Update 891


What’s the Difference?; Growth

On August 31, 2019, Dave Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “What’s the Difference?” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Growth.”

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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by Kalon Mitchell

We purchased a new kitchen nook this past week and on Sunday I put it together. There were a couple of times as I was building it that I didn’t read the instructions correctly and got to a certain point and realized something was wrong. So I had to take the project apart to the point where I misread or didn’t pay attention and then start again from that point. This also used to happen to me as a kid when building a Lego set. The instructions are always there but sometimes they just weren’t read correctly and then what was being built was incorrectly assembled.

God is very precise. His instruction manual (the Bible) is there for us to learn from and to lean on. When we start to lean on our own understanding and stop seeking Him in ALL of our ways, then we start to build in a way that is off center and when we reach a critical point, we hopefully realize that we have been building in a wrong way, and then we have to start to tear down those bad ways and get back to the point where we are once again focused on how to live God’s Way.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 states a big warning for us: “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Our daily work in behaving as a Christian needs to be in our minds. It needs to be constantly built on. We do this by renewing our relationship with God through prayer and meditation and then find our answers and our strength by turning to the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

But if we are not actively studying, then we are not learning and seeking God. We will begin to lose our precision. Satan is all about trying to distract us from the Truth and cause us to fall away from God. When we do something over and over again, we reach the point where we can do something very well, maybe without even looking at an instruction manual. The Bible though is an interesting manual in that it is a living manual that requires constant study as new information is actively being released to God’s true servants and the knowledge of it. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s word is ALIVE and ACTIVE. If we believe this to be the case, then why would we NOT want to be reading from the Word of God?

One of the greatest gifts we have is that the Word of God is available to each of us. This has not always been the case throughout history. With this in mind, we see that God tells us in Joshua 1:8 that we need to be studying it: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” When we study, we put out other thoughts and focus on what matters. This is true in anything we do. When we study a lot about something, we start to not only think that way but to act on those things that we have studied.

Another warning to remain precisely in tune with God’s Word is found in Revelation 1:3: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

The time is drawing nearer as we continue to closely watch world events and line them up with biblical prophecy. We have the time now to become precise with God’s Word. Let us make sure we are putting in the effort that is needed. Romans 15:4 says: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” We can have comfort from God’s Word if we are actually studying from it and learning, even in the most difficult of times. King David went through a lot of terrible times, yet his words in the book of Psalms always showed that he was precisely focused on God and dedicated in attempting to let God remain in control even in the most fearsome of circumstances.

We need to be precise when it comes to seeking God and reading His Word. We can have faith that the Word of God holds keys for us pertaining to our lives. Psalm 12:6 says that “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” That is precision. And it is the one thing that doesn’t change with time. It stays true for us and we can always rely on it. When we become precise in this Way, then we can have a proper relationship with the great Creator and Sustainer of our universe.

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by Norbert Link

We address Russia’s fascination with Stalin and the 80th anniversary of the German-Russian non-aggression pact which led to Russia’s and Germany’s conquest of many nations, sparking World War II and dooming half of Europe to a decade of misery; address the terrible wildfires in the Amazon rainforest and elsewhere, including in vast areas of Africa; and address Israel’s attack on targets in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon; and serious warnings from Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

We speak on the awful conditions of almost 1 million asylum seekers in Europe; and we report on the terrible relationship between the USA and Europe; the fragile relationship between President Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Johnson’s controversial move to suspend the British Parliament; the likelihood of America’s defeat in its Yemen war; and the ongoing trade war between China and America which will cost American consumers dearly and might trigger a recession.

We also address the legality and practicality of President Trump’s order to American companies to leave China; and his ominous announcement pertaining to the 2020 presidential elections… and beyond.

We report on the situation in Italy [please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Italy in Prophecy”,] and conclude with articles about the Catholic Church which should make us think. 

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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Stalin Glorified in Modern Russia

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 22:

“As the 80th anniversary of the Hitler-Stalin pact and the beginning of World War II approaches, the Russian state has unleashed a massive media exercise… The campaign aims to convince the Russians and the world that the calamity of 1939 was of Western making, and that the Poles and the Baltic states, who were victims of aggression, were in fact as bad as the occupiers and had made their own deals with the Nazis… [Putin wants to picture Stalin’s actions as] a boisterous celebration of the pact and resulting conquests, especially the USSR invading Poland together with the Nazis in September 1939 and occupying Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the summer of 1940…

“Since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and its invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014, Putin’s actions have been frequently compared to those of Stalin… [Putin] continues to forge ahead with creating and imbuing the Russians with his own version of the country’s history, identity and patriotism. In it, state authority is always right and righteous — whether exercised by the tsar, the general secretary or the president. The noblest civic duty is to unquestionably accept this authority’s judgement and be ready to die when it orders you to. The Second World War, with its immense and heroic sacrifice by the peoples of the Soviet Union, has for the last five years served as the ultimate propaganda justification for Putin’s ‘Fortress Russia’ isolation policy. Glorification of Stalin’s cynicism and aggression as ‘pragmatism’ and ‘defense of national interests’ serves this purpose well…”

Putin views Stalin as his great hero. That should tell us a lot.

