Update 883


Salt of the Earth; The Devil Is Loose

On July 6, 2019, we will present Brian Gale’s pre-recorded sermonette, titled, “Salt of the Earth,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “The Devil Is Loose.”

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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Destruction of the Earth

by Kalon Mitchell

The use of plastic, paper and other packaging material is at an all-time high; and by extension, so is the waste of these products. For many years, the United States and other countries shipped much of their “recycling’” to China. Since 2017, China has stopped taking most recyclables, causing back-ups of trash and an increasing cost to cities which have recyclable programs. Growing up in the 90’s, everything was about recycling, but now we are starting to see the side effects, as no one wants to deal with the massive amount of waste. Many news articles show the negative impact recycling has had on the earth.

This is only one small instance of what we as human beings are doing to this earth. One only has to do a little research on-line to see the massive impact we are having on the destruction of this earth. From wrong farming practices to deforestation, when one looks at all the bad things that are happening as a whole, it can be depressing and demoralizing.

We know from Scripture that the end times will be terrible and brutal. Things we are seeing today will continue to grow worse. There is no end in sight either. So many of today’s wrongs are based on greed and feeding into people’s desire to get “more”. Our new free booklet How Can We Know That Christ’s Return Is Near?” goes into great detail in looking at the signs of the times and helps to show how close Christ’s return is, when considering the things that are happening in the world. The wholesale destruction of the earth is but one facet.

God created earth and gave instruction to Adam and Eve to care for and to protect the earth. God is not pleased with the practices that we now see in effect.  Revelation 11:18 states: “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

We look forward to the coming Kingdom of God, when these practices will be changed; when people will learn from God how to properly take care of the earth; and when God will help to make massive changes for our planet. How excited does the plan of God make us? When we see the tremendous amount of things going wrong, does this cause us depression and fear? Or does it cause us to draw closer to God (James 4:8; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 29:13-14; Isaiah 55:6-7)? We should belong to those in the latter category, looking for and hastening the day of Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:11-13).

This world has nothing of real value to offer to us. We must come to the point where we see the issues and the errors of this life and really work for and pray for Christ’s return. When we observe the shambles of this world, compared with what God is saying will happen once the Kingdom of God is set up, it should cause us to really dig into what matters most. Christ’s admonition in Matthew 6:33 to “seek first the Kingdom of God” and what that means should be foremost in our lives. This life will attempt to distract us and sidetrack our efforts. But if we are awake and aware of what is happening around us, we will understand that our efforts in doing what is right and needed are not in vain, and that this is exactly what God wants and expects of us.

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by Norbert Link

We begin with an article about America’s patriotism and continue with alarming developments pertaining to Iran and the real possibility of a military confrontation between Iran and Israel and perhaps even the USA, while the relationship between the USA and the EU over Iran and other problems is becoming more and more unfriendly. Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Why Christ’s Return IS NEAR indeed!”

We report on new developments regarding the prophesied Third Temple; an unprecedented meeting in North Korea between President Trump and Kim Jong Un; talks between President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping regarding their trade war; continuing problems pertaining to the American-European trade war; the rather pitiful attempts by world leaders to appease Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman; and the different positions of the USA and the rest of the world pertaining to climate change.

We speak on Europe’s historic economic deals with South American countries and with Vietnam; the fiasco surrounding Europe’s appointments of its new EU leaders; and we run excerpts from an interesting article on Boris Johnson who is expected to be Britain’s next Prime Minister. We also address Germany’s growing far-right terror.

We conclude with a deeply distressing development involving Italy’s far-right government and its shameful and appalling arrest of the German captain of a Dutch migrant rescue ship. This incident could turn out to be of great political consequences and the ongoing rejection of Italy’s current leadership by many European countries, including Germany and France, as well as the German Protestant Church and the Vatican.

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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Has America Lost Its Patriotism?

The New York Post wrote on July 3:

“American patriotism has just reached a record low

“America is a radical idea that had never come close to being implemented before — a broad-based democracy with government engineered for the purpose of zealously protecting our natural, or God-given, rights… As late as 1870, only 40% of the men in Britain were entitled to vote. Voting in America was not universal until women got the vote in 1920, but the US was miles ahead of everybody else in allowing its people to be heard.

“Even more important, the US was and is miles ahead when it comes to allowing its people to speak. In Britain, people can and do get thrown in jail for things they’ve said on Twitter… A 2014 headline in The Guardian reads, ‘Is it right to jail someone for being offensive on Facebook or Twitter?’ No, it isn’t right. It is in fact quite wrong, and in America it is unthinkable because we have the world’s strongest protections for speech.

“The First Amendment, like everything else about America, has not always worked perfectly (Woodrow Wilson threw Eugene V. Debs in jail under the Sedition Act for opposing World War I) but is a great and noble ideal

“A Gallup survey notes that 150 million people, or one out of 25 adults on the planet, would move to the US if they could. That’s more than the next four countries combined. ‘America remains unusually attractive to people from all over the world — in a way to which no other country compares,’ Gallup reported.

“Everybody knows America is number one, which is why, even among the hating class of Americans, no one ever leaves… On July 4, 1776, we began setting up the greatest opportunity for human flourishing the world has ever known…”

And still, American patriotism, which is the love for our country, is at an all-time low. The Bible has prophesied this. It says that because of our many sins, God will “break the pride of [our] power” (Leviticus 26:19).

