wrote. ‘We call on the candidates as well as the voters to make choices based on truth and on the main aspect of Jerusalem, which is the building of the Temple.’
“The Sanhedrin wrote a similar letter to U.S. President Donald Trump after he won the election, calling on him to take a role in building the Third Temple just as Persian King Cyrus helped the Jews build the Second Temple after the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BCE.
“‘Avoiding this essential issue endangers the existence of the city and its identity as the capital of Israel, thereby endangering Israel itself,’ the Sanhedrin wrote to the mayoral candidates. ‘Every Jew and all of humanity are commanded to ascend to the Temple Mount.’ ‘We expect you, as candidates, to relate to this role the city has as home of the Temple. This subject is not simply a matter of religious belief but must also be expressed in political, fiscal, and educational terms.’
“The Sanhedrin emphasized the importance of Jerusalem in the world. In the letter, they noted that the capital of Israel is frequently the focus of domestic politics and, in the case of Trump, has become an essential part of his platform. In the letter, the Sanhedrin praised Trump for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. ‘Jerusalem in its entirety is sanctified as Holy and is the spiritual center of the world, the throne of God. We urge you to make public your plans relating to this aspect of the city. There are several ways this can be accomplished, such as festivals of holiness to replace those of impurity.’
“The Sanhedrin has already begun working toward this end, holding full-dress reenactments of the Temple service before the Biblical feasts. Another glorious example of this was the World Creation Concert held the week before Rosh Hashana, which several representatives from South American countries attended.
“The Sanhedrin emphasized that the city will change when the Temple is built, requiring massive improvements to its infrastructure. ‘Jerusalem must prepare to host the millions of pilgrims who will attend the feasts when the Third Temple is built,’ the letter said. ‘We also call on the government to prepare a center for an international body to replace the United Nations and the Hague, one that will be rooted in the Bible.’”
Express added on November 9:
“Talk of a third temple being built emerged this week in response to a letter penned by the powerful Jewish assembly of rabbis known as the Sanhedrin. Jerusalem is heading into a mayoral election next week and the Sanhedrin urged both running candidates, Ofer Berkovich and Moshe Lion, to rebuild the temple.
“The first two Holy Temples of Jerusalem were constructed on the city’s Temple Mount centuries ago but were razed to the ground by the Babylonians and the Romans respectively. The Holy Temple plays a crucial role in Jewish tradition and is a central player in prophecies and tales concerning the apocalypse.”
How important or influential is the nascent Sanhedrin?
According to Wikipedia, “The 2004 attempt to re-establish the Sanhedrin was an attempt to set up a revived national rabbinical court of Jewish law in Israel… The attempt has been met with the most acceptance and the least opposition among Gedolim and Rosh Yeshivas of all previous attempts in history since the disbandment of the original Sanhedrin in the 4th century. The organization heading this attempt refers to itself as the nascent Sanhedrin or developing Sanhedrin, and regards itself as a provisional body awaiting integration into the Israeli government as both a supreme court and an upper house of the Knesset, while the Israeli secular press regards it as an illegitimate fundamentalist organization of rabbis. The organization, which is composed of over 70 rabbis (similar to the composition of the original Sanhedrin), claims to enjoy recognition and support from the entire religious Jewish community in Israel, and has stirred debate in both religious and secularist circles.”
Breaking Israel News reported on August 29, 2016, that a “significant step was recently taken towards reinstating the Temple service when the nascent Sanhedrin selected Rabbi Baruch Kahane as the next Kohen Gadol (high priest).”
The movement for the building of the Third Temple is growing, and the Bible prophesies that a Third Temple will be built before Christ’s return. For further information, please view our StandingWatch program, titled, “Netanyahu’s Announcement of a Third Temple?”
