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|Editorial||Man’s Current Arrogance|
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Now What? / Who is Jesus?
On February 22, 2020, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Now what?” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Who is Jesus?”
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.
Man’s Current Arrogance
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
In 1982, my wife and two children visited the Kennedy Space Center in Florida whilst attending the Feast of Tabernacles at St Petersburg that year.
Late last year (2019), our son, his family and my wife and I again visited the centre and, after 37 years, much had changed!
On the website we3travel.com are the following comments:
“The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the U.S. launch site that has been used for every NASA human space flight since December 1968. KSC has changed a lot since I last visited in…let’s see…1982?
“The main Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center is an expansive complex that resembles a modern-day amusement park. Its attractions feature an Early Space Exploration exhibit, Rocket Garden, children’s playspace, 2 IMAX shows, an Astronaut Hall of Fame and Astronaut Memorial, the popular (with the younger set) Angry Birds hands-on exhibit, multiple cafes, gift shops, and much more.”
It seems that someone else who attended the centre, also in 1982, realised the massive amount of change that there had been over the years.
I don’t have the relevant data, nor do I have the complex technical understanding to make any comments about all of the many changes made over the last four decades. However, what I did discern quite clearly this time around was that there was a great deal of self-belief and arrogance as well as a complete lack of godly understanding about the whole issue of space.
We read in Genesis 6:5 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We know how God told Noah to build the ark and that man was to be destroyed from off the face of the earth.
The Benson Commentary observes: “Here is God’s resentment of man’s wickedness. He did not see it as an unconcerned spectator, but as one injured and affronted by it; he saw it as a tender father sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious and disobedient child, which not only displeases but grieves him, and makes him wish he had been written childless.
One commentary at the JFK Space Center was that “we are not creating history but embracing our destiny.” In a way, that is true, but not in the way that man looks at it. Man has great arrogance at times about his own ability and capacity, and God has certainly given him a very small amount of His own ability, but man, generally, thinks that it is all down to his own brilliance! Not once, when visiting the centre, did I see one acknowledgement about God’s magnificent and stupendous universe – if there was one, I certainly missed it!
I am reminded of the saying, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” The details of a stupendous universe, vast beyond man’s ability to fully understand, does not negate the fact that God did create and that He sustains it all by His might and power, and His Word amply proves this.
It would have been appropriate, but probably politically incorrect, to acknowledge the Creation by a great and loving God, but I could not find any observation or comment to that effect. God’s benevolence and patience are simply not understood today. In fact, as man’s capacity to do great things has increased exponentially, belief in the One who created and now sustains all things has slithered downhill at a rate that our forefathers would not have believed.
They want to explore space. Why? To build colonies and, possibly, live there! The simple observation that man cannot exist peacefully on earth at present, and hasn’t down through the last 6,000 years, is a fact that they never seem to acknowledge. If it did happen, man would fight in space (he is already talking about a “space war”), just as he continually does on the earth today; just look at the conflict down through the ages and such conflicts are still going on today! The same human nature would be transferred from the earth to wherever man finished up in the universe. How ridiculous it is that so much money is spent on a useless exercise that will never come to fruition during man’s occupation on earth!
Of course, we know that there have been some helpful results from some of the work done, for example satellite navigation, and there may be some other results that have been made, but man, in his present form, will simply not be allowed to live in outer space.
However, there is good news! Those who have answered God’s calling and will have remained faithful to the end of their lives will become members of the Family of God who will inhabit the universe.
In our free booklet “Heavens and Earth…Before and After the First Man!,” the last paragraph reads as follows:
“When God created man, He purposed to bring him into His very Family and to give him rule over the earth and the entire universe, to administer His government over His physical and spiritual creation. Once man has qualified and has become a God being, God will direct him to restore and beautify the earth, and finally, to “colonize” new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13).”
Man’s current arrogance will end, and an appreciation of the great God will replace this – and for eternity!
by Norbert Link
We are reporting on the ongoing and deepening rift between the USA and Europe, and Europe’s perceived “need” to become a strong military power. [Please view our new StandingWatch program, “Europe and America–No Longer Friends.”] In addition, the unbridgeable disagreements between the EU and Britain become more and more obvious, and Europe’s warning to Israel should not go unnoticed.
We are focusing on the volatile situation in Germany, a right-wing terrorist attack, and Angela Merkel’s party’s desperate search for a candidate for Chancellorship after Merkel’s departure.
