Update 867


Conviction!; When, How and What Should We Hate?

On March 9, 2019, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Conviction!” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “When, How and What Should We Hate?”

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.

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The Best Rating

by Robb Harris

For years I have run an online business on one of the large internet sales platforms. One of the important factors of my business deals with the customer rating of my past performance.  I not only receive monetary benefits from a high rating but it helps potential customers understand my selling history and honesty. It is easy to see the results from my actions, because I am incentivized to be successful. This has built-in motivation to excel in performance.

There is nothing wrong with this kind of goal but this accomplishment, along with all other physical pursuits, is not lasting. As Christians, it is critically important that we do not let these kinds of physical desires become the end-all in our daily lives. We must strive for something greater, something that the world sees as a closed-minded rejection of “enlightened” understanding. We must, by worldly standards, become fools if we are to please God. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

The world is brimming with the proud. Whether it is because of accomplishment, wisdom or wealth, mankind has again built a tower to glorify themselves. But God sees this attitude, as He did in Babel, with the same disdain.  Christ tells the church of the Laodiceans: “… you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).  And, as is prophesied, mankind will soon see all of the ungodliness that they have built fall into ruin. Greed can never be satiated. Instead, addicts will try to fix their greed with more of the same. This attitude, as Jude states, will lead to destruction: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah” (Jude 11).

Paul also understood the effects this arrogance could have on those that have been called out of this world: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:10). Our sense of accomplishment, even in the daily aspects of our lives, must hinge on God. We must be entrenched in our faith if we have any hope of pleasing God. John states, “… for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith” (1 John 5:4, New American Bible).

Success that leads to true victory begins with and dwells on the love of God. There can be no greater accomplishment, no greater motivation to succeed, than to be told, having spent a life dedicated to pleasing God, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21).

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by Norbert Link

All the articles in this section contain headlines which have one word in common. We did not initially plan it this way, but as articles were assembled for this section, it seemed that a common theme developed. You could describe it as lacking support; lacking friendship; lacking success; lacking humor; lacking common sense; lacking true spiritual understanding; and lacking belief in the devil.

We begin with reports concentrating on Israel and the Jewish people. We quote an article confirming the biblically prophesied FACT that a THIRD TEMPLE is going to be built just prior to Christ’s return and point out at the same time the lack of spiritual discernment and understanding in lieu of ludicrous explanations by those who deny the TRUTH of GOD.

We speak on Benjamin Netanyahu’s shrinking support due to his contemplated indictment; the failing Middle East peace process; the pro-Palestinian Arab conference being hostile towards Israel; and alarming rising anti-Semitism from all political corners in Europe and throughout the world. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Why the Rise of Anti-Semitism?” 

We continue with the inevitable Brexit debacle and the attempt by some to prolong the inevitable agony; the deteriorating relationship between Germany and Turkey; the lack of true partnership and friendship between the USA and the EU; President Trump’s failing emergency declaration on border security in Congress, which will be vetoed and therefore still be enforceable, as well as record-high illegal immigration on the southwestern border; and Russia’s new autocratic laws.

We speak on the atrocities of schools pushing homosexuality on young pupils; as well as the damnable “support” by judges, politicians, Clinicians and pro-trans therapists for intersex and transgender people.

We conclude with articles pertaining to America’s most influential and largest religious denominations and Pope Francis’ recognition of the existence of the devil, even though most people around the world deny his reality or are unsure about it. At least, they do not believe in the devil as revealed in the Bible.

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

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Push for Third Temple Intensifies… While Deniers are Without a Clue

Express published on March 4, 2019 the following headline:

“Jerusalem third temple ‘fulfils Biblical prophecy’ of the end times.”

The article went on to state:

“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.”

There are still those who deny the biblical fact that a third temple must exist prior to Christ’s return. One proof text can be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 which proclaims that just prior to Christ’s return, the false prophet (sometimes erroneously referred to as the Antichrist) will sit in the Temple of God, claiming to be God. Here is an example of a writer trying to “explain” this passage without admitting that this is talking about the Third Temple:

“… the ‘man of sin’ (also known as the King of the North in Daniel 11 and ‘the Beast’ in Revelation 13) may be sitting in some type of formerly Christian occupied building for some short while during the Great Tribulation.” The writer then goes on to state that that building might be one which had been used by his organization prior to their flight to the place of safety.

Apart from the fact that the man of sin is not the beast, but the false prophet, this whole “explanation” is unbelievably ludicrous. But those who deny or are unable to understand biblical revelation are doomed to present astonishing man-made nonsense.

Netanyahu Without a Majority

The Algemeiner wrote on March 2:

“A new poll taken after Israel’s attorney general announced that he will indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges shows that Netanyahu would not be able to form a right-wing government if elections were held today, and that 68 percent of the Israeli public wants him to resign now or after he is formally indicted.

