September 13, 2019
Lack and Limitation; Our Unrighteous School- and Education-Systems
On September 14, 2019, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Lack and Limitation,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Our Unrighteous School- and Education-Systems.”
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.
Power Like No Other
by Michael Link
Do we comprehend the power of God? God’s magnificent power and glory are revealed in Exodus 33:20 where Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament, says, “You cannot see My face, for no one may see Me, and live.” And no one has seen God the Father and His glory at any time either (John 1:18; 5:37). On the other hand, both God beings have revealed Their power and glory through visions to Ezekiel in chapter 1 verse 26-28 and to Daniel in Daniel 7:9-14. Also, God’s omnipotence was explained to Job in the book of Job, chapters 38 and 39. God reveals in Matthew 19:26 that for God, ALL things are possible, which shows us His unlimited power. It is further stated in Jeremiah 32:17 that there is nothing too difficult for Him.
There are no limits when it comes to God. He is infinite, All-knowing, ALL-capable, All-powerful and He is the Omega, the very Beginning of everything. He says: “I AM who I AM” (Exodus 3:14). There is no one else out there like God. There are no restrictions when it comes to His ability to do ANYTHING, and NOTHING happens against His Will.
And yet, many still have doubts. Many still don’t believe what He is capable of, and they limit His abilities in their minds. Look at the examples of the people of Israel who survived because of God’s unlimited power and the miracles that He had carried out (compare Jeremiah 32:18-23, 27). How quickly they forgot when they were faced with trials and tests which lead to disobedience
They limited God and His power, diminishing their expectations of their God. They didn’t remember His power—all those miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, in the wilderness when God provided food, at the Red Sea, and when He brought them to the Promised Land. They failed to remember.
Do we sometimes diminish our expectations of all He can do? We need to realize that God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows what is best for us. And yet, we still may have many questions as to why. Why doesn’t He answer our prayers right away? Why won’t He give us what we desire immediately? God wants us to succeed. Distractions can become distracting and we may begin to lose our focus. God is full of blessings, but we may doubt at times His willingness to bless us because more often than not, we are in the “now” moment. We want things to happen right away. That may be good or bad. In certain respects, wanting to change our bad ways right away is good. But I’m referring more to our selfish motives. God says in Malachi 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I do not change.” He is forever the same, and He wants to bless us and desires that we become born-again members of His Family.
There are many miracles in the Bible that God performed, and God still does perform miracles for us today. There are miraculous healings at times—situations that we are in that only God can solve when we ask Him in prayer. Also through our commission in preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world, God does miraculously call people to the Truth which is nothing that man can do (Romans 8:28) because it is God who calls people through the Work that we are doing (compare John 14:12-14; Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19-20).
The power through the Holy Spirit is essential in our daily lives. When Christ was here on earth as a human being, He went through many temptations that we go through today, and God the Father gave Him strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to get through trials. We can today receive God’s Holy Spirit of power through baptism (compare Acts 1:5-8; Luke 24:44-49; Romans 8:1-17). The commission that God has given us to do cannot be done through our own power, and Christ could not have accomplished what He did by His own human power.
God provides protection and does the fighting for us, just as is stated in Exodus 23:27;14:14. Throughout the Bible, we read about the examples of God’s protection; for example in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and also of Daniel in the lion’s den. God also will continue to provide His protection to His people who are called worthy during the Great Tribulation which is destined to occur in the not-too-distant future. Placing our trust in God is crucial, and we must always be prepared by putting on the armor of God against Satan, as we read in Ephesians 6:10-13. Our full confidence should be in God, not in man, for God is the One Who will fight our battles (Jude 24-25).