We also speak on developments in the USA and Finland regarding homosexuality; the unrestrained outbreak of the coronavirus and a devastating and unstoppable plague in Africa caused by huge swarms of locusts; unusual devastating storms in Britain; and new discoveries about the terribly misunderstood Neanderthal Man.
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
Europe’s “Need” for Military Power
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 14:
“German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas… called on his country and all of Europe to take on a greater international security role… ‘For too long, we Europeans have shut our eyes to the uncomfortable reality of what a withdrawal of the US from military engagement and from international treaties means for us,’ Maas said… Mass called for the ‘construction of a European security and defense union…’
“Striking a similar tone earlier in the day as he opened [this year’s three-day Munich Security] conference, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized the US for neglecting its international duties and warned of an ‘increasingly destructive dynamic in world politics.’…
“Macron pushing for Europe to become more independent from the United States…”
And this is exactly what will happen… and not in a peaceful way.
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 15:
“The French president projected a vision of a Europe with new military power… As the only nuclear power in the EU, he also foresaw greater European sovereignty. ‘We cannot always go through the United States, no, we have to think in a European way as well,’ French President Emmanuel Macron said… as he continued a theme of his presidency: projecting bold European sovereignty onto the international stage.
“He was referring specifically to Europe’s nuclear assets… Macron has already invited Germany to take part in a strategic dialogue over France’s nuclear weapon policy… Macron said he was ‘convinced that we need a much stronger Europe in defense.’
“… he said it was clear that Europe and the US also had different interests… ‘Mediterranean policy: that is a European thing, not a trans-Atlantic thing, and the same goes for Russia — we need a European policy, not just a trans-Atlantic policy.’
“The theme of European strength was taken up in Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s speech on Saturday. The German defense minister said she ‘completely agreed’ with Macron. She even proposed one way in which this might be brought about: a joint EU military strategy for the Strait of Hormuz, independent of the US policy of ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran… German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also insisted that now, with the growing confrontation between the US and China, it was more vital than ever that the EU ‘speak with one voice’…”
While everybody seems overly anxious to emphasize the need and importance for Europe to act within NATO and to be a pillar of NATO, the reality is that Europe is striving to become a military power on its own—with or without NATO and especially without China, Russia or the USA.
Newsmax wrote on February 16: “Europeans are already feeling uneasy about the state of NATO.”
On February 14, Wallstreet Online wrote about the former SPD-Chief and President of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz, as saying that while he is supporting NATO, Germany must become more active militarily in foreign countries. He also criticized strongly the conduct of US President Donald Trump, stating, “The US is not willing to enter into a covenant.” He said that Trump takes the position, “Who is not with me, is against me. And those who are against me will be neutralized.” He said that Europe has to free itself from the embrace of a president who is able to cause chaos for the entire world. He also criticized Macron who had rejected the concept that European partners have a say in the French use of nuclear weapons.”
Just don’t forget Martin Schulz! He was not termed the “German Donald Trump” without a reason.
US and Europe… No longer Friends
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 16:
“Friend or foe?… Tensions had been simmering for a long time, and now they’ve come to the fore: At the Munich Security Conference, the deep cracks in the trans-Atlantic relationship have become more apparent than ever. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s reply to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s opening speech showed that Europe — or at least Berlin, and even more so Paris — is further away from Washington than ever…
“One thing is certain: There will be no return to the heyday of close trans-Atlantic ties… There is much talk of Europe becoming a sovereign, strategic, political power. There are demands that Germany once again learns the language of power…
“With regard to future trans-Atlantic relations, three positions have emerged. Firstly, the French vision of European independence. Secondly, the prevailing position — especially in Eastern Europe — that one should be closely connected to Washington, no matter what. And thirdly, Germany’s indecision between these positions. However, one can predict with some certainty that if Donald Trump wins a second term in the White House in November, the French vision will get a massive shot in the arm — including from Berlin.
“President Emmanuel Macron… brings incredible dynamism to the European debate. He fights for European independence. He wants a common foreign and defense policy. And if that does not work for all 27 remaining EU members after Brexit, then Paris would be happy to work with those that do support the idea repeatedly advocated at the conference, to create a Europe capable of action in the face of the ‘rivalry of the great powers.’”
And so, the concept of a core Europe or a Europe with two speeds is again brought to the forefront. And that is exactly what is prophesied to happen. The Bible speaks of ten nations or groups of nations under a powerful leader. Please view our new StandingWatch program, “Europe and America–No Longer Friends.”