“The announcement of intent to indict… charged Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in corruption cases dealing with gifts from supporters and alleged media collusion to give the prime minister favorable coverage in return for political and regulatory favors. Netanyahu responded to the announcement with a combative speech in which he declared the investigation a left-wing witch hunt intended to aid the election of his primary rivals…

“Those surveyed were also asked whether they believe Netanyahu’s claim that the attorney general made his decision due to pressure from the left and the media — 59 percent said the attorney general acted from professional considerations, while 42 percent agreed with Netanyahu. Elections will be held on April 9.”

Middle East Peace Process Without Success

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 4:

“The US is closing its consulate in Jerusalem, with a Palestinian affairs unit in the embassy to take its place… Diplomatic work will now be handled by a Palestinian affairs unit that is under the command of the US Embassy to Israel.

“The move has raised fears among Palestinians that US President Donald Trump’s administration is downgrading the handling of their diplomatic concerns and that Washington is no longer working for a two-state solution. When plans for the merger were announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last fall, Palestinian official Saeb Erekat called the decision ‘the final nail in the coffin’ for the US role in a Middle East peace process. The merger also means that diplomatic channels with Gaza and the West Bank will now be handled by US Ambassador David Freedman—who has long supported the controversial West Bank settler movement and has been an outspoken critic of Palestinian leaders.

“Trump sparked global outrage over his December 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Jerusalem is the home to numerous sites that are holy to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Palestinians want to establish an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

The American-initiated peace process is dead… in fact, it was never alive.

Israel Without Arab Friends

The Jordan Times wrote on March 4:

“Participants at the 29th conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU) on Monday called for supporting Palestinians through stopping all forms of normalisation with the Israeli occupation as stipulated in relevant Arab summits’ resolutions. The final statement of the conference, which concluded in Amman on Monday, praised the Kingdom’s Hashemite Custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites, and His Majesty King Abdullah’s efforts in supporting the Jerusalemites’ resilience, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. The statement also commended King Abdullah’s quick steps and response in stopping recurrent Israeli attacks in Jerusalem, the most recent of which was the reopening of the Bab Al Rahma (Gate of Mercy) for prayers.

“Meanwhile, the Amman Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the conference, warned against the threats of the Israeli colonisation expansion on the expense of the Palestinian national soil, and rejected all attempts to impose the policy as a fait accompli, which requires more unified Arab stances to counter Israeli attempts to confiscate more Palestinian rights. The declaration added that Jordan will continue to be at the forefront of any effort to support the central cause of Arab and Islamic nations, which is the Palestinian one, and that the Kingdom will not stop exerting any effort that can serve Palestinian interests until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty over its national soil, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

A united Europe under German leadership will collaborate with Arab nations against Israel.

European Jews Without True Friends

Politico wrote on March 4:

Anti-Semitism is back in Europe… This particularly European pathology never truly went away, of course, but it had been confined, after the Holocaust, to the far-right fringes of society. Now the numbers of high-profile incidents and violent attacks are multiplying. Not only is this disease back; it is being weaponized by nationalist governments and parties on both sides of the political spectrum

“The collapse of Europe’s center-right, center-left political consensus plays an important role. As the center has dissolved, the fringes have expanded. The rise of extremist parties has acted like a green light for the Continent’s anti-Semitism… The danger goes beyond the physical. Issues that, on the face, have nothing to do with Jews — the migration crisis or a protest movement sparked by fuel prices — suddenly became all about them. Centuries-old stereotypes have reappeared: the conniving Jewish financier, the all-powerful Jewish conspirator accused of buying political influence or acting as a ‘globalist,’ pulling the levers of power in pursuit of enrichment. The common theme: Jew are ‘others’ who do not belong in European society

In the West, the danger comes from left-wing opposition and from the street. In the U.K., anti-Semitism is tearing apart the opposition Labour Party… Muslim critics of the Jewish state are also often guilty of extending their criticism to all Jews…

“In the former Communist bloc… [r]ight-wing nationalist politicians propagate anti-Semitism themselves. Many of the region’s governments — led by Hungary — have rehabilitated their wartime criminals and minimized their country’s guilt in the destruction of their Jewish communities.