The Bible, the Word of God, is powerful. God’s commandments and His law are powerful. His purpose for those is powerful who have been called out of this world at this time and have answered His calling, to have the first opportunity before the rest of mankind to be a part of His Family and receive everlasting life! We have power through all the tools and resources we have been given to understand God’s law. And we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit at the time of our baptism so that we can grow in wisdom and knowledge to be able to understand God’s law and share it with the whole world through the Work we are doing—the fulfillment of the commission that God has commanded us to do, to preach the gospel to the whole world as a witness; knowing that one day the world will experience what we have come to understand today. All the peoples of the earth will know that the “LORD is God” and “there is no other” (compare Isaiah 45:5, 14, 18). We must continue to let our hearts be loyal to Him, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments. Remember what God promises us and let us never forget it.
by Norbert Link
We begin with an insightful article which argues that no lessons were learned from the terrorist attack of September 11; and we continue with the bombshell news that President Trump fired his security advisor John Bolton—or accepted his resignation—revealing again deep divisions within the US government. We also speak on America’s shameful unwillingness to help Bahamian refugees.
We continue with the ongoing Brexit debacle and Boris Johnson’s wins and losses and the interesting prospects of the UK leaving Europe without a deal on Satan’s festival of Halloween.
We report on the alarming worldwide rise of nationalism and populism and focus especially on Germany. We also address Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial announcement of his intention to annex the Jordan Valley.
On social and historical issues, we speak on the increase of suicides in the USA [please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Suicide—Why… and How to Prevent It?”]; anti-Semitism in Canada’s Christian Orthodox Church; California’s mandatory vaccination debacle; the nonsense of gender neutrality in the UK; and the day when a huge asteroid killed the dinosaurs.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
No Lessons Learned from 9/11?
Breitbart wrote on September 11:
“America has not ‘learned any of the lessons’ of the Islamic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, estimated [author and Los Angeles Times alumnus] Terry McDermott… ‘The reason Al-Qaeda was successful was because they weren’t a state. Our whole foreign policy [and] counterterrorism apparatus is aimed at state actors. These guys were so small we couldn’t see them… This thing should’ve been stopped a hundred different ways, but they got lucky with a clever idea, and they got away with it. After the event, we still focused on state actors. These are non-state actors. It’s a gang…’
“America’s post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies have generated more terrorists than they have eliminated, assessed McDermott… ‘Iraq made every problem worse. It’s the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the United States, without question to me… It never had a chance of success.’”
Sadly, we fear that based on biblical warnings, another major terrorist attack will hit the USA.
Trump Fires John Bolton
NBC News wrote on September 10:
“President Donald Trump has fired National Security Adviser John Bolton after a string of disagreements between the two over how the U.S. should handle North Korea and Iran. Trump announced on Twitter that he had asked for Bolton’s resignation, which he received this morning, after the president had ‘disagreed with many of his suggestions.’ …”
Deutsche Welle wrote:
“Bolton, however, gave a different story. He said he offered to resign on Monday night but that Trump had told him: ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.’”
CBS News wrote on September 10:
“Bolton was often at loggerheads with Pompeo, most recently over U.S. negotiations with the Taliban to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. The two disagreed over whether a reduction of U.S. troops could happen with or without a negotiated deal. Bolton opposed negotiating with the Taliban.
“On Saturday, Mr. Trump made the surprise announcement that peace talks with the Taliban had been canceled. Mr. Trump tweeted that he ‘called off peace negotiations’ in the wake of last week’s car bomb attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul that killed one American service member and another NATO soldier, as well as at least 10 civilians.
“The president further revealed that the meetings with Taliban representatives and the president of Afghanistan would have been held at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland — on the very week marking the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, in which 3,000 Americans died on U.S. soil.
“Bolton, who served in the George W. Bush administration and was a supporter of U.S. engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, was one of the most hawkish foreign policy voices in Mr. Trump’s cabinet. Bolton often advocated for a harder line in dealing with Iran… He is the fourth national security adviser to depart the administration since Mr. Trump took office.”
JTA added on September 10:
“President Donald Trump fired John Bolton, his national security adviser and one of the administration officials seen as closest to the views of Israel’s government… Bolton has deep ties to the mainstream pro-Israel community dating to his outspoken Israel advocacy during a stint as U.N. ambassador in the mid-2000s and then to his pivotal role as a State Department official in the early 1990s in repealing the body’s infamous ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution.”