Condemning the German-Russian Treaty

The EUobserver wrote on August 23:

“Five EU states have issued a statement condemning a World War 2-era German-Russian treaty which divided Europe, but Russia has defended the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

“The treaty, signed between Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and his Nazi German counterpart, Joachim von Ribbentrop, on 23 August 1939 ‘sparked World War 2 and doomed half of Europe to decades of misery’ the foreign ministries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania said on Friday (23 August), the day of its 80th anniversary.”

Hitler’s and Stalin’s Molotov-Ribbentrop Agreement

Politics wrote on August 22:

“Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin signed a Nazi-Soviet non-aggression treaty known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement… From the very beginning of the Second World War until the Nazi invasion of the USSR in June 1941, the Soviet Union was on the same side of the war as Hitler. Everyone remembers Hitler invading Poland on September 1st 1939. A lot of people conveniently forget that the USSR invaded Poland from the east only a few weeks later. Indeed, Soviet and German troops staged a joint parade at Brest, along their newly defined frontier.

“The Soviet occupation of Eastern Poland meant that 200,000 square kilometres of Poland and over 13 million Polish citizens found themselves under the yoke of Soviet oppression. A quarter of a million Polish prisoners of war found themselves in Soviet camps, not German ones. Many were massacred at Katyn in 1940. The German Gestapo and Soviet NKVD even held a series of conferences on how to cooperate in the oppression of occupied Poland.

“The alliance was economic as much as geopolitical. The amount of trade between the two nations during the 1939-1941 period was staggering. Massive amounts of raw material flowed from the USSR to Nazi Germany, including 1.6 million tons of grain and 900,000 tons of oil. The fascist army that invaded France, Belgium, and the Netherlands was literally fed by communist grain. Bomber planes over London were fuelled by communist oil.

“In return, Stalin received a low interest loan from Germany for the equivalent of billions in modern money and bought technology and manufactured goods…

“Stalin invaded Finland, as it was firmly assigned by the treaty to the Soviet sphere of influence. Finland, greatly outnumbered and outgunned, fought the Red Army to a standstill, but had to eventually concede defeat and give up various border regions to Soviet control. The region of Karelia remains under Russian control to this day, a testimony to the lasting impact of the pact…

“What is now the nation of Moldova was carved off from Romania in 1940. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were ‘given’ to the USSR by this agreement… these three Baltic states were forcibly annexed into the USSR in 1940. Soviet occupation in the three Baltic states was fierce – both in its original 1940 incarnation and when they were re-occupied in 1944. It stayed that way until 1991… The borders of Poland, Romania, Finland, and Belarus are affected by the treaty. Karelia is still in Russia. Many cities that were once Polish are now in Ukraine or Belarus.

“[In 1990], Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania all re-asserted their independence.”

It is entirely possible that for a short time, a similar pact will be entered into between Russia and the unified core nations of the EU, under German leadership.

Unprecedented Amazon Wildfires

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 23:

“With a record number of fires raging in the Amazon rainforest, international leaders are joining forces to call for action to stop them… But such calls for action from outside Brazil, have been met with rebuttal and even mockery from within…

“Colombia, home to part of the northern Amazon, said it was already working to contain the fires as they headed towards its territory… Paraguay and Bolivia are also battling separate wildfires that have devastated large areas of their rainforests.

“In Brazil itself, federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into the massive wildfires in the Amazon region… Nearly 73,000 fires were recorded between January and August, compared with 39,759 in all of 2018… This number is the highest since records began…”

Business Insider wrote on August 22:

“More than 70,000 fires have been recorded this year in the rainforest, which produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen — threatening its future, the billions of plants and animals that call it home, and possibly the entire planet’s health… Earlier this week, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, 2,000 miles from the rainforest, was plunged into darkness as smoke from the fires obscured the sun.”

AFP wrote on August 24:

“Hundreds of new fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil… some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday… The new data came a day after [far-right leader] Bolsonaro authorized the deployment of the military [44,000 troops] to fight the fires and crack down on criminal activities in the region… Environmental specialists say the fires have been accompanied by increasing deforestation in the Amazon region, which in July quadrupled compared to the same month in 2018…”

The EUObserver wrote on August 28:

“A spokesperson for Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has said the country will accept foreign aid to extinguish Amazon fires. Bolsonaro earlier declined €18m from the G7 states [while insisting on an apology from Macron for alleged insults]… The Brazilian spokesman said his country must have full control of foreign grants and that outside help must not impinge on its sovereignty.”

Children playing with fire…

Worldwide Fires

The Sun wrote on August 27:

“SHOCKING new satellite images show there are now MORE wildfires raging across Africa than in the flame-ravaged Amazon. More than one million square miles of forest in the Congo Basin are now ablaze in an area known as the Earth’s ‘second green lung.’… In a period of two days last week Angola had roughly three times more fires than Brazil…

“The stats revealed there were 6,902 fires in Angola and 3,395 fires in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, compared with around 2,200 recorded fires in Brazil. Like the Amazon, the African forests absorb CO2 and are sanctuaries for hundreds of endangered species… The Congo Basin covers an area of 3.3 million square kilometres in several countries, including about a third in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the rest in Gabon, Congo, Cameroon and Central Africa…”

According to the Bible, worldwide catastrophes such as these will increase in unparalleled fashion.