US and EU in Parallel Universes
Politico wrote on February 16:
“For decades, the Munich Security Conference served as a powerful symbol of the strength of the Western alliance. The 2020 installment offered a testament to its accelerating decline.
“If the three-day event, which drew to a close on Sunday, illustrated anything, it was that the divergence between the U.S. and the dominant European powers — Germany and France… — is greater than ever…
“The two sides aren’t just far apart on the big questions facing the West (threats from Russia, Iran, China), they’re in parallel universes. Most alarming: The biggest disconnect concerns the U.S. commitment to Europe, the very essence of the transatlantic alliance itself.
“In speech after speech, whether in public or private, European leaders lamented what they perceive as the U.S.’s disengagement from both the region and the world at large…”
The relationship between the USA and the EU will not be cured, but will get worse and worse.
The EU-USA Fight Over China
“On February 16, Newsmax published the following article:
“The fight between the U.S. and Europe over Chinese technology is threatening to split the transatlantic military alliance.
“With the U.S. defense establishment identifying China as its No. 1 priority, a bi-partisan delegation headed by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed home their concerns about the use of equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend. The officials warned that installing Huawei kit could undermine cooperation with U.S. allies as Donald Trump’s hardball trade tactics started to infect his administration’s relationships on defense. ‘Republicans and Democrats agree on this,’ said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump. ‘If you go down the Huawei road you are going to burn a lot of bridges.’
“European leaders have been hunkering down amid the Huawei storm as they try to maintain their critical relations with both sides in the U.S.-China trade war… Europe’s exports to China have become a critical plank in its economic model and the Chinese have threatened retaliation on European companies if the bloc follows Trump in banning one of its flagship technology companies.
“The U.S. was on the back foot throughout because their strong arm tactics have conspicuously failed to bring the Europeans into line… Even the U.K., which has been energetically courting the White House as it begins life outside the EU, opted to use Huawei kit. ‘We have a tech Cold War right now that’s on display…,’ said Ian Bremmer, president and founder of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group. ‘There’s never been such a rift with how Americans and Europeans define the security threat as right now.’…”
Axios added on February 16:
“Pelosi’s hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.”
And if that would not be enough, note the article below about another bone of contention.
The Fight for and against the Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline
Bloomberg wrote on February 15:
“President Donald Trump’s top energy official [U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette] said he’s confident that Russia won’t be able to complete the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea — and signaled that the U.S. will press forward with its opposition to the project… ‘It’s going to be a very long delay, because Russia doesn’t have the technology,’ Brouillette said…
“The pipeline, which would pump as much as 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from fields in Siberia directly to Germany, has become a focus for geopolitical tensions across the Atlantic. Trump has assailed Germany for giving ‘billions’ to Russia for gas while it benefits from U.S. protection. Nord Stream 2’s owners had invested 5.8 billion euros ($6.3 billion) in the project by May 2019…
“U.S. sanctions in December forced Switzerland’s Allseas Group SA, which was laying the sub-sea pipes, to abandon work, throwing the project into disarray…
“Even as he spoke, signs emerged that Gazprom’s attempts at completion may be underway. A Russian pipe-laying vessel, the Akademik Cherskiy, left the port where it had been stationed in Nakhodka on Russia’s Pacific coast last Sunday. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak last year mentioned that vessel as an option to complete the pipeline in Denmark’s waters. The vessel is now expected to arrive in Singapore on Feb. 22…
“One of the pipeline’s financial backers, Austrian gas and oil company OMV AG has predicted that the Russians will follow through… The pipeline was just weeks away from completion, with 94% already constructed, when U.S. sanctions halted work. There’s a small section in Denmark’s waters that needs to be finished. Before the halt, Nord Stream 2 hoped to finish construction by the end of 2019 or in the first few months of this year. That would allow gas deliveries in time to supply Europe by winter 2020-2021. Besides OMV, Nord Stream 2’s other European backers are Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Uniper SE, Engie SA and Wintershall AG.”
Whatever the final outcome, strong frictions between the USA and especially Germany over the issue will continue.
“EU and Britain Will Rip Each Other Apart”
The Guardian wrote on February 16:
“Britain and the European Union are going to rip each other apart in talks over a future trade deal, the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has predicted… He added that on his desk in his office he had massive files showing the issues of contention between the UK and France, including over fishing rights…
“France and several other countries want to be able to keep fishing in British waters, while London wants full autonomy and limited access for European fishermen… Nearly 30% of the turnover of French fishermen relies on access to British waters.”