Adding fuel to the fire is Israel. Instead of criticizing Europe’s revisionists, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cozies up to them, justifying his outreach to leaders in Poland and Hungary as a way to counterbalance the European Union’s more Palestinian-friendly Western states…

The United States, too, is standing on the wrong side of this ideological battleground. Like the Israeli prime minister, President Trump favors Holocaust-revisionist leaders in the East over longtime democratic allies in the West. At home, he traffics in anti-Semitic stereotypes…”

JTA wrote on March 4:

“Participants in a street celebration in the Belgian city of Aalst paraded giant puppets of Orthodox Jews and a rat atop money bags…

“The group Vismooil’n created the two puppets as their 2019 theme for the Aalst carnival, the local edition of celebrations that take place throughout parts of Europe and Latin America annually in anticipation of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter… They titled the work ‘Shabbat Year.’… One of the puppets is grinning while smoking a cigar and extending a hand, presumably to collect money. That puppet has a white rat on his right shoulder. Both puppets are standing on gold coins and have money bags at their feet. In the background is a round window reminiscent of the architecture of many European synagogues and a small box resembling a mezuzah on its right-hand side…

“In 2013, a different group designed for the Aalst carnival a float resembling a Nazi railway wagon used to transport Jews to death camps. The people who designed the float, known as the FTP Group, marched near the float dressed as Nazi SS officers and… Orthodox Jews. A poster on the wagon showed Flemish Belgian politicians dressed as Nazis and holding canisters labeled as containing Zyklon B, the poison used by the Nazis to exterminate Jews in gas chambers in the Holocaust.”

Something like this is shocking indeed. Carnival organizers had prior knowledge of the float, reviewed and approved it. They subsequently “apologized” for the float after workers had spent hours creating it. But the “mayor of the Belgian city… defended the display, telling the local media that ‘In Aalst it should be allowed,’” according to JTA, dated March 5.

Aish.com added on March 5:

“The Belgian city of Aalst is only a short drive from the gleaming modern towers that house the European Union in central Brussels. But on Sunday, the picturesque town seemed to belong to a previous era, as a grotesque anti-Semitic parade float promenaded through the center of town, looking like something out of the Middle Ages or Nazi times… Anti-Jewish feeling is rising across Europe and beyond. Britain, the United States and Canada have all seen record levels of anti-Jewish attacks in recent years…

“The outrageous float in Aalst isn’t a wakeup call; it’s more like an alarm we’re hearing after hitting the snooze button a hundred times. In too many quarters, it’s become acceptable to make fun of Jews or to express blatant anti-Semitism…”

CNN wrote on March 5:

“…the ‘De Dokwerker’ statue… stands as a permanent reminder of the day Amsterdam came together on February 25, 1941 to protest against the anti-Semitic laws imposed on its Jewish citizens by the Germans. By the end of World War II, about 75% of the Dutch Jewish community had been wiped out.

“At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, the vandalizing of the… statue last week caused headlines both inside and outside the country… the nature of the vandalism, the green and yellow paint on the statue, and the painting of green swastikas on the street, suggested a blurring of the lines between anti-Semitism, and hatred of the city’s football club, Ajax. Throughout the Netherlands, and much of Europe, Ajax is known as a ‘Jewish club.’ The vandalism… shone a light on the complicated and often uneasy relationship between Ajax, the Jewish community and the anti-Semitism that it often attracts…”

Anti-Semitism is not confined to Europe.

Fox News reported on March 7:

“After several days of infighting and a near-rebellion by rank-and-file Democrats, as well as a major last-minute revision, the House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution that only indirectly condemned Minnesota [Muslim] Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s repeated ‘anti-Semitic’ and ‘pernicious’ comments– without mentioning her by name…

“The final draft of the resolution was expanded Thursday afternoon to condemn virtually all forms of bigotry, including white supremacy, in what Republicans characterized as a cynical ploy to distract from Omar’s remarks

“‘Today’s resolution vote was a sham put forward by Democrats to avoid condemning one of their own and denouncing vile anti-Semitism,’ [House Republican Conference Chair Liz] Cheney said in a statement…”

Brexit Without a Deal

Axios wrote on March 3:

“Welcome to March! The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU this month. And yet if anything, there’s less clarity than ever about whether and when the U.K. might actually leave, and under what terms it might do so.

“The state of play: British politics is more fractured than ever: 11 MPs have left the Tories and Labour to form The Independent Group, which is not so much a party as a cry for sanity. The opposition Labour party now wants a referendum, perhaps, and the governing Conservative party now is OK with a short delay, perhaps, but neither option seems to command a majority in Parliament.”

The Sun wrote on March 3:

“DOWNING STREET was accused of ‘surrendering to Europe’ after a fresh delay to an announcement on No Deal tariffs. Sources claimed the long-awaited details of proposed import duties for foreign goods had been postponed AGAIN – and would not now come this week…

“The plans could even be delayed until after the PM’s crunch Commons showdown on her Brexit deal – which is likely to come on March 12.”

These attempts to delay the inevitable Brexit will only be “successful” for so long.

Breitbart added on February 4:

“Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox has reportedly abandoned efforts to win serious concessions from the European Union on the unpopular ‘Soft Brexit’ deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May. The charismatic Brexiteer was sent to Brussels to try and win concessions on the controversial ‘backstop’…

“Parliamentarians were concerned that the backstop — which would see the EU effectively annex the British province of Northern Ireland for customs and regulatory purposes while mainland Great Britain would be incorporated into an EU-controlled ‘singles customs territory’ — is not time-limited, and the British government would not be allowed to leave it without the EU’s permission.