Leaders topple in the USA as well as in the UK (see the next articles). According to the Bible, this reflects unrighteousness of a nation. Proverbs 28:2 reads in the revised Luther Bible 2009: “Because of the sin of the land, rulers change often.”
No Help for Bahamian Refugees!
Axios wrote on September 11:
“The Trump administration will not grant Hurricane Dorian refugees from the Bahamas temporary protected status (the same program applied to the victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake)… Temporary protected status would only be applicable to those in the U.S. at the time of designation.
“As of Monday, 1,500 Bahamians have come to the U.S. after being displaced by Dorian, with at least 3,500 people evacuated from the islands and the death toll currently standing at 50. The Department of Homeland Security said this week that displaced Bahamians traveling to the U.S. [as short-term visitors] must have a valid passport and travel visa.”
This constitutes utterly shameful conduct by the US government.
Brexit Chaos – No Early Election; Parliament Suspended
Deutsche Welle reported on September 9:
“British lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for a snap election early Tuesday morning following a chaotic day in Parliament. A total of 293 of the 650 House of Commons members backed holding an early election, well short of the required two-thirds majority. Johnson had wanted a snap election on October 15, two weeks before the scheduled October 31 Brexit date. During parliamentary debate, Johnson said an early election would be the only way to ‘break political deadlock.’ But opposition parties said they wouldn’t support an election until Britain secured a Brexit delay to avoid a no-deal divorce from the EU.
“The UK government then suspended — or prorogued — Parliament until October 14, in a move critics view as anti-democratic and a political move to limit parliamentary debate on Brexit… Earlier on Monday, an opposition-backed bill requiring the UK to delay Brexit was passed into law after receiving the formal consent of Queen Elizabeth. The law requires Johnson to delay Brexit if he cannot get a new deal with Brussels at a crucial EU summit on October 17-18, or receive the backing of Parliament for a no-deal crash out of the EU…”
No Further Brexit Delay?
Deutsche Welle wrote on Septembers 8:
“Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that under the current circumstances France won’t offer the UK another extension to its withdrawal from the EU. ‘We’re not going to do this every three months,’ he said… Britain has so far been given two extensions to its proposed withdrawal from the EU…
“Britain is currently due to leave the bloc on October 31 [Halloween, Satan’s festival], and [Boris] Johnson [the 77th Prime Minister of the UK] has pledged to leave without a deal if necessary, insisting earlier this week that he would ‘rather be dead in a ditch’ than ask for another delay… A team of leading lawyers said that the prime minister could be found in contempt of court and even face jail.”
The Sun added on September 8:
“The EU’s Brexit chief… Guy Verhoftstadt warned Remainers just hours after France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drain, said the country would refuse… to extend Brexit… Verhoftstadt… said another extension would be ‘unacceptable unless the deadlock in London is broken’…
“[Johnson] wrote to Tory members saying he would not carry out Parliament’s instructions to ask for another extension… Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith urged Boris to be a Brexit ‘martyr’ and defy the will of Parliament…”
That would really make him even more popular in Britain.
Johnson Far Ahead in Polls
Breitbart wrote on September 8:
“[Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic] Raab has said that Boris Johnson is ‘sticking to his guns’ on his Brexit plans, saying that despite the efforts of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘surrender bill’ to stop no deal Brexit, the UK will leave the EU on October 31st ‘come what may’…
“The prime minister holding firm appears to be winning favour with the public, with a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times finding the Conservatives on 35 per cent approval, 14 points ahead of Labour (on 21 per cent), with the Liberal Democrats in third on 19 per cent, and the Brexit Party on 12 per cent.”
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party plus leaders from other groups may be seen by many as obstructionists for their own political gain. Put simply, the opposition from all parties to a no deal Brexit have joined together and have taken away a big negotiating tool by insisting that the UK will not leave without a deal and so many don’t really want to leave the EU at all. It restricts the negotiating power that Mr. Johnson now has.
What Became of the Party of Margaret Thatcher?