Much more than just fishing rights is involved. The EU and Britain will turn out to become bitter enemies.
EU Warns Israel and Rejects Trump’s Peace Plan
Breaking Israel News wrote on February 14:
“The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, sent a message to Israel on Tuesday not to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank or else Palestinians could resort to violence. ‘This may happen. … You can be sure it’s not going to be peaceful,’ Borrell told the European Parliament…
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that he plans to annex the valley if he wins re-election in the March 2 elections.
“Borrell also made clear his rejection of parts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s new peace plan… ‘The proposals… clearly challenge the internationally agreed parameters. It is difficult to see how this initiative can bring both parties back to the table,’ Borrell said…”
It is to be anticipated that Israel will annex the valley, and Europe might react strongly.
Far-Right Terrorist Attack in Germany
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 20:
“A gunman… is thought to have killed nine people and injured at least four in two shisha bars in the city of Hanau, not far from Frankfurt. [The clientele at the bars were thought to be predominantly Kurdish.] He then went home where he is suspected of killing his mother before killing himself…
“Ahead of the attack, he is suspected of having spread racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate speech and conspiracy theories online. Federal prosecutors are now investigating whether he had any contact with other far-right terrorists…
“The attack is a clear indication: Far-right terrorism is on the rise in Germany…
“Just last week, German police conducted raids on 13 apartments across the country and dismantled a terror cell that was allegedly planning to plunge Germany into a ‘state of civil war’ by committing ‘as yet undefined’ attacks on politicians, asylum-seekers and Muslims. Four suspected would-be attackers were arrested, as well as another eight individuals suspected of supporting them.
“At first glance, it would seem that the police, security services and prosecutors were able to stop a terrorist group with fixed plans. But the challenge facing investigators is now to provide evidence that is sufficiently convincing that the suspected plotters are put on trial. The difficulty of doing so is well illustrated in the case of Franco A., a lieutenant in the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces. Franco A. was suspended and arrested in 2017 after being charged with the ‘preparation of a serious act of violent subversion.’ He spent seven months in pre-trial custody, accused of wanting to commit attacks on famous politicians, including now-Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Vice-President of the German Bundestag, Claudia Roth.
“Although there was evidence that he had stockpiled weapons and explosives and the names of potential victims were known, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court dropped the charge that he was planning a terrorist attack on the basis that there was ‘insufficient evidence.’ The court found that he had a ‘racist ethno-nationalist and anti-Semitic attitude’ but said that it was also ‘highly probable’ that he had not yet made a ‘firm decision’ to carry out any attacks.
“The Federal Court of Justice — Germany’s highest criminal court — has since instructed the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court to open criminal proceedings, but no trial date has been set. The tug-of-war shows how high the legal hurdles can be in Germany despite numerous adjustments to the law. It is thus not at all certain that the 12 detained last week will end up on trial…”
This is a terrible dilemma. When you act too early, the suspected criminals might go free. If you act too late, many innocent victims might be killed. Only the just government of Jesus Christ, after His Return, will end such nonsense.
The Guardian added on February 20:
“Angela Merkel has said the murder of nine people in a shooting rampage by a suspected rightwing extremist has revealed the ‘poison’ of racism and hate in Germany. The man… carried out attacks at two shisha bars in Hanau… before killing his mother, bringing the death toll up to 10, and himself, police said.
“Investigators said he [has] a ‘deeply racist mindset’, citing a video and a lengthy manifesto he had posted on social media. Authorities said they were treating the attacks as an act of domestic terrorism…
“In a 24-page manifesto and a video, Rathjen outlined his racist theories including his belief that certain races should be eliminated and foreigners who could not be deported from Germany should be ‘destroyed’. He said he had been driven by voices in his head since birth and followed by secret agents…
“One expert said domestic intelligence agents believed there were 24,000 rightwing extremists in Germany, 13,000 of whom were considered potentially dangerous…”
This seems to be a case of serious mental sickness and of demonic influence, if not possession.
The Algemeiner wrote on February 20:
“In a statement on Thursday, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said his organization was ‘extremely concerned about the rising threats against minorities in Germany from both sides of the political landscape in Germany.’”
This reminds us of the situation in Germany after the first World War, when right- and left- extremists were fighting each other.