“Cox had been seeking a so-called ‘break clause’ which would allow the United Kingdom to walk away from the backstop on its own initiative, or at least a legally-binding agreement that it could not persist indefinitely, but has been stonewalled by the EU’s negotiating team and is instead seeking changes to the ‘arbitration mechanism’ deployed should one side express a desire to end the arrangements. The EU is said to be refusing to countenance Cox’s suggestion that backstop arbitration should be overseen by an ‘independent’ body outside the jurisdiction of its own Court of Justice, however, making it difficult to see how any tweaks to the mechanism currently laid out could be anything but cosmetic.”

The EUObserver wrote on March 6:

“EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart, Stephen Barclay, met in Brussels for a four-hour long dinner on Tuesday together with British attorney general Geoffery Cox. They made no comment afterward in an unusual step, with fewer than 30 days left to a potential no-deal Brexit. An EU official told the Reuters news agency the talks did not go well.”

The Local wrote on March 6:

“All British nationals living in Germany will need to apply for a residence permit from their local Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde), according to new advice from the UK government. And they have to apply for a permit whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal

“As Germany is a federal country, there are different ways that British people can apply for a permit. In Berlin a registration process has been underway since January where people can voluntarily register… In Bonn and Düsseldorf, Brits can apply through an online registration process. Some states have issued letters asking residents to book an appointment with the immigration office, while others are asking British people to fill in a form online… the latest figures for 2018 show there are 117,225 British people [living] in Germany… Berlin is host to the largest British community in Germany…”

EU Without Turkey

Reuters wrote on March 6:

Turkey cannot become a member of the European Union, said Manfred Weber, the European Peoples Party’s (EPP) lead candidate for the upcoming European elections, adding that he would end accession talks if he becomes European Commission president…

“… ‘if I become Commission president, then I will instruct the offices in Brussels to end the talks with Turkey on accession to the European Union,’ [Weber] said to rapturous applause [by German conservatives in Bavaria]…

“In October, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would consider putting Turkey’s long-stalled bid to join the EU to a referendum, signaling exasperation with a process he says has been waylaid by prejudice against Muslims.”

Turkey Without Freedom of Expression

Deutsche Welle reported on March 6:

“The German government criticized Turkey on Wednesday after the Turkish interior minister threatened to arrest ‘terrorists’ and ‘traitors’ from Germany arriving at Turkish airports… Germany has one of the largest Kurdish diasporas in the world and supporters of the PKK regularly hold rallies in support of Kurdish causes. However, Turkey considers a number of organizations that are legal in Germany as terrorist organizations, including the Gulen movement Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed 2016 coup attempt.

“Over the past several years, ties between Berlin and Ankara have been strained over the arrest of dual nationals, including journalists and human rights activists. Many have been detained on trumped-up terrorism propaganda charges

“[Foreign Office spokesperson Maria] Adebahr warned Germans to look at the foreign office’s travel warnings and safety information, which clearly ‘point to the risk of arrest,’ especially when there exists any connection ‘to terrorist organizations under Turkish interpretations. Statements that are covered in Germany by freedom of expression can lead to prosecution in Turkey,’  Adebahr warned.

“After Russians, Germans were the second largest tourist group visiting Turkey in 2018.”

USA and EU Without True Partnership

Deutsche Welle reported on March 4:

“The US has put an end to its dispute with the EU over diplomatic protocol…

“The US ambassador to the European Union [Gordon Sondland] said that the US Department of State ‘will again recognize the European Union’s representation in Washington as equivalent to that of a bilateral mission… The EU is a uniquely important organization, and one of America’s most valuable partners in ensuring global security and prosperity,’ Sondland said…

“Despite the soothing in terms of protocol, there remain issues for the EU and US to resolve. EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom is in Washington this week to meet her counterpart Robert Lighthizer for talks on car tariffs. She said ‘there is full support’ from EU member states to respond if the Trump administration imposes tariffs on cars and car parts…”

Trump’s Emergency Declaration Without Majority Support

npr wrote on March 3:

“Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says he’ll vote in favor of a resolution to terminate President Trump’s national emergency declaration with regards to the U.S.-Mexico border. Paul’s support… could force the president to issue his first veto. Paul’s announcement, coming from an-otherwise close ally of the president, lays bare the discomfort many Republicans have had with the emergency declaration…

“On Tuesday, the Democratic-controlled House voted 245-182 to approve the resolution. Only 13 Republicans joined Democrats to end Trump’s emergency declaration. The Senateis expect[ed] to vote later this month on the House resolution. Paul joins three Senate Republicans… who have already said they will vote with Democrats in opposition to the president’s actions. With Republicans holding just 53 Senate seats, those defections mean the resolution will likely pass…

“‘I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress,’ Paul said. ‘We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing.’