Israel Strikes Iranian Killer Drones in Syria and Lebanon

Reuters wrote on August 24:

“Israeli aircraft on Saturday struck Iranian forces near Damascus that had been planning to launch ‘killer drones’ [armed with explosives] at targets in Israel…

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military had thwarted the planned Iranian attack. ‘Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our forces operate in every sector against the Iranian aggression,’ he said on Twitter…

“Iran and Hezbollah are helping President Bashar al-Assad in the eight-year Syria war. Russia, which is also aiding Assad, has largely turned a blind eye to the Israeli air strikes… On Thursday, Netanyahu hinted of possible Israeli involvement in a series of blasts in the past few weeks that have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Iran.”

The Jerusalem Post wrote on August 25:

“Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun blasted Israel on Sunday after two drones, one being armed, crashed in the Lebanese capital of Beirut early Sunday morning…

“Israel and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war and Beirut regularly accuses Israel of violating its airspace with fighter jets and drones.”

Aoun called the Israeli drone attacks on the capital of Beirut and in the Qusaya a ‘declaration of war… that entitles us to resort to our right to defend our sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity’…”

Palestinians Determined to Wipe Out Israel

Breaking Israel News wrote on August 22:

“In a video… Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said while addressing a terror rally at the Jalazone village near Ramallah that: ‘We shall enter Jerusalem – millions of fighters!’ along with the ‘entire Islamic nation.’ The PA chairman added that: ‘every building built by the Zionist occupation will be destroyed.’ The statements were made while the crowd chanted ‘To Jerusalem, we march, martyrs by the millions!’…

“The proud Holocaust denier also claimed that Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians. He went on saying that ‘the entire Palestinian nation will enter Jerusalem as millions of fighters, along with the Arab, Islamic, and Christian nations.’… The video was uploaded to the PA’s leader’s Facebook page on August 10, 2019.”

This reminds us of the warning in Zechariah 14:2. The situation in the Middle East will deteriorate much more.

War between Israel and Iran?

On August 28, the Drudge Report linked to the following article which was originally published by endoftheamericandream:

“Are we about to see World War 3 erupt in the Middle East?… if a full-blown war erupts between Israel and one of her neighbors, it is likely to become a multi-front war almost immediately.  But at the core, this is a conflict between Israel and Iran…

“Missiles are not flying directly back and forth between Israel and Iran yet, but at this point a state of war essentially exists, and many are deeply concerned about what is going to happen next. In particular, it looks like Hezbollah could launch a large scale attack against Israel at any moment, because their leadership is absolutely furious that the Israelis just hit their headquarters building in Beirut… Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah are now at their highest point since the 2006 war…

“This is an extremely serious situation.  Israel is literally on the brink of war with Hezbollah, and many feel that such a war is inevitable… Ultimately, nothing is going to be able to stop the massive war that is coming to the region.  The Iranians and all of their allies have a religiously-fueled hatred for Israel that most people living in the western world will never understand, and they are absolutely obsessed with permanently destroying the nation of Israel as it exists today…

“This can definitely be described as a time of ‘wars and rumors of wars’, and the situation on the ground is extremely fluid right now…”

The Algemeiner and Reuters wrote on August 28:

“Hezbollah will respond with a ‘surprise’ strike against Israel after drones crashed in Lebanon, but a new war remains unlikely, the Iran-backed movement said, amid heightened fears of a full-scale confrontation between the longtime adversaries.”

We read in the Bible that Israel will receive a wound in a coming military confrontation, prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

Nearly 900,000 Asylum Seekers Living in Limbo in EU

The Guardian wrote on August 25:

“Close to 900,000 asylum seekers in the EU are waiting to have their claims processed… Women, men and unaccompanied children are living for years in uncertainty, with numbers of pending applications for international protection almost unchanged from two years ago when 1.1 million migrants were ‘stuck’ in the continent. ‘Living in limbo is now the norm for those seeking protection,’ said Karl Kopp of Pro Asyl, Germany’s largest pro-immigration advocacy organisation. ‘Limbo means living in the miserable Greek EU hotspots, or being trapped and pushed back at the borders…’

“Eurostat figures have revealed a backlog of 878,600 requests at the end of 2018, with Germany having the largest share of pending requests (44%), ahead of Italy (12%). The figure comes despite the number of migrant arrivals in Europe practically halving in the last two years. Factors leading to the continuing backlog include new laws from right-leaning governments and an increase in the number of rejections, leading to lengthy appeals processes… The rejection rate for asylum requests in Europe has almost doubled in three years… In Italy, rejections were at 80% at the start of 2019, up from 60% the previous year as the populist government also removed key forms of protection.