Merkel and German Government Heavily Criticized
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 16:
“A leading contender to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday criticized her for taking too long to respond to a French proposal on a post-Brexit reform of the European Union. ‘We take too long to react,’ Armin Laschet, North Rhine-Westphalia’s state premier, said at the Munich Security Conference. ‘I would like to apologize on behalf of the German government,’ the co-vice-chair of the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) added…
“A day earlier, Macron said that he was ‘impatient’ with Germany’s reluctance to take up his offer to cooperate on implementing EU reforms. He added that Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU)- and SPD-led government has not lived up to the promise in their 2018 agreement to create a ‘fresh start; for Europe’…
“Laschet, who is seen as a compromise figure between the CDU’s conservative and centrist wings, is one of three [now four] potential contenders [the other two are Friedrich Merz and Jens Spahn, and now Norbert Roettgen, see below] to lead the party and become its candidate for the chancellery…”
Merkel has become a lame duck… nationally and internationally.
A Fourth Candidate for German Chancellorship—Dr. Norbert Roettgen
Business Day wrote on February 18:
“As head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Roettgen has carved out an international profile, speaking out on issues from Brexit to China’s Huawei. However… few political analysts rate his chances.
“Merkel sacked him as environment minister in 2012 after he lost an election in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state…
“Other CDU leadership contenders are right-wing health minister Jens Spahn, and Armin Laschet, premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, a centrist widely seen as a continuity candidate although he sharply criticised Merkel’s Europe policy on Sunday [as well as former parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz].”
Dr. Roettgen studied law in Bonn and subsequently worked as an attorney before entering politics. He is Roman Catholic, married, with two sons and one daughter. His biggest defeat was in 2012 when his party scored the worst results ever in a state election and was dismissed by Merkel as environment minister. Shortly thereafter, he also lost his office of vice-president of the CDU. His surprise announcement of his candidacy resulted in an unexpected approval of Bild Online readers. In an initial poll, Roettgen received more votes than Merz, and he also received more votes than Spahn and Laschet combined.
Is Germany Ready for Spahn?
On February 15, Bild Online published an article about Jens Spahn (39) with the following headline: “Are we ready for a male Mrs. Chancellor?” (“Sind wir bereit für ’ne männliche Kanzlerin?“)
In the article, they said that the future belongs to Spahn, but that he has to become more likeable; that he stands for a departure from Merkel’s asylum policy; that as Health Minister, he introduced compulsory measles vaccination [for children and employees of kindergarten and schools and a ban of a “therapy” to convert homosexuals under 18 or “coercing, deceiving or threatening anyone older into such treatment”]; that he is a friend of Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz; and that he is supported by President of Parliament Wolfgang Schäuble. The article also points out that Spahn, [who is a Roman Catholic and openly gay], is “married” since December of 2017 with Burda-Manager Daniel Funke (38). Both may consider adopting a child in the future.
Spahn had to face several defeats and strong criticism in his political career.
Wikipedia writes: “ In 2018, Merkel stated her intention not to seek re-election for the CDU party leadership. Immediately, Spahn announced his intention to stand for election as her successor in December 2019, but he was eliminated in the first round of voting…
“In April 2008 Spahn voiced his opposition to grand coalition plans to increase pensions… This brought him strong criticism, especially from the Senior Citizens Union (Senioren-Union). Spahn received many insults and threats in the form of anonymous letters, inter alia, and complained of this in the media. The Senior Citizens Union announced it would do everything to prevent his re-election, but Spahn received the support of former president of Germany Roman Herzog.”
Major Pete Buttigieg vs. Rush Limbaugh on Homosexuality
The Huffington Post wrote on February 16:
“Pete Buttigieg on Sunday shrugged off Rush Limbaugh’s… remarks regarding his marriage, saying he isn’t going to ‘take lectures on family values’ from the right-wing radio host… ‘Well, I love my husband,’ Buttigieg told [CNN]… ‘I’m faithful to my husband,’ he continued…
“Limbaugh referred to the openly gay Democratic presidential candidate kissing his husband Chasten Buttigieg at least five times during his show on Wednesday… ‘A gay guy, 37 years old, loves kissing his husband on debate stages,’ Limbaugh said…
“Limbaugh… announced earlier this month that he has advanced lung cancer… Limbaugh also promoted the… conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S…. also embraced by Trump in 2011… Trump earlier this month awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom― the highest civilian honor given by a U.S. president…”
We omitted the hate-filled anti-Limbaugh polemic in the article, but rather chose to quote where we can agree with Limbaugh. The Bible terms the practice of homosexual relationships an abomination; and there are still many lingering unanswered questions about Obama’s birthplace.