“Trump made the declaration in February to free up billions of dollars in funding for border wall construction, after Congress allocated just a fraction of what he had asked for. Other [Republican] Senators have expressed reservations about the national emergency declaration but haven’t said how they’ll vote… More Republicans may be willing to come out against the emergency declaration now that the balance of votes has already tipped against the president. ‘I support what the president wants to do on border security, but not the way he has been advised to do it,’ [Lamar] Alexander [R-Tenn.] said in a statement last week. ‘There has never been an instance where a president has asked for funding, Congress refused it, and the president then used the National Emergencies Act to justify spending the money anyway.’

“… Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell… told reporters on Tuesday that he expects the Senate will vote before March 18.”

However, if the Senate votes against the emergency declaration and President Trump vetoes the decisions of the House and the Senate, it is not expected that there will be enough votes to override the veto. In addition, note the following article.

The Washington Times wrote on March 5:

Illegal immigration continues to break records on the southwestern border… The number of families snared trying to sneak into the U.S. soared by 50 percent in one month alone, setting an all-time record with more than 36,000 family members apprehended, Homeland Security officials announced Tuesday. The government has also encountered some 70 groups of at least 100 migrants during the first five months of the fiscal year, shattering records and placing new challenges on Border Patrol agents. The mini-caravans are being funneled to some of the remotest parts of the border, where there is little in the way of medical help and it takes hours to process and transport the groups. That takes agents off the line, and drug smugglers use the distraction to send across their shipments, top border officials said…

“Overall, Border Patrol agents nabbed 66,450 illegal immigrants last month, marking the worst February since 2008. [This is an 80 percent increase over the same time last year]. Of those, 6,825 were unaccompanied alien children — juveniles who arrived at the border without any parent. Another 36,174 were family members — a majority of the total and a record-shattering number… All told, nearly 160,000 unaccompanied alien children and family members have been encountered at the border over the past five months. That is far more than the 120,000 encountered in 2014, when President Obama first called it a crisis

“Fifty-five migrants a day are being sent to clinics or hospitals for care, and the Border Patrol says it’s on track for 31,000 total this year… Agents have to accompany each of those migrants, taking them away from enforcement duties…”

Fox News added on March 6:

“Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen issued a dire assessment Wednesday of the migration crisis on the southern border, telling a House committee that illegal immigration is ‘spiraling out of control’ and predicting that crisis will ‘get even worse’ in the coming months… she said Customs and Border Protection is on track to apprehend almost 1 million illegal immigrants at the border this year…”

Russia Without Freedom of Expression

The Guardian wrote on March 6:

“Russia’s parliament has approved a controversial law that allows courts to jail people for online ‘disrespect’ of government or state officials, including the president, Vladimir Putin.The law, which critics say is reminiscent of Soviet-era legislation used to target political dissidents, stipulates fines of up to 100,000 roubles (£1,155) for ‘indecent’ online posts that demonstrate a ‘blatant disrespect for society, the country, Russia’s official state symbols, the constitution, or the authorities’. Repeat offenders can be hit with fines of up to twice this sum, or 15 days behind bars.

“Alexander Verkhovsky, the head of the Moscow-based Sova Centre, which monitors abuse of anti-extremism legislation, said people could face prosecution for online… jokes about parliament. Others expressed concern that the law was so vaguely worded that almost any online criticism of the authorities, including satirical memes, could be construed as ‘disrespect’… Putin is expected to sign the law into force in the coming weeks.

“Parliament also approved separate legislation… that will give the authorities powers to block webpages that publish ‘disrespectful’ material or ‘fake news’…”

School Teaching Homosexuality and Gender Equality Without Students

Daily Mail wrote on March 3:

“An estimated 600 Muslim children have been withdrawn from a school in protest against lessons about homosexuality and gender equality… The children involved in the mass exodus represent about 80 per cent of the school’s entire enrolment… the pupils were pulled out of the classroom, because the school was ‘undermining parental rights and aggressively promoting homosexuality’… One father at the school, whose six-year-old daughter attends the school, said his wife wanted to leave the country rather than let her daughter attend the lessons…

“Some of the parents said Islam did not accept homosexuality, while others said they were not against it, but accused the teacher [who is gay] of promoting ‘personal beliefs’… [He] is in a civil partnership [and he] is currently shortlisted for a ‘world’s best teacher’ award. He resigned from a previous teaching post at another school after a row with Christian parents over lessons challenging homophobia…”

Words fail…

Germans Without Humor

AFP and the Local wrote on March 4:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s anointed successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, faced harsh criticism Monday over a carnival joke that ridiculed intersex people…. Attempting to poke fun at politically progressive Berlin, she said newly introduced toilets for intersex people were ‘for those men who don’t know whether to pee standing up or sitting down’. The comment was greeted with jeers, fanfare and booming laughter in the Lake Constance town of Stockach in southern Germany, but fewer people were laughing when it was shared on the website queer.de and Twitter.