The Algemeiner and Reuters wrote on November 14:
“A religious Jewish candidate won election as mayor of Jerusalem on Wednesday in a run-off against a secular contender for a post that shapes Israel’s rule over the holy city at the heart of its conflict with the Palestinians. Moshe Lion, a skullcap-wearing bureaucrat favored by two key members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist cabinet, defeated Ofer Berkovitch, the 35-year-old deputy mayor, after neither took enough votes in a five-man contest two weeks ago to win outright.”
Earlier this year, Lion was asked about his stance on the future of the Temple Mount, but he refused to comment.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Resigns
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 14:
“Israel’s hard-line defense minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday and called for snap elections after a row over a ceasefire with Gaza’s rulers Hamas to end a two-day flare up in violence. ‘What happened yesterday — the truce combined with the process with Hamas — is capitulating to terror. It has no other meaning,’ Lieberman told journalists. ‘What we’re doing now as a state is buying short-term quiet, with the price being severe long-term damage to national security.’
“A security cabinet meeting on Tuesday ended with a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office saying that ministers had unanimously agreed to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. Lieberman’s office then made a statement saying that his ‘alleged support for stopping the attacks in Gaza is fake news.’ Four other ministers, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home Party, also announced they had opposed the ceasefire…
“Lieberman also said his Yisrael Beiteinu will leave the ruling coalition, an action that could prompt Netanyahu to call early elections. The departure of Yisrael Beiteinu’s five seats in parliament leaves Netanyahu with a majority of just one seat in the 120-seat Knesset… However, an official from his Likud party dismissed there would be early elections. Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, will take over the defense portfolio, but he may come under pressure from other coalition partners for that prized ministry… Netanyahu has come under criticism from members of his right-wing government for his decision to allow Qatar to provide money to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to pay for salaries and fuel to ease an electricity crisis.”
Unprecedented California Wildfires
Headlines like “Malibu Apocalypse” or “Armageddon” made the news.
The New York Times wrote on November 10:
“Even in a state hardened to the ravages of wildfires, the infernos that raged at both ends of California on Friday were overpowering. At least nine people were killed, including several who died in their cars in a retirement community called Paradise. Malibu mansions burned. And in the neighborhood in Thousand Oaks where a gunman had killed 12 people in a crowded bar earlier in the week, survivors now fled the flames.
“The fire-prone state was battling three major fires, one in the northern Sierra and two west of Los Angeles. In the northern town of Paradise, the ruins of houses and businesses smoldered throughout the day, while in Southern California, tens of thousands of residents fled their homes and jammed onto highways…
“Officials estimated that the blaze in the north, called the Camp Fire, had destroyed a staggering 6,700 structures — most of them residential. Such vast devastation would make it the most destructive fire in modern state history…
“Wildfires like these have long been a threat in California, but over the last several years they have had devastating impacts never before seen in the state. Firefighters constantly repeat that the state has reached a ‘new normal’ of nearly year-round fires…
“In Southern California, the authorities ordered the complete evacuation of Malibu, the affluent community that is home to many Hollywood celebrities, as the fire raced through the hills and canyons above the Pacific Ocean. No part of the fire was under control, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Western Ranch, a movie set that was built by Paramount Pictures and where the HBO series ‘Westworld’ was filmed [as well as ‘Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman’ and ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’], burned down…
“Residents in more than 75,000 homes in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties were told to evacuate.”
ABC News added on November 10:
“President Donald Trump woke up in Paris on Saturday in the mood to make threats toward California as it deals with deadly wildfires in Northern California and hundreds of smoldering homes in Southern California. In an angry tweet, the president threatened to pull federal funding for the state if nothing is done to ‘remedy’ the situation.”
The Week added on November 11:
“President Trump has continued to argue on Twitter the fires are the result of improper forest management by California, drawing the ire of the California Professional Firefighters union.”
