|Live Services||Both Feet In / The Destruction of Germany|
|Editorial||Pressing Towards Our Goal|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Why was the religious establishment usually at odds with Jesus? (Part 4)|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Both Feet In / The Destruction of Germany
On June 27, 2020, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Both Feet In,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “The Destruction of Germany.”
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.
Pressing Towards Our Goal
by Robb Harris
It has never been more important to push towards eternal salvation than right now. While that statement is completely true for those of us presently called, it equally applied to Christians living throughout the history of the true Church. Our calling hinges on choices we make today. We cannot change our past actions nor can we direct our future with absolute precision. But today, we can point ourselves in a righteous direction and be assured, through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, that our path will lead to success.
Our decision to change and commit ourselves must not be with any reservations. When Lot’s wife turned back, she lost her means to escape sin because she wasn’t fit for a life leading to Godly freedom. From His disciples, Jesus required (and requires today) complete submission to His lead.
When Jesus walked the earth, many flocked to Him with a desire to become His disciples. But He required proof of commitment above just simple desire. “Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, ‘Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’ Then He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.’ And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:57-62).
The apprehension and wavering in their willingness to commit most likely cost those men a place as the firstborn of God. But they weren’t alone in a reluctance, especially when difficulties arose in understanding. When Christ talked about the necessity of eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood, “…many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?… From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:60,66).
When given the opportunity to change, we must have the willingness to do it today. We cannot put our salvation on the back-burner, hoping to get to it when we feel better equipped. We must have the same courage and zeal to change that the core disciples of Christ demonstrated. “And as He [Christ] walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him” (Mark 1:16-20).
These men, by faith, stepped away from everything and followed Christ. God is faithful and patient (see 2 Peter 3:9), but we must not test His patience in our own unwillingness to change. We must keep stride with Christ because His lead is all we have as a guide in this ungodly world. Paul summed up this immediacy quite well, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25 NIV). Let us all demonstrate our zeal today, as though our choices determine our entrance into the Kingdom of God, because they do.
by Norbert Link
We begin with a short article containing serious warnings of coming global massive disasters—far worse than the coronavirus; address Israel’s announced annexation of the West Bank; report on Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz’s strong support for Israel and his friendship with Benjamin Netanyahu; Hezbollah’s threat against Israel; the modern Sodom of Tel Aviv; and fears of anti-Israel legislation in Europe.
We continue with an unprecedented civil war-like riot in Germany and the discussion about a European nuclear bomb.
We address the contemplated withdrawal of American troops from Germany and former US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell’s, “revengeful” involvement in the matter; Americans’ fear of the future; the uncertain destination for DACA; and announcements of more visa restrictions.
We address Anthony Fauci’s attack on “anti-science beliefs” and the “anti-vaccination movement”; and we publish several articles on the highly controversial mandate of wearing face masks, which is dividing the country; the growing movement of destroying America’s heritage under the disguise of “fighting against racism”; and attempts of prohibiting freedom of speech; and address the destruction of America’s monuments and statues. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “The Paradox of BLM and the Fight against Racism.”
We conclude with an eye-opening powerful piece discussing the extremely troublesome agenda and conduct of the “Black Lives Matter Movement” in the UK.
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
Coming… Massive Disaster Worse than Covid-19?
Market Watch wrote on June 19:
“Analysts [at Deutsche Bank] say there is at least a one-in-three chance that at least one of four major tail risks will occur within the next decade: a major influenza pandemic killing more than two million people; a globally catastrophic volcanic eruption; a major solar flare; or a global war… Earthquakes were omitted from the numbers on the grounds that they are more local events…
“Another point made is that these major events tend to have ripple effects as well, just as the current COVID-19 crisis has led to fraying ties between the U.S. and China.”
Massive disasters are prophesied to occur soon.
US Republican Leadership Support Annexation
Breaking Israel News reported on June 22:
“Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has been circulating a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in support of Israel expected to annex parts of Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank… The letter, signed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Republican Conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), emphasizes support for Israel and its right to make its own decisions…
“The Israeli government plans to enact annexation starting July 1.”
Israel’s Planned Annexation
The Times of Israel wrote on June 19:
“Though Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank hasn’t happened yet, on the ground its tremors are already being felt. The first victim of the fracas around annexation is the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, halted last month…
“Fatah’s militant offshoot the Tanzim, the slumbering beast that fueled the Second Intifada in its early days, is starting to wake up and exhibiting a growing presence in the West Bank. Tanzim members have increasingly been seen operating in Qalqilya and Hebron, and they are very present in the area surrounding Jerusalem, with East Jerusalem residents reporting hearing increased gunfire in the area’s villages and refugee camps.
“It was not actually annexation that awakened the beast, but rather the pandemic: Fatah leaders who sent the field operators into villages, often armed, in order to enforce COVID-19 discipline, are now finding it difficult to remove them again. In isolated locations such strongmen can claim more and more autonomy, engage in criminal activities and become a nuisance for both residents and Israeli security forces…
“… There are [allegedly] already 12 or 13 European states that are willing to recognize a Palestinian state under occupation in the event of an Israeli annexation…”
In addition, Breaking Israel News wrote on June 24:
“The E.U. states against Israeli sovereignty are Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Malta and Finland, while on the pro-Israel side are Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Cyprus and Poland, the report said, citing E.U. diplomats, cables and meeting transcripts.
“France and Spain are siding against Israel but are not being as vocal about it, and Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy are in the middle.”
The list might not be totally accurate. It does not appear correct to say that Germany or France are in the middle. They would be better listed as being against Israel.
It is indeed to be expected that certain European countries will support the Palestinians against Israel. However, Austria might not be one of them. Note the next article.
