How Much Fear and Worry Can We Endure?; Why Do Righteous People Suffer?
On June 1, 2019, Thilo Hanstein will present the sermonette, titled, “How Much Fear and Worry Can We Endure?” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Why Do Righteous People Suffer?”
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 Meaning of the Feast of Pentecost
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
We are preparing to keep God’s Feast of Pentecost which will occur in just over a week. What is its specific meaning? We know that it was the day when God’s Holy Spirit was first given to a multitude of people, thousands in fact, of those whom God was calling to be a part of the New Testament Church. In contrast to this, in the Old Testament congregation of Israel, only very few had God’s Spirit. So this is a very important day signifying the beginning of the New Testament Church. But is there more to it than that fact?
The word Pentecost comes from the Greek word pentekoste, meaning fiftieth, which basically means that fifty days were counted to know when it was to be observed. In the Old Testament, Pentecost is called the Feast of Weeks, again because seven weeks or Sabbaths were counted from the wave sheath offering which was brought on the Sunday, which fell during the Days of Unleavened Bread, and fifty days later, the festival of Pentecost was observed, again on a Sunday.
Leviticus 23:15-16 gives these instructions: “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.”
So that is how the date is determined from year to year, but the meaning of the day is alluded to in the next verse.
Leviticus 23:17 reads: “You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD.”
This theme of firstfruits is mentioned in Exodus 34:22: “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest….”
Also, in Numbers 28:26, firstfruits is again mentioned: “Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.”
But during the Days of Unleavened Bread, the sheaf was also called the firstfruits of your harvest (Leviticus 23:10). So, there are two times of the year where firstfruits are specifically mentioned. The first is at the beginning of the barley harvest during the Days of Unleavened Bread and the second is at the wheat harvest on the Feast of Weeks. (Exodus 34:22). Ruth 2:23 informs us that the wheat harvest follows the barley harvest.
However, to find out the meaning of firstfruits, we need to go to the New Testament.
In 1 Corinthians 15:20, we read: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” And in verse 23 of the same chapter, it says: “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
There are two passages that indicate that Christ was both our Passover and also that the wave sheath offering symbolized Him. The first is 1 Corinthians 5:7: “….For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” The second, which occurred on the first day of the week, on the day when the wave sheath was offered, is John 20:17: “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”’” So the wave sheath offering pictures Christ again as the firstfruits.
Who else is called firstfruits in the New Testament? James 1:18 tells us that “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” Therefore, firstfruits is a description of both Jesus Christ and the brethren, members of the Church of God.
Going back to Leviticus 23:17, we note that there were two loaves baked of fine flour and leavened. Obviously, anything offered to God was to be of fine quality, but why two loaves and why were they leavened?
When the Church began on the Day of Pentecost, Peter was speaking to the whole house of Israel exclusively. Acts 2:36 tells us: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” But God was soon to show that the Church was also to include Gentiles by having Cornelius and his relatives and close friends baptized. Acts 11:18 reports: “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’”.
The fact that the two loaves were waved before God as holy to Him (Leviticus 23:20) shows again that both Israelite and Gentile members of God’s Church were to be harvested as God’s firstfruits.
The bread used at the Passover was unleavened, picturing Christ being free of any sin. But as humans, we all sin and therefore are pictured as leavened. 1 John 1:8 shows us this. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
So, to answer the question asked previously, the meaning of the Feast of Pentecost or day of firstfruits is to show that the members of the Church of God are symbolized as firstfruits. We are to be called both from Israelites and Gentiles which is why there are two loaves. And because we are still human, we do commit sin at times, which is why the loaves at this time are leavened. This should give us great encouragement. When we sin, as we will from time to time, we can obtain forgiveness of our sins (1 John 1:9) and go on towards our perfection, so that finally, the leavened loaves will become unleavened
by Norbert Link
In this issue, we focus primarily on events pertaining to Europe, including the collapse of the Austrian government and the (temporary?) fall of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz due to a no-confidence vote and the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache because of the “Ibiza-gate scandal”; [please view our new StandingWatch program, What Does God Prophesy about Austria?]; the outcome of the European election which turned out to be less troublesome for the pro-European parties than originally feared; the uncertain situation in Great Britain due to Theresa May’s announced resignation and her controversial potential successor, Boris Johnson; and developments in Germany affecting negatively the German coalition government, as well as Germany’s growing anti-Semitism.