“The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has in 2019 rejected three-quarters of family reunification requests from Greece, where migrants live in the overcrowded camps of Athens and Lesbos… Experts point out how some governments in recent years, especially in Italy and Germany, have accelerated evaluation procedures for asylum requests, which appears to have caused an increase in rejections because high-speed procedures are not carried out with as much thoughtful evaluation. ‘The agenda of the rightwing extremists is now the agenda of the mainstream…,’ said Kopp…

“… Those who stay after rejection are at risk of suddenly becoming illegal immigrants…”

Reading this, it is hypocritical for Europeans to condemn the USA for its immigration policy.

US-German Ties at Absolute Low… with Potentially Dangerous Consequences

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 21:

“Never since the founding of postwar Germany have relations between Berlin and the United States been as fragile as they are today. There is virtual radio silence between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump… ‘There is a crisis in the U.S. German relationship of a type that I would never have expected to occur in our time,’ says Nicholas Burns, the former U.S. ambassador to NATO…

“Germany has become the antithesis to Trump’s America… Trump is openly calling for the European Union to split up. He is publicly encouraging the new British prime minister, Boris Johnson, to embark on a hard Brexit. Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, traveled to London last week to communicate that the U.S. would ‘enthusiastically’ support a decision by the UK to leave the EU with no deal.

“Trump has shaken the relationship between the Germans and the Americans in ways that extend far beyond politics. The U.S. is more unpopular with Germans than ever before… 85 percent of Germans view the relationship with the U.S. as negative or very negative… Many now see the U.S. as a bigger problem than China and Russia…

“From a German perspective, conversations with the president are mostly just seen as futile… Trump is being faced with a German chancellor who clearly wants to go down in history as his opponent…

“It has now become normal for Merkel not to ask for a meeting with Trump when she visits the U.S… For Trump, Germany is a ‘flyover country’ when he visits Europe… he has not paid a single visit to Berlin…

“[US ambassador] Grenell has shown that he is primarily interested in garnering headlines… prompting Martin Schulz, who was the head of the Social Democrats at the time, to say that the ambassador was behaving like a ‘right-wing extremist colonial officer.’ Grenell then gave an interview to the right-wing news portal Breitbart in which he made it sound like he was hoping for a Trump-style right-wing revolution in Europe… No U.S. ambassador in recent German history seems to have been so isolated… Merkel made it clear in no uncertain terms how little regard she has for Grenell… German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas hasn’t had a significant conversation with Grenell in almost one year…

“Trump and Grenell are astonishingly similar. Both are happy to dish it out, but they are highly sensitive when they are the subject of attacks. Like Trump, Grenell also has a penchant for right-wing conspiracy theorists… Like Trump, Grenell is also a virtuoso at self-promotion…

“In Berlin, many are still holding out hope that the good old days of trans-Atlantic cooperation can resume once the Trump era has passed. But that could prove illusory. ‘The U.S. won’t remain the way it is under Trump, but it will also never be the same as it was before him again,’ says [Sigmar] Gabriel. The fact is that the Democrats agree with many of the points where Trump is critical, and Washington would remain an uncomfortable partner even if a Democrat is elected into the White House next year. Trump, in all his brutal openness, has made it clear that the U.S. is no longer willing to pay for Europe. The Democrats are also raising the question of military spending…

“Trump has become a convenient excuse for the Germans. Whatever he says is rejected almost reflexively. This is true for both the military mission in the Strait of Hormuz and NATO’s 2-percent target. The Germans need to finally get over the idea that they can remain a kind of giant Switzerland in the middle of Europe forever…

“Robert Kagan, a former adviser to two Republican presidential candidates who now works at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington… wrote that the German question, which led to two world wars and millions of deaths, could return… ‘Trump is actually fanning the flames of nationalism … again and again by supporting basically nationalist parties in Europe,’ Kagan told DER SPIEGEL. ‘He’s clearly destroying the global free trade regime by pursuing protectionist American policies which are directly harming Germany…’”

First of all, we do not believe that there will be an America after Trump. And however Germany will manifest itself on the world scene, it will, together with other core European countries, become as antagonistic towards the USA as it never has been since the end of World War II. It will also be part of a powerful European army in opposition to the USA. Or does the next article reflect a change in the German-US relationship?

Friendship between Trump and Merkel?

The Local wrote on August 26:

“US President Donald Trump showered Chancellor Angela Merkel with praise at the G7 Summit… She is a brilliant woman, and she understands exactly where everything is, she knows it before most people,’ said Trump… The comments came during a relaxed reunion between the pair. It’s a stark contrast to previous meetings when relations have appeared frosty. After Trump was asked about the G7 losing its only female leader, Merkel said in English: ‘I’m still here,’ prompting laughs from reporters. Trump then predicted that the Chancellor, who plans to step down from politics after her term ends in 2021, may surprise everyone and might be around ‘for a long time’.