Sebastian Kurz’s Strong Support for Israel
JTA wrote on June 19:
“Austria is led by one of the country’s most remarkable politicians in recent decades: Sebastian Kurz, who was elected chancellor in 2017 at just 31 years old. Kurz is immediately striking for a world leader…
“Following a scandal in an allied party last year that collapsed Kurz’s parliament coalition and forced a new election, the People’s Party came back even stronger, winning nine new parliament seats…
“One of the fellow world leaders Kurz feels closest to is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That could help explain why Kurz has reversed his country’s stance toward Israel during his tenure from very critical to very supportive. Austria is the only Western European nation whose government is actively shielding the Jewish state from sanctions by the European Union over Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. New sanctions would require complete consensus among its 27 members…
“In March, he was the only world leader to congratulate Netanyahu on what Kurz termed Netanyahu’s ‘clear election victory’ earlier that month… The chancellor’s biggest homage to Netanyahu came during the coronavirus crisis, when Kurz publicly credited the prime minister for advice on how Austria should handle the pandemic.
“In a March interview with the German Bild daily, Kurz… added a note: ‘…Thank God for Bibi Netanyahu…’
“In a 2017 video speech for the American Jewish Committee, Kurz recalled Austria’s incorporation into Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, calling it the darkest period in our history. ‘But it also guides my political work today,’ he said. This means ‘a zero-tolerance approach’ to anti-Semitism and that ‘we have to be a strong partner of Israel’…
“Kurz was among a handful of European leaders who publicly chided Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for saying in 2018 that Israel’s land should be ‘returned to the owners.’ Austria’s parliament this year passed a resolution calling the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel a form of anti-Semitism. It has also labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
“Those who know Kurz in Austria and Israel told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his pro-Israel policies offer him few political dividends, but he adheres to them in any case because of his convictions and values….”
This would almost certainly rule out Sebastian Kurz as the prophesied end-time European anti-Israeli leader. In addition, Ahval News reported on June 22: “Kurz said Austria was in favour of ‘close cooperation among EU countries’ but not a European army…”
The prophesied end-time European military leader will of course be an ardent supporter of a strong and powerful European army.
Hezbollah Threatens Israel with Precise Missile Attacks
“The Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group on Saturday released a video threatening to strike major Israeli cities with precision guided missiles and claiming that it has the capability to hit ‘very precise targets’ anywhere in Israel… Hezbollah is believed to have over 150,000 missiles… Israel fears in a future war, the terror group could use a barrage of precision missiles to attack sensitive facilities and overwhelm its air defense array…
“Hezbollah was formed in the early 1980s with assistance from Iran to counter and harass Israel, which occupied southern Lebanon following the 1982 First Lebanon War… Over the years — and with ample Iranian training, funding and support — the terror group turned from a small guerrilla outfit… into a more powerful terrorist organization with thousands of simple rockets that it rained down on northern Israel and advanced anti-tank guided missiles that it fired at IDF positions in southern Lebanon. A full-scale war erupted in 2006.
“Iran-backed Hezbollah… fights alongside the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the neighboring country’s civil war. It is Tehran’s most potent proxy on the regional scene and also wields significant influence in Lebanese politics.”
Hezbollah’s terrorists are a continuing threat to the safety of Israel.
Tel Aviv… modern Sodom?
Times of Israel wrote on June 21:
“The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality on Sunday said it would allow cohabiting couples to register their relationship and enjoy marital rights, in a protest of the government’s refusal to recognize same-sex couples or those not wed under the state’s religious authorities. Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai said the move, coinciding with the country’s Pride Week, makes those who register eligible for housing tax discounts, as well as easing enrollment of their children in public daycares and schools. ‘In honor of Pride Week, we decided to challenge the government and allow couples to register on the basis of a declaration,’ said the mayor…
“Though same-sex marriage is not technically illegal in Israel, there is no institution authorized to carry it out. In a system inherited from Ottoman times, people can only marry in Israel through their religious institutions: Jewish couples must marry through the Chief Rabbinate, which refuses to carry out same-sex or interfaith marriages; and Christians, Druze and Muslims all marry through their own state-sanctioned and publicly funded religious legal systems…”
Even though interfaith marriages are included, the gist of the move deals with same-sex marriages.
“Curbing Religious Freedom With Ban on Kosher Slaughter”
The Algemeiner wrote on June 22:
“One of Europe’s top rabbis has warned that Jews on the continent may no longer be able to consume kosher meat because of legislation targeting ‘shechita’ — the Jewish method of slaughtering animals for human consumption. ‘Shechita is a vital religious practice within the Jewish faith that forms an inherent part of our religious identity, without which Jews would be deprived of the ability to eat meat,’ Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt — president of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) — said in a statement on Monday.
“Goldschmidt was speaking ahead of a hearing at the European Court of Justice in July that is expected to rule on the legality of the ban on Jewish and Muslim slaughter methods adopted by Belgium in January 2019. The hearing had originally been scheduled for April 21, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Goldschmidt said that the supply chain of kosher meat in Europe was not strong enough to rely solely on imports. ‘In recent months, and particularly over the recent Passover holiday, which of course came at the height of the pandemic in Europe, the supply chain was simply not robust and many communities in Belgium — and indeed throughout Europe — suffered a shortage of meat due to the lack of supplies,’ he stated…
“If the ban was to be upheld, Goldschmidt remarked, the ‘message would be clear: Jews are not welcome.’ He continued: ‘Such a notion is abhorrent and so I implore the judges to look at the evidence in front of them and do not allow the processes to be hijacked by intolerance under the guise of a concern for animal welfare regulations.’”
However, Europe’s left-liberal anti-Jewish judges might very well issue a prohibition of “shechita.”
Unprecedented Civil War-Like Riots in Germany
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 21:
“Police in Stuttgart have arrested 24 suspects over rioting and looting that erupted in the German city early Sunday morning… Police said hundreds of mainly young people who had gathered there started throwing stones and bottles at authorities, smashing patrol cars and breaking shop windows. They then tore through the main shopping district. Officers estimated that up to 500 people were involved in the unrest, which took several hours to bring under control.
“Police President Frank Lutz said the level of violence against officers was ‘unprecedented’… ‘These are incredible events that have left me stunned, and that I’ve never experienced in all my 46 years of police service,’ he said…
“Winfried Kretschmann, the premier of the state of Baden-Württemberg where Stuttgart is located, condemned ‘this brutal outbreak of violence’… Sascha Binder, a regional politician from the center-left SDP, described the violence as ‘civil war-like scenes.’”