Finland to Prosecute for Biblical Statement on Homosexuality
The Jerusalem Post wrote on February 19:
“The head of an Evangelical Lutheran diocese in Finland and a member of the Finnish parliament could face criminal charges after police began investigating them last week regarding the publication and distribution of an [24-page] anti-LGBTQ booklet… which was published in 2004… Helsinki Police questioned them for five hours as part of the investigation.
“According to the state prosecutor-general,… the booklet ‘incites hatred’ against the LGBTQ community… As a result, both [the author and the publisher] could face charges of ‘ethnic agitation,’ a crime of racism in the Finnish Penal Code. Despite intending to only cover ethnic and racial discrimination, legislation in 2011 added discrimination against sexual orientation to the charge…
“[The publisher] said that the LGBTQ lifestyle ‘is contrary to God’s order of creation and a transgression against His will. If one is not allowed to teach this publicly, the message of sin and grace will be left without a foundation, and freedom of religion will decline.’…
“This is not the first time that [the author] – a former Finnish interior minister, leader of the Christian Democratic Party and a sitting MP since 1995 – has made headlines for anti-LGBTQ controversy. He is well-known for being a Conservative voice outspoken in defending traditional Christian views on numerous ethical issues such as abortion and marriage.”
This is Satan’s world, and Satan will do everything he can to destroy Christian values. We can expect worse things to happen until his power will be broken through the return of Jesus Christ.
Did the Coronavirus Start in a Chinese Laboratory?
Daily Mail wrote on February 16:
“Did [the] coronavirus originate in [a] Chinese government laboratory? Scientists believe [that the] killer disease may have begun in [a] research facility … [which] is just 300 yards from the seafood market and is adjacent to the hospital… [one of the 605] bats [kept in the facility] – which are linked to coronavirus – once attacked a researcher and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’”
We suggested from the outset that it might be possible that the virus was created in Chinese laboratories. There is no end to the stupidity of man.
Axios wrote on February 19:
“We may be ‘at the brink’ of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.
“COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where… 136 new deaths [were announced] since Tuesday.”
Locust Plague Impossible to Stop
AFP wrote on February 19:
“… millions of yellow locusts rise into the northern Ugandan sky, despite hours spent spraying vegetation with chemicals in an attempt to kill them… The locusts arrived in South Sudan this week after hitting Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan and Uganda…
“One swarm in Kenya reached around 2,400 square kilometres (about 930 square miles) — an area almost the size of Moscow — meaning it could contain up to 200 billion locusts… A swarm that size can consume food for 85 million people per day…”
“[A tragedy for especially South Sudan is in the making, with] concerns already high of a humanitarian crisis in a region where 12 million are going hungry… One swarm of 40 to 80 million can consume food for over 35,000 people in a day… eggs laid across the migratory path will hatch in the next two months, and will continue breeding as the rainy season arrives in the region… Since 2018 a long period of dry weather followed by a series of cyclones that dumped water on the region created ‘excessively ideal conditions’ for locusts to breed…”
We hear more and more about unparalleled plagues, earthquakes, volcanoes, bad weather conditions, as well as wars and rumors of wars, with one nation rising against another nation, and one kingdom against another kingdom.
Second Storm Hammers Britain
ABC News wrote on February 16:
“Storm Dennis hammered Britain Sunday, bringing a month’s worth of rain in just 48 hours to parts of South Wales, which bore the brunt of the country’s second severe storm inside a week. Rivers across Britain burst their banks… Dennis has been so intense that England posted a record number of flood warnings and alerts and a rare ‘red warning’ for extremely life-threatening flooding was announced for South Wales… Flood warnings could remain in place for a while since much of Britain is still saturated from last week’s Storm Ciara, which left eight people dead across Europe…
“There were transport disruptions too, with hundreds of flights cancelled due to the high winds while train services were repeatedly disrupted by flooding. Tens of thousands of passengers were being affected on what is a major travel weekend for British families as many schools close for a mid-winter break.”
Neanderthals Buried Their Dead
The Guardian wrote on February 18:
“A Neanderthal skeleton unearthed in an Iraqi cave… is providing fresh evidence that they buried their dead… and conducted funerary rites with flowers.