We also report on the collapse of coalition talks in Israel, necessitating new elections in September; Europe’s challenges from Russia, China and the USA; and the EU’s attempts to create a European “empire.” We conclude with the Pope’s stance on abortion, which is contradicted by highly problematic Jewish law; a new and extremely controversial law in Colorado; and serious current and anticipated earthquake activities in Peru and America’s West Coast.
This Week in the News
The Fall of Sebastian Kurz
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 27:
“Austrian lawmakers have voted for a motion of no confidence in the government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The vote was called by parties on the left, and supported by Kurz’s former far-right coalition partners…”
The Local wrote on May 27:
“[The no-confidence vote] comes in the wake of the so-called ‘Ibiza-gate’ scandal, which saw FPÖ leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resign from both posts after he was caught appearing to offer public contracts in return for campaign help from a fake Russian backer. That led to Kurz ending his coalition with the FPÖ and calling early elections for the autumn, but the opposition say the 32-year-old leader must also take responsibility for the scandal…”
The Guardian wrote on May 27:
“During a debate in which the delegates of the far-right Freedom party (FPÖ) resolutely refused to lend Sebastian Kurz the customary applause, rightwing populist politicians accused the centre-right chancellor of trying to use the so-called Ibiza scandal to consolidate his power at the top of government…
“Sunday evening’s European elections made it look as if the tremors of the Ibiza scandal had done less damage to Austria’s political landscape than many had expected. Kurz’s conservatives emerged as the strongest party on the night on 34.5% of the vote, up 7.5 percentage points on the previous elections. The FPÖ only took a minor hit, losing 2.2 percentage points to come third with 17.5%. Strache received enough preferential votes across the country that he could be headed to the European parliament if he were to accept the mandate…
“The no-confidence vote means that Kurz, 32, will go down in Austria’s history books not only as its youngest ever chancellor, but also it shortest-serving. Kurz spent 525 days in office after a resounding win in the 2017 national elections…”
The German tabloid Bild has been referring to the “Kurz-Sturz” (play on words, “Sturz” is German for fall or downfall).
Austria’s New Temporary Leader
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 28:
“Austria’s finance minister Hartwig Löger has been elevated to run government business after the toppling of Sebastian Kurz…
“Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Tuesday asked ministers except Kurz to stay in office a few days until a caretaker cabinet is chosen, pending Austria’s next parliamentary election, due in September… Kurz remains, however, leader of his conservative People’s Party (ÖVP)…”
Kurz’s Downfall Only Temporary?
The Washington Post wrote on May 27:
“Kurz was the first Austrian leader to be ousted via a no-confidence vote in the country’s postwar history. But the conservative’s exile from the nation’s most powerful office may be temporary; he already had announced elections slated for September, and polls show that his party holds a commanding lead. In European Parliamentary elections Sunday, his People’s party won a resounding victory, suggesting voters don’t hold him responsible for the controversy that befell the Freedom Party…
“Derided by critics as ‘Trump in a slim-fit suit,’ the young politician had won fans among many in the U.S. president’s orbit by reinvigorating his once-stodgy party and adopting many of the ideas, policies and slogans of the far-right. Kurz took a hard line on immigration, advocating tougher policies aimed at stopping the flow of asylum seekers into Europe. He also aggressively fought culture wars, pushing through a ban on Islamic headscarves in primary schools.
“But unlike the continent’s populist politicians, Kurz generally avoided inflammatory rhetoric and presented himself as a modern conservative who, while clearly to the right of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is still rooted in the European mainstream…
“Before the vote, Kurz had accused his critics of engaging in ‘a game of revenge,’ while noting in reference to the upcoming election that, ‘at the end of the day, the people will decide.’”
We might not have heard the last word yet about both Kurz and Strache.
Did Israel Leak the Strache Video?
Ynet wrote on May 27:
“According to a German Intelligence official, the Israeli Intelligence service Mossad was behind the leak of a damning video, which led to the resignation of Austria’s far right Freedom Party chief Heinz-Christian Strache…
“Rudolf Adam, former diplomat and dep. director of Germany’s secret service, published an article in the German monthly Cicero claiming: ‘Israel has an interest in promoting policies friendly to it and the growth of a radically right party poses a threat to European Jewish communities,’ he said. ‘It is unlikely that a European country is behind this campaign,’ Rudolf wrote. ‘American intelligence agencies are occupied with Korea, Iran and China. The policies of President Donald Trump actually, support the right-wing stance of the former Austrian vice chancellor. The Russians had a good relationship with Strache. Regarding China and the Arab states, they have no reason to get involved in Austrian politics.’