“When asked by a reporter if the Chancellor had invited Trump to Berlin, Merkel said she had done so ‘on previous occasions.’ Trump then said he is planning to ‘maybe soon’ go to Germany for a state visit… ‘I have German in my blood,’ he added – at which point Merkel laughed. Trump does indeed have ancestors who hail from Kallstadt, a small wine-growing town in the far western state of Rhineland-Palatinate…

Trump has not yet been on a bilateral visit to Germany since taking office in January 2017. By contrast, he has already visited France and the UK two times. He is also traveling to Poland for the second time next weekend… Compared to Trump’s predecessors, his absence from Germany is unusual. Less than five months after his inauguration, Barack Obama travelled to Dresden to meet Merkel in June 2009, before the two travelled together to the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar.”

Even though Trump and Merkel displayed a unified front before journalists and exchanged some niceties, nothing will change. The relationship between the two powers is bound to deteriorate drastically. And Merkel will not be around “for a long time.”

Queen Approves Suspension of U.K. Parliament

The Week wrote on August 28:

“Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday approved British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament until mid-October, leaving lawmakers little time to try and block Britain from crashing out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without a divorce settlement. Johnson asked the queen to end the current session of Parliament in preparation for a Queen’s Speech, typically a formality to lay out a government’s legislative agenda.

“The queen’s approval was not unexpected, as she has refused to get involved with politics throughout her reign. Unlike dissolving Parliament to hold new elections, MPs don’t get a vote on prorogation. Parliament was scheduled to return from summer recess next week, and opposition lawmakers have reportedly been working on a plan to prevent Johnson’s no-deal Brexit. Opposition leaders bitterly denounced the move.”

The EUObserver added on August 28:

“Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other British opposition leaders have agreed not to call for a confidence vote on prime minister Boris Johnson in early September in order to create a care-taker government. Instead, they will work on legislation to make a no-deal-Brexit illegal. The opposition leaders also agreed to organise an alternative parliament in case Johnson forced a delay in recalling MPs until after Brexit day on 31 October.”

The Sun added that “Today’s move caused the pound to drop against the dollar as markets jittered amongst the uncertainty.”

Boris the Dictator

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 28:

“The British prime minister wants a hard Brexit, no matter the cost. He didn’t even hesitate to suspend Parliament. It’s the kind of move you’d expect from a military dictatorship… Now a weakness in the British political system — rooted in its archaic traditions and heritage — is coming back to haunt the country. It exposes the lack of a modern, written constitution that could block such arbitrary acts.

“‘Take back control’ was one of the main slogans of the Brexit campaign three years ago. Voters at the time probably didn’t imagine that meant handing over absolute power to Johnson… No one argued the goal was to allow an unelected prime minister — who would likely never get a parliamentary majority — to determine the fate of Brexit, and thus the entire country, on his own…

“Parliament is to be due to go on break as early as September 10, then return shortly before the Brexit deadline. This tight timeframe makes it impossible for the majority of MPs to have their say… Johnson is the most dangerous politician to have moved to Downing Street in decades…”

Boris Johnson–From Trump Hater to Trump Lover

Bloomberg wrote on August 24:

“In December 2015, Boris Johnson joked that he wouldn’t go to some parts of New York because of the risk of meeting Donald Trump, a man of ‘stupefying ignorance.’ How times change… Both men came to power with populist messages

“Trump is toxic in the U.K…. so Johnson also needs to be careful not to appear to be too cozy with the U.S. leader… But there may eventually be a quid pro quo for the ‘fantastic’ trade deal Trump has dangled. Trump’s trade talks rarely prove speedy. He remains locked in a trade war with China and a revised accord with Canada and Mexico dragged on for over a year and is stalled in Congress. An agreement with the U.K. could be years in the making and Trump drives a hard bargain — whether he likes you or not…

“There are also important differences in their world view [even though Johnson’s world views are quite flexible]. Johnson favors immigration, Trump famously doesn’t. The U.K. is signed up to the Paris climate agreement whereas Trump pulled out. And while the U.K. shares Trump’s concerns about access to Chinese markets, Johnson believes they should be addressed by giving the World Trade Organization more teeth. Trump is more concerned at blunting the WTO’s teeth…”

America Is Losing (Again)

The Week wrote on August 23:

“Saudi Arabia and America’s Yemen war is now on the verge of collapse…

“Historically, Americans have shown a remarkable ability to deny outright military failure. We killed millions of civilians in North Korea and North Vietnam in an effort to turn, in the first case, stalemate into victory and, in the second, defeat into stalemate. Both efforts ultimately failed. In our wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, we initially claimed victory, inasmuch as we ousted the Taliban, killed Osama bin Laden, overthrew Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, and precipitated the fall of Moammar Gadhafi. The failure in each case [was] to ‘win the peace’…

“Over the past four decades, we have pursued a variety of different strategies to maintain a dominant position in the Middle East… None of these have delivered anything resembling ‘victory,’ nor even stability. It’s well past time to admit these are goals we simply don’t know how to achieve and conduct a foreign policy in a duly chastened spirit, rather than make further millions pay the price for our inability to acknowledge our limits.”

The Bible says that God will destroy America’s pride of and in its power. America won World War II. It has won NO WAR subsequent to World War II.