“Neanderthals inhabited Eurasia from the Atlantic coast to the Ural Mountains… The two species [allegedly, the Neanderthal man and modern man or homo sapiens] interbred, with modern non African-human populations bearing residual Neanderthal DNA.”
Business Insider added:
“‘In recent years we have seen increasing evidence that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than previously thought, from cave markings to use of decorative shells and raptor talons,’ [archeologist Emma] Pomeroy said. ‘If Neanderthals were using Shanidar cave as a site of memory for the repeated ritual interment of their dead, it would suggest cultural complexity of a high order,’ she added.”
Much nonsense has been written and taught in schools about the Neanderthal man. For the truth, please read our free booklet, “Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man.”
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.
What Are Our Responsibilities in Bearing Witness of Jesus Christ?
To “bear witness of Jesus Christ” means different things to different groups of nominal Christian religions. To some, “bearing witness of Jesus Christ” involves proselytizing to as many people as will pass by. To others, bearing witness involves merely going to church services to socialize with others of like mind. An innumerable variety of interpretations abound beyond these two examples as well. But what does the Bible say in regard to the responsibility of a Christian to “bear witness of Jesus Christ”?
Rightly understood, the Bible nowhere uses these terms. Where then does the idea of “bearing witness of Jesus Christ” come from? Two of the primary Scriptures in the Bible that describe bearing witness of the things and events pertaining to Jesus and the message which He brought can be found when He addresses His disciples in John 15:27 and Luke 24:48.
In addressing the apostles before He was murdered, Jesus explains the tasks ahead of them after His inevitable physical departure. “‘But when the Helper comes, [which] I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth [which] proceeds from the Father, [it] will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning’” (John 15:26-27). In this moment, Jesus tells the apostles that they will receive the Holy Spirit after His resurrection, and that they will also share their knowledge and understanding of the events pertaining to Jesus and His Work and Message with others. Following this passage, Jesus also informs them that because of their Work in sharing the Truth with others, they will be despised and persecuted for it.
Following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His disciples were gathered together with Him for a brief period of time. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He addressed them saying, “‘…These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things’” (Luke 24:44-48). Clearly, Jesus informed them about the privilege they had regarding the knowledge and understanding they were blessed with, knowing the Truth about Jesus’ role in the Plan of God.
Seeing that the disciples who were close to Jesus at the time were literal eye witnesses to the fulfillment of Scripture, it is clear that they were able to share a firsthand account of Jesus’ Work. Because they were willing and able to share the knowledge of the Truth with others, we have the Bible that we can read today to provide us with access to the same knowledge. The role of being a “witness of Jesus Christ” required then that they boldly proclaim the Truth—the role He had to fulfill and the message that He, the Messenger of God the Father, proclaimed. The same responsibility of standing up for the Truth continues for Christians today.
“Bearing witness of Jesus Christ” in the sense of standing up for the Truth, is the responsibility of a Christian. If it wasn’t, Christianity would have died out after the first generation, because no one would have shared the knowledge of the Truth. As we know from Jesus Christ’s own words, the Church in these last days has an unending commission to preach the gospel to the world as a witness, which necessarily involves proclaiming the Truth which Jesus Christ proclaimed, which includes of course, but is by no means limited to, the Person of Jesus. What the Church needs to proclaim is the gospel OF Christ, not the gospel about Jesus Christ (compare Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15). Therefore, being part of the Body of Christ and playing a role in the Work given to the Church, we have a responsibility to “bear witness of Jesus Christ” in the way as explained in this Q&A.
In order to bear witness, we must have some firsthand experience that we can share. Since we presently live in an age when Jesus Christ does not physically exist, how is this possible? Quite simply, with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ and God the Father living within us as baptized members of the Church of God, we have access to the knowledge and understanding of the Truth. As we read earlier, the Holy Spirit “testifies of Him,” and therefore it also provides us with a way of gaining firsthand experience needed to be a trustworthy witness.
But what does it mean to be a Christian witness in our day-to-day living? Under what circumstances are we expected to offer testimony of our experience? While a prescription for the specific actions to perform does not exist, the Bible provides us with a great deal of guidance on the matter.