“After eliminating all other options, Rudolf concludes that only ‘one country has the manpower and technological capability to carry out such a campaign, as well as a clear motive — Israel. European Jewish communities fear the rise in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Israel has an interest in promoting friendly policies toward it and toward Jewish communities in Europe and if radical right-wing movements continue to grow, the EU policies may become more extreme and harmful to Jewish communities,’ Rudolf continued…
“In a press conference given upon his resignation, Strache said he fell victim to an illegal political assassination but conceded his conduct in the recorded meeting was stupid and wrong.”
The Guardian wrote on May 27:
“Who exactly organised the sting on the far-right remains the subject of fevered speculation in both Austria and Germany… [Former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian] Strache has called the video ‘a honey trap stage-managed by intelligence agencies’…”
If those suspicions should become proven to be accurate, this would cause a tremendous backlash of the Austrian people against Israel.
The EUObserver wrote on May 26:
“Mainstream parties suffered losses at the European election on Sunday (26 May), which saw a high turnout in most EU member states, ushering in massive wins for the Greens, but a lower than expected surge in right-wing populist parties.
“Estimated overall turnout in the EU-27 member states at 51 percent compared to 42.6 percent in 2014, ending a 40-year downward trend in Europe of attracting less and less voter interest. After a decade of crises with the EU at its core, whether the euro crisis, the migration crisis, or a rise of nationalism attacking a perceived Brussels elite, voters across EU countries went to the polls in numbers not seen since the European Parliament was first elected directly in 1979.
“… voters… created a new parliament that will be more fragmented, yet still with a mostly pro-EU majority…
“Centre-right parties in France and Spain lost heavily, and German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have lost some seats too, although with 29 MEPs (down from 34) they are likely to remain the biggest national party in the parliament…
“The Greens celebrated early with a massive result from Germany, where Die Gruene became the second-largest party with over 20 percent of the votes, pushing the Social Democrats, Merkel’s junior government coalition partners, into a humiliating third place. The Greens have also done well in France, Ireland, Belgium too, and are set to become the fourth-largest party in the parliament, positioning their expected 67 MEPs (up from 52) as possible kingmakers…
“In France, Macron’s En Marche came second with 22.4 percent of the votes to far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Rally with 23.6 percent…“… populists and nationalists had a strong showing in Britain, where Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party came in first place nationally, and could be one of the biggest parties in Brussels. In Italy, where far-right leader and interior minister Matteo Salvini has led a campaign against the ‘Brussels elite’, they failed to make a splash in the new parliament. Their overall number of right-wing, nationalist, anti-EU MEPs will surge to 108 from 78, with eurosceptic conservatives adding another 61 MEPs to the lot. Their increased number could make legislating more difficult in the parliament, but ultimately fall below some earlier predictions of dominating one-third of the EU parliament.”
The Huffington Post wrote on May 26:
“But there’s certainty on one front: Europe remains, for now, united.”
The Week wrote on May 27:
“… nationalist parties gained significant ground in the U.K., France, Italy, and Poland. Despite the victories of far-right movements like Britain’s Brexit Party and France’s National Rally party, the EU as a whole isn’t expected to undergo a major shift in power. Four pro-EU parties… together were projected to win 504 out of the available 751 seats, though no party took a majority…”
Europe’s Far Right Not a REAL Challenge to European Unification
Politico wrote on May 27:
“Turns out the bark of Europe’s far right is worse than its bite. Yes, illiberal parties did well in France and Italy, Poland, Hungary and beyond. But overall no better than expected, and in some cases worse so. Bottom line: The populists’ finish isn’t that much stronger than in 2014.
“That’s good news for Europe’s democratic parties and even better news for the European Union… In Germany and Austria, the far-right populists finished below their results in national elections in 2017, down by 1.8 and 3.3 percentage points respectively… The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party won only one seat in the European Parliament, compared to four last time out. In the Netherlands, far-right parties performed worse than many of their opponents feared. In Spain, the populist Vox party managed to win only about 6 percent of the vote. Estonia’s far-right EKRE party, which recently joined the country’s governing coalition, finished only third in Sunday’s European election.