People are getting more and more upset and violent. Terrible times lie ahead.
A European Nuclear Bomb?
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 20:
“Days after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of roughly one third of US troops stationed in Germany, the shock still lingers. Politicians at every level are grappling with the consequences… Germany’s foreign minister is worried about the further deterioration of relations with the US… Germany has been a key component of the US defense strategy in Europe for decades, with US nuclear weapons — to be delivered by German fighter jets in a moment of crisis — stationed here…
“‘It is entirely unclear where this journey is heading and what security risks lie ahead,’ said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, vice president of the Berlin-based German Marshall Fund… He told DW the weakening of ties between Germany and the US is damaging to the whole of Europe… ‘Europe will have to take on more responsibility,’ said Roderich Kiesewetter, a former military officer who is now a parliamentary foreign policy expert for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party…
“[Is] Germany ready for a paradigm shift — working toward a Europe that can protect itself, without the US? Should that… option be the secret desire of German politicians, it would no doubt bring out every last EU political and military heavyweight between Berlin and Paris. And it would also put the spotlight on an uncomfortable issue for the Germans: their stance on nuclear weapons — which are, after all, considered the last guarantor of independent sovereignty… Still, the issue of whether or not to create a European nuclear umbrella could well arise should Trump complete a US withdrawal from Europe that started long before he came to office…
“The one seemingly intractable conflict inherent in the idea of a ‘European bomb,’ however, is the question of who would decide to use it when a split-second decision is needed. In France, that duty falls to the president, who is closely followed everywhere he goes by an officer carrying the nation’s nuclear codes… Germany will likely have to get used to the French nuclear mindset in the coming years…”
Ten European nations or groups of nations will have a powerful army with nuclear weapons, and it will indeed be the “beast”—a political and military leader—who will have authority to decide as to when to use them.
German Leadership Needed
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 23:
“NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg touted the importance of German leadership, following US President Donald Trump’s controversial move to announce the withdrawal of 9,500 US troops from Germany. ‘The world needs more German leadership,’ Stoltenberg told DW. ‘NATO needs German leadership. We all need Germany to play an even more important role because Germany is the largest economy in Europe.’
“In the interview, Stoltenberg highlighted an increase in Germany’s defense budget as significant. ‘I value Germany as a very strong and important ally. And Germany is now actually investing significantly more in defense… Germany now has the largest defense budget with the European Union, and third in NATO behind the United Kingdom and the United States…’”
And so, Germany WILL lead Europe militarily very soon.
Trump Rally in Tulsa
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 22:
“During his speech Trump appeared to make light of the coronavirus, which has claimed at least 120,000 lives in the US, by referring to it as the ‘kung flu.’ He also said he had instructed people to slow down coronavirus testing because more tests lead to a higher case count. In his remarks Trump singled out Germany, saying it owed the US $1 trillion (€890 billion).
“‘We’re supposed to protect Germany from Russia, but they are paying billions of dollars to Russia for a brand new pipeline,’ he said, referring to the Nord Stream 2 project. He described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as ‘a very nice woman, very good negotiator’ but accused Germany of ‘ripping off’ the US.”
Trump added that this is the reason why he will withdraw American troops from Germany. Germany—and Europe—hotly dispute the notion that Germany owes the US or anybody any money, stating that this is not how the arrangement with NATO works.
Trump’s Former Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, Gets His Revenge
Der Spiegel wrote on June 15:
“… when the news made the rounds in late May that Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard ‘Ric’ Grenell, would be leaving his posting early, the reactions ranged from glee to relief. Former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) described Grenell’s departure as ‘an act of kindness.’ He joked that Trump must still have a soft spot for the Germans after all. ‘Over generations, every ambassador I have met left Germany as a friend and respected partner,’ writes Andreas Nick, a lawmaker with Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) specializing in foreign policy. Grenell, he says, behaves like ‘the representative of a hostile power.’
“Grenell reacted in his own way to the jubilation. In late May, he tweeted: ‘You make a big mistake if you think the American pressure is off. You don’t know Americans.’ It sounded like a threat. It’s now clear that it was. On Friday of last week, shortly after Grenell left Berlin, it became known in Washington that Trump was planning to drastically reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany… the decision was made extremely quickly by a circle of three men: the president, his security advisor Richard O’Brien – and Grenell…
“Grenell is seen as the driving force behind the withdrawal plans… According to officials in the German government, the reduction of U.S. troops won’t have grave consequences for Germany’s security. But the symbolic damage to the German-American relationship, which has already been battered under Trump, is severe. Since the end of the Second World War, the presence of U.S. soldiers in Germany has been an important symbol of the closeness between the two countries…
“[Grenell] was a pariah in Berlin’s political circles. Even Merkel steered clear of the diplomat. In summer of 2019, Grenell threatened to withdraw U.S. troops if the German government didn’t accede to American calls to raise the defense budget to 2 percent of gross national product (GNP), as NATO members had pledged to do by 2024… Officials in Berlin were shocked by the tone.
“At the time, Trump was also considering reducing the contingent of U.S. troops… Trump backed away from the plan, apparently partly because the proposal didn’t get a very positive reaction from Republicans in Congress or at the Department of Defense… Trump was annoyed that Merkel ruined his plan to hold a G-7 Summit in Washington…”
It appears that both Trump and Grenell are acting, at least in part, because of revenge. Whatever the motive, the irreparable harm towards the relationship between the USA and Europe continues.