Trade War Is Getting Worse–China Retaliates against the “Chosen One”

Daily Mail wrote on August 23:

“China hit back at President Donald Trump in the latest volley in the growing trade war – slapping tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. products and causing an immediate drop in stock futures. The move comes after Trump… has defended the trade war and called himself the ‘chosen one’ to take on China…

“The official Xinhua News Agency said Friday the tariffs of 10% and 5% take effect on two batches of goods Sept. 1 and Dec. 15… Trump previously announced plans to raise tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports on Sept. 1 but postponed a portion of that to Dec. 15.”

Even though some niceties were exchanged during the G-7 summit, nothing has changed. New tariffs on Chinese goods become effective on September 1, which means that goods will become more expensive for American consumers, as Fox News correctly pointed out in their telecasts on August 27. They also hinted at the prospects of a recession, due to Trump’s trade war with China.

In regard to his declaration that he is the chosen one, Der Spiegel Online wrote: “The Messiah in the Oval Office,” and then asked: “Has Donald Trump completely lost it? And who is protecting him from himself?” Later, Trump stated, due to the heat he got for his comment of being the “chosen one,” that it was just a joke. The video of the event clearly shows, in context, that it was NOT a joke but that it reflects, sadly, his true state of mind.

Trump ORDERS American Businesses to Close Operations in China; Increases Tariffs on Chinese Goods

Reuters wrote on August 23:

“President Donald Trump said on Friday he was ordering U.S. companies to look at ways to close their operations in China and make more of their products in the United States instead…

“China… holds $1.11 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. For many products sold in the United States, there are few alternatives to Chinese production, and shifting production for major goods produced there could take years and be expensive. American companies could also sue the U.S. government in response to any order to shutter plants in China.

“… companies like Boeing Co, Apple Inc and General Motors Co… are both big U.S. contractors and have large business interests in China… They would resist any pressure to close their facility there, given the size and importance of the Chinese market…”

The Week wrote on August 23:

“[Trump’s] attacks sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling down 623 points for the day, marking it and the other two major indexes’ fourth straight weeks of declines.”

Does Trump Have the Power to Order Businesses to Move Out of China? Maybe!

Breitbart wrote on August 24:

“While speaking to reporters on Friday, President Trump stated that he has ‘the absolute right’ to order American businesses not to do business with China. Trump said, ‘Well, in 1977, we had an act passed, a national emergency act. I have the absolute right to do that. We’ll see how that goes, but I have the absolute right.’”

Vox wrote on August 24:

“The Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) allows the president of the United States to regulate commerce during a national emergency… And as there has not yet been a national emergency declared with respect to Chinese trade, Trump’s present abilities to govern economic interactions with China are limited to measures like tariffs…

“IEEPA allows a US president to declare a national emergency… Congress can vote to end the state of emergency, but the president can veto such a vote. Without a veto-proof majority in Congress, this president could use this tool to take a range of economic actions against countries with whom he takes issue… A state of emergency has existed against Iran since the 1979 hostage crisis, for example, and that state of emergency has allowed executive branches over the past decades to levy sanctions against Iran and individual Iranians…

“Trump is the first president to date to use IEEPA to justify the imposition of tariffs… Were he to declare an emergency in order to limit economic interactions with China, Trump still would lack the authority to pull existing investments out of China… However, he would be able to prevent future US funds from being transferred there and could create conditions that would make it so difficult to do business with China that firms would be heavily encouraged to relocate…”

So, from a PRACTICAL standpoint, the potential avenues of the US Presidency are enormous. For example, Trump declared that German cars pose a threat to national security.

Trump’s “Ominous” Announcement—Wanting to Stay Beyond 2025?

The Independent wrote on August 23:

“Donald Trump has issued an ominous warning to his opponents amid mounting speculation a looming recession could cost him the 2020 presidential election, saying ‘I always find a way to win’…

“In a series of outrageous and increasingly erratic outbursts, the 73-year-old attacked any Jews who vote Democrat instead of Republican as ‘disloyal’ to Israel and threatened to rip up part of the constitution in order to rescind birthright citizenship…

“‘Let me tell you. In six years – or maybe 10 or maybe 14, right? – in six years, when I’m not here, the New York Times goes out of business very quickly.’ While the president has joked with increasing frequency about continuing as president beyond 2025 – when he would be required by the constitution to step down – his latest reference displayed no clear indication he was attempting be humorous

“Previous examples of Mr Trump’s flirtation with unlimited term limits include a June tweet in which he floated the idea American voters could demand he stay at the White House beyond 2025… The following month… he wrote: ‘When I ultimately leave office in six years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding)…’  The president has previously suggested he only jokes about remaining as president beyond two terms in an effort to provoke liberals, while critics have suggested he does so with a view to gradually normalising the concept among voters.”

As we have stated before, we do believe that Trump is the last President of the USA, as unbelievable as that may sound to some. And we have made it clear that we believe that Trump will be re-elected in 2020. Please view our StandingWatch program, titled, “Donald Trump–America’s Savior or Destroyer?”