Iran Breaches Deal with Europe and other Powers

The Associated Press wrote on July 1:

“Iran announced on Monday it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted under its 2015 deal with major powers, its first major step in violation of the deal since the United States pulled out of it more than a year ago.

“The step could have far-reaching consequences for diplomacy at a time when European countries are trying to pull the United States and Iran back from the brink of war, less than two weeks after Washington aborted air strikes at the last minute.

“The Europeans… had pleaded with Iran to keep within its parameters… The move is a test of European diplomacy after French, British and German officials had promised a strong diplomatic response if Iran fundamentally breached the deal.

“Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said Britain was urgently considering its next moves along with its partners, and urged Iran to ‘reverse this step.’ Her foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said he was ‘deeply worried’ by Iran’s announcement…

“Iran announced in May that it would speed up production of enriched uranium in response to the Trump administration sharply tightening sanctions against it that month… In the two months since the U.S. sanctions were tightened, the confrontation has taken on a military dimension, with Washington blaming Tehran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region, and Iran shooting down a U.S. drone. Trump ordered air strikes in retaliation, only to call them off minutes before impact.

“The nuclear deal imposes limits both on how much enriched uranium Iran can hold and on how pure its stocks can be, a pair of related thresholds intended to keep Tehran from amassing enough material, in a sufficiently refined state, to make a nuclear bomb.

“… Iran’s next move would be to enrich uranium slightly beyond the 3.67% maximum purity allowed under the deal, a threshold Tehran has previously said it would cross on July 7. That could be seen as a bigger breach than Monday’s announcement that it holds too much material at a permissible purity…

“Israel, which considers the Iranian nuclear program an existential threat, has backed Trump’s hard line, as have U.S. allies among the rich Arab states of the Gulf, which consider Iran a foe and benefit from having its oil kept off markets…”

It has been speculated, for instance by The Week, dated July 1, that because of Iran’s breach, Europe will impose sanctions on Iran. However, while European leaders expressed their “extreme concern,” they have already rejected the possibility of inflicting sanctions.

Will Israel Strike Iran?

Express wrote on July 1:

The USA has raised alarm over concerns that Israel could soon drag the country into a war with Iran, after the Islamic Republic breached the limit on its uranium stockpiles… The breach comes less than a day after senior US allies of the White House had warned that Israel would strike Tehran as soon as the uranium limit was breached

“Republican Senator, and key Trump ally, Lindsey Graham told CBS: ‘The most likely war would be between Israel and Iran if the Iranians started to reprocess and enrich beginning July the 7th in a manner that would accelerate their path to a bomb. He urged President Trump to prepare to send the ‘strongest signal possible’ to Iran once the government in Tehran fulfills its threat to breach the limits on uranium supply…

“The Republican claimed the recent moves by Tehran will place Iran on a ‘pathway’ to a nuclear bomb — something that could pose a national security threat to both the US and Israel. He warned that a full-blown war could break out between Israel and Iran if Tehran restarted its nuclear program.”

Iran has stated that Israel would be destroyed “in half an hour” if the USA were to attack Iran. By implication, the same threat would exist if Israel were to strike Iran. Even though this threat could be considered as hyperbole, the Bible says that Israel will receive a wound or a military defeat in the very near future. It will then try unsuccessfully to obtain help from Germany.

US Will Sanction Every Country Importing Iranian Oil

Reuters and the Algemeiner wrote on June 28:

“The United States will sanction any country that imports Iranian oil and there are no exemptions in place, the US special envoy for Iran said on Friday… Tehran has been selling increased volumes of petrochemical products at below market rates in countries including Brazil, China and India since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports in November…”

The Washington Post wrote on June 28:

“The U.S. special representative for Iran said Friday that European companies have a choice: Do business with the United States or do business with Iran, as Europe announced that a new system to allow trade with Tehran was in place…

“Meeting Friday with Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Trump urged the German leader to join the United States in keeping up ‘maximum’ pressure on Iran, the White House said. But Europe is doubling down on the nuclear deal. Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden released a statement Friday stressing the importance of preserving the pact, describing it as a ‘major contribution to stability in the region.’”

The Iran debacle will further alienate the EU and the USA.

No Congressional Approval Needed for War with Iran

The Huffington Post wrote on June 28:

“The Senate failed to pass an amendment Friday that would have forced President Donald Trump to seek congressional approval before going to war with Iran, leaving in place broad powers for the president to launch military action

“It’s unlikely that the amendment would have neutralized Trump’s ability to strike Iran. The president, for instance, could have declared a national emergency in order to justify military action, or he might have refused to sign the defense authorization bill.”

This was clear from the outset. Trump can launch military strikes, and no one can stop him.

How Iran Could Retaliate

National Interest wrote on June 29:

“Iran cannot use sanctions to punish America, but it can inflict economic pain by threatening the valuable shipping lanes running from Persian Gulf ports, through the straits of Hormuz, and into the Gulf of Oman…

“The north-eastern half of the Gulf coast is Iranian territory, meaning Iranian units can stage fast boats and long-range missile batteries for attacks at any point along that roughly 1,000-mile coastline…

“Iran couldn’t ‘win’ a war versus the United States… but it could cause losses in amounting to tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in disrupted trade, and a terrible toll in human lives, not just drones and damaged tanker hulls…

“The Pentagon certainly has no appetite for an invasion and occupation of Iran, which has twice the population of Iraq. A prolonged air war—the more likely outcome—could kill thousands, and deplete stocks of expensive standoff-range missiles, without necessarily succeeding at destroying Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile technologies in their hardened underground shelters.