“U.S. Likely to Be Left out of Europe”
The Los Angeles Times wrote on June 24:
“The headline in a leading German newspaper [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung] put it succinctly: ‘Cuba yes, USA no.’ With the European Union moving toward reopening external borders on July 1, travelers from the United States could be among those excluded… No decision has yet been made. But for the holders of dark-blue American passports and even U.S. green cards, such a restriction would mark a humbling reversal — and to some, a symbol of Washington’s slipping prestige…
“In European countries long counted as among America’s closest allies, the news of the U.S. potentially being left off the travel list is drawing mixed emotions — sympathy and unease, hard-nosed realism and in some quarters a touch of scorn. Many staunch supporters of transatlantic ties genuinely mourn any fresh distancing from a country that is warmly remembered for helping the continent back to its feet after the devastation of World War II…
“Germany’s Der Spiegel newsmagazine said EU internal discussions centered on two key criteria: the level of new infections in a given country, and also reciprocity–if EU citizens are not allowed in, that country’s chances of its own citizens being allowed in are low, it said. In a summer season already blighted by the pandemic, U.S. visitors would be sorely missed…”
Americans Very Stressed over America’s Future
Study Finds wrote on June 19:
“The year 2020 feels like a crossroads for the United States. With a pivotal election just around the corner, protests in the streets, and a deadly virus that refuses to disappear, our nation hasn’t felt this vulnerable and divided in ages… A staggering 83% say that worrying about the future of the United States is a big source of personal stress. Also, 72% believe this is the lowest point in the country’s history that they’ve ever been alive to see.
“…66% of respondents say that the government’s ongoing response to the coronavirus continues to stress them out on a daily basis. Among that group, 84% are mostly worried about the federal government’s response. More than… 72% are concerned about their state leaders. Another 64% feel unstrung over their local government…”
It won’t get better.
The Uncertain Future of DACA
Newsmax wrote on June 19:
“President Donald Trump, claiming nothing was lost or won by the Supreme Court’s ruling on his efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, says he will submit ‘enhanced papers’ to try again. The high court on Thursday ruled that Trump improperly ended DACA in 2017. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices in the 5-4 majority, while the conservative justices called DACA illegal… On Thursday [Trump] ripped the high court for ‘horrible and politically charged decisions.’…
“Trump could still take away the ability for hundreds of thousands of them to live and work legally in the United States. With no legislative answer in sight, that means the uncertainty of the last eight years isn’t over for many who know of nowhere else as home. Activists… face a White House that’s prioritized immigration restrictions and a divided Congress that’s unlikely to pass legislation giving them a path to citizenship anytime soon…
“While Republicans protested that now, if ever, was the time for Congress to clarify the immigration system, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear that Democrats were done with their legislation before the summer break…”
It is terrible when political maneuvering decides the fate of thousands of innocent people.
New Visa Restrictions Coming
Reuters wrote on June 20:
“President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would announce new restrictions on visas… to block the entry of certain foreign workers and protect Americans struggling with a job market devastated by the coronavirus pandemic…
“Critics have said Trump looked set to use the pandemic to achieve his longstanding goal of limiting immigration into the United States. His tough stance on immigration is central to his pitch to voters as he runs for re-election. Major American companies, particularly in the tech sector, have urged Trump to refrain from blocking the flow of foreign workers into the United States, saying it would hurt the economy…
“In April, he ordered a temporary block on some foreigners from permanent residence in the United States. He also… virtually cut off access to the U.S. asylum system. At the same time, he announced the land borders with Canada and Mexico would be closed to non-essential crossings, a measure that has been extended several times.”
To be clear, we do not support open borders. The USA, or any country for that matter, cannot just let in hard-core criminals or those who want to destroy the country. Some inquiries and measures of protection are certainly necessary. But arbitrary restrictions are to be rejected, such as prohibitions of chain migration (legal residents and US citizens would be unable to bring their parents into the country, or vice versa) or preventing legal residents from obtaining a green card or truly persecuted aliens from being granted asylum; nor would deportations of those innocent aliens be justified who entered the USA under DACA.
As it turned out, Trump’s visa restrictions this time were relatively mild. Subsequently, Trump, by executive order, extended the 60-day ban on certain foreign work visas. Tech executives did not like this decision.
IBT wrote on June 23:
“The new restrictions will come into effect on June 24, and are expected to block 219,000 temporary workers from entering the U.S…. Companies like Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Tesla, Microsoft and industry bodies, such as the Internet Association (IA), Information Technology Industry Council and Information Technology Industry Council, have also strongly opposed the move…
“‘IA condemns the administration’s latest executive order that will limit the number of high-skilled foreign workers from entering the country through the end of the year. The diverse and accomplished H-1B visa holders in the U.S. create American jobs and help our economy grow. All industries benefit from a visa system that allows U.S. companies to attract the best and brightest…’”
Fauci Attacks “Anti-Science Beliefs” and “Anti-Vaccination Movement”
The Huffington Post wrote on June 19:
“Dr. Anthony Fauci… said Thursday he was troubled by the rise in ‘anti-science’ beliefs throughout the country, saying such ill-founded sentiments could be ‘a problem’ as the nation seeks to move past the coronavirus pandemic… ‘That’s unfortunate because, you know, science is truth,’ he added…
“Fauci touted efforts across the United States to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus… But he also warned that the anti-vaccination movement could undermine such efforts… ‘It’s the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers, who don’t want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines. That’s really a problem.’”
The problem is that, in spite of Fauci’s claims, even vaccines in general are not as safe as some “scientists” want us to believe. But that would be especially true in the case of a rushed-through vaccine against the coronavirus.
Vaccinating Children to Help the Adults?
The Guardian wrote on June 23:
“Lords committee told children may have to be immunised to protect their grandparents.
“A vaccine against Covid-19 may not work well in older people who are most at risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from the disease, say scientists, which may mean immunising others around them, such as children…
“Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, who is heading its Covid-19 vaccine research, told the Lords committee that none of the 140 vaccines in development was likely to be perfect, but said a useful vaccine did not have to be 100% effective…
“As the numbers of people infected with coronavirus fall in England and the rest of the UK, it becomes more difficult to trial vaccines there, so she and colleagues have embarked on a trial in Brazil, where the numbers are high, and are about to start in South Africa as well. Astra Zeneca, to whom the vaccine is licensed, is setting up a trial of 30,000 people in the US, she said.”
Breitbart wrote on June 18:
“California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday signed an order making wearing face coverings mandatory while in public or high-risk settings… Californians will be required to wear a mask while in line or inside public spaces, at the workplace, and when waiting for or while riding public transportation… People engaged in hiking, running or bicycling do not need to wear a mask. Children under two-years-old and individuals with medical conditions are also exempt from the order. ‘Science shows that face coverings and masks work,’ Newsom said in a statement.”