“Another one of those days that make you cringe… is it really that difficult to make a humorous speech without flat jokes beating up on minorities?’ commented lawmaker Jens Brandenburg of the FDP party… The Social Democrats’ general secretary Lars Klingbeil charged that the comment showed ‘an absolute lack of respect’ for intersex people…

“The newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger in Cologne… slammed AKK’s joke as ‘low-brow’, ‘sordid’, ‘populist’ and tapping into society’s ‘culture wars’.

“AKK, a devout Catholic who has spoken out against same-sex marriage, was named ‘Miss Homophobia 2018’ in an online poll conducted by gay and lesbian rights group Enough is Enough.”

The Guardian added on March 4:

“Asked on Monday about the chancellor’s reaction to the comments [by AKK], Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, pointed out that the government had recently strengthened the rights of intersex people by allowing the inclusion of a third gender, ‘diverse’, on birth registers… Alexander Vogt, the chair of the CDU’s gay and lesbian association, told the broadcaster SWR: ‘Of course we are owed an apology…’ Lars Klingbeil, the general secretary of the Social Democrats, a junior coalition partner in Merkel’s government, said: ‘Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer shows what kind of arch-conservative views once again prevail in the [Christian Democratic] Union. Such comments – even during carnival – are utterly disrespectful.’ Sven Lehmann, a Green politician, tweeted: ‘After a period of modernisation through Angela Merkel, I am sorry to see that the leader of CDU … cannot do without cheap gags at the cost of minorities in our society’…

“Kramp-Karrenbauer recently reiterated her belief that the concept of marriage should be tied to the ability to conceive a child, and she refused to modify a 2015 statement in which she linked same-sex marriages to incest and polygamy… The CDU agriculture minister, Julia Klöckner, tweeted in defence of her party leader: ‘We make jokes about men, we make jokes about women. Those who don’t make jokes about the third gender just because it’s the third gender discriminate against it.’”

Most readers of the conservative mass tabloid Bild Online liked the joke. When it comes to “culture war,” it is the homosexual community who starts and engages in that war. And there is nothing “progressive” about it. Let us be clear: practicing homosexuals are living in a state of sin. The same goes for “intersex people” who don’t like the gender with which they are born and who want to change it to the opposite sex. What may the consequences be? A classic example is a young school boy claiming to be a girl so he can be in the girls’ locker rooms, toilets and showers. For more information, please read our free booklet, “God’s Teaching on Sexual Relationships.”

Judges, Gender Clinicians and Pro-Trans Therapists Without Any Sense

Life Site News wrote on March 1:

“A British Columbia judge ruled a father can’t stop doctors giving his troubled 14-year-old daughter testosterone shots against his wishes… [The judge] ruled [that the teen] ‘be referred to as male and identified by his chosen name in all legal proceedings, be allowed to change his legal name without the need for consent from his parents, is “exclusively entitled” to consent to medical treatment for his gender dysphoria,’ the National Post reported.

“Moreover, ‘Any attempt to persuade A.B. to abandon treatment or references to [the teen] as a girl or using female pronouns “shall be considered to be family violence” under the Family Law Act,’ ruled the B.C. judge.”

A totally senseless judgment. Now read the next article.

The Christian Post wrote on March 4:

“Parents… who do not agree with or support their children’s belief that they are the opposite sex risk legal repercussions, including being reported to Child Protective Services

“The notion that children are at greater risk or will take their own lives if they’re not allowed to alter their bodies to become their ‘authentic’ selves is the most common manipulation technique employed by gender clinicians and pro-trans therapists. They do this, therapists and doctors who oppose transgender ideology say, to put confused children and teens on the pathway to transition and undergo permanent surgical procedures.

“Transgenderism has become so deeply entrenched within certain respected professions that much of the general public now believes that socially and medically transitioning children into these identities is not only completely safe but necessary…

“In February 2018 [a judge in Ohio] ruled that a 17-year-old should be removed from the custody of her parents due to their objections to the controversial hormone treatments for trans-identifying teens…

“Parents… regard what is going on… as a serious medical scandal, especially given that so many doctors are afraid to speak up against medicalizing and performing surgeries on youth based on a scientifically unproven identity and feelings… In addition to the lack of oversight, proponents of gender-transitioning youth as essential health care, have framed those who oppose them as rank bigots

“Unless people can somehow see through the fog that radical activists have overhauled the professional guidelines and engineered a takeover of the medical field and its public relations apparatus, the general public and parents in doctors’ offices will believe in what the expert associations stipulate with great confidence…

“In December, a … report unpacked the risks and harms of Lupron, a hormone blocker used to treat prostate cancer patients and sex offenders, which is now being given to youth with gender dysphoria…

“Dr. Michelle Cretella is the president of the American College of Pediatricians and is an outspoken critic of transgender medicalization. She has frequently called it institutionalized child abuse. The Southern Poverty Law Center… has labeled the ACP a ‘hate group.’…”

It is those who advocate and support such unconscionable practices for confused children and teens who could be classified as belonging to a hate group… as they are opposing and thereby hating God’s LAW and His Word.