The first guideline in being “a witness of Jesus Christ” is to be ready to share our knowledge of the Truth of the Gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, which Jesus proclaimed, and of Jesus Christ’s role in the Plan of God. As we read in 1 Peter 3:15-17, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
We can see that being ready to “bear witness of Jesus Christ” is expressed here with a few salient characteristics. First, we are to be ready to give a defense or an answer to those who ask us about our beliefs. This refers to our individual responsibility. When addressing the Church, it has the duty to proclaim the Truth as a Witness, whether being asked to do so or not. Those who respond positively can and will be taught further by the Church.
By contrast, being ready to give an answer does not involve preparing to attack others with our knowledge. Reinforcing this, our attitude in offering our witness’ testimony involves meekness and humility. Even though the knowledge of the Truth is privileged, we need to be cognizant of the fact that such knowledge does not elevate us above others. Glorifying God by offering a witness of Jesus Christ’s message and role in our lives requires us to be convicted in our beliefs, so much that we’re ready to explain ourselves to anyone who enquires about it who are genuinely interested and who want to learn about the Truth.
In addition to being ready to answer for our faith as a “witness of Jesus Christ,” we need to be confident and unashamed in proclaiming our beliefs. If we have faith in the Truth, we have nothing to worry about in expressing our confidence in it when we are asked to do so. In fact, if we express ourselves without confidence, and instead are ashamed of the teachings of Jesus Christ, He too will be ashamed of us. In His own words, Jesus states, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). When we are being asked to share our firsthand experience as “witnesses of Jesus Christ,” we have to remember that God and His Truth will back us up, and we have every reason to be completely confident.
While it is important to be ready and confident in the way that we offer our belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ which He brought from God the Father, there are times when our efforts to offer testimony are wasted. It benefits no one to proclaim our witness to individuals who only want to provoke an argument. As Jesus instructs us, “‘Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces’” (Matthew 7:6). In some cases, we may encounter individuals who seem to want to learn about our beliefs, but in reality, are only interested in arguing and justifying themselves. In such cases, offering a “witness of Jesus Christ” is futile.
In addition, we need to remember that our role in the Body of Christ is not to bring people to conversion. It is God’s job to call people out of the world, not ours. Because of this fact, when we offer a “witness of Jesus Christ,” it must be for the purpose of sharing our account of the Truth, when asked, which may help others who are in the process of being called to understand more clearly. Quoting from our Booklet, How to Find the True Church of God on the topic of proselytizing, we write the following.
“‘We do not believe in proselytizing. Therefore, we do not seek members by having people standing on street corners or going around neighborhoods knocking on doors. We carry out our various projects in an effort to freely give to all people regardless of their race, nationality, or religious affiliation. We believe in the godly way of helping others by providing the financial means by tithing and voluntary contributions.’
“Rather than trying to proselytize or ‘convert’ others, we are told to preach the gospel as a witness. The Greek word for ‘witness’ is marturion, and means, literally, ‘witness’ or ‘testimony.’ This word is also used in Acts 4:33 where we read that ‘with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.’”
As we grow in our conversion as Christians, our ability to offer a “witness of Jesus Christ” and the Truth of God will also grow. When we are challenged and called upon to do so, it is our responsibility to share our personal testimony according to the guidance provided by the instructions of the Bible so we glorify God and participate in fulfilling the Work He sets before us.
Lead Writer: Eric Rank
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Our newest booklet, “The Ten Commandments,” has entered a second review cycle in preparation for printing.
“Europe and America–No Longer Friends!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Alarming reports from the Munich Security Conference 2020 read like this: “America and the EU live in parallel universes.” “There has never been such a rift before.” “Europe is further away from Washington than ever.” “There will be no return to close trans-Atlantic ties.” At the same time, Europe rediscovers its “need” to become a strong military power in the light of America’s “disengagement” from Europe and its “lack of commitment to Europe.” Where will all of this lead?
“Deutschland in Aufruhr und Chaos,” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Germany in Uproar and Chaos.”
“Der Abfall hat schon begonnen,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Falling Away Has Already Begun.”
“Think Like God,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
“Giving Up for Gain,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Some of the wealthiest men in the Bible were called upon to walk away from their monetary comforts in order to pursue a relationship with God. Anything, including money, that engulfs our attention, is a means to drive a wedge between our relationship with God. While God promises to always take care of our “needs”, we must be willing to ignore our “wants” if they draw us away from God.
Initial information about our 2020 Feast sites (US and Germany) is posted on our website along with contact information.
The 2020 Church Conference will be conducted in Escondido, California. Arrival will be Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and departure is scheduled for Monday, March 30, 2020.
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This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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