“Meanwhile, Iran would retaliate with asymmetric warfare across the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and potentially beyond. Nor could the United States necessarily control the duration of the war…”

A Biblical Book of Trump?

JTA wrote on June 27:

“It isn’t news that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are big fans of President Donald Trump. The Republican mega-donors gave millions to Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. But Miriam Adelson took it one step further on Thursday. The Israeli-American physician compared the president to biblical prophets in an article in which she asked why he has not enjoyed higher support among American Jews. ‘That this has not been the case… is an oddity that will long be pondered by historians,’ Adelson wrote in an article for Israel Hayom, of which she is the publisher.

“‘Scholars of the Bible will no doubt note the heroes, sages, and prophets of antiquity who were similarly spurned by the very people they came to raise up.’ She went on to say she wished there would be a biblical book named after Trump in the future. ‘Would it be too much to pray for a day when the Bible gets a “Book of Trump,” much like it has a “Book of Esther” celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from ancient Persia?’ Adelson asked. Last year, Trump honored the Israeli-born Adelson with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, noting her career in medicine and philanthropy.”

It is very possible that Trump might play a further role in assisting with the building of the prophesied third Temple in Jerusalem.

Towards the Third Temple

Breaking Israel News ran the following headline on July 1:

“Trump’s Israel Ambassador Sledgehammers his Way to the Third Temple.”

The article continued:

“President Donald Trump’s Israel envoy including Ambassador David Friedman and Middle East Advisor Jason Greenblatt hammered through the final wall to reconnect a 2,000-year-old road that Ancient Jews used to bring sacrifices up to the Second Temple to sounds of the shofar in the background.

“The City of David discovered the ‘Pilgrim’s Road’ which was used by Israelites during the Second Temple period (516 BCE-70 CE) to bring sacrifices from the Valley of Siloam up to the Temple Mount, the site of the Second Temple and the Third Temple (which has not yet been built)…

“‘In the past six years, we’ve been working on excavating intensively,’ says Archaeologist Dr. Joe Uziel.  ‘The Pilgrim Street which led from the Siloam Pool up to the Temple Mount, about 600 (656 yards) meters long, 8 meters (8.7 yards) wide would have housed the thousands of pilgrims which arrived in Jerusalem from surrounding areas in order to take part in the ceremonies on the Temple’ Uziel added.”

The Jordan Times added on July 1:

“Jordan on Sunday condemned Israel’s opening of the so-called ‘pilgrim’s road’ tunnel, dug from beneath the village of Silwan to reach Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, warning against such irresponsible acts and violations that increase tensions.”

Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Why Christ’s Return IS NEAR indeed!”

Trump and Kim Jong Un Together Again

 nbc News reported on June 30:

Taking an unprecedented step onto North Korean soil, President Donald Trump announced Sunday that Washington and Pyongyang will relaunch stalled nuclear talks… Side-by-side with Kim in the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to cross the 1953 armistice line separating North and South Korea, then joined Kim for a roughly 50-minute meeting. ‘Stepping across that line was a great honor,’ Trump said, later adding that it was ‘something incredible.’… He even invited Kim, who rarely leaves the country, to visit him at the White House…”

Deutsche Welle added on June 30:

“Experts have warned that North Korea may never agree to fully give up its nuclear ambitions, which they say Pyongyang views as vital for regime survival.”

So far, previous meetings between Trump and Kim Jong Un have been pretty unsuccessful.

The Huffington Post added on June 30:

Pope Francis on Sunday praised President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un… for taking the step to meet. The Catholic leader said he hoped the ‘significant gesture’ would be a stepping stone to the resolution of conflicts in the Korean peninsula and worldwide

“‘I salute the protagonists, with a prayer that such a significant gesture will be a further step on the road to peace, not only on that peninsula, but for the good of the entire world,’ Francis continued…”

There will be no lasting peace on this earth until Jesus Christ returns.

Donald Trump Tries to Appease Putin

The Huffington Post wrote on June 28:

“The G-20 summit marked Trump’s first formal meeting with Putin since last July’s controversial Helsinki meeting, and his first since special counsel Robert Mueller finished his report concluding that Russia had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“Asked whether he would discuss the interference problem with Putin, Trump smirked and wagged his finger at the Russian president, saying, ‘Don’t meddle in the election.’ Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both laughed.”

However, it’s not funny, but very sad. Trump’s attempts to appease Putin won’t work. Putin’s Russia will never be a true friend of Trump or the USA. On the other hand, no war is prophesied between Russia and the USA before Christ’s return, but there WILL BE a nuclear war between Russia and other Far Eastern nations and Europe.

Europeans Surrender to Russia

The EUobserver wrote on June 27:

“Earlier this month, Russian air forces targeted hospitals in Syria, EU institutions presented evidence that Russian actors spread divisive material ahead of the European elections in May, and Dutch prosecutors indicted three Russians and one Ukrainian for complicity in murdering 298 people by downing flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.

“Despite all this, European governments have handed the Council of Europe (CoE) to Russia this week… For Russia, the council’s surrender… is a huge foreign policy success. For the council, it is a disaster…”

Only in the future will Europe realize what Russia and other Far Eastern countries are really up to, and then Europe, being frightened by rumors of war preparation, will respond with great anger and launch a military attack, setting in motion a full-fledged nuclear war, which Europe will lose.