Der Spiegel wrote on September 6:
“Whatever Brexit might ultimately bring, there are a number of images from this week that will stick in our memories for a long time. We won’t forget, for example, that Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, was expelled from the Conservative Party after 36 years of service…
“The party of Margaret Thatcher, of Harold Macmillans, of Winston Churchill… no longer really exists in its traditional form… A group of zealots remains, led by Boris Johnson. And their language and behavior are astonishingly similar to those of other authoritative populists, such as those in the U.S., Italy, Poland, Hungary and elsewhere… This group represents a form of English nationalism that threatens the unity of the country, strengthening not just the Scottish independence movement but also the Northern Irish Republicans’ dreams of reunification. Several weeks ago, Gordon Brown — a Scot and the last Labour prime minister — said that Boris Johnson could very well be the United Kingdom’s last prime minister…
“Even as British civil servants, the opposition, the Bank of England, the Confederation of British Industry and numerous other organizations predict food shortages, border chaos, civil unrest, billions in losses and a possible recession [in case of a no-deal Brexit], the prime minister and his government are deaf to the warnings… The speed with which the remnants of the Conservative Party have moved to the right-wing populist fringe is astonishing. The party’s anti-EU wing, a minority not all that long ago, is now mainstream…”
Der Spiegel, a left-liberal proponent of the anti-Brexit German press, is portraying an anti-British picture which will ultimately lead to further antagonism… especially, if Britain crashes out of Europe without a deal, which appears to be more and more likely.
Merkel’s Warning to Britain
The Guardian wrote on September 11:
“Angela Merkel has highlighted the economic danger [and threat] posed by Britain if it is allowed to become a Singapore-on-Thames as Boris Johnson’s Brexit envoy outlined a plan to ditch the UK’s commitments to stay aligned to the EU’s social and environmental standards…
“[She said:] ‘… the fact remains that after the withdrawal of Britain, we have an economic competitor at our door, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security cooperation and friendly relations. ‘On the one hand, as Europeans we are weaker with Britain’s exit – that has to be said – but on the other hand, this is the moment to develop new strengths.’”
The choice of her words – “even IF we want to keep… friendly relations” is quite revealing.
The Worst Case Scenario
Deutsche Welle wrote on September 11:
“Britain could face massive disruptions to its food supply, financial services and cross-channel traffic in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to government projections. And public disorder is likely to follow…
“The key points:
“The UK will revert to ‘third country’ status and the relationship with the EU will be ‘on the whole unsympathetic,’ with a range of potential effects, including:
“Cross-channel traffic being cut by 40-60% within a day, with disruption lasting 3 months. Protests taking place across the country, placing a strain on police resources. Financial services and the sharing of law enforcement and personal data being disrupted. Small and medium-sized business being unable to cope. Severe weather in winter potentially exacerbating negative impacts.”
“In the short-term, trucks would face delays of around 2 days while trying to cross the border, the report outlined. This would have an impact on medicines and medical products imported into the UK. These are particularly reliant on short crossings of the English channel and would therefore be particularly affected by hold-ups. The UK government would not be able to do much to mitigate these effects due to the short shelf-life of some medicines and supplies, according to the report.
“The food sector would be hit in a matter of weeks, if not days, due to its reliance on free-movement and non-tariff trade within the EU, protected by high tariffs on goods coming from outside the trading bloc. Up to 282 EU vessels could enter UK waters on the first day, leading to anger and even violent clashes with UK fishing boats. Any workers, students, travelers and pensioners in the EU would immediately lose their access to healthcare, which is currently funded in the EU via the UK’s National Health Service. Law enforcement data and information-sharing between the UK and the EU would also be immediately affected.”
Critics claim that some of these points are overblown and exaggerated. Nevertheless, the consequences of a no deal Brexit would be traumatic for the UK, and its relationship with the EU would further deteriorate drastically.