According to many scientists, science does NOT show that face coverings and masks work. Newsom’s new order also prohibits having parties at home, involving people outside one’s household, including pool or cocktail parties, but it was reported that police won’t (be able to) enforce those “guidelines.”
Reuters wrote on June 19:
“Resistance to face masks took on a partisan edge after President Donald Trump opposed them, telling the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Thursday that some people wear them to show opposition to him. But… masks are becoming commonplace in the United States….”
USA Today wrote on June 19:
“[Arnold] Schwarzenegger said [Newsom’s] decision is ‘100% the right move. This will help us beat this terrible virus,’ tweeted Schwarzenegger, the state’s governor from 2003 to 2011. ‘The science is unanimous… It’s not a political issue. Anyone making it a political issue is an absolute moron who can’t read.’
“Newsom’s new requirement waded into the growing national divide over face masks, which are often cast as either a common courtesy to stem the spread of coronavirus or an infringement on personal freedom. It has led to tense confrontations, particularly in Southern California. Mask matters have been rendered political after President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who have been pushing for a fast restart of the U.S. economy, refused to wear masks in a number of public settings.”
The truth is, science is NOT unanimous on the issue at all. Our advice to Mr. Schwarzenegger: Since you are no longer state governor, stick to your movies and stop libeling people by calling them illiterate morons who may disagree with your hotly debated viewpoint. Note the next section.
Breitbart explained on June 19:
“But far from being ‘unanimous,’ public health officials have issued confusing and sometimes contradictory statements about the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. Near the beginning of the global outbreak, U.S. experts discouraged people from wearing masks. But now, many are urging the opposite.
“As a result, masks have become a political football…”
npr added on June 19:
“… [Newsom’s order] is likely to be met with resistance, pitting the governor against local government leaders who have dropped mandatory mask-wearing measures. In many such counties and cities, residents and business owners eager to return to pre-pandemic life have challenged the need for the widespread use of face coverings…”
Nevada City Mayor Suggests Citizens Ignore California Mask Order
SF Gate wrote on June 21:
“The mayor of Nevada City suggested citizens do not need to follow California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide mask mandate in a Facebook post Saturday. ‘As you go about your day today, KNOW there is NO LAW that Orders you to Wear a Mask. Our Governor does NOT have that unilateral power to make such orders…’ [she wrote].
“‘Again, THERE IS NO LAW THAT STATES YOU MUST WEAR A MASK. Ask our local Police chief or officers. They will not, and cannot, cite ANYBODY for not wearing a mask because the law does not exist. When you come across Newsom’s orders’ online, you will see it’s linked to a page that does not lead you to his Executive Order, BUT to the California Department of Public Health GUIDELINES! Again, NOBODY can be forced to wear a mask outside, in a business, or as an employee or customer.’”
A country or a state divided cannot and will not stand and survive…
When Face Masks Could be Hazardous to your Health
The British paper, “The Conversation,” wrote on June 15:
“… a mask makes it harder to inhale the quantity of air needed to perform at the highest levels… Exercise invariably leads to faster and harder breaths, so wearing a mask during exercise places a further strain on airflow…
“When we do heavy exercise (“fencing” was given as an example), our muscles produce lactic acid, which causes that burning sensation. It is then converted to carbon dioxide and exhaled. But what happens if the carbon dioxide is trapped by the mask? As you move from moderate to heavy exercise, you may be re-breathing carbon dioxide, which can reduce cognitive function and increase breathing rate. There may also be less oxygen in the recycled air… So it is important we gain a better understanding of the limitations of heavy exercise with a face mask.
“The need for this understanding is growing, given the story… of two teenage boys in China dying within a week of each other during compulsory physical education examinations while wearing face masks. With gyms looking to reopen and sports clubs wanting to resume, before anyone recommends wearing a face mask, research urgently needs to be undertaken to ensure the safety of the sporting community, regardless of any underlying conditions.”
Wise counsel. Before mandating wearing face masks to combat coronavirus, other health concerns stemming from wearing masks must not be ignored.
Blacks Exempt in Oregon
Fox News reported on June 24:
“Amid ‘heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment,’ a county in Oregon is allowing its residents of color to be in public without coronavirus face coverings… ‘No person shall intimidate or harass people who do not comply,’ health officials said.
“‘For many black people, deciding whether or not to wear a bandanna in public to protect themselves and others from contracting coronavirus is a lose-lose situation that can result in life-threatening consequences either way,’ ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, said.”
This is the epitome of hypocrisy.
Eliminating the Aunt Jemima Brand of Pancake Mix and Syrup?
Breitbart reported on June 18:
“A great-grandson of ‘Aunt Jemima’ says that his family legacy will be ‘erased’ now that Quaker Foods plans to eliminate the Aunt Jemima brand of pancake mix and syrup. ‘This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history, sir,’ said Larnell Evans Sr. to Patch.com. ‘The racism they talk about, using images from slavery, that comes from the other side — white people.’
“The great-grandson went on to say that ‘it hurts’ to know that Quaker Foods’ answer to current events in America is to ‘erase my great-grandmother’s history.’ Evans, a 66-year-old Marine Corps veteran, is the great-grandson of Anna Short Harrington, who portrayed Aunt Jemima after the death of Nancy Green — the first Aunt Jemima who made her debut at Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893.
“Harrington was born on a South Carolina plantation where her family worked as sharecroppers and was later discovered in 1935 by a Quaker Oats representative at the New York State Fair while serving pancakes, reports Patch.com. The report added that Harrington later became a national celebrity as her likeness was seen on products and ads while she traveled the country serving pancakes dressed as Aunt Jemima. ‘She worked for that Quaker Oats for 20 years,’ said Evans. ‘She traveled all the way around the United States and Canada making pancakes as Aunt Jemima for them. This woman served all those people, and it was after slavery.’ ‘She worked as Aunt Jemima. That was her job,’ he added. ‘How do you think I feel as a black man sitting here telling you about my family history they’re trying to erase?’