“Though Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party did well in the U.K., capturing first place, it’s unlikely to play much of a role in the next Parliament without membership in one of the main alliances, which seems unlikely. Even in France and Italy, where the populists did best on the Continent, the results are below some expectations. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally recorded a strong 23.5 percent of the French vote, finishing first — but that is still slightly below the party’s 2014 result. Her rebranded party is on course to have two seats fewer in the European Parliament this time around.
“Salvini’s League party appears to have performed strongly in Italy, winning more than 33 percent of the vote. But his dreams of forming the biggest group in the European Parliament will remain just that… his group will have around 70 seats in the 751-member chamber…
“… there are big questions over just how cohesive the planned populist grouping will be. While the parties share a basic aversion to migration and an illiberal, anti-democratic ethos, they don’t have much else in common…”
The unification of Europe and the establishment of core Europe will not be stopped by anyone.
nbc news wrote on May 25:
“Boris Johnson is one of the most divisive political figures in the United Kingdom. He is also favorite among bookmakers and pollsters to become the next leader of the Conservative Party — and therefore the next prime minister — after Theresa May announced Friday that she would be stepping down June 7… Thirty two percent of people have a positive opinion about him, according to the pollster YouGov, the highest of any politician in the country. But far more, 46 percent, hold a negative view…
“Critics accuse Johnson of being an arch opportunist. In the past, he has argued for tax cuts and against rises in welfare spending, and in the House of Commons he has voted generally in favor of equal gay rights…
“However, there are still big questions about what his government would actually look like, including its relationship with the United States. In 2015, when President Donald Trump said parts of London had been ‘radicalized,’ American-born Johnson, who was the city’s mayor at the time, replied that the president’s ‘ill-informed comments are complete and utter nonsense.’ He added, ‘Crime has been falling steadily in both London and New York. And the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.’
“Fast forward to last year, and the two were exchanging pleasantries, with Johnson saying there were many reasons for ‘admiring Trump’ and the president declaring Johnson is ‘a friend of mine’ and backing him to be the next prime minister…
“In any potential matchup, Johnson is the members’ favorite ‘by huge margins’” according to a YouGov poll earlier this month. But whoever wins will inherit a Conservative Party in disarray…”
The Guardian wrote on May 26:
“Boris Johnson [has] been warned that Tory MPs would be prepared to bring down any prime minister backing a no-deal Brexit, triggering a general election, amid fears the leadership [hopeful] will veer to the right in response to a surge in support for Nigel Farage at the European election.
“Johnson and [Dominic] Raab, two of the leading candidates, both said they would take the UK out of the EU at the end of October with a deal or no deal, as they positioned themselves on the hard Brexit side of the contest. Raab even suggested he would be prepared to ignore the will of parliament in order to do so…”
Growing Political Turmoil in Germany
Bloomberg wrote on May 28:
“Angela Merkel has given up hope on her heir apparent and is hunkering down in office in the face of growing turmoil in Germany’s ruling party. Since taking over as leader of the Christian Democratic Union in December, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer slid in opinion polls, roiled the party with a failed effort to accelerate Merkel’s exit, and on Sunday oversaw the CDU’s worst ever result in a national election.
“All that has persuaded Merkel that Kramp-Karrenbauer may not be up to the job… As a result, the chancellor is more determined than ever to stay in power until her term ends in 2021… Merkel has resolved to spend no more political capital helping AKK… The chancellor is expecting to come under more pressure to step aside as AKK’s political problems mount… The direction of the party is completely open again… and what happens after 2021 is entirely uncertain…”
A powerful charismatic male leader is to arise in Germany soon… the only question is, how soon, and who will it be?
Jews in Danger in Germany?
The Algemeiner wrote on May 26:
“Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a defiant statement on Saturday after Germany’s top official on fighting antisemitism suggested that Jewish men should limit the wearing of kippot in public. ‘We will never submit, will never lower our gaze, and will never react to antisemitism with defeatism,’ Rivlin said.
“His statement came after the German government’s Commissioner on Antisemitism, Felix Klein, said on Saturday, ‘I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippa everywhere all the time in Germany.’…
“‘Responsibility for the welfare, the freedom, and the right to religious belief of every member of the German Jewish community is in the hands of the government of Germany and its law enforcement agencies,’ [Rivlin] said… ‘fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to antisemitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil.’”