Cozying up to Saudi Arabia

The Associated Press wrote on June 29:

For many he’s an international pariah, but you wouldn’t know it by the lavish reception Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has received at the G-20 summit this week. He beamed as he stood front and center, sandwiched between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for a group photo. He exchanged an impish grin as he sat down next to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He posed with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a group of flag-waving kids ahead of an earlier signing ceremony for $8 billion in deals.

“Even as rebukes pile up elsewhere — a U.N. expert has called for an investigation of his alleged role in the killing of a prominent journalist, and a growing number of Americans are questioning their nation’s support for his kingdom and its role in the war in Yemen — some leaders in Osaka have gone out of their way to make sure the prince feels comfortable…

“Trump, who has long been loath to scold authoritarian leaders for human rights abuses, seemed to go out of his way at times to shepherd Prince Mohammed, at one point patting him on the back as they walked together. As the two sat down over breakfast Saturday, Trump praised his ‘friend’ for taking steps to open up the kingdom and extend freedoms to Saudi women.

“Trump initially ignored reporters’ questions about the prince’s alleged role in Khashoggi’s death, but when pressed later at a news conference he called the killing ‘horrible’ while claiming that ‘nobody so far has pointed directly a finger at the future king of Saudi Arabia.’… Following a monthslong inquiry, Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, recently said she’d concluded that Khashoggi was a victim of a ‘deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible.’”

The Guardian wrote on June 29:

Theresa May has raised concerns about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the humanitarian cost of the conflict in Yemen during a face-to-face meeting with the Saudi crown prince at the G20 summit in Osaka… May’s demeanour as she met the crown prince did not appear as frosty as it did when she met Vladimir Putin on Friday…”

America vs. Rest of the World re “Climate Change”

The Times wrote on June 29:

“Theresa May has clashed with Donald Trump as she demanded world leaders take tougher action to combat climate change. The US president snubbed May’s attempt to get world leaders to ‘raise their ambition’ on climate change and refused to reverse his position on the landmark 2016 Paris agreement.

“America was the only country not to recommit to the Paris accord at the G20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka, despite May pushing for the ‘strongest wording we can deliver’…”

France 24 added on June 29:

“After copious disputes, the Group of 20 major economies Saturday agreed to disagree on climate change, with the USA dissenting from a commitment to carry out the 2015 Paris climate change agreement… the grouping said ‘signatories to the Paris Agreement reaffirmed their commitment to its full implementation in fighting climate change, referring to the 19 members except the US…”

Trump, Xi Revive Trade Talks at G-20 Summit

The Week wrote on June 29:

“President Trump on Saturday said that trade negotiations with China are ‘back on track’ after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for 80 minutes in Osaka, Japan, during the G-20 summit. Trump agreed [to] delay new tariffs on Chinese goods and to scale back restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei, allowing U.S. firms to sell high-tech equipment to the company. In exchange, Trump said Beijing has agreed to buy large amounts of U.S. farm products.

“As for Huawei, Trump said his administration would hold meetings to discuss the company, which is on the so-called entity list meaning that U.S. companies cannot provide it with U.S.-origin technology without government approval. But Trump said his discussions with Xi revolved around equipment that doesn’t involve ‘a great national-emergency problem.’”

Al Jazeera News wrote on June 29:

“… there was no agreement [between the USA and china] to comprehensively roll back the punitive tariffs that the two sides have imposed on one another’s goods…”

Ongoing Trade War between USA and EU

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 2:

“Just days after reaching a truce over trade with China, the US government on Monday increased pressure on Europe in a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies. The United States could hit European Union products with $4 billion (€3.5 billion) in tariffs according to a statement on Monday… The commodities affected includes sausages, hams, pasta, olives and many European cheeses…

“The proposal would be a retaliatory measure due to a dispute with the EU over ‘subsidies on large civil aircraft,’ the press release confirmed. The US and the EU have been embroiled in tit-for-tat threats regarding tariffs on planes, tractors and food for well over a decade, but this has ramped up significantly under the nationalistic Trump administration.”

EU and South American Countries Agree on Historical Free Trade Treaty

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 28:

“The European Union and the Mercosur bloc of four South American countries — Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay — have agreed to draft wording for a free-trade deal after almost 20 years of talks, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday. He said the historic deal was ‘sending a strong signal,’ calling it the ‘largest trade agreement the EU has ever concluded.’…

“Talks intensified after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States on a protectionist platform. That forced the EU halt talks with the US and look elsewhere to shore up trade partnerships. The EU has recently signed trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, and Japan. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted on the historic nature of the agreement from the G20 summit in Japan, writing, ‘This will be one of the most important trade agreements of all time and will bring enormous benefits to our economy.’…

“The treaty must now be approved by the European Parliament and individual member states. That could prove contentious. Some countries, such as France, fear a flood of South American beef on European markets. Environmental groups, who now hold greater sway in the new European Parliament also fear the deal could fuel further deforestation in South America.”

Europe is becoming more and more an extremely influential economic powerhouse, while the USA is left increasingly in the cold.

EU and Vietnam Agree on Trade Deal

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 30:

“The European Union has signed a landmark free trade deal with Vietnam… paving the way for tariff reductions on 99% of goods… The EU has described the free trade deal as ‘the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country.’…

“The agreement still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament. Some EU… lawmakers oppose such deals with Vietnam because of the country’s poor human rights record (including the incarceration of political prisoners who posted ‘anti-governmental’ criticism on Facebook).

“Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia… The EU is Vietnam’s second-largest export market after the United States…”

When the issue is economic advantage, everything else is being put on the back burner.

Meet Boris Johnson–the Next British Prime Minister?

The Editorial Board of the New York Times wrote on June 29:

“The bombastic and narcissistic former mayor of London and foreign secretary is the favorite to become the next prime minister. Brexit, here we come.

“The front-runner to become Britain’s next prime minister is a portly white man with unkempt blond hair, an adoring base of supporters, disdain for Europe, a dodgy private life and a loose relationship with truth and principle. There are also differences between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, but the similarities have been much noted in some European circles, with no small misgivings

“Like Mr. Trump with his tweets and rants, Mr. Johnson delights his followers with outrageous statements that they take as straight talk…

“It strains credulity that the European Union would reopen the agreement or that any wholly new set of terms for leaving the union would pass Parliament — or that the E.U. would show any sympathy and patience for Mr. Johnson, whom the French newspaper Le Monde called a ‘small-scale Trump.’…”

Newsmax added on June 30 that Boris Johnson stressed his readiness to quit the EU without a deal by October 31.

MEPs Shock EU Parliament

Express wrote on July 2:

“Brexit Party MEPs shocked the opening session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg by turning their backs on the EU anthem. The MEPs from Nigel Farage’s party kicked off their time at the European Parliament in dramatic fashion. The 29 Brexiteer MEPs carried out the orchestrated move as soon as the Ode to Joy began to play…

“Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden defended the Brexit Party stunt… ‘For years the European Union has said that it doesn’t have the ambition to be a state… It is States that have an anthem. I’m sorry but I don’t recognise a state called Europe, I want to see a Europe of independent nation states.’…

“Speaking in Strasbourg, leader Nigel Farage promised a ‘turquoise takeover’ if Brexit is not delivered… ‘We are here to be defiant. We shouldn’t be here at all. We are hoping we are only going to be here until October 31… At the moment, we are cheerful because we won the election. We are the biggest party in the whole of Europe – how about that?’”

Europe’s New Parliament President

The Local wrote on July 3:

“Newly-elected European Parliament President David Sassoli is a former television journalist who turned to politics ten years ago as a centre-left MEP. Parliament on Wednesday chose the 63-year-old social democrat to succeed another Italian, Antonio Tajani, an ally of Silvio Berlusconi from the right-wing EPP group.

“His election means Italy keeps one of its three key European jobs, following the departure of European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The sober intellectual will not be an ally of the populist coalition currently ruling in Rome.

Ursula von der Leyen to Replace Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President?

The Guardian wrote on July 3:

“Ursula von der Leyen, the nominee to lead the European commission, [received] a mixed reaction to her historic appointment [Her actual final parliamentary confirmation is supposed to take place on July 16, but it is not guaranteed at all.]

Germany’s defence minister was a surprise choice to lead the commission, as EU leaders struggled to reach a compromise during three days of summit talks dedicated to finding people to lead the EU’s most important institutions.

“Von der Leyen needs to win support from a majority of members of the European parliament in order to take over the reins from Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November… [She] would be the first woman to lead the EU executive in its 62-year history… her appointment has been heavily criticised by Socialist and Green MEPs.

“Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács… also boasted of the defeat of Manfred Weber, the centre-right candidate to become European commission president, who was the first choice of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

“Socialist MEPs meeting in Strasbourg on Tuesday reacted with fury when reports emerged of the Von der Leyen compromise… In 2018, the German Bundestag launched an investigation into suspected nepotism and errors by Von der Leyen in the awarding of contracts. The minister admitted last year her department had made mistakes in allocating contracts worth millions of euros to external consultants… Von der Leyen has generated negative reviews from army chiefs.

“Her appointment was part of a package that included proposing Christine Lagarde for the European Central Bank. The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, will take over from Donald Tusk as president of the European council. The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, will be the EU’s foreign policy chief, the third person to hold the role.

“The Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout tweeted that the ‘very disappointing deal’ was old Europe at its worst. ‘A backdoor deal with candidates emerging to please the national leaders from Germany, France and Spain. This is not the change that was promised to European voters,’ he said.”

Deutsche Welle added on July 3:

“Von der Leyen’s nomination to lead the EU’s executive body has been widely criticized in her home country. Leading [German] lawmakers [across Germany’s political spectrum] have called it a ‘farce’ and a ‘victory for backroom politics.’…

“Von der Leyen’s candidacy was endorsed by all EU leaders apart from German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a European Council vote on Tuesday. Merkel abstained because her domestic coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), refused to give their approval.”

If the socialists, the liberals and the Greens were to vote against von der Leyen, then she won’t be confirmed. In that case, another “compromise” candidate would have to be nominated and, according to Bild Online, the “chaos would be complete.” Former European President Martin Schulz gave an exclusive interview to Bild, explaining why Europe’s democracy is “damaged.”

Germany’s New Far-Right Terror

Der Spiegel wrote on June 27:

“The recent politically motivated assassination of a prominent local leader in Germany has raised concern about the growing threat of far-right extremism in the country… What has been described in recent years as increasing disinhibition and brutalization has reached a new level… In fact, it has long been apparent that far-right violence is escalating…  Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, is dealing with its own string of right-wing extremist incidents…”

The Guardian wrote on June 28:

“A group of German rightwing extremists compiled a ‘death list’ of leftwing and pro-refugee targets by accessing police records, then stockpiled weapons and ordered body bags and quicklime to kill and dispose of their victims…

“The 30-odd members of the group reportedly had close links to the police and military, and at least one member was still employed in the special commando unit of the state office of criminal investigations…”

The fact that German public officials are sympathizers of or even collaborators with extreme right-wing groups is indeed very disconcerting, and begs the question as to whether we are going to see a repeat of what happened before and when Hitler came to power.