Worldwide Rise of Nationalism and Populism
Deutsche Welle wrote on September 6:
“People around the world believe the political system is rigged against them, a survey by Ipsos revealed on Thursday, highlighting a growing trend towards populism globally. Levels of political distrust and a desire for strong leaders who are willing to break the rules mirrors the political zeitgeist surrounding the election of US President Donald Trump and the British decision to leave the European Union…
“64% said their country needs a strong leader to take it back from the rich and powerful… 49% [said] that, to fix it, their country needs a strong leader willing to break the rules…
“Germany was one of just three countries in which less than half of respondents felt a strong leader was the answer to their political shortcomings. It was joined by Japan and Sweden, which nonetheless had the biggest increase in populist tendencies… Dr. Robert Grimm, head of political and social research at Ipsos in Germany [stated:]… ‘many Germans see no solution in a strong leader, probably also because of their profound experience with totalitarian regimes… Thus, in an apathetic political culture, the country is driving from one unwanted coalition to the next…’”
That will change soon, as a strong leader will arise in Germany, who might also be willing to “break the rules.”
Germany’s Divided Soul
Project Syndicate wrote on September 2:
“This November, Germany will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the country is in a gloomy mood, and cheers will be few and far between – especially in the east.
“Today, more than one-third of eastern Germans describe themselves as second-class citizens. Contrary to their expectations at the time of German reunification in 1990, the east of the country has not become as prosperous as the west. Unsurprisingly, eastern Germans today think, feel, and vote differently than western Germans do. In fact, Germany is one country with two souls.
“The latest evidence of this came on September 1, when the xenophobic right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) secured a strong second place in regional elections in the eastern German states of Saxony and Brandenburg, with 27.5% and 23.5% of the vote, respectively. In western German states, the AfD’s electoral share is typically half of that.
“Germany’s east-west political divide reflects sharp economic differences… Economic convergence within Germany stalled largely as a result of policy decisions… an economic recovery in the east would not only bring material benefits. It would also help to heal Germany’s psychological divide, and thus make eastern Germans less likely to vote for extremist parties that prey on their fears.”
But maybe, due to the ongoing faulty politics of the German government, the pendulum will swing to the other direction so that many more people in West Germany will vote for far right populist parties and candidates.
Far-Right Extremism in German Military
Deutsche Welle wrote on September 10:
“Germany’s Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) is widening its investigation into far-right extremists within the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces, German media reported on Tuesday, particularly focusing on the most elite unit in the military, the Kommando Spezialkraefte (KSK)… The number of soldiers in the special forces unit believed to harbor fringe far-right sympathies is ‘extraordinarly high,’ security sources told Spiegel magazine…
“… the problem is particularly bad among paratroopers and known to center around the Franz-Joseph-Strauss base in Altenstadt, Bavaria. The base became infamous in the 1990s when MAD discovered that soldiers there were celebrating Hitler’s birthday and singing the anthem of the Nazi party… MAD is also looking into online extremist groups like ‘North Cross.’ However, as the smallest of Germany’s intelligence-gathering services, there are some concerns that it may not have enough personnel and resources needed for the breadth of the investigation….”
Far right extremism is not disappearing in Germany. Rather, it seems that it is on the rise.
Netanyahu Announces Intensions to Annex Jordan Valley
Deutsche Welle wrote on September 10:
“In a live TV address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he plans to annex the Jordan Valley [and the northern Dead Sea] if he wins next week’s general election…
“The Jordan Valley comprises around one-third of the West Bank and contains numerous Israeli settlements.”
The Week added on September 10:
“More than 3 million Palestinians and 400,000 Israelis live in the West Bank, which Israel’s military captured during the Six-Day War in 1967. Netanyahu has said the Trump administration’s peace plan would provide an opportunity for the annexation.”
JTA wrote on September 10:
“This move would further entrench Israel’s presence in the West Bank and make a future evacuation of the territory — what many see as a part of an eventual two-state solution — even more unlikely. The Palestinians have insisted on governing the Jordan Valley as part of a future peace deal.
“Netanyahu also promised, in his speech and earlier, to annex even more Israeli settlements down the line. The more Israel annexes, the less possible a contiguous Palestinian state would be…
“Israelis as a whole are split. Nearly half of Israeli Jews and 11 percent of Israeli Arabs favor annexing the Jordan Valley if Trump supports it, according to a recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute. Twenty-eight percent of Jewish Israelis and a majority of Arab Israelis oppose the idea.”
If carried out, this would create further conflicts with Arab nations and Europe.