Living in Berlusconi’s Shadow

Foreign Policy wrote on August 25:

“Italy has always been at the cutting edge of political innovation. The Papal States were trialing Christian theocracy for centuries before others caught on; fascism inspired Nazism. And—most telling of all today—Silvio Berlusconi’s billionaire buffoonery preempted his later imitators… by decades…

“An often overlooked aspect of Berlusconi’s career was his astonishing ability to cast himself as a victim and as a martyr. ‘We’re persecuted by the judges,’ he claimed as he pondered entering politics in July 1993, when a corruption scandal was sweeping away the First Italian Republic. Berlusconi frequently compared himself to Jesus because of what he called ‘political show trials.’ ‘I’m the most persecuted man in all of history,’ he once said. Any criminal accusation (and there were many) was turned to his advantage, making him appear the long-suffering savior of an ungrateful nation: ‘I put up with everything and sacrifice myself for everyone,’ he said in 2006.”

D-Day for Italy

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 28:

“Italy’s populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the center-left Democratic Party (PD) have put aside their traditional differences to form a new government and prevent new elections. Five Star (M5S) said the coalition would be led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who had resigned following the collapse of the coalition government between M5S and the far-right Lega earlier this month…

“[Current Interior] Minister Matteo Salvini… who triggered the crisis on August 8 when he withdrew his party from the governing coalition with M5S, said the new set-up was fragile and unlikely to last. ‘So we have to wait six months or a year to win? We’re in no hurry,’ he said. Some political pundits have warned a M5S-PD deal could play into Salvini’s hands in the long run, should the new accord come undone in the coming months.”

The Week added on August 28:

“Matteo Salvini, who serves as both Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister, will likely be sidelined by the deal, stripping his anti-immigrant League party of its power.”

Salvini’s Supporters Furious

The Telegraph wrote on August 27:

“Matteo Salvini’s allies have called for supporters to take to the streets in protest as Italy inches towards forming a new government that could shut him out of power for years… Mr Salvini’s party, the League, is furious, pointing out that the party won 34 per cent of the national vote in May’s European parliament elections and that it was polling as high as 39 per cent earlier this month. ‘Let’s hope that if a Democratic Party-Five Star government is formed, the people will rise up as soon as possible,’ said Alessandra Locatelli, a League minister.

“‘A government made up of Five Star and the Democrats will not correspond to the sentiment of the people,’ said Mr Salvini, who remains as interior minister and deputy prime minister in the lame duck administration…

“When he withdrew his support and declared the coalition dead this month, Mr Salvini’s hope was that the country would go to new elections, which would likely have crowned him prime minister as the head of a hard-Right coalition with the Brothers of Italy party. Giorgia Meloni, the head of Brothers of Italy, condemned the prospect of a Democratic Party-Five Star government, saying that it was contrary to the votes of millions of Italians.”

Interesting and frightening times for Italy.

Where Is the Catholic Church Going vis-à-vis the Jewish People?

The Algemeiner wrote on August 23:

“First Things is a conservative Catholic magazine with an intellectual influence beyond its small circulation. Its ‘ecumenism’ once meant outreach to evangelical Protestants, but also to Jews open to interfaith dialogue. Yet today, First Things is having an identity crisis not boding well for the future of Catholic-Jewish rapprochement.

“A manifesto published earlier this year, ‘The Dead Consensus,’ announced that the GOP, for the welfare of America, must embrace wholeheartedly the Trump era ‘nationalist’ foreign policy…

“First Things also ran a review that was sympathetic to Pope Pius IX’s 1858 decision to sanction the kidnapping and Catholic upbringing of a Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, who had been secretly baptized by his teenage Catholic nurse. Authored by Dominican Professor of Theology at Boston’s St. John’s Seminary, Romanus Cessario, the article not only launched a pre-emptive attack on Steven Spielberg’s planned film about the Mortara case, but offered a spiritual encomium to Pius IX for green lighting the Mortara kidnapping…

“Alas, if First Things gives credence to Cessario’s preaching of a return to absolutist Catholicism, it has become the last thing that American Jews should embrace.”

We must watch the direction in which the Roman Catholic Church is heading.

Catholic Church Allowing for Salvation Apart from Christ?

Breitbart wrote on August 26:

“The Vatican has created a special committee to draw out the principles contained in the controversial Abu Dhabi document, signed last February by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. The text was subsequently criticized by prominent theologians for ‘devaluing the person of Jesus’ and ‘undermining the gospel itself’ since it seemed to propose that God willed the existence of a plurality of religions just as he wills a plurality of sexes, races, and languages, rather than willing that all people find their salvation in Jesus Christ…

“At a later date, the pope seemed to walk back that passage, but he never requested to have it amended and the entire statement reads today just as it did last February. The joint declaration will now be the foundation and reference point for a committee set up for its implementation.”

The Bible teaches that we can ONLY inherit salvation through Jesus Christ. There is NO other way.

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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Is there a contradiction between Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9?