The Local wrote on May 28:
“Following protest, the government has withdrew an earlier warning against wearing the traditional skullcap. In his latest statement… [Felix] Klein said: ‘I call on all citizens of Berlin and across Germany to wear the kippa next Saturday if there are new, intolerable attacks targeting Israel and Jews on the occasion of al-Quds day in Berlin.’ Al-Quds is an annual event against Israeli control of Jerusalem and will take place on Saturday.
“… Earlier Monday, German daily Bild published a cut-out-and-use kippa in a bid to fight rising anti-Semitism. Bild, Germany’s top-selling daily newspaper, called on readers to ‘stand in solidarity with (their) Jewish neighbours’ by making ‘their own kippa’, bearing the star of David, to ‘raise the flag against anti-Semitism’.
“Germany, like other Western countries, has watched with alarm as anti-Semitic and other racist hate speech and violence have increased in recent years while the political climate has coarsened and grown more polarized. Anti-Semitic crimes rose by 20 percent in Germany last year…”
CNN wrote on May 28:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said ‘there is work to be done’ in Germany to face up to the dark forces that are finding mainstream support there and in other parts of the world.”
None of these measures will prevent the ongoing rise of anti-Semitism throughout Europe. Please view our StandingWatch program, “Are Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism Connected?”
Israeli Coalition Talks Collapse—New Elections in September
JTA wrote on May 29:
“For the first time in its history, Israel will hold a second national election in one year, four months after the last election in April. The Israeli Knesset voted at midnight Thursday to dissolve itself, triggering elections on Sept. 17. The unprecedented vote happened after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to assemble a governing coalition by the end of the day Wednesday, his final deadline.
“Netanyahu was seen as the winner of the April 9 election because right-wing parties, which all supported Netanyahu for prime minister, garnered a majority in Knesset. But Netanyahu was unable to get those parties to join a governing coalition with one another.
“The sticking point was a draft law obligating haredi Orthodox men to participate in Israel’s mandatory military draft. Haredi Orthodox parties wanted to soften the text of the law. Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, insisted he would not join the government unless the law was passed in its current form. In the end, Liberman did not join the coalition, dooming Netanyahu’s efforts… ‘We are natural partners in a right-wing government; we won’t be partners in a government of Jewish [religious] law,’ [Liberman] added.”
EU Challenged by Russia, China and USA
CNBC wrote on May 22:
“There is at least one thing in common between the U.S. and Russia — their willingness to weaken the European Union, a high-ranking European official told CNBC… Jyrki Katainen, vice president of the European Commission [said] that the external challenges have never been so hard. ‘Countries like Russia, China but also the United States have challenged us harder than before,’ Katainen said in Brussels.
“‘We are (for the) first time in the history in a situation where the President of the United States and (the) President of Russia seem to share the same view on Europe: the weaker, the better, because they think that it’s better for their own country, which is obviously not right,’ Katainen, who is also the former prime minister of Finland said.”
The EU’s reaction to those perceived or real challenges is forthcoming. Note the next article.
The EU to Become an Empire
Breitbart wrote on May 22:
“Leader of the left-progressive group in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt has said that in order to compete with the rest of the world, the European Union must become an ‘empire.’… ‘The world is developing into one not of nation states, but of empires. China is an empire. India is an empire. The US is an empire. [He most certainly should have added Russia.] We need to create a European Union that is capable of defending our interests,’ Mr Verhofstadt stated… the former prime minister of Belgium compared a proposed United States of Europe to the United States of America…
“Other Eurocrats have also voiced support for a United States of Europe, including former president of the European Parliament and German socialist politician Martin Schulz who called for its formation by 2025…
“.. a number of prominent European politicians have voiced their support for other measures of greater centralisation of power and federalisation, including President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker who wants an EU army by 2025; the progressive President of France Emmanuel Macron who proposed full monetary union with a common EU budget, a finance ministry, and an EU public prosecutor to protect the Single Market from abuses; and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who urged the bloc to adopt a common migration policy.”
The Pope’s Stance on Abortion
The Daily Mail wrote on May 25:
“Pope Francis has compared abortion to ‘hiring a hitman’ during a Vatican-sponsored anti-abortion conference. Abortion can never be condoned, even when the fetus is gravely sick or malformed, Pope Francis said… He urged doctors and priests to support families to carry all pregnancies to term – even where death is the result.