Suicide Rates on the Rise in the USA
NBC News wrote on September 6:
“Suicide rates are on the rise… From 1999 to 2016, the rate of suicide among Americans ages 25 to 64 rose by 41 percent… Rates among people living in rural counties were 25 percent higher than those in major metropolitan areas. A number of factors appear to be driving suicide rates up in rural America, including poverty, low income and underemployment…
“The study also found that counties with high levels of social fragmentation — based on the levels of single-person households, unmarried residents and transient residents — and a high percentage of veterans had higher rates of suicide…
“The presence of more gun shops was also associated with an increase in suicide rates in all counties, except for the most rural ones…
“The rise in suicide rates in rural counties is ‘alarming,’ said Oren Miron, a researcher at the Clalit Research Institute in Israel, who also studies suicide rates in collaboration with the Harvard Medical School. Miron, who wasn’t involved with the new research, said two of the factors identified in the study — high veteran rates and unemployment — ‘may interact in a dangerous way.’
“‘If a veteran returns from deployment to a county without jobs, he might lose hope in rejoining civilian life,’ Miron said. ‘The re-entry to civilian life is a period with high suicide risk…’
“Suicide ‘is a growing American tragedy,’ said Dr. Albert Wu, an internist and a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ‘It has become a leading cause of death in the U.S., and is a major public health problem… Lack of health insurance kills people,’ he said…”
NBC News wrote on September 11:
“A megachurch pastor in Southern California known for his mental health advocacy died by suicide on Monday, church officials said in a statement. Jarrid Wilson… was 30… Open about his battle with depression, Wilson spoke often of his struggles online and in his work as a pastor… In addition to his wife, Wilson is survived by two sons…
“Greg Laurie, senior pastor at the Harvest megachurch [wrote:] ‘Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people… We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.’
“Sunday marked the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week, a weeklong campaign meant to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide…”
Examples like these are truly terrible testimonies of those who are scattered without a Shepherd. But Suicide is always wrong. It constitutes and is tantamount to murder. Factors might be involved which may lead a desperate person to perform that terrible step, including the horrors of wars and their evil consequences, as well as the inability to find work or adequate health insurance. However, suicide is never a solution. A person who has killed him- or herself will awake in the next second of his or her consciousness and will have to give account to God for his or her actions.
We said this in our Q&A about suicide:
“What circumstances would give rise to such a thought? Perhaps someone has an incurable disease (by man’s reckoning) and is in such severe pain that it seems to be the only way out of a terrible situation?… What about someone who experiences demonic activity in his or her life which presses that individual to take such action as a way out of this misery? Drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, depression, family issues, bullying and marital and financial problems can also be reasons why suicide might seem to be the answer, but it never is. When someone commits suicide, he or she will have to give an answer to God for that course of action within his or her very next waking moment.”
Tremendous Anti-Semitism in Canadian “Christian Orthodox Church”
Breaking Israel News wrote on September 8:
“A Christian Orthodox priest in Nova Scotia was forced to retire after delivering a sermon that honored Judaism and Israel… in which he [also] requested that congregants pray for Israel and reminded the congregation that Jesus was a Jew… He also said that over the last several years, his sermons have connected Christianity’s roots and the Old Testament’s Jewish background… While studying the early Christian era… he says that he realized that early Christians were actually Jewish and their scripture was the Old Testament…
“‘I wrote a piece for publication, but was told by my superiors that it was “too Jewish.” That increased my determination that Christianity grew from Judaism. My own theology recognized a faith that started with Abraham and grew through the centuries through Christ,’ he explained.”
The fact that true Christianity does not do away with the spiritual teachings of the Old Testament, including the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath, is not accepted by most professing Christians. Underlying anti-Semitism might be one reason for this false sentiment.