Churches Without Many Parishioners

The Associated Press wrote on March 2:

“[This] has been a wrenching season for three of America’s largest religious denominations, as sex-abuse scandals and a schism over LGBT inclusion fuel anguish and anger within the Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist and United Methodist churches. There’s rising concern that the crises will boost the ranks of young people disillusioned by organized religion

“For the U.S. Catholic church, the clergy sex-abuse scandal that has unfolded over two decades expanded dramatically in recent months. Many dioceses have become targets of investigations…

“The Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, confronted its own sex-abuse crisis three weeks ago in the form of an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. The newspapers reported that hundreds of Southern Baptist clergy and staff had been accused of sexual misconduct over the past 20 years, including dozens who returned to church duties, while leaving more than 700 victims with little in the way of justice or apologies…

“The United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination, ended a pivotal conference Tuesday in a seemingly irreconcilable split over same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT clergy. About 53 percent of the delegates voted to maintain bans on those practices and strengthen enforcement, dismaying centrists and liberals who favored LGBT inclusion and now are faced with the choice of leaving the UMC or considering acts of defiance from within… Adam Hamilton, whose Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, is the nation’s largest UMC congregation, said the outcome would push youthful pastors and other young adults away. ‘Three out of four of millennials who live in the U.S.support same-sex marriage and do not want to be a part of a church that makes their friends feel like second-class Christians,’ he told the conference.”

These churches and their members do not belong to God’s true Church and the Body of Christ anyway.

A World Without True Knowledge of the Devil

Breitbart wrote on March 4:

“Pope Francis told a group of young people Sunday that the devil is not a fairy tale but truly exists, and that he is their ‘biggest enemy.’ In a meeting with children and young people… the pope said that the devil is ‘the ruler of the pagan spirit’ and ‘the lord of evil,’ while urging them to resist his wiles through prayer and recourse to Jesus… ‘[The devil] is the one who tries to make us slip up in life. He is the one who puts bad desires and bad thoughts in our hearts and leads us to do bad things, many bad things in life, ending with war.’…

“‘The devil is a liar,’ Francis said… ‘You have to tell the devil, “Go away, liar!”’ he told them… ‘When the attack comes, go to Jesus, who never told a lie,’ he said… Francis also told the children that the devil promises happiness, yet never delivers…”

Most do not believe in the devil… at least not in the devil as described in the Bible. But to clarify, a person not being ordained to the ministry of God, should never speak directly to the devil or his demons. Rather, when he or she senses a satanic or demonic attack, he or she should pray to God the Father, asking Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to rebuke the devil and free him or her from satanic and demonic influence.

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.

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Do you answer every question you receive?

That is an interesting enquiry.

In a previous Q&A (in Update No. 281, dated 16th February 2007), we answered the question about whether or not to answer a fool and quoted Proverbs 26:4-5 which states: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

In that Q&A, we stated: “To answer the fool’s specific allegation or even accusation would end up in a meaningless discussion. In such a case, both parties would end up being foolish or behaving foolishly. Luke 20:1-8 gives us one example. When Christ was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the Pharisees confronted Christ and asked Him: ‘Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?’ (compare verse 2). Christ understood the wrong motives and intentions of the Pharisees. He did not answer their question. Rather, He asked them a question that He knew was impossible for them to answer without condemning themselves (compare verses 3 and 4). As Christ expected, the Pharisees refused to answer the question. As a consequence, Christ stated that He would not answer their question either, and the discussion ended (compare verses 7 and 8).”

At times, Christ refused to answer a question at all, as He understood the wrong motives of the questioners (Matthew 27:12, 14; John 19:8-9). There were other times when the scribes and the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus in one way or another. In Mark 12:13-17 we read the account where the Pharisees asked Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus did answer the question, but most certainly not in a way which they had expected. There are many other examples where the religious class seemed to be intent on trying to get Him to answer in a way that, as they hoped, would expose Him as a fraud. We know that that simply didn’t happen, couldn’t happen and wouldn’t happen with the One sent to earth by God the Father to die for the sins of mankind. He was perfect and without sin, and He reacted to all that was thrown at Him in a perfect way.

However, we are not perfect today and we may not have always the ability to ascertain another person’s motives when asking a question. It can be even harder to discern when we don’t have personal contact with the enquirer, but when we just receive a written question.

We have had many questions over the years—some of which have been ridiculous and to answer such an enquiry would fall into the category of answering a fool.