Italy Arrests German Captain

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 29:

Italian police have arrested the German captain [Carola Rackete] of a migrant rescue ship after she docked at the port of Lampedusa [with 40 migrants remaining on board]… Sea-Watch 3 entered the Italian port of Lampedusa without authorization early Saturday following a two-week standoff between the charity ship’s captain and Italian authorities…

“Italy had refused the German rescue ship port entry since it picked up 53 migrants who were floating on an inflatable raft off the Libyan coast on June 12. After waiting at sea for an invitation from Italy or an EU state to accept the ship, Rackete decided to head to Lampedusa, where she was blocked by Italian government vessels…

Rackete’s arrest comes after… Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal had agreed to host the estimated 40 African migrants remaining on the ship….”

AFP added on June 29:

“While five European countries on Friday agreed to take in the migrants, permission for the Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3 to enter port and disembark the migrants did not come. Sources at the interior ministry, headed by Italy’s far-right Matteo Salvini, said he was waiting for precise guarantees on ‘numbers, timelines and means’ of the migrant redistribution before allowing them off…

“‘I have decided to enter the harbour, which is free at night, on my own,’ [Rackete] added… ‘It’s been almost 60h since we declared a state of emergency. No one listened. No one took responsibility. Once more it’s up to us… the charity said on Twitter… the Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3 has been stuck in the Mediterranean, during a heatwave, since rescuing… migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on June 12… On Wednesday, after over two weeks at sea, and as tempers on the small boat frayed, Rackete decided she had no choice but to enter Italian waters illegally to bring the remaining migrants to safety.”

This entire tragic affair reminds us of events prior to World War II, when countries refused to allow a ship entering their harbor transporting Jews who were fleeing from Nazi-Germany. That refusal was shameful then, and today’s repetition of these events is shameful now. Even though some European countries finally declared that they would permit the migrants to enter their country, the objectionable conduct of the far right “Catholic” Italian government continues.

Italy’s Far-Right Government under Attack

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 30:

“German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented on the incident, saying that rescuing must not be ‘criminalized.’ ‘It a humanitarian duty to save lives,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘It is on the Italian judiciary to swiftly clarify the accusations.’ [He also wrote: ‘Sea rescues must not be outlawed’].”

The Local added on June 30:

“[Maas’] position was echoed by Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn, while French Foreign Minister Christophe Castaner said that Italy’s decision to close its ports to those rescued at sea ran counter to maritime law.

“… Salvini, who heads the far-right League party, welcomed Rackete’s arrest. ‘Mission accomplished,’ he tweeted. ‘Law-breaking captain arrested. Pirate ship seized, maximum fine for foreign NGO,’ said Salvini, whose hardline immigration stance has boosted his popularity…”

The Associated Press wrote on June 30:

“[German] Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticized Italy over the arrest of German sea-watch captain Carola Rackete. In the summer interview of ZDF he questioned the actions of the government in Rome against the sea rescue. …

“‘It could be that there is Italian legislation, when a ship may call at a port, Steinmeier said… ‘Only: Italy is not just any state. Italy is in the middle of the European Union, is the founding state of the European Union. And that’s why we can expect a country like Italy to handle such a case differently.’ …

“From Germany, the captain reached a wave of solidarity. The TV presenters Jan Böhmermann and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf called for donations for the maritime rescue service. That worked: By Sunday afternoon, more than half a million euros already came together. ‘With the events of recent days, this inhumane, cold-blooded and unscrupulous policy has reached a new low,’ said Böhmermann…

“On Sunday, even Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser spoke up. ‘People who save lives should not be arrested. People who kill and sow and promote hatred and suffering should,’ he tweeted…

“According to Vatican News, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin also said that human lives must be saved in any case and in whatever way. This must be ‘the pole star that guides us, everything else is secondary’…

“The Council President of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, called Rackete’s arrest ‘a shame for Europe’. ‘A young woman is arrested in a European country because she has saved human lives and wants to bring the rescued people safely ashore,’ said the regional bishop. This makes him sad and angry.”

The positions of the Vatican and the Evangelical Church are biblical and absolutely correct. Some few politicians in Germany don’t agree, including representatives from the “liberal” FDP and—not surprisingly—from the “far-right” AfD, stating that Rackete’s arrest was “justified” and that she was a “common left-wing criminal.”

 Italy’s far-right Matteo Salvini responded to the many international concerns regarding his actions that he does not care about those, and that Germany, for instance, should mind its own business.

Deutsche Welle reported on July 2:

“Italian judge Alessandra Vella on Tuesday ruled that Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete had not acted against the law when she refused to comply with a ban on entering Italy’s territorial waters… the judge [said] Rackete was ‘doing her duty saving human lives.’…”

While Germany and other countries reacted with relief, the Italian government and especially far-right (some say “extreme”) Interior Minister Matteo Salvini responded that he was “appalled” and that the court order was a travesty of justice, damaging Italy,  and that the “Italian justice system” will have to be changed.

It can be expected that sooner or later, Germany, France and other European countries will clash with the dangerous direction of Italy’s government and Italy’s terrible economic conditions, especially now that Europe’s new European Parliament President David Sassoli, an Italian social democrat, is not a supporter of the current Italian government.