California’s Democrats Continue their War for Mandatory Vaccinations
NBC San Diego wrote on September 9:
“California [Democratic] Gov. Gavin Newsom signed bills Monday to crack down on doctors who write fraudulent medical exemptions for school children’s vaccinations… Protesters forced delays in both the Assembly and Senate. They unfurled an upside-down American flag from the Senate’s public gallery in a traditional signal of distress and chanted ‘My kids, my choice’ and ‘We will not comply.’…
“Republicans in both chambers objected that there were no public committee hearings before the Assembly approved the measure with a 43-14 vote and the Senate followed on a 27-11 roll call. ‘This goes past vaccines and is again a major government overreach,’ said Republican Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia, adding that, ‘Our medically fragile children are what are at stake.’
“Newsom demanded a phase-out period for medical exemptions similar to one allowed when California eliminated personal belief vaccine exemptions in 2015. A kindergartener with an exemption could retain it through sixth grade, for instance, while a seventh grader could be exempted through high school… The companion bill also would allow officials to revoke any medical exemptions written by a doctor who has faced disciplinary action. The bill would make it clear that enforcement will start next year, meaning doctors who previously granted a high number of medical exemptions won’t face scrutiny…
“Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa grew emotional as he recalled a developmentally disabled cousin who died at a young age. ‘That’s what these people fear,’ Moorlach said of protesters. ‘We’ve got to hit the pause button.’”
The irresponsible hysteria of mandatory vaccinations which is driven by the pharmaceutical industry and its doctors poses a real danger for the health and welfare of our children.
The Nonsense of Gender Neutral School Uniforms in the UK
The Daily Mail wrote on September 5:
“[The] Priory School in Lewes forced all pupils to wear trousers in 2017 after ‘concerns’ were raised over the length of skirts and to cater for their transgender pupils… the school stated that all students, not just newcomers, will be required to wear the ‘gender neutral’ uniform. The school has warned parents that children still wearing the old uniform will be sent home from… school… There are at least 40 other schools which have a similar uniform requirement.”
All of this is geared towards teaching our children that homosexuality, transgender and other similar sexual behavior are “normal” and “acceptable.”
The Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs
The Wall Street Journal wrote on September 9:
“Drilling into the seafloor off Mexico, scientists have extracted a unique geologic record of the single worst day in the history of life, when a city-sized asteroid smashed into Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs…
“Their analysis of these new rock samples from the Chicxulub crater… reveals a parfait of debris deposited in layers almost minute-by-minute at the heart of the impact during the first day of a global catastrophe. It records traces of the explosive melting, massive earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and wildfires as the immense asteroid blasted a hole 100 miles wide and 12 miles deep…
“The sediments also offer chemical evidence that the cataclysm blew hundreds of billions of tons of sulfur from pulverized ocean rock into the atmosphere, triggering a global winter in which temperatures world-wide dropped by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit for decades…
“The asteroid blasted a cavity between 25 and 30 miles deep in the first seconds of impact, creating a boiling cauldron of molten rocks and super-heated steam, according to the scientists’ interpretation of the rock. Rebounding from the hammer blow, a plume of molten rock splashed up into a peak higher than Mount Everest. Within minutes, it collapsed into itself, splashing gigantic waves of lava outward that solidified into a ring of high peaks…”
The Bible says that after God had created the heavens and the earth in a beautiful state, the earth became void and empty, with darkness on the face of the deep.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
How should we apply the 8th Commandment?
As presented in Exodus 20, verse 15, the commandment stipulates, “‘You shall not steal.’” The meaning of the word “steal” is “to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force” (dictionary.com).
God instructed Moses how stealing should be dealt with among the people of Israel. Even though the detailed penalties of restoration, as described in that law, are no longer in force today, the principles most certainly apply.
“‘If a person sins and commits a trespass against the LORD by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, or if he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely–in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins: then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering” (Leviticus 6:2-5).
That which belongs to another is to be carefully respected, and God’s commandment to not steal has detailed application even to the point of paying others for their work without delay:
“‘You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning’” (Leviticus 19:13; compare Deuteronomy 24:14-15; James 5:4).
God’s commandment especially focuses on those who steal as a way of life. Those who use false weights and dishonest scales are condemned as thieves (compare Leviticus 19:35-36; Deuteronomy 25:13-15; Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; 20:10; Hosea 12: 7: Amos 8:5; Micah 6:11). Concerning the future government of God during the thousand-year reign of Christ on and over the earth, a prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel reveals that “honest scales” will be used (Ezekiel 45:10).