“The Pope claimed his opposition to abortion was not for religious issues, but for human ones. He said: ‘Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem? ‘Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?’…
“He said often the ‘mere suspicion of disease can change the experience of pregnancy,’ and even risk ‘throwing women and couples’ into a ‘deep despair’. But ‘the evolution of every disease is always subjective and often not even doctors know how it will manifest itself in the individual’, according to the Pope.
“… Francis has spoken out strongly against abortion, although he has also expressed sympathy for women who have had them and made it easier for them to be forgiven… But in June 2018 the Pope likened abortion to Nazi eugenics – saying parents should accept the children God gives them.
“At a meeting of an Italian family association he told those gathered that as a child he was horrified to hear stories from his teacher about children ‘thrown from the mountain’ if they were born with malformations. ‘Today we do the same thing,’ he said. ‘Last century, the whole world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.’”
Jewish Law on Abortion in Conflict with the Bible
JTA wrote on March 22:
“Jewish law does not consider the fetus to be a being with a soul until it is born. It does not have personhood… The Talmud, in Yevamos 69b, cites the view of Rav Hisda that ‘until forty days from conception the fetus is merely water. It is not yet considered a living being.’
“If there is a threat to a woman’s life, the safety of the mother takes precedence over continuing the pregnancy at any stage… For example, in a case of maternal danger, we find in Sanhedrin 72b… that ‘a midwife may insert her hand into the womb and kill the fetus … [the reason is] for as long as the fetus has not emerged into the world, it is not a nefesh [a being with a soul]; one is therefore allowed to kill it and save the mother …’
“According to Mishna Oholos 7:3, ‘If a woman is having trouble giving birth, they cut up the child in her womb and bring it forth limb by limb, because her life comes before the life of [the child].’
“Jewish law prohibits killing in all cases — except if one person is trying to murder another. If an individual is trying to end someone’s life, killing that person is actually a requirement. How much more so, a fetus (not yet a full person) who threatens the mother’s life may be aborted.
“In his Mishneh Torah, Maimonides writes the following: ‘The sages ruled that when complications arise and a pregnant woman cannot give birth, it is permitted to abort the fetus in her womb, whether with a knife or drugs, for the fetus is considered a rodef [a murderer in pursuit] of its mother …’ In other words, when a fetus endangers the life of the mother, unless it is in the process of being born, abortion is a halachic requirement…
“Jewish law takes psychological and emotional distress into consideration… Waldenberg, considered to be one of the foremost modern scholars of Jewish law in medicine, writes that severe psychological distress is as much of a legitimate reason for an abortion as severe physical distress (Tzitz Eliezer 13:102; 14:101).”
These are absolutely horrible rules and regulations, which are in clear conflict to the biblical teaching. Please view our StandingWatch program, “When Does God Allow Abortions?”
Colorado Enacts Controversial Laws in Favor of LGBTQ Community
The Denver Channel reported on May 24:
“Gov. Jared Polis will sign two pieces of LGBTQ legislation into law on May 31: A bill banning conversion therapy for minors and another that will allow Coloradans to update the gender on their birth certificate without needing surgery or a court order.
“The conversion therapy bill, which outlaws counseling and therapy that tries to change the sexual orientation of a person under the age of 18, was passed after several prior attempts by Democrat legislators.
“The American Psychiatric Association and other psychology governing bodies have taken stances against conversion therapy. The APA on its website says conversion therapy poses ‘a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated’ and that it undermines a person’s self-esteem.
“The birth certificate bill, known as ‘Jude’s Law,’ was aimed at making it easier for transgender individuals to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender designation…”
The signs of the times which the Bible designates as perilous.
Powerful Earthquake Hits Peru
Newsmax wrote on May 26:
“A powerful magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck a remote part of the Amazon jungle in Peru early Sunday, collapsing buildings and knocking out power to some areas but causing only one reported death… Helping limit damage was the earthquake’s depth, at 70 miles below the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Earthquakes that are close to the surface generally cause more destruction…
“Earthquakes are frequent in Peru, which lies on the Pacific’s so-called Ring of Fire. On August 15, 2007, a similarly sized quake struck near Lima, killing more than 500 people.”