We should note that Saul, who later became known as the Apostle Paul, was at first a persecutor and murderer of true Christians (Galatians 1:13-14). He was a Pharisee and strongly believed the teachings of the Pharisees (Acts 23:6). At that time, he was very zealous in hunting down and killing the true disciples of Christ. He was consumed with envy, because their new teaching was contrary to the teachings of the Pharisees. It was the religion of the “new Way,“ the Way of Jesus Christ, who was repeatedly and unjustifiably accused of blasphemy, because He claimed to be the Son of God. But Christ WAS and IS the Son of God (John 17:5)!

In his wrath, Saul went angrily before the High Priest and asked for letters of authorization to arrest Christ’s disciples, whether they were men or women, and to take them bound to the court in Jerusalem (Acts 9:1). For this purpose, Saul went with his companions from Jerusalem to Damascus. Let us read in Acts 9:3-7 what happened on the way:

“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Authorized Version throughout, unless otherwise mentioned).

Now note the remarkable passage in verse 7: “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.“

When we compare this passage with the parallel Scripture in Acts 22:9, it might appear that a contradictory version of the events is presented. Paul, by now an ordained apostle, made the following statement: “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.“

However, there is no “contradiction.” The Bible never contracts contradicts itself (John 10:35). Oftentimes an apparent problem may exist because of the interpretation or wording of the translator. This is the case here.

Let us begin to explain by answering this question: “Did Paul’s companions hear the voice of Christ, or did they not hear it?“

In both chapters, the Greek word “φωνην“ is used, meaning “voice.” In Acts 22:9, we find this clarification: “… but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.“

In an old letter of the Worldwide Church of God’s Letter answering Department, it was stated:

“In the original Greek language, the word akouo is used in these passages. This word like many others, has several meanings depending on how it is used in a sentence. It can mean to hear or to understand. In the following passage, for example, the latter meaning is obviously intended: ‘For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him’ (I Cor. 14:2, NKJ). His listeners hear him, but don’t understand. This is what happened with Paul and those with him on the road to Damascus. Paul both heard and understood. The men with him heard the voice but did not understand it.”

Saul’s companions obviously heard a voice, but apparently could not understand what the voice was saying.

The same phenomenon can be found in John 12:28-29, where Christ says: “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.“

In looking at other translations of Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9, we find a clear distinction and explanation, confirming what we have pointed out above.

The New Living Translation renders Acts 9:7 as follows: “The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one!“

The Orthodox Jewish Version translates Acts 22:9: “And the ones with me saw the… (light) but they did not have real hearing (understanding) of the voice speaking to me.“

Saul’s companions heard the voice, like Luke wrote in Acts 9:7, but Paul reveals in Acts 22:9 that they were not able to understand what was spoken, perhaps because they could only perceive it as a muffled rumbling or as thunder. They clearly did not understand WHAT the voice said. It appears that it was important for Christ that the companions were able to hear the sound of His voice, but not what was said.

Let us now discuss another question: “What did Saul’s companions see?”

Remember, we read in Acts 9:7 “And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.“ In Acts 22:9, we read: “And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.”

On the one hand, they saw “no man,“ that means no figure or person, but they saw a light. One could also say that they saw a brightness or a strong bright appearance.

When Saul saw Christ in this vision on his way to Damascus, it was such a bright appearance that Saul went blind (Acts 9:8-9). In Revelation 1:12-17, John saw the Person of the glorified Christ in a vision, and he fell at His feet as dead. Saul’s companions saw a light in this vision, but not the glorious manifestation of the Person of Jesus Christ.

Why was it so important for Christ that Saul´s companions heard something, although they could not understand it, just like they saw a bright light, but were not able to see the Person of Christ? The reason why Christ wanted the companions to hear a voice and see the light was that Paul later could not be accused of being a liar, but that he would be seen as a righteous and ordained apostle and faithful servant of God who spoke the Truth and could bring forth witnesses for what had happened to him and his companions.

Lead Writer: Thilo Hanstein

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Italy in Prophecy” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Italy is in turmoil–again. Its 65th government after World War II has collapsed, and two parties with completely divergent viewpoints have formed the 66th government in an attempt to prevent far-right populist Matteo Salvini to stay in power.  But this new government might not last long, and Salvini, whom many have compared with Benito Mussolini, should not be counted out. What DOES the Bible say about Italy’s future? The answer might surprise you.

We also produced a German AufPostenStehen program, covering the same topic. It is titled, “Italien in der Prophezeiung.”

“Unsere ungerechte Welt — Unsere politischen Herrschaftssysteme,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Our Unrighteous World–Our Political Systems of Governance.”

“Der grundlose Hass,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath in German by Jens Herrmann, is now posted. Title in English: “The baseless hatred.”

“Indefatigable,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

The human condition is one which is prone to fatigue following prolonged exertion. In such a weary state, strength to continue on simply fades. What can Christians do to overcome the inevitable fatigue we face in overcoming sin?

“Choosing Our Consequences,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We are given many examples in the Bible of men and women who faced consequences for their actions before God. These examples must become part of our consideration and the basis for our own daily actions. The path each of us takes is our choice to make. The rewards are there before us—will we follow God’s lead?

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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

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