As a prerequisite for baptism, John the Baptist taught that those who have authority over others—especially their livelihood—should only do what was authorized:
“Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, ‘Teacher, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Collect no more than what is appointed for you.’ Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, ‘And what shall we do?’ So he said to them, ‘Do not intimidate (margin: shake down for money) anyone (the Authorized Version says: “Do violence to no man”) or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:12-14).
Jesus specifically included the commandment, “you shall not steal,” in His teaching (compare Matthew 19:18). Furthermore, He magnified applying the laws of God. Not only are we to not steal in the literal sense, but we must not allow ourselves to conceive of such actions:
“‘But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man…’” (Matthew 15:18-20).
Some of the strongest reactions of Jesus during His ministry was against the pollution of the Temple by those who cheated, that is, stole from the people:
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves”’” (Matthew 21:12-13).
The Benson commentary includes the following annotation:
“A harbour of wicked men; a place where traffic is carried on by persons of the most infamous character, who live by deceit and oppression, and practise the vilest extortion, even in the house of the most righteous and blessed God.”
Judas, one of the original twelve apostles and the one who betrayed Jesus, was a known thief.
“Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:4-6).
Interestingly, we note that Judas’ position among the disciples was that of handling the money (John 13:29). Like so many who compromise God’s law, he corrupted himself in many ways—including being willing to take money to treacherously betray Jesus.
Paul strongly cautions Christians and includes those who steal among those who will not enter the Kingdom of God:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Paul taught that one must repent of stealing:
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28).
In this regard, we have the example of the rich tax collector who responded to meeting Jesus by renouncing his former practices:
“Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold’” (Luke 19:8).
Stealing brings about penalties and it is an important responsibility for parents of young children to teach them the difference between what is theirs and what belongs to others. Teaching that stealing is wrong is foundational to developing righteous character.
It is also important for all to understand that we must not steal from God. Indeed, the actions of Adam and Eve when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:6) was, among other things, an act of stealing from God since the tree belonged to God and He had forbidden them to eat from it. Because of this disobedience, they incurred the death penalty. Chapter 7 of the book of Joshua recounts the sin of Achan who stole what God had forbidden to be taken by any of Israel (Joshua 6:18). Achan and his family were stoned for his disobedience.
The commandment, “you shall not steal,” has been flagrantly ignored by individuals and nations throughout human history. The consequences have been devastating for mankind as so many examples in the Word of God show. If it were possible to stop all stealing, consider what obeying just that one commandment would mean, and what if all of God’s commandments were kept?
Each of us can and must examine our own lives to see if we are guilty of stealing—a good starting point is to ask if we are stealing from God. It is His question to us:
“‘Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it’” (Malachi 3:8-10).
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (September 2019) has been written. In this letter, Elder Eric Rank writes about preparation for the Fall Holy Days. Along with our opportunity to appear before God with rejoicing, he cautions against Satan’s influence in trying to discourage us.
“Suicide—Why… and How to Prevent It?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Suicide rates are on the rise; especially in rural counties of the USA. This week has been declared as the “National Suicide Prevention Week,” to bring awareness to the warning signs of suicide. But what are they? What drives a person to wanting to commit this final act? Discouragement and depression are leading causes of suicide, but why do people become depressed? Why is suicide so useless? Why is it never a solution? What can you do if you know of a person in danger… or if you yourself are that person?
“Unsere ungerechte Welt — unsere Schul- und Bildungssysteme,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Our Unrighteous World–Our School- and Education-Systems.”
“Alles gehört Gott!” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Elder Christoph Sperzel. Title in English: “Everything Belongs to God.”
“Conquering the Storm,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The judgement of mankind is going to come upon the world like a thief in the night. Putting off our spiritual growth for another day will lull us into a state of unpreparedness. We must make it a daily goal to be spiritually ready for these tumultuous times ahead.
“The Law is Spiritual,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Are you a spiritual person? Is that even possible? If it is, then how can that be achieved?
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
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