“On Wednesday, Quaker Foods announced that it will be eliminating Aunt Jemima in order ‘to make progress toward racial equality.’ The Aunt Jemima brand has been around for the last 130 years.”
This decision is ridiculous and shows what happens when a false spirit of supposedly “fighting racism” overtakes the world. Note the next articles with more counter-productive nonsense.
Prohibiting “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”?
The Daily Mail wrote on June 18:
“The RFU [Rugby Football Union] are conducting a review into how rugby can end institutional racism. ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ [was] written by a black slave in the American South during the nineteenth century, the song was first belted out by supporters when two black wingers – Martin Offiah and Chris Oti – became sporting heroes on the pitch at the end of the 1980s.”
Are these people for real?
Freedom of Speech in America?
Newsmax wrote on June 17:
“A Catholic chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has stepped down after sending an email that read George Floyd ‘had not lived a virtuous life’… Daniel Patrick Moloney sent the note out on June 7 to the Catholic community at MIT. ‘George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn’t have been. He had not lived a virtuous life. He was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, which he seems to have committed to feed his drug habit. And he was high on drugs at the time of his arrest. But we do not kill such people,’ Moloney said.
“The email continued, ‘In the wake of George Floyd’s death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is a major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.’
“Moloney continued in his email by saying police officers ‘deal with dangerous people and bad people all the time, and that often hardens them.’ Suzy Nelson, MIT’s vice president and dean for student life, called Moloney’s email ‘deeply disturbing’ in a message to students on Friday. ‘By devaluing and disparaging George Floyd’s character, Father Moloney’s message failed to acknowledge the dignity of each human being and the devastating impact of systemic racism,’ Nelson wrote.
“The Boston Archdiocese asked Moloney to step down. ‘While Fr. Moloney’s comments should not reflect on the entirety of his priestly ministry, they nonetheless were wrong and by his resignation he accepts the hurt they have caused,’ archdiocese officials said…”
The hype following George Floyd’s unjustifiable murder has reached unjustifiable extremes. During the televised memorial service for him, a huge blasphemous painting was shown throughout the ceremony, portraying him as an angel with wings and with a halo or a gloriole.
Mount Rushmore Won’t Escape
Breitbart wrote on June 23:
“There is no way Mount Rushmore can survive… We have crossed the Rubicon and there is no going back… Before the… [r]iots, as a country, on the right and left, we all agreed there was one line that could never be crossed; that we could never, ever, ever condone or encourage violence of any kind…
“Gandhi and… Martin Luther King understood… [c]ivilization could be made to see the light through peaceful resistance and civil disobedience… On the left today, most especially in the media, that culture King and Gandhi knew it could appeal to, is dead… violence is acceptable now…
“The modern left’s goals, the modern media’s goals, the goals of… Antifa and Black Lives Matter are immoral, are the authoritarian goals of tyrants who want to tell us how to think and what to believe, what we can and cannot say… They want total control of our children by way of a failed school system, they want total control of that which shapes our culture by way of an entertainment institution that blacklists those who think different, they want total control of political speech…
“We now live in a world where a very public Black Lives Matter organizer, Shaun King, can openly call for the destruction of Christian churches while Twitter allows the call for mob violence to remain published [while they place a warning message on Trump’s tweets for “threat of harm” or “abusive behavior” against DC protestors. Trump had tweeted: “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!”] and the media protect King and Black Lives Matter by ignoring it.
“We now live in a world where Democrat politicians are doing nothing to stop the violence in their own cities, where the police are obviously being told to stand down as lawless mobs gleefully stream the statues they topple and monuments they desecrate, where a big city mayor sides with [those] who occupied six city blocks filled with hundreds of businesses and private residences. We now live in a world where violence against President Trump and his supporters is openly encouraged by the media….
“In this environment Mount Rushmore cannot survive. All four men carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota hills have been labeled ‘problematic’ by the left and media, this includes Abraham Lincoln. Already the location of Mount Rushmore is considered ‘problematic’ because it was once land that belonged to the American Indian…
“The… Riots are here to stay. The media and the Democrats who run America’s major cities see Antifa and Black Lives Matter as… their way to political power…”
We omitted the most “controversial” verbiage in the article.
In addition, to exemplify the ridiculous ignorance of certain protestors, statues of former President Ulysses S. Grant and lyricist Francis Scott Key were among those toppled Friday night in Golden Gate Park. Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and Grant led the Union army to victory against the Confederacy as a general and fought for African American voting rights as president. Both men were slave owners.
The Troublesome Black Lives Matter Movement in the UK
Esther Krauke wrote the following in the Sunday Mail on June 21:
“When I first moved to the UK from Ghana with my family in my early teens, the country that welcomed me was one where multiculturalism flourished and neighbours were warm and unassuming. Your achievements were not prefaced by the colour of your skin… It was a Britain where confidence trumped victimhood.
“But, much to my dismay, the tone has shifted entirely, and worryingly, over the past five years… I have grown increasingly concerned about the methods and the wider far-Left political agenda of the Black Lives Matter movement here in the UK. I have been horrified to watch this ridiculous campaign of tearing down statues and relics of British heritage escalate. It is a campaign that has yet to make any progress in tangibly helping me as a black person. And in recent weeks I have been increasingly vocal on Twitter about my concerns. But in doing so I have become targeted by a wave of vile online abuse… Most of this abuse was seemingly coming from black supporters of Black Lives Matter, including a significant amount from African-Americans, although I have also been abused by white liberals…
“What I have received this last week online has given me a glimpse into the darkest part of the human soul – the part that can muster up the most awful hatred… The slogan of this campaign is indisputable. Of course black lives matter. They matter in the same way that everyone’s life, by virtue of being human, matters. Every individual, of whatever skin colour, should have the right to pursue happiness and live free from prejudice. And where racial discrimination and injustice exists in this country, it should be stamped out.
“But a simple glance at the ‘Who We Are’ section on its online fundraising page demonstrates that this organisation is about much more than ‘black lives’. The group’s GoFundMe page explains that it intends to be ‘guided by a commitment to dismantle imperialism, capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and the state structures that disproportionately harm black people in Britain and around the world’. What on earth does ‘defending black lives’ have to do with dismantling capitalism – a system that has lifted millions of people out of absolute poverty in just this century alone? How would the tearing down of wealth creation benefit black lives?…
“There are also growing questions surrounding this organisation’s funding. BLM UK has raised over a million pounds in recent weeks… The group… appears determined to spend the money on a string of Marxist initiatives, which according to its GoFundMe page, includes ‘developing and delivering training, police monitoring and strategies for the abolition of police’… If we abolish the police, what do we replace it with?…
“We need to wake up and see that people are trying to divide this country and are using minority groups to do it. First it was statues, then it was a potential ban on Swing Low, Sweet Chariot being sung at rugby matches. When will this end? This small faction of Left-wing activists will never stop trying to tear this country apart and shaming every aspect of British heritage… My parents taught me the value of hard work, honesty, humility and standing up for the truth. I was taught to judge individuals on the content of their character, and I will never surrender to race baiters who try to bully me into submission…”
Very wise and true words indeed. The situation in the USA does not seem to be any different… perhaps even worse.
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.
Why was the religious establishment usually at odds with Jesus? (Part 4)
In the fourth part of this series, we will focus on “the Elders” and show their hostility toward Jesus Christ.
There are many references in the Bible to elders both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament references, the word elder is translated as “old, aged, aged as to days, bearded and grey headed.” The inference seems to be that with age and maturity there is wisdom to be had.
We read in Genesis 50:7: “So Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders (old, aged, bearded) of the land of Egypt.”
We read in Numbers 11:16-17: “So the Lord said to Moses: ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.’”
Here we read that the elders would receive from God some of the same Spirit that was given to Moses in order to help them in the duties that they were chosen to perform. (The word “elder” is again translated as “old, aged and bearded.”)
desiringgod.org points out:
“In general, then, we can say that, while through the long history of Israel the role of the elder no doubt changed, they were the older men of the community who, because of their wisdom in counsel and the natural honor due to them (Leviticus 19:32), became the official administrators or leaders of the community.
“In the Judaism of Jesus’ day the elders of Israel were still dominant. The most frequent use of the word ‘elder’ in the New Testament refers to the Jewish elders who opposed Jesus during his lifetime. Within the gospels and Acts ‘elders’ are most often viewed as forming a closely knit group with the ‘chief priests.’ Again and again we read of ‘the chief priests and elders of the people’ (Matthew 21:23; 26:3,47; 27:1 etc.). The term elder was probably very broad and would include members of the scribes as well as the Pharisees and Sadducees (cf. ‘traditions of the elders’ (Matthew 15:2; Acts 22:6)).”
biblestudy.org writes the following:
“In the New Testament, elders (of the people, of Israel, etc.) were older men who represented the people and who exercised a certain amount of authority over them. Existing at least as far back as the time of Moses, they were the governing foundation of different groups in the Bible. Elders were the first ones told, by Moses, about God’s plan to free the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 3:16). The Old Testament elders asked the prophet Samuel to place a human king (instead of God) over all the people (1 Samuel 8:5).
“Old Testament elders could represent a city or town (Deuteronomy 19:12, 1 Samuel 16:4), the people of a particular tribe (Numbers 22:7, Deuteronomy 31:28, 2 Samuel 19:11), a family (2 Samuel 12:17) or a country (Joshua 9:11). They were eligible to sit on the Sanhedrin, or properly the Great Sanhedrin, which met in Jerusalem and was the supreme council of the Jews.”
“The word translated as elder in the New Testament is the Greek word presbuteros (Strong’s Concordance #G4245), which generally is used to refer to older men respected by others as leaders and role models. The elders of the people were some of the most vehement adversaries against Jesus and his teachings. It was known, in advance, that the elders would play a big part in causing the suffering and death of Jesus (Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22). They, along with the chief priests and scribes, challenged Jesus’ authority just days before the crucifixion (Matthew 21:23, Luke 20:1-2).”
In Matthew 15:1-11 and Mark 7:1-13, Christ is challenged with the question as to why His disciples were “transgressing” the “tradition of the elders,” referring to eating clean meat with ritually “unwashed” hands. Christ responded by asking them why they were transgressing God’s commandment and making it “of no effect,” so that they could uphold their own traditions. He specifically referred to the tradition of “Korban” which allowed them to dishonour their parents.
Bible.org states the following:
“Jesus and his disciples had violated the ‘traditions of the elders’… as if those traditions were now authoritative and could be sinned against… the traditions of men had been elevated to the status of Scripture, so that one could be guilty of violating them…
“They could pronounce a vow on their things with the word, ‘Korban,’ meaning it is a gift… If because of greed, for example, a man did not want to help support his aging parents, he would announce ‘Korban.’ That would mean the money was frozen, and could not be used for taking care of the parents. Thus, they could use their traditions to get out of taking care of their father and mother (which the Law required). Then, they might find a way of nullifying the vow so they ended up keeping the money…”
Let us review additional Scriptures that clearly show that the involvement of the elders (and others) was complicit in accusations of and evil intentions towards Jesus, leading to His torture and murder.
Matthew 26:3-4 reads: “Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.”
This was just before the Passover where they were assembled together at the High Priest’s palace and where they tried to devise ways in order to kill Jesus. You do have to wonder what their “religion” really meant to them when they proposed to trick Jesus Christ and looked to having Him killed. This is even more remarkable as they would be keeping the Passover which should have reminded them as to how God saved the Israelites from death in Egypt. Those were hardly the actions of good and righteous men, even if they did disagree with His teaching. Rather, it showed their incredible hypocrisy and their spirit of murder.
Judas Iscariot “with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the elders of the people” (Matthew 26:47). However, it went even further than that as we read in Matthew 27:3-4: “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’”
After they had agreed with Judas to betray Jesus, they tried to deny any responsibility.
In Matthew 27, we read about the release of Barabbas when Pilate offered to free a prisoner. “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus” (Matthew 27:20).
In addition, we read in Matthew 27:41: “Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.’”
Here we have the scenario of someone dying in agony on the cross, and they, having been part of the conspiracy to murder Him, mock, incite and ridicule Him. Their religious approach was so open to ridicule by those who would expect better from their religious leaders!
Within a short space of time, they were further compounding their previous errors with bribery. Matthew 28:11-15 states: “Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, ‘Tell them, “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.’ So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”
In a very short space of time, the elders, along with the scribes and Pharisees were involved in trickery, releasing a criminal, paying 30 pieces of silver for information, mocked a dying man who was in agony on the cross and then paid money to bribe soldiers to lie about Christ’s disciples and to deny Christ’s resurrection. That is a shocking list of actions from supposedly “religious” men.
Their opposition to early Christianity didn’t stop there, and they continued their opposition by taking every opportunity that they could to destroy the early Christian movement. In Acts 4:5-7, we read: “And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them [the early apostles] in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this [that is, healing a sick man]?’”
The apostle Peter then addressed the “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel” (verses 8-12). Subsequently, the apostles were forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus (v 18.) “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (verses 19-20).
We read in Acts 6 that Stephen was accused of blasphemy, and we see the religious hierarchy, including the elders, inciting those prepared to lie and accuse: “Then they secretly induced men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’ And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. They also set up false witnesses who said, ‘This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law’” (Acts 6:11-13).
In the following chapter, after his address, we see that Stephen was stoned to death. The religious leaders may have felt vindicated with the result, even though they clearly understood that even by human standards, they committed murder, but it is something that they will have to answer for in the judgment.
Perhaps just one more example will again show how much the elders were involved in the persecution of the early Christians. In Acts 23, we read of a plot against the apostle Paul, who himself had persecuted the early church but had repented of that course of action after his conversion on the road to Damascus.
Some Jews “banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul” (verse 12). In verse 14, “They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, ‘We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul.’” The elders and the chief priests were the ones they approached. The elders continued to be among those who persecuted the people of God after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The discussion of the hypocritical “religious elders” at the time of Jesus must not be confused with the office of an ordained elder in the Church of God.
We state the following in our Q&A, “What is the meaning of the Biblical term, ‘elder’?”:
“Addressing now the word ‘elder’ within the confines of the Church of God, Peter called himself a ‘fellow elder.’ But he was also an apostle. In addition, John, who was also one of the original apostles, called himself ‘the elder’ (2 John 1; 3 John 1). However, we also read about a clear distinction, at times, between apostles and elders (Acts 15:4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4)…
“On the other hand, the word ‘bishop’ simply means ‘overseer.’ The Greek word is ‘episkopos’ and is applied to ‘elders’… (compare again Acts 20:17 with Acts 20:28, and Titus 1:5 with Titus 1:7, describing ‘elders’ as ‘bishops’ or ‘overseers’–in Greek, ‘episkopos.’). 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:7 describe the qualification of a ‘bishop’ or an ‘overseer’–that is, an elder. In its ultimate sense, the word ‘bishop’ is also applied to Jesus Christ (as is the word ‘Apostle’; compare Hebrews 3:1), as we read about Christ’s FUNCTION as a ‘Bishop’ in 1 Peter 2:25: ‘For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and OVERSEER [Greek, ‘episkopos,’ i.e. Bishop] of your souls.’…
“Paul and Peter… fulfilled several functions, roles and responsibilities, including the function of ‘prophet,’ ‘preacher,’ ‘teacher’ and ‘elder’…”
In our Q&A on Ephesians 4:11-12, we state:
“… the Bible speaks of the rank and office of Elder in numerous places.
“James 5:14 states: ‘Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.’
“Acts 14:23 writes: ‘So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.’
“Compare also 1 Timothy 5:17 and 1 Peter 5:5; and note 1 Timothy 4:14, referring to ‘the laying on of hands of the eldership.’”
Regarding the office and function of an elder in the church, we need to explain that the original definition of being “old, aged, aged as to days, bearded and grey headed” does not necessarily apply. Rather, the emphasis is on spiritual maturity, not being a novice in the faith (1 Timothy 3:6). For instance, Christ who was called an elder, was only 30 years old when He began to preach publicly. Paul warns that members should not despise the evangelist Timothy because of his youth (1 Timothy 4:12). It does not appear that any of the early apostles were “grey headed or aged.” When He was dying, Christ asked that His mother Mary would be treated by John as his mother.
Returning to the religious “elders” at the time of Christ who opposed Christ so that they could uphold their own traditions, this should be a warning to all of us in God’s true Church today, and especially elders in the ministry, not to replace God’s Law with our own concepts and ideas which are based on man’s philosophies and customs. One area where this could happen might be the commandment of God to keep the Sabbath. Our free booklets, “God’s Commanded Holy Days,” and “How to Keep the Sabbath,” explain in detail how to observe God’s weekly and annual Sabbath Days, while avoiding falling into the trap of human traditions and ideas.
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“The Paradox of BLM and the Fight against Racism,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Do the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement and violent riots and protests against racism really help the black community, or do they hurt them and others? Do they in fact contribute to the destruction of the USA and the UK? In this program, we will examine many examples to give you the indisputable answers to these questions.
“Sind Sie ein eitler Windhauch?” is the title of a new German split sermon for this Sabbath, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. The title in English: “Are You a Vain Breath of Wind?”
“Tun oder Sterben,” is the title of a new German split sermon for this Sabbath, presented by Michael Link. The title in English: “Do or Die.”
Last week’s German sermonette by Daniel Blasinger (“Vom Wesen der Freundschaft”) and the German sermon by Thilo Hanstein (“Ein Leben im Reich Gottes in der Zeit des Millenniums”) were also posted.
“Success With the Right Tools,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Mankind has been duped into believing that following ALL of God’s Laws is burdensome. But you cannot find success in following God if you aren’t willing to use ALL of the Laws He has provided us to know Him. We can only be transformed into children of God if our every action and thought is a reflection of His commandments.
“HEBREWS—Spoken to Us!” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The Book of Hebrews offers us a sweeping view of God’s salvation for us—for the firstfruits. The greatness of our calling at this time and the dire consequences if we fall away are messages by which we are now being judged. Will we hear what God is saying?
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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