Let us give an example of someone asking a question with an ulterior motive which we were initially unable to ascertain at the time. The question was asked about counting the 50 days from the Days of Unleavened Bread to determine the Day of Pentecost. Our understanding of the matter was sent to the enquirer to which he replied that we were in error and then proceeded to correct us in a haughty manner. He hoped that his explanation would help us to correct our “error”. Not only was “his understanding” at odds with the long held teaching of the true Church of God, his manner was not that of a humble Christian. This is just one example of many that we have received over the years. Had we known from the outset his attitude and motives, we would certainly not have answered him at all.

There have been occasions when someone sends us lengthy papers, asking us to review the accuracy contained therein and to correct anything which might be wrong. Sometimes, we can see right from the start that the writer does not want any correction, but just wants to teach us his unique point of view. Depending on the nature of the issues expressed in the paper, we either decide not to answer at all, or, we may refer the writer to our literature and sermons, briefly stating that they contain our teaching on the given matter, and we do not see any reason to change that. But when we do answer initially and correct the writer, and he responds by starting to argue about our correction, any further communication regarding the matter would be fruitless.

Some are determined to believe that nothing can be changed since Mr. Herbert Armstrong, who was the late human header of the Worldwide Church of God, died. We have explained our position on many occasions and when we receive memos setting forth a contrary viewpoint, depending on the way in which the issue is presented, we may either not answer at all, or refer the writer to our literature and sermons.

Recently, in response to a sermon on the worship of Mary, a writer responded by claiming that unless we believe in Mary being in heaven and intervening on our behalf, we cannot be saved. Any response would be futile, given the fact that this issue was thoroughly explained in the sermon. Other topics raising opposition would include Christmas, Easter, the Trinity or eternal hell. Again, based on the motivation of the writer, which in most cases can be readily determined, we might respond by briefly referring the writer to our literature or sermons, or we might choose not to respond at all.

We may not always be able to immediately discern a person’s motives for asking a question. However, any questions that are asked insincerely can be just an excuse to draw an answer that can then be dismissed and the “correct” answer put forth.

Another problem can arise because definitions can mean different things to different people. Sometimes it may be necessary to ask the questioner what he means by a certain statement or example so that we will be answering like for like. One example would be if we were asked if we were “homophobic.” You will find that this word has several meanings. This word can often be used to express the idea that a true Christian is homophobic purely because he quotes the biblical instruction on the matter. That conclusion would be completely wrong, of course, as we have explained in our literature over the years. When a writer appears to be sincere and really wants to know our position on that topic, we would first need to ascertain what is really meant by such a question and the understanding of the writer as to the meaning of the word, and not make assumptions. Our answer, or the lack of it, would depend on the writer’s response.

We are happy to answer questions; indeed, we have about 800 Q&As listed on our websites which shows that we are not averse to or afraid of answering questions and we will continue to do our best in this area. However, we answer questions that we deem to be genuine and sincere. On the other hand, we might choose to refuse answering “a fool according to his folly.” If we were to answer at all in such a situation, this would be tantamount to “casting pearls before swine” (compare Matthew 7:6) which can be construed as giving things of value to those who will not understand or appreciate them and who do not really want them, but who are instead desirous of expressing their own opinion. There are times, however, when we can and will answer “a fool according to his folly” to ensure that he is not wise in his own eyes (compare Proverbs 26:5).

When questions are asked which are or appear to be genuine (giving, at first, the benefit of the doubt), we will do our best, time allowing, to answer these promptly. We might want to add, however, that in most cases, genuine questions which a writer may have could be easily answered by the writer himself by searching for the answers on our websites.

Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

Our newest booklet, “How to Keep the Sabbath,” has been mailed to our subscribers. Please contact us with your request if you would like a free copy.

“Why the Rise of Anti-Semitism?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

“Anti-Semitism is back,” especially in Europe. “Centuries-old stereotypes have reappeared” and Jews are blamed for issues and problems which have nothing to do with them. “The disease of anti-Semitism is being weaponized by nationalist governments and parties on both sides of the political spectrum.” This program mentions the UK and Hungary in particular and brings you appalling examples from Belgium and the Netherlands. It offers you three free booklets on the fate and future of the Jewish people and on the true Jesus Christ of your Bible, the founder of Christianity, who was a Jew.

“Wann, wie und was sollten wir hassen?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “When, how and what should we hate?”

“Geschliffene Edelsteine,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath in Germany by Jens Herrmann, is now posted. The title in English: “Polished Gems.”

“Stress At This Time,” the sermonette present last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted.

“When, How and About What Should We Be Angry?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Is there righteous anger which Christians should and must have? In this sermon, we will look at examples of righteous men who became angry, and they had godly reasons for that. We will see that even Christ became angry, and why this was the case.

The 2019 Church Conference will be conducted in Escondido, California. Arrival will be Wednesday, April 3, 2019, and departure is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

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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, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

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