“Small Tremors along West Coast Could Lead to ‘Big One’”
Koin 6 News wrote on May 22:
“A small burst of tremors have been recorded along the West Coast in the last few weeks, causing scientists and geologists to pay close attention. Scott Burns, a professor of geology at Portland State University, tells KOIN 6 this event is ‘quite interesting.’ ‘This is what we call a slow slip type of movement,’ he said. ‘The Juan De Fuca Plate is moving underneath us and then all of the sudden, about every 14 months, it stops and it goes in a westerly direction. And as it does that, it creates a lot of tremors. So we are in this slow slip type of movement right now and that’s why we’re getting a lot of tremors up in Washington, Northern California and then some here in Oregon.’…
“Eventually, the Juan De Fuca Plate will continue going in an easterly direction and ‘keep building up the stress in the rocks.’ Burns and other scientists predict the ‘big one’ will likely occur during one of these slow slip events. Each slow slip event puts additional stress onto the ‘lock zone,’ eventually causing it to ‘break’ and create a 9.0 or larger magnitude earthquake. Burns said the ‘big one’ will shake for around four minutes and cause extensive damage. He cautioned that the slow slip events are a good reminder to be prepared and have a plan with family and an emergency kit at your home.”
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.
Can we be confident that we will make it into the Kingdom of God?
The answer is a resounding, emphatic and unequivocal “Yes!” We will show from the Bible that GOD is confident—convinced—that those whom He calls to eternal salvation in this day and age WILL succeed.
Paul expresses his and God’s thinking in this regard in Philippians 1:3-6, as follows:
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”
The Amplified Bible says: “… And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ… developing… and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”
God does WANT those whom He calls to salvation to be in His Kingdom—His Family. He is confident, convinced, sure that His disciples WILL “make it” into His Kingdom. When God calls us, He ENABLES us, and therefore KNOWS that we CAN finish our race successfully. Our ability, sufficiency, or qualification come from God. This does not mean, however, that we cannot lose out on salvation. The Bible contains many warnings against taking our calling lightly. It is our responsibility to accept God’s gifts and use them and let Him complete the good work in us.
We must have the same confidence, persuasion and conviction that we, who are called today, WILL make it into His Kingdom. At the same time, we must prove to God that we mean “business,” so that our confidence is established on evidence—fruits worthy of repentance and worthy of the gospel—not only on wishful, unjustified thinking and illusionary hope.
Christ is our elder brother. He is the firstborn among many brethren. When He was here on earth as a man, He lived a sinless life. This was a requirement and also a necessity for our salvation, because if He had committed only one sin, He would have been disqualified as our Savior.
Both the Father and Jesus Christ had the absolute conviction and complete confidence that Jesus would NOT sin. This does not negate the fact that Jesus, as a man, having become totally flesh as we are flesh and blood today (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3), COULD have sinned. He had to struggle against sin so that He remained sinless throughout His human life (compare Hebrews 5:6-9; 12:3-4).
We read throughout the Old Testament, long BEFORE Jesus became a man, that He, as the Messiah, would succeed in the flesh (Isaiah 52:13, so the Luther Bible and the Menge Bible; the Revised English Bible says: “My servant will achieve success…”) and that He would subsequently rule as a glorified God being—with the glorified saints—on and over this earth in the Kingdom of God (compare for instance Isaiah 2:1-4; Daniel 2:44; 7:9, 13-14, 27; Zechariah 14:3-5, 9).
That rule could only become possible if Jesus, as a man, would remain sinless. If He had sinned only once, He would not and could not rule, and neither could any of us. This means that God the Father had complete confidence in Christ that He would not sin. It also appears that God, who inspired the Old Testament prophecies, might have looked into the future beyond Christ’s First Coming, knowing that He would remain sinless, as otherwise, none of the Old Testament prophecies, predicting as a certainty His rule on earth as the Messiah, could come to pass.
Today, God the Father and Jesus Christ have the complete confidence in us that we will make it into the Kingdom, with Jesus Christ living His life in us (compare Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:9-10; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 3:17). Of course, God and we know that unlike Jesus Christ, we will not be able to live completely sinless lives, but when we sin and repent, confessing our sins to God, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
God knows that MOST of those whom He has foreknown, predestined, called, chosen and justified in this day and age WILL make it as glorified beings into His Kingdom. Romans 8:28-30 states:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
The German Luther Bible conveys the meaning in a clearer fashion, stating it this way: “…Moreover whom He has predestined, these He has also called; whom He has called, these He has also justified; and whom He has justified, these He has also glorified.”
The apostle Paul makes this statement in a way that we who have been foreknown and predestined to be called in this day and age are already glorified, but in reality, we are not yet glorified. However, it is a foregone conclusion in Paul’s mind that we WILL BECOME glorified in the Kingdom of God at the time of Christ’s Return.