The Week wrote on November 14:
“At least 48 people have been killed by the Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County, making it the deadliest fire in state history. The Camp Fire has burned 130,000 acres, destroyed more than 8,800 homes and businesses, and is just 35 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Tuesday. Most of the deaths were in the ravaged town of Paradise, where residents and officials continue to search for bodies. In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire has burned 96,314 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, killing two people and destroying 435 structures. It is 40 percent contained.”
The Week wrote on November 15:
“More than 300 people have been reported missing in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County as of Thursday. At least 56 people have been killed, making it the deadliest fire in state history…”
Doctored Tape not Doctored?
The Independent wrote, sarcastically, on November 9:
“Trump denies [the] doctored Acosta video shared by White House was doctored, then threatens to ban more journalists… Donald Trump has denied a video of his altercation with CNN reporter Jim Acosta that was shared by the White House was ‘doctored’, despite evidence it had been manipulated… Mr Trump insisted the video had not been edited. ‘Nobody manipulated it, give me a break,’ he said. ‘See that’s just dishonest reporting…’”
How much is that war between Trump and the media going to escalate? It won’t end any time soon, if ever. Note the next article.
CNN Sues White House over Acosta Ban
The Daily Mail reported on November 13:
“CNN filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Trump administration… The networks’ suit, filed by a team that includes former George W. Bush solicitor general Ted Olson, demands the immediate return of Acosta’s credentials… ‘The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,’ according to a CNN statement…
“The suit names as defendants Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications and former Fox News executive Bill Shine, the director of the U.S. Secret Service and the uniformed officer who took away the credentials… The suit was filed by Ted Boutrous, and Olson, of the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
“Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in a statement that the group ‘strongly supports CNN’s goal of seeing their correspondent regain a US Secret Service security credential that the White House should not have taken away in the first place.’”
Axios wrote on November 14:
“Fox News is supporting CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration over the White House’s revocation of Jim Acosta’s press pass and plans to file an amicus brief in the case, according to a statement from the network’s president Jay Wallace…
“Twelve other news organizations also announced they would be joining Fox in filing an amicus brief in support of CNN [including AP, Bloomberg, NBC News, New York Times, POLITICO, USA Today Network and the Washington Post].”
CNN added on November 14:
“Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee, has been assigned to the case. He will hold a hearing about the request for a temporary restraining order Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. But this legal battle could stretch on for a while. In the event there is no settlement, CNN is requesting a jury trial.”
CNN Business wrote on November 15:
“Judge Timothy J. Kelly heard nearly two hours of oral arguments about CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on Wednesday… he rescheduled the next hearing for Friday at 10 a.m.…”
The law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation. According to legal experts, CNN has a very strong or “robust” legal case against the defendants, especially in light of President Trump’s public comments undermining the defense, that he may consider banning other reporters as well (who have not engaged in any alleged “physical conduct” against female interns).
More Legal Trouble for Donald Trump?
The Daily Beast wrote on November 11:
“Friday’s in-depth Wall Street Journal report suggests the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and the FBI appear to possess evidence of Donald Trump’s involvement in a criminal scheme that helped get him elected president…
“Trump played a central role in hush-money payments made to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Journal reports, adding more detail to the case of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer-lawyer who pled guilty to federal campaign finance violations in the Southern District in August.
“Recall that when Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court, he stated under oath that he had made the payments ‘in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office’—many assumed that that candidate was Trump, of course. We now know from the Journal that the person who directed Cohen in this criminal scheme was, indeed, Donald Trump. The charging document to which Cohen pled guilty states that he ‘coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.’ The Journal reports that ‘[t]he unnamed campaign member or members referred to Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the document.’
“In addition, we now know that the evidence of Trump’s involvement in this criminal scheme is not limited to Cohen… the reporters note they obtained information from ‘interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.’
“… the story opens with a detailed recounting of a crucial and previously unreported August 2015 meeting between Trump and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker… during which Trump asked Pecker how he could help the campaign. Pecker reportedly offered to use his tabloid newspaper to purchase and squash the stories of women alleging affairs with Trump (which he did months later with McDougal). This conversation, on its own, establishes Trump’s direct involvement with and direction of the hush money payment… and goes to the heart of the question of Trump’s intent, namely, did he know and intend that these hush money payments would benefit his campaign for president?
“So, can President Trump be charged… with a crime of violating the federal campaign finance laws? Probably not…”
The report by the Wall Street Journal cannot be easily dismissed as left-liberal propaganda, as the Wall Street Journal is a conservative and basically pro-Trump news outlet. However, as we have repeatedly said before, President Trump will not be indicted, and he is going to be re-elected, as he is fulfilling biblical prophecy… for better or worse.
The False Teaching of Purgatory and Indulgences
Christian News wrote on November 5:
“As has been the custom for the past 50 years, Roman Catholics worldwide who pray at a cemetery between Nov. 1-8—and follow other requirements—are being offered a plenary indulgence to free their loved one from Purgatory and send their soul to Heaven…
“Nov. 1 marked All Saints Day in the Roman Catholic Church, followed by All Souls Day, which began an octave in which adherents of the religion are offered—under certain requirements—a plenary, or complete, indulgence for a deceased loved one or friend. On all other days of the year, the indulgence is only partial. While indulgences were especially common during the days of Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546), who strongly rebuked the practice, the November offering is a more recent declaration, issued by the Vatican under the leadership of Paul VI on June 29, 1968.
“The doctrine was stated to have been solidified during the Councils of Florence (1439) and Trent (1545-1563), and Catholics further point to the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees 12, which states, ‘It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.’… the Catholic Catechism outlines that Roman Catholic leadership ‘by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus’ offers indulgences as a means of intervention ‘in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins.’
“Each November since 1968, the Vatican has offered the living the stated opportunity to obtain plenary indulgences for the dead, so that they might be completely freed from Purgatory and go to Heaven. One plenary indulgence per day can be obtained during the eight-day period, and to obtain the indulgence, one must visit the cemetery to pray for the departed, receive communion, go to confession, and pray for the pope, with the minimum being the recitation of the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Other rituals may also be employed.”
The whole concept of Purgatory and the praying for the dead idea, as taught by the Catholic Church and uninspired apocryphal books, such as 2 Maccabees, is totally against Holy Scripture. The power to bind and to loose, which Christ gave to the ministry of His true Church, does of course not relate to teachings contrary to the Bible.
Will the Next Economic Crisis Lead to World War III?
Project Syndicate wrote on November 8:
“The next economic crisis is closer than you think. But what you should really worry about is what comes after: in the current social, political, and technological landscape, a prolonged economic crisis, combined with rising income inequality, could well escalate into a major global military conflict…
“In the United States, housing prices are now 8% higher than they were at the peak of the property bubble in 2006… The price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio, which measures whether stock-market prices are within a reasonable range, is now higher than it was both in 2008 and at the start of the Great Depression in 1929. As monetary tightening reveals the vulnerabilities in the real economy, the collapse of asset-price bubbles will trigger another economic crisis – one that could be even more severe than the last…
“This is all the more worrying in view of the numerous other factors stoking social unrest and diplomatic tension, including technological disruption, a record-breaking migration crisis, anxiety over globalization, political polarization, and rising nationalism. All are symptoms of failed policies that could turn out to be trigger points for a future crisis. Voters have good reason to be frustrated, but the emotionally appealing populists to whom they are increasingly giving their support are offering ill-advised solutions that will only make matters worse…
“Against this background, we must take seriously the possibility that the next economic crisis could lead to a large-scale military confrontation…”
Bitcoin May Boom Due to US Climbing Debt
Express wrote on November 11:
“There could be a major spike in the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because of the rapidly growing level of US debt, a leading industry expert has claimed. ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees has said cryptocurrencies will boom during the next global financial crisis. The finance expert at the global trading firm believes the high level of US debt will cripple the economy unless more money is printed. He argues this will lead to an increase in cryptocurrency investment. He said: ‘When the next global financial crisis occurs, the world will realise organisations with $20trillion in debt can’t possibly ever pay it back. They must print it instead, and thus fiat is doomed…
“US lawmakers keep increasing the country’s debt ceiling, allowing for the federal government to take on more and more debt. His theory is the debt level of world economies is unsustainable and will put states under pressure the next time there is a financial crash. As a result, he believes quantitive easing will have to come into force, the process whereby governments print money, to help pay off the money they owe. The more money in circulation the less it is worth, meaning ordinary families could be set to see their savings decrease in value. Mr Voorhees believes this in turn could lead to more people investing in cryptocurrencies…
“However, digital currencies are also a financial risk for investors due to their history of extreme volatility. In 2017, Bitcoin’s value rocketed to more than double its value, reaching a high $19,783 in December. However, it then plunged in 2018 to a low of less than $6,000 in June. Since then the online money has stabilised and has seen no major rises or falls in its value. At the time of writing Bitcoin is worth $6,367.36.”
Express added on November 16:
“BITCOIN (BTC) experienced a sudden drop in value on Wednesday after a prolonged period of record stability, which many experts said would produce a sharp move in either an upwards or downwards direction.”
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 long should we ask for God’s help? (Part 2)
In the first installment of this two-part series, we saw that God may make His Will absolutely clear to us to the effect that He will not intervene in the way we hope or wish, and if that is the case, prayers to God to change His Will would be superfluous and futile.
We might not always be able to understand God’s decision not to intervene or fulfill our specific request in a particular matter, because we might not always see what God’s Will or plan might be. We must recognize, however, that His thoughts are much higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Psalm 92:5-6 says:
“O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this.”
God declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Man cannot do anything against His plan.
Proverbs 19:21 says:
“There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel–that will stand.”
Proverbs 16:9 adds:
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
Proverbs 21:30 explains:
“There is no wisdom or understanding Or counsel against the LORD.”
In Acts 5:38-39, “a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people” (verse 34), reiterates the same message and includes a warning as well:
“‘And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.’”
We always need to remember that all things work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28).
This might be difficult to comprehend at a given moment in time; but rather than focusing on short-term goals and “quick fixes,” God’s goals are long-term.
Jeremiah 29:11 quotes God’s words in this way:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
A good example for this truth can be found in Joseph’s life. His brothers had sold him into slavery, but God was behind it so that Joseph could save the lives of many people. We read in Genesis 45:4-8:
“And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’ So they came near. Then he said: ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.’”
Again, here are Joseph’s additional words to his brothers, as recorded in Genesis 50:19-21:
“Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’…”
We might also think of Esther who was brought to the palace of the king and became his wife so that she could later save the Jews.
Let us review examples which encourage us to keep asking God even though His answer might not have been forthcoming so far, and even though it might appear as if His answer is “No!” But we are to pray day and night with perseverance for God’s intervention until His answer has become abundantly clear.
One might ask: How do I know that God has decided with finality that He will not answer my prayer in the way that I want—that His answer is abundantly clear? The simple response is: Once that final stage has been reached, you will know. If you don’t know, then God’s answer has not become abundantly clear.
Note the example of the widow and the unrighteous judge in Luke 18:1-8:
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, “Get justice for me from my adversary.” And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’”
This would also include the faith that God will hear us when we pray to Him day and night. As Christ mentioned, sometimes it may take a while before God intervenes on our behalf.
In this context, we must realize that God can change man’s hearts, plans and actions. The parable with the unrighteous judge and the widow shows that due to the widow’s perseverance, the judge changed his mind and acted on her behalf. The spiritual lesson is that due to her unwavering and consistent prayer, God responded by influencing the judge to help the widow.
Psalm 33:15 says that God “fashions” or “forms” (Revised Standard Version) or “moulds” (New Jerusalem Bible) or “shapes” (Berean Study Bible) the hearts of men. Strong’s explains that it means, “To mould into a, form, as a, potter, to determine.” Elliott’s Commentary for English Readers agrees, stating: “The Hebrew word rendered ‘fashion’ is that used of a potter moulding clay.”
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Bible Commentary states: “‘fashioneth’—or, ‘forms,’ and hence knows and controls.” Matthew Poole’s Commentary states: “Having said that God sees and observes all men, he now adds that he rules and governs them; yea, even their hearts, which are most masterless and unmanageable, and yet he frameth and disposeth and inclineth them, this way or that, according to the counsel of his will.”
Of course, as the Matthew Henry Commentary adds, “Some hearts are too stubborn to yield themselves up to his fashioning, and refuse to take the impress which he desires to impart.” When this happens, God will destroy such a person, as a potter destroys the pot which he attempted to make, but which did not turn out right, and so he will use the clay to make another pot.
Still, nobody can prevail against God’s Will, and when our ways please God, He can even make our enemies to be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7). In the above-quoted parable, God influenced the judge to help the widow—to be at peace with her.
There are additional examples about perseverance and ongoing faith and trust in God for His intervention, even though it may sometimes appear as if God had decided that He would not intervene.
In John 5:2-9, a man was sick for a long time, and he apparently had lost hope that he could be healed, because the human “odds” were against such a possibility:
“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.”
Another example can be found in John 9:1-7:
“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.”
A third example, and many more could be quoted, is recorded in Luke 13:10-17:
“Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, ‘Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.’ And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.’ The Lord then answered him and said, ‘Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound–think of it–for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’ And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.”
In this context, we should also understand that our prayers may change God’s original intent, and He might change His contemplated actions, as long as such a change would not contradict His overall plan.
Exodus 32:7-14 gives us such an example where God changed His mind, due to the powerful intercession of Moses:
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’”’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.’ Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: ‘LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, “He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.”’ So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.”
Also note God’s words to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 18:7-8:
“‘The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.’”
The people of Nineveh responded to Jonah’s warning by turning from their evil deeds, and God did not destroy them.
We should keep praying for God’s intervention, even in seemingly hopeless situations, until God’s refusal to act in compliance with our wishes becomes abundantly clear. As long as there is hope for His intervention and even for a change of His mind or original purpose, we must not give up entreating God.
Note this in Joel 2:11-14:
“… For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it? ‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him…’”
Yes, who knows? Until we know for sure that His answer is “No!,” we ought to continue to entreat God for His intervention.
He can make the “impossible” possible. As long as He has not made His Will abundantly clear to us so that we must cease praying for a certain matter, we ought to continue to implore and entreat God while waiting for Him. In the end, we may stand in awe when He suddenly intervenes for us.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Coming—A European Empire with a Real Army,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks of the rise of the “ancient demons” of “nationalism” causing World War I and advocates the creation of a “real European army” to “defend against” the USA. The EU Commission, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the leader of her coalition party, the SPD, want a real European army to form a “counterbalance” to President Trump. Others want to turn Europe into a powerful empire under German-French leadership to “stand in the way of Donald Trump’s administration.” Bible prophecy is being fulfilled for sure.
A new Member Letter (November 2018) will be posted. Pastor Rene Messier writes with a profound sense of urgency that Christians must not turn away from God but draw ever closer to Him.
“Der Abfall von der Wahrheit… einst, heute und sehr bald!” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Falling Away From the Truth–Then, Now and Very Soon.”
“Waiting for the Kingdom of God,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
What does it mean to wait for the Kingdom of God, and how should we apply that as Christians—both now and regarding the future?
“The Truth Is What Matters,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The trouble with being human is that we are naturally affected by a barrage of information that so easily distracts us from making good, godly judgment in life. What can we do to filter out the noise, and tune into the signal of the Truth of God?
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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