The Local reported on July 3: “The European Commission said on Wednesday it has for now decided against taking disciplinary action against Italy over its high public deficit after the government in Rome pledged to rein it in.”

It will be interesting to observe what the outcome will be… as Italy will definitely be part of the final configuration of the ten nations or groups of nations of core Europe.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg…

The EUObserver wrote on July 3:

Well beyond the situation in Italy, the criminalisation of solidarity has spread across Europe and entrapped both NGOs and ordinary citizens, including lifeguards, fire-fighters, doctors, priests, journalists, teachers and volunteers.

“… at least 158 people… have been investigated or formally prosecuted from 2015 to 2019… The criminalisation of solidarity has claimed victims in Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. All these cases can be related to one EU law—the 2002 Facilitation Directive—which fails to distinguish between human smuggling and humanitarian assistance.

“Individuals across Europe are being investigated and charged with smuggling, money laundering, membership in a criminalisation organisation, even espionage. Everyday acts of kindness – giving someone food, water, a ride, a phone call, a place to sleep – are being turned into illegal acts.

“Donating food and water is what Hungarian pastor Gabor Ivanyi did, only to become the first volunteer criminalised in Hungary.  Offering shelter has led to charges against priests in Germany, Italy and Switzerland as well as journalists and mayors in other European countries. The most recent target was pastor Norbert Valley, who was arrested in the middle of a church service.

“Driving a pregnant woman in labour to the nearest hospital is what Benoit Ducos did. Simply offering a ride has led to cases against academics, writers and retirees in Denmark, France and Greece. First responders have been stopped from doing their job, including medical staff and firefighters like Spanish firefighters Manuel Blanco, Julio Latorre, Miguel Roldan and Quique Rodríguez…

“In Greece, the jailing of volunteer lifeguards on Lesvos scared away most other civilian emergency rescuers… European citizens have donated millions to life-saving NGO boats, which are now being detained, confiscated and consumed by massive legal fees and fines.

“One of Europe’s few female boat captains, Pia Klemp, faces up to 20 years in prison in Italy for the work of her boat Luventa…

“These cases are just the tip of the iceberg… Just last week, Italy’s Salvini government adopted a decree to fine NGO boats €10,000-50,000 per person rescued and to spend €3m on undercover investigations of them.

“[Many are concerned] by the EU’s lack of action. All people have a right to dignity and all European citizens have the fundamental right to help.

This is scandalous and godless indeed. We must ask this question: Would Jesus Christ have refused to help people in need because the human government would have told Him so? We all should know the answer.

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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The Abortion Question Today – Part 3

We have seen in the previous two Q&A’s that abortion at any time, after human life has been conceived in the mother’s womb, is a sin and murder in the eyes of God.

On the website “gotquestions” we read: “Science tells us that human life begins at the time of conception. From the moment fertilization takes place [fertilization, a synonym for conception, is defined as the action or process of fertilizing an egg, female animal, or plant, involving the fusion of male and female gametes to form a zygote. See definition of zygote below], the child’s genetic makeup is already complete. Its gender has already been determined, along with its height and hair, eye and skin color. The only thing the embryo needs to become a fully-functioning being is the time to grow and develop.

“More importantly, God reveals to us in His Word that not only does life begin at conception, but He knows who we are even before then (Jeremiah 1:5). King David said this about God’s role in our conception: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb . . . your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13, 16).”

From the website “answers in genesis,” we read: “The initial event along the road of human development is fertilization. Twenty-three chromosomes from the mother and 23 chromosomes from the father are combined at the time of fertilization. At this point, the genetic makeup of the individual is determined. At this time, a unique individual, known as a zygote, begins to exist. But is this zygote human? [A zygote is defined as the cell formed by the union of a male sex cell (a sperm) and a female sex cell (an ovum)].

“This zygote then divides again and again. Some cells develop into the placenta and are essential for implantation. Other cells develop into the anatomical parts of the baby.  The number of cells increases rapidly, and the name changes as the number increases. By the time this rapidly dividing ball of cells arrives in the uterus, it is called a blastocyst. Implantation in the uterine wall normally occurs about six days after fertilization.”

Although not born again in this life, we are already begotten children of God and heirs (Romans 8:16-17). This is on the spiritual level and it is exactly the same on the physical level.

We published a Q&A over 15 years ago entitled, “Will an aborted fetus live again?” Below is some of the information contained previously:

  • David said that God knew him while still in the womb. Psalm 22:9-10 says: “But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.”  Since God knew him in the womb, this suggests that God had given him the human spirit while still in the womb.
  • Isaiah was inspired to write in Isaiah 49:1: “Listen, O coastlands, to Me, And take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.” The same conclusion applies as per the previous reference above.
  • In speaking of Jacob in Hosea 12:3, God says: “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God.” We read in Genesis 25:22 that “the children STRUGGLED TOGETHER within her”; and Genesis 25:26 states that Jacob “took hold on Esau’s heel” — that is, he did not want Esau to come out first. As we saw, Hosea 12:3 clarifies that Jacob had already taken Esau’s heel “in the womb.” It is also interesting that some translations (Elberfelder Bible; Lamsa; Luther; Zuercher) render Hosea 12:3 in this way: “He DECEIVED his brother in his mother’s womb…” Others translate this verse as follows: “In the womb he tried to supplant [or, supplanted] his brother…” (NRSV; REB; NAB; Tanakh; Moffat). Regardless of which translation we use, they all seem to indicate motivation through the human spirit.  We read that these two brothers are not described as bits of “biological material” as one writer put it, rather that they already possessed identity and significant  purpose –  they were to become two great leaders, the progenitors of two vast nations (Genesis  25:23).  The  omniscient  God  already  possessed  the foreknowledge of the entire lifespan of these two boys – from womb to tomb  –  and  He  communicated  something  of  it  to  their mother.
  • In reference to John the Baptist, we read in Luke 1:15: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” Since he had the Holy Spirit, while still in his mother’s womb, he must also have had the human spirit, while still in his mother’s womb; that is, prior to his birth. In verses 41-44 of this chapter of Luke, we read in the Authorized Version: “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy [Spirit]: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” Again, there appears to be motivation through the human spirit by – in John’s case – the power of God’s Holy Spirit within him.
  • When the angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, he said to him: “… do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). The angel was giving to Joseph the understanding that the LIFE which was within Mary was of God! Christ already “lived” in His mother’s womb, prior to His human birth. As with John the Baptist, Jesus Christ had the Holy Spirit from His mother’s womb, beginning with the very moment of His conception. Unlike John, who had only a measure of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ had the Holy Spirit in its fullness, without measure (compare John 3:34 in the Authorized Version). Since He had the Holy Spirit in His mother’s womb, He must have had the human spirit in his mother’s womb as well.
  • Judges 13 relates the birth of Samson.  In verse 5 we read: “For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” In verse 7, there are particular instructions to Samson’s mother: “And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”” This was necessary because, as a Nazirite, Samson was to have a restricted diet hence the reason why his mother had such limitations so as not to pass on anything to her unborn child, at any time, during her pregnancy.  Right from conception, it had to be right!

It is therefore biblically sound to conclude that a human being receives from God the spirit in man at the time of conception within the mother’s womb, thus giving him what we understand as human intellect. (Unlike Christ and John, who received the Holy Spirit in the mother’s womb, we receive today the Holy Spirit as adults, after our conversion, repentance, and proper baptism and the laying on of hands by an ordained minister of God).

Therefore, based on the Scriptures we have examined, a fetus already receives the spirit in man at conception, and is therefore a living HUMAN BEING, and if it is aborted at any time prior to birth, the spirit in man will return to God. At the time of the resurrection, God will place the spirit of the (aborted) fetus in a newly created body. This means that the fetus will receive the opportunity to live again, through a resurrection from the dead. The resurrected child will then have the opportunity to qualify to enter into the Kingdom of God, which opportunity has been given to us today. (But none of that justifies the abortion of the innocent fetus, as there are no godly reasons to take the life of an innocent adult human being either.)

For more information on this astonishing aspect of God’s plan, please read our free booklet God’s Commanded Holy Days.”

In conclusion, here are three anomalies that are worth considering.

  1. The Daily Telegraph on May 31, 2008 printed this item:

“A decorator has been jailed for 23 weeks after amassing one of the largest collections of wild bird eggs ever uncovered.

“Richard Pearson turned a bedroom in his home into an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ devoted to his collection of 7,715 eggs, all of which are protected under law.  His haul contained eggs from Britain’s rarest nesting birds including the golden eagle, little tern, osprey, black-necked grebe, avocet, black-tailed godwit, stone curlew, chough, peregrine falcon and red-throated diver.

“What an evil society we live in when bird’s eggs are protected but not the unborn child in the womb!”

  1. It is mind-boggling to realise that we live in an age where society believes that it’s acceptable to KILL unborn children, yet unacceptable to lay a hand on a child for the sake of correction.
  2. Also, if an abortion goes wrong with a long term pregnancy and the baby is actually born, then the medical will then fight to save the “born” life that they were trying to kill as an “unborn” child.  What a nonsense and muddled thinking.

God’s Word is very clear – “You shall not kill,” as we read in Exodus 20:13.   Abortion is murder; the killing of innocent, as yet unborn children, falls very firmly into that category.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“WHY Christ’s Return IS NEAR Indeed!” is the title of a special new StandingWatch program, present by Evangelist Norbert Link. This program introduces our newest booklet, How Can We Know that Christ’s Return Is Near?” Here is a summary:

How can we be so SURE that Christ’s return is near? Why is Christ’s soon-coming return the only hope for mankind’s survival? What are many different news events PROVING to us that Christ will return very soon? Our new free booklet, “How Can We Know that Christ’s Return Is Near?” gives you answers to these all-important questions. Please be sure to watch the short VIDEO at the END of this program.

In addition, a promotional video presented by Michael Link is included with the StandingWatch program and features the booklet. This video, titled, “How Can We Know that Christ’s Return Is Near?” is also posted.

“Wie Satan bekennende Christen verführt!” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “How Satan Deceives Professing Christians.”

“Schwächen machen uns stärker,” is the title of last Sabbath’s new German sermonette, presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “Weaknesses Make Us Stronger.”

“You Are Not Alone,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

“Are we alone in the universe?” is the question. But if the answer is that “you are not alone,” how will mankind respond? What if God is the One Who answers?

“Retaining Our Hope in the Growing Darkness,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We live in a world that increasingly walks away from God. Mankind reaches out to find answers to the growing problems they face but very few seek Godliness. We must, like Noah, continue to proclaim the Truth of God through our actions and attitudes. Our hope in the plan of God is the only rock that will keep us above the sins and approaching judgement for mankind.

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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:

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