The apostle John had the same conviction. He said in 1 John 3:2:
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Again, there was no doubt in John’s mind that we WILL BE like or, insofar as our outward appearance is concerned, equal or identical with Christ—that we will appear in His glorified likeness, bearing His glorified image (1 Corinthians 15:49; 2 Corinthians 3:18; compare again Romans 8:29), just as Christ is the glorified image and likeness of God the Father (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-3).
As Christ was, in that sense, equal with God before He became a man (Philippians 2:5-6), and as He obtained again that equality with God, when He was resurrected to an immortal God being, so will we.
But John goes on to say in 1 John 3:3: “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” He makes clear that we cannot (continue to) live in sin, but barring this, our glorification is guaranteed.
Paul and John are echoing what Jesus Christ Himself had said in John 17, when praying to the Father just prior to His arrest. He began by asking the Father to glorify Him with the glory, which He had with the Father before the world was (Verse 5). But then, He continues, in verses 22-24:
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one… Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
When Christ spoke these words, He had not yet received His glory from the Father—He was not yet glorified—and His disciples were not yet glorified either; they had not yet received the glory which the Father would give Christ. But these powerful words of Christ show His absolute conviction that His brethren would receive the glory which the Father would give Him.
The reason for such bold statements can be found in Romans 4:17, where we read:
“God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
The Amplified Bible says it in this way: “God… speaks of the non-existent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.”
God has promised us eternal life and the glorification as God beings in His Kingdom, and so He describes these future facts in a way as if they had already occurred. Again, this shows His unwavering faith in us and our future.
This is the kind of faith, which we can have too. We read in 1 John 5:14-15:
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
Again, we are praying to God that we will be qualified to enter His Kingdom. This is most certainly a prayer in accordance with His Will, as He wants us to be in His Kingdom. And so, when we ask Him this, we know that we have already received the petition that we asked of Him. Our confidence then is such that we know that we will be in God’s Kingdom.
Paul was confident that his crown was awaiting him and Christ would give it to him when He comes. He said in 2 Timothy 4:8:
“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.”
How could he be so sure? Here is why: He said in verses 6 and 7:
“… the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”
Peter had also no doubt about His future in God’s Kingdom. He would remember that Christ had told him that He would pray for him that his faith would not fail, asking him to strengthen the brethren after his conversion (Luke 22:32). And he would have also remembered Christ’s words to him and the other apostles telling them that they who had followed Him (that would exclude Judas Iscariot who did not really follow Him) would rule in the future over the tribes of Israel in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:28; compare also Luke 22:28-30). Again, there was no doubt in Christ’s mind that they would be rulers in God’s Kingdom. He stated this as a fact.
With the same persuasion with which Christ declared that His early apostles would be in God’s Kingdom, He declares today that you and I will be in it, as we are called today to salvation, as long as we do not decide to abandon our potential. But as long as we remain faithful (Revelation 17:14), we will be with Christ in God’s Kingdom and Family when Christ returns. God counts on it; and so must we.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (May 2019) has been posted and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, Elder Kalon Mitchell points to our need to sustain our Christian way of living along with points on just how we can do so.
“What Does God Prophesy about Austria?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
What is behind the collapse of the entire Austrian government, including Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache? Is their downfall only temporary? Who might be behind the secretly-taped and distributed video about Strache’s secret meeting, causing the so-called “Ibiza-gate” scandal? What does the Bible say about Austria’s future?
“Was prophezeit Gott über Österreich?” is the new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. This covers the same subject in German as described above.
“Warum leiden gerechte Menschen?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Why do Righteous People Suffer?”
“Walk in the Light,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Frank Bruno, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The world that we inhabit today seems to glorify darkness and celebrates things that are inherently evil as being attractive. This may be so in the carnal sense, and it is fleeting and will ultimately lead to spiritual death. As such, these choices cannot stand the light that is found only in Jesus Christ. It has been said that darkness cannot drive away darkness—only the light can do this and for those who have been called to follow and obey God, we can walk in the light of Jesus Christ. Together we will consider several scriptures that can help us to do just that–to honor, obey and glorify God, and walk in His light.
“The Times and the Seasons,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The warnings have been given! Yet, almost no one will be ready–will you? Are you among those very few who understand and believe what is revealed in the Bible?
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
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom