July 10, 2020
Is It Worth It? / Just a Little Leaven
On July 11, 2020, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Is It Worth It?” and Rene Messier will present the sermon, titled, “Just a Little Leaven.”
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.
People of the Truth
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
Many years ago, I read a book, entitled “People of the Lie,” written by a psychiatrist. It is a book describing some people as being inherently evil as a way of life. The author points out that it is not just about doing evil things or sinning, which we all do, but being evil without ever acknowledging it. They may appear to be model citizens, hard workers, active in neighbourhood activities, but in their private life or family life, they may be continually evil. The author compared them with the biblical Pharisees.
It got me thinking that in our lives, we are not to be people of the lie, but God requires us to be people of the Truth. It helps to know what Truth is, and God describes it quite clearly for us. In Psalm 119:142 we read that God’s Law is Truth. So, Truth is based on the Law of God. In addition to that, we can read in John 14:6 that Christ Himself is the Truth as well as the Way and the Life. In all aspects of His life, He lived truth and is the One to define it. In John 17:17, where Christ is praying to His Father for His disciples, He asked God: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth.” So, the Bible itself is also a Book of Truth.
What was wrong with the Pharisees that the author of the book compared them with the people of the lie? Matthew 23 describes them very accurately. They certainly had an appearance of righteousness. They made long prayers but only for pretence (verse 14). They tithed exactly the required amount but ignored justice, mercy and faith (verse 23). Matthew 23:28 sums them up: “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Christ combined them with the scribes and called them hypocrites seven times in this chapter.
So how should we live so as not to be comparable with the Pharisees? God gives us many instructions in both the Old Testament and the New Testament for our way of life. Jeremiah 9:3 informs us that those who do evil continually are not valiant for the Truth. They are not striving or making every effort to live by Truth. In Psalm 15:2, David reminds us who will ultimately dwell with God in His holy hill: “He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart.” It is not just a matter of speaking truth outwardly, but being totally sincere with the Truth.
David reinforced this in Psalm 51:6: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts…” Truth must be a part of us, not just an outward show. Zechariah 8:16 shows us how we should interact with our neighbours: “These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbour; Give judgement in your gates for truth, justice and peace…” So, we are instructed here to be truthful to our neighbours, but not just our neighbours, but everyone with whom we have dealings, in order to bring about justice and peace.
We must also interact in truth with God. Christ said in John 4:23-24: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
There are some warnings for us that we must heed. One is in 2 Thessalonians 2:10. This informs us that some will “perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” When we love the Truth, we will want to embrace it and not let go of it. Otherwise, the warning is that if we do not love the Truth, we could be deceived and thereby might not be saved.
Another warning for us is in 1 John 1:8-10: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” Saying we have not sinned makes us just like the people of the lie and the Pharisees. Denying our sins makes us self-righteous, and if we do not admit and repent of our sins, we cannot be forgiven.
So, we must ensure that we are people of the Truth. We must embrace it, speak it and live by it. This is well pleasing to God.
by Norbert Link
We begin with extremely unsettling events in California, threatening Christian churches and our religious freedom and liberty. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “California’s Ongoing Persecution of Churches”.
At the same time, we report on California’s autocratic measures to enforce questionable mandates which will continue to destroy the economy, while pointing out conduct by the governor which appears to be hypocritical to some observers.
We continue with an article predicting, for thought-provoking reasons, the inevitability of civil war in the USA.
We speak on terrible consequences of governmental conduct regarding the coronavirus in Israel and Australia and quote President Trump’s claim that the coronavirus pandemic is by far not as serious in the USA as propagated by the left-wing mass media. This claim is strongly supported by Dr. Ron Paul, former Congressman and Presidential candidate, citing examples in Texas of deliberate falsifications of the pandemic statistics.
We speak on President Trump’s remarkable speech in celebration of the 4th of July at Mount Rushmore, which, to some observers, was the best speech that he ever gave as President, and come to John Wayne’s defense, by quoting his son’s experiences and impressions of his father. We also cite more examples of the nonsense propagated by the BLM movement.
We point out Germany’s deeply troubling hypocrisy towards Israel; Europe’s desire to “boost” their defense; a new discussion, initiated by the left-liberal SPD party, as to whether or not to re-introduce conscription in Germany; and we speak on collaboration between Russia and China against the USA; and China’s threats towards the UK.
We speak on the American and British embassies’ controversial decision to fly the rainbow flag in Moscow to celebrate “Pride Month”; and we discuss the unconscionable decision in Germany to criminally indict a Protestant pastor for speaking out against homosexuality.
We conclude with articles about meaningless lip services by the UN and the pope for a “global cease fire” “amid the coronavirus pandemic” (with the pope imploring the “virgin Mary” for help); and the uncertain future of the British monarchy.
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
California’s Ongoing Persecution of Churches
Breaking Israel News wrote on July 5:
“People in California can still attend their house of worship. But they are now being warned against singing or chanting during services… although California Governor Gavin Newsom initially allowed religious institutions to reopen in late May, the state is now saying that these institutions should ‘strongly consider discontinuing singing, group recitation, and other practices and performances… California’s health department… says that both singing and chanting are outright banned.
“California Senator Melissa Melendez cynically to the ban saying: ‘Singing, chanting and group recitation now banned in church by order of King Newsom. So basically you can go, you just can’t actually participate in active religious activities. But hey, shout “defund the police” all you want.’ Texas senator Ted Cruz (R) called the move ‘Grossly, transparently unconstitutional.’”
It is also grossly, transparently ungodly and violates the direct command of the Bible to SING to GOD (and not just “silently”) in Church services. Please see our booklet on that injunction, titled, “How to keep the Sabbath.” Also note our Q&A, “Do you have guidelines for proper appearance and conduct in your worship services?” Note also our Q&A on music.
We must obey God rather than men (see our new booklet on this topic).
The published comments to the above-quoted article were more than telling. Here are a few examples:
“Is it not ironic that the week we celebrate our freedom from King George III and Britain’s tyranny that the governor of California bans singing in public worship?! The freedom of worship is a constitutional protected right! Did the tyrant Gavin Newsom ban protests? Nope.”
“Now they are trying to prevent the Faithfull from praising the LORD , a time is coming when they will prevent the world from owning a HOLY BIBLE!!”
“Gavin Nuesence is the one who is spreading disease , the disease of ignorance and socialism / communism!”
“God created us to worship him. How dare man decree otherwise. God inhabits the praise of his people. This is a satanic move.”
“The devil, and his demons continue to have his way, for a while longer, until King Jesus returns.”
Church Leaders Oppose Newsom
Newsmax wrote on July 6:
“Faith leaders are decrying California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban last week on singing in houses of worship due to a surge in coronavirus cases… California’s new guidelines state that places of worship must ‘discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower,’ as health officials point to singing as a proven way to spread a virus.
“Sean Feucht, a pastor in Northern California, started a ‘Let Us Worship’ petition on his website, comparing Newsom to Pharoah by reading a verse from Exodus, ‘This is what the Lord says, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”
“He shared a post on Instagram showing images of him leading ‘illegal worship’ in Iraq in 2016, in North Korea in 2010, and in California on Friday, writing ‘Never in my life would I believe that it would be California in 2020.’ Feucht called the order an ‘unprecedented attack’ on the freedom of worship and said he is defying the ban. ‘Tens of thousands of people have been gathering outdoors in cities all across California and they have been screaming and chanting and protesting [as state officials encourage them],’ Feucht said, adding ‘can you see the hypocrisy? … It really is time that we take a stand and that we fight back.’
“Other faith leaders made similar protests, including Pastor Les Simmons of South Sacramento Christian Center, who told KCRA that in ‘the black culture, singing in churches goes all the way back from 400 years ago during slavery up until now. Singing was our thing that got us through.’”
CNN wrote on July 3:
“While the California Department of Public Health strongly recommends places of worship should continue to facilitate remote services, in-person services are currently permitted in California if proper measures are followed… Offering plates and similar items that move between people at places of worship have also been temporarily discontinued.”
This is dangerous conduct in the eyes of God! AND it constitutes hypocrisy. Note the next article.
Newsom’s New Order Conveniently Excludes Napa Valley
The Sun wrote on July 3:
“California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered wineries in 19 counties to close amid surging coronavirus cases — but his own winery and tasting room remains open…
“Indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, museums, and cardroom gambling businesses were ordered to close down. The updated coronavirus restrictions apply to 19 counties, including Los Angeles, that have been on the state’s monitoring list because of an increasing number of cases for three straight days… But… Newsom’s winery and tasting room in Napa Valley — PlumpJack Wines — is still open… Newsom found PlumpJack Wines in 1992 as his first business… The winery’s next available tasting is on Tuesday, per the venue’s website, which explains their new rules and guidances amid the pandemic…
“Newsom owns stock in PlumpJack Group, ‘which includes a winery in Napa Valley’s Oakville’… Newsom’s 2018 tax filings show he and his wife own shares in the group, which brought in a combined salary of almost $600,000 in 2018. As of Wednesday, Napa County, where the winery is located, had reported 344 coronavirus cases, and was not included in the list of 19 counties.”
The current website of napavalley.com, updated July 7, states this:
“Starting Thursday, July 9th, businesses offering indoor activities must suspend services. However, Napa Valley wineries and tasting rooms with outdoor tasting areas, restaurants with outdoor seating, and other attractions that operate outdoors REMAIN OPEN. In addition, Napa Valley hotels have been permitted to remain open as well…”
Newsom Ramps Up Enforcement
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times reported on July 6:
“Gov. Gavin Newsom… said Monday the state will expand monitoring of counties hard-hit by the virus after cracking down on restaurants and bars ignoring restrictions over the Fourth of July weekend… Newsom said that state agents from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control visited close to 6,000 restaurants and bars during the holiday weekend. In addition, officials from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health contacted 440,000 other businesses to ensure they heeded the tougher restrictions on indoor activities for most of the state…
“The changes come amid growing concern about Newsom’s response to the outbreak, including sometimes-harsh critiques in the San Jose Mercury News and the Sacramento Bee in recent days… State Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Orinda) said Newsom reopened the state too quickly… Newsom on Monday refuted that…”
It appears that Newsom, in order to refute the criticism against him, wants to resort to even more autocratic and dictatorial destructive measures… with the exception, of course, of Napa Valley wineries. Newsom’s mandates systematically destroy the entire Californian economy. Californians should be able to see what is really going on. But do they?
Coming… Civil War in the USA?
The Drudge Report linked to the following article by shtfplan from July 7:
“In my view, it is clear that the political left has gone so far off the rails into its own cultism that there is no coming back. There can be no reconciliation between the two sides, so we must separate, or we must fight… War is probably inevitable…
“… the political left is a tool for a greater agenda. They are being used as a weapon of chaos by globalist interests. This is not ‘conspiracy theory’, this is a conspiracy fact. Millions of dollars have poured into Antifa and BLM related groups… Globalist institutions like these have been influencing the extreme left and promoting identity politics for DECADES… The reason for the agenda should be obvious: Chaos creates fear. Fear creates division and crisis. And, crisis creates opportunity… the extreme left is going to start a war because that’s exactly what the global elites created them for…
“A civil war that will tear America apart… When the left comes for us (and they will), the fight has to be won by us, not government. We cannot hand even more power to government in the name of security. We cannot become the fascists the leftists accuse us of being…
“Furthermore, I am not convinced there will even be an election in November. With pandemic lockdowns surely returning as infections spike once again… voting in a traditional fashion will be difficult or restricted in some states. And, mail-in or digital ballots will not be accepted by most conservatives because of their history of being used to rig election outcomes… If Trump ‘wins’, or delays the election, the left will riot and a civil war will be triggered. Conservatives will have to deal with the violence of the left while also dealing with the potential for martial law (which we cannot tolerate or support either)… if Trump is still in the White House in 2021, get ready to fight back against leftist mobs as well as martial law measures… If Biden enters the White House, expect him to immediately implement unconstitutional policies including medical tyranny, gun confiscation, and martial law. Either way, it ends in war…”
Sadly, this is exactly what may happen.
Terrible Consequences of Coronavirus Restrictions in Israel
Breaking Israel News reported on July 6:
“A [special] report on the situation in Israel… which covers March to May 2020… reviews the condition of 4,800 teens who suffer from emotional anxiety, eating disorders, depression, mental crises, severe loneliness and have even made suicide attempts. There was also a sharp increase in reporting of verbal and sexual violence among the youth compared to previous year. The situation also pushed more youths into drinking alcohol and taking drugs… The guidelines for lockdown may be dangerous for those for whom the home is not a safe place…
“The number of homeless teens who were thrown out of their family homes rose 47% above the 2019 figure… while those who fled from their homes numbered 145. The number of teens who tried to kill or seriously injure themselves was 231. A total of 143 had an encounter with the police. The prevalence of eating disorders (anorexia and other types) rose by 50%. The number of teens who contacted ELEM because of anxiety increased by 43%, because of hunger 13%, loneliness 29%, physical and/or verbal violence at home (up 7%, a 70% rise compared to the same period in 2019) and sexual violence (almost twice that of 2019).”
The curse of governmental dictatorship.
Australia Closes Borders
Reuters wrote on July 4:
“The border between Australia’s two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne… The decision announced on Monday marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. Officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic…
“The move will, however, likely be a blow to Australia’s economic recovery as it heads into its first recession in nearly three decades. The number of COVID-19 cases in the Victorian capital of Melbourne has surged in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce strict social-distancing orders in 30 suburbs and put nine public housing towers into complete lockdown.”
We received the following report from our minister in Australia, Paul Niehoff:
“Starting from tomorrow night, all of Melbourne goes into six weeks of lockdown again. We can only go out for shopping, work if unable to work from home, exercise and medical reasons. Food must be take-away. Fortunately masks are not necessary. Panic buying has begun again even though there is absolutely no shortage of food or toilet paper. This time we can go fishing, boating or surfing and even play golf or tennis, but must not go to regional Victoria. We are not allowed to have visitors, but intimate partners are allowed to visit, which is interesting. We still hope to attend the Feast but at the moment it is wait and see.”
“As for the country, mostly only Australian citizens are allowed to come here and on arrival must go into hotel quarantine for fourteen days at government expense.”
Trump: 99% of Coronavirus Infections Totally Harmless
Times of Israel wrote on July 5:
“The president repeated his claim that the high number of cases found is a result of a high test rate among the population. ‘Now we have tested almost 40 million people,’ Trump said. ‘By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless. Results that no other country can show because no other country has the testing that we have, not in terms of the numbers or in terms of quality.’”
Of course, the left-wing mass media attacks Trump because of his comments to one end. The question is, who is right.
The Sun wrote on July 8:
“Donald Trump has waged war against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ‘impractical’ school reopening policies a day after slamming Dr Anthony Fauci. Trump railed against the guidelines released last week by the CDC and revealed on Wednesday morning that he plans to meet with the federal agency about their ‘expensive guidelines.’”
Deliberate Falsification of Covid “Cases”?
Dr. Ron Paul wrote on July 6 in the Ron Paul Institute:
“On July 2nd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating the wearing of face masks across the state, whether indoors or outdoors, when six feet cannot be maintained between people. In the governor’s decree, he cited a rise in Covid cases, a rise in test positivity, and a rise in hospitalizations as justification to force people to cover their faces in public.
“The move is not only a violation of the civil liberties of all Texans. Abbott may have based his executive order on inaccurate information about a ‘rise’ in Covid cases due to the Texas State Department of Health Services changing the definition of what constitutes a ‘Covid case.’
“Thanks goes to Collin County Judge Chris Hill for blowing the whistle on what appears to be a move in mid-May to redefine what was a ‘Covid’ case to open the door to a massive increase – all to match the mainstream media line that a ‘second wave’ was on the way. In a Commissioners Court hearing for Collin County on May 18th, it was revealed that while previously the determination of a Covid ‘case’ was a confirmed test result, the definition was suddenly changed to count ‘probable’ cases as ‘cases.’ At the same time, the threshold for determining ‘probable’ was lowered to a ridiculous level.
“As Judge Hill said at that May 18th meeting, ‘If you have a subjective fever and you have a headache and you live in Collin County, you now meet the qualifications to be a probable COVID patient. It is remarkable how low the standard is now.’ Even worse, once a ‘probable’ case was determined based on possibly unrelated subjective criteria, up to 15 people in possible contact with that ‘probable’ case were also listed as ‘probable cases.’ And ‘probable cases’ were considered cases. Repeat that farce across Texas and is it any wonder there was a ‘spike’ in ‘cases’?
“Also, Governor Abbott’s claim that hospitals were being over-run by Covid patients was refuted by the Houston hospital directors themselves, who said they were nowhere near actual capacity and in fact were about the same level as they were last year… It is encouraging to see so many local and county officials across Texas announcing they will refuse to enforce Governor Abbott’s unconstitutional face mask order…
“The ‘second wave’ is driven by propaganda. Across the country, Covid testing increased from about 150,000 to more than 700,000 per day. You can’t drive through Houston without seeing a flurry of signs advertising ‘Free Covid test! Results in 15 minutes!’ Last week Reuters reported that tests shipped around the country by the federal government were contaminated.
“Deaths from coronavirus – even the deaths ‘with’ coronavirus rather than deaths ‘from’ coronavirus – are down more than 90 percent since the peak in April. The decline in deaths continues. That means we are closer to the ‘herd immunity’ that will finally kill this virus. Yet Governor Abbott and others across the country see this as a reason to lock the country back down.”
Wow! But will anybody listen and THINK in the light of the ongoing mass-media propaganda, claiming the exact opposite?
Trump’s Remarkable 4th of July Speech
Breaking Israel News wrote on July 5:
“US President Donald Trump gave a historic speech at Mount Rushmore on Saturday celebrating America’s Independence Day. His Fourth of July address invoked God in many instances including the right to life for babies in the womb saying: ‘We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color — born and unborn — is made in the holy image of God.’
“The president also lauded the Judeo-Christian values that the nation was founded on noting: ‘We are proud of the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and we understand that these values have dramatically advanced the cause of peace and justice throughout the world… We know that the American family is the bedrock of American life’…
“And as rioters and vandals are now toppling statues, President Trump issued a dire warning that ‘Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America.’”
Trump also said that we will only kneel in front of God.
The Guardian wrote on July 4:
“[Trump also said:] ‘We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing… ‘We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms … We will teach our children to cherish and adore our country so they can build its future. Together, we will fight for the American dream.’ Trump pointedly said ‘our way of life’ began in 1492 ‘when Columbus discovered America’. Statues of Christopher Columbus have been toppled along with those of Confederate generals during several weeks of protest…”
Deutsche Welle added on July 4:
“The United States is ‘witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, indoctrinate our children,’ President Donald Trump said… ‘In our schools, our newsrooms and even our boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism,’ he said…”
That is true in many other parts of the Western World as well.
The 4th of July 2020 Experience
The Associated Press wrote on July 4:
“It was the worst of times. It was the weirdest of times. It was a season of sickness and shouting, of defiance and tension, of industrial-strength falsehood and spin. It was a moment of ugliness and deep injustice… many things make this particular Fourth of July different.
“It comes after millions of Americans have been forced to [be] stuck at home [for months], in some cases losing their jobs, being economically stressed, fearing a horrifying death, feeling both trapped and unable to access the ‘normal’ life they remember… Many are dead. Many more are confused. Many are deeply angry at each other and at the system. Many are terrified. Many have simply had enough…”
In Defense of John Wayne
Fox News wrote on or about June 30:
“John Wayne’s son is speaking out after California Democrats in Orange County recently demanded that the county’s John Wayne Airport be renamed and all likenesses of Wayne be removed from the airport, over ‘racist and bigoted statements’ made by the American icon decades ago…
“In a statement to Fox News on Monday, Ethan Wayne said: ‘Let me make one thing clear — John Wayne was not a racist… There is no question that the words spoken by John Wayne in an interview [with Playboy] 50 years ago have caused pain and anger… They pained him as well, as he realized his true feelings were wrongly conveyed… The truth is, as we have seen in papers from his archives, he did not support “white supremacy” in any way and believed that responsible people should gain power without the use of violence…
“‘Those who knew him, knew he judged everyone as an individual and believed everyone deserved an equal opportunity… He called out bigotry when he saw it. He hired and worked with people of all races, creeds, and sexual orientations. John Wayne stood for the very best for all of us — a society that doesn’t discriminate against anyone seeking the American dream… [It] would be an injustice to judge him based on a single interview, as opposed to the full picture of who he was… One thing we know – if John Wayne were here today, he would be in the forefront demanding fairness and justice for all people… He would have pulled those officers off of George Floyd, because that was the right thing to do…’”
The hypocrisy of the BLM movement and many of those politicians and celebrities supporting it is beyond description.
No More Master Bedrooms?
The Daily Mail wrote on July 4:
“The term ‘master bedroom’ will no longer be used by dozens of estate agents in England due to its allusions to sexism and slavery. Agents across London and the south will ditch the term in order to appeal to younger, socially conscious buyers. They will instead be introduced to the ‘primary’ or ‘principal’ bedroom reported The Times.”
According to Express, dated July 6, “the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes has been denounced as a racist in the wake of the Black lives Matter movement.” The paper asks: “So will his statue be next to be toppled?”
When insanity rules…
Germany’s Condemnation of Israel—a Day of Shame
Breaking Israel News wrote on July 5:
“… the ‘grand coalition’ consisting of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SDP), along with the Free Democrats (FdP) from the opposition… vote[d] on a non-binding resolution to condemn Israel over plans to extend sovereignty over Israeli-controlled areas in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria, a [move] often dubbed ‘annexation.’ The debate was symbolically timed on the day from which Israel could execute the move (but hasn’t yet) and in which Germany assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union…
“Marcel Goldhammer, a journalist with both German and Israeli citizenship [protested the move, saying:] ‘Germany killed 6 million Jews in World War II, in the Holocaust, and now Germany wants to tell Israel how to defend its security’… He also slammed Germany’s alleged funding of NGOs that support or excuse Palestinian terrorism, saying, ‘Shame on you!’
“The only political opposition came from the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), which abstained from the motion largely on the grounds that Germany shouldn’t tell Israel what to do…”
Germany’s Hypocritical Bundestag
The Jerusalem Post added on July 4:
“The mass-circulation Bild paper blasted the German parliament on Friday for its condemnation of the Jewish state for seeking to exercise sovereignty over disputed parts of the West Bank. ‘Commentary on the decision against Israel’s policy: ‘You treat friends differently,’ read the headline of the editorial by Louis Hagen. ‘The Bundestag discussed internal borders in Israel. It is grotesque. Because the outcome of the debate was already certain. The Bundestag presents Israel as a threat to stability in the Middle East. It warns that Israel’s actions have “significant effects on the peace process,”’ wrote Hagen. ‘What peace does Israel endanger? There is no peace in the Middle East that could be endangered,’ he added. ‘As long as Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas and all the other neighbors from Syria to Jordan want to more or less wipe the Jewish state off the map. As long as the “moderate” Palestinian government in the West Bank pays terrorists life-long pensions.’
“The editorial declared that ‘unfortunately, we only hear the voice of the German Bundestag when it comes to criticizing Israel. Human rights violations by the Palestinians, in Iran, in Syria, in Egypt – one hears very little of that… We needed a clear commitment to our deep friendship and solidarity with the only democracy in the Middle East. What has now been decided is an embarrassing pretense and not a friendly act. Friends are treated differently,’ the editorial concluded.
“The Bundestag has not condemned Turkey for its occupation of North Cyprus, China for its occupation of Tibet, and Russia for its annexation of Crimea…”
Deep down inside, Germany is NO supporter of Israel OR the Jewish people… and it has never been.
In These Times of Conflict, Europe Must Boost Its Defense
The Parliament Magazine wrote on July 6:
“Addressing Parliament’s Security and Defence Subcommittee, [French Armed Forces Minister Florence] Parly said the newly-created European Defence Fund (EDF) needed sufficient funding to help boost Europe’s defence… Parly said, ‘Europe should not just be an assembly of building blocks but a real force and for this we need the European Defence Fund… That is why France, Germany, Spain and Italy have written to the High Representative Josep Borrell because we need an ambitious EDF more than ever… A peaceful Europe is not a given and we see threats to our security every day. There are considerable conflicting forces at the gates of Europe including increasing tensions between the US and China, and the erosion of treaties – all of this taking place at a time of great instability… The security situation has considerably worsened in our neighbourhood, including in Turkey and Libya… ‘We cannot hide the fact we are not happy with Russia’s role in Libya…
“Parly, in a reference to a possible ‘European Army’, said, ‘we must be able to act together. Yes, we must not forget national interests, but we need to make sure we are able to react together. For example, we have 17 different types of tanks in Europe while the US has just one. We could, and should, better pool our efforts on resources like this… Germany is a key partner and one of the countries which are really committed to building European defence and ambitious projects. I am sure it will live up to these expectations…’
“Committee chair Nathalie Loiseau, a French RE member, said… ‘Conflicts have not abated but increased and Europe has been targeted by fake news campaigners and cyber-attacks. EU-US tensions have taken hold and all this has plunged us into uncertainty. But Europe must not be a mere observer to such events but be at the table and step up its level of ambition on security and defence.’”
A European army is coming… the handwriting IS on the wall… but most are too blind to see it.
Conscription to Be Reintroduced in Germany?
Deutsche Welle reported on July 7:
“The German parliament’s new center-left military commissioner wrongfooted a number of her colleagues on Saturday by calling for the reintroduction of conscription. It had been a ‘big mistake’ to get rid of mandatory military service in 2011, Eva Hoegl, a Social [Democrat] (SPD) told the Funke Media Group… Högl immediately won support from… Germany’s biggest far-right party. This was the ‘first meaningful proposal by the SPD for many years,’ said Rüdiger Lucassen, the Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) defense spokesman. ‘Now all she has to do is convince her own party and the CDU,’ he said.
“The conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was indeed in an awkward position. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party traditionally supports the Bundeswehr and long held on to the need to continue conscription… The CDU’s defense spokesman Johann Wadephul offered a cautious welcome for the general idea of re-opening a debate on military service…
“German men were forced to serve in the army from the age of 18 but could claim moral objections to military service, and opt to do civilian national service instead. Conscription was introduced in postwar Germany, with the idea of ‘citizens in uniform’ serving as a bulwark against extremist tendencies.”
Russia and China Combine Forces in Opposition to Trump
CNN wrote on July 5:
“Russia and China have effectively re-aligned the coming world order. They… both took advantage of uncertainty and unpredictability that Trump has helped create… This past week… Putin has effectively been made President for life, as Xi has moved equally ruthlessly, taking control of Hong Kong through a new national security law, while telling US allies Canada, Australia and the UK to keep out of China’s internal affairs.
“Both seem to be of the view the US has neither the will nor the consistency to put up resistance. Indeed, Trump’s White House gave evidence of exactly that this week, floundering for a coherent response to allegations Russia paid the Taliban to kill US forces in Afghanistan. The Russian Embassy in Washington and the Taliban have both denied the claims…
“Only this week German Chancellor Angela Merkel… appeared to reject Trump’s China tactics, saying ‘only together can the 27 EU member countries have enough weight to achieve ambitious deals with China.’…
“Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, promulgated in Beijing this week and immediately enforced on the territory’s streets, is a game changer. According to the UK, it breaks the 1984 joint Sino-British declaration of one country-two systems….”
A powerful MILITARY collaboration of Far Eastern nations—including Russia and China, and probably others, including Japan, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and South and North Korea—is prophesied.
China Threatens the UK
The Guardian wrote on July 2:
“China has said it will take countermeasures against the UK should it grant residency to Hongkongers fleeing a harsh new national security law, promising that the UK would ‘bear all consequences’. On Thursday, senior Chinese officials said the UK had no right to give residency to Hongkongers in response to Beijing forcing a sweeping anti-sedition law on the territory… Zhao’s comments came after the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, said he would honour a promise to offer nearly 3 million residents of the former British colony… the right to settle in the UK…
“[China said:] ‘The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of “supervision” over Hong Kong.’…
“On Thursday, the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said his country was working on a scheme to provide a safe haven to Hong Kong residents after China’s ‘very concerning’ decision…
“The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has admitted there is little Britain can do to ‘coercively force’ China if it tries to block Hongkongers from coming to the UK….
“But the scale of the UK’s coming diplomatic challenge was highlighted when China claimed 53 countries had put their names to a Cuba sponsored statement at the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday supporting the Chinese government’s new security laws in Hong Kong. The UK had touted the support of 27 mainly European and Asian countries. China’s support group included 15 African countries, left and right wing autocracies and a smattering of the Gulf monarchies normally close to the UK. The list underlined how the UK has lost sway in Africa over the past 5 years to China. Many of the European countries that did back the UK did so nervously fearing criticism of China might lead to a trade backlash…
“The security law in Hong Kong… criminalises a broad swathe of behaviours deemed as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Critics say the law gives authorities sweeping new powers to crack down on dissent and a new level of Chinese control over the semi-autonomous territory.”
The UK should have never given up Hong Kong, but it was prophesied to happen.
Putin Mocks American Rainbow Flag
Times of Israel wrote on July 4:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday mocked a rainbow LGBT pride flag hung from the US embassy in Moscow [to celebrate Pride Month in June], suggesting it reflected on the orientation of the diplomats…
“Putin on Friday signed amendments to the constitution backed by a national vote that include a clause on marriage being between a man and a woman, aimed at preventing legalization of gay unions. The president said Friday however that Russia does not discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation. He said a law banning promotion of homosexual relationships to minors, which he signed in 2013 to a storm of international condemnation, aimed simply to prevent the ‘foisting’ of such relationships on children. The law has been used as a pretext to ban gay pride events…
“The British embassy in Moscow also flew a rainbow flag…”
Note the shameful contrast expressed in the next article—shameful for what is happening in Germany.
Incredible! German Pastor Charged with Incitement for Anti-Homosexual Comments!
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 2:
“A Protestant pastor in the German city of Bremen has been charged with incitement for comments he made about homosexuality, authorities said. The pastor allegedly described homosexuals as criminals and homosexuality as ‘a form of degeneration of society,’ the dpa news agency reported. ‘It makes people insecure, destroys civilization and culture,’ he allegedly said and also warned about the existence of a so-called ‘homolobby.’
“The pastor made the controversial remarks at a seminar in October on the subject of marriage. An audio recording of the seminar was available online for several months on the social media platform YouTube. It has long since been taken down.
“Prosecutors considered some of the comments to be examples of criminal incitement, arguing that they disturb public peace and incite hatred towards a group based on sexual orientation. Authorities also said the comments were an attack on human dignity.
“In his defense, the pastor denied referring to homosexuals when he spoke of criminals. Instead, he claimed to be talking about ‘militant aggressors’ who have attacked and defamed the church. Following the incident, the Bremen Evangelical Church distanced itself from the comments and launched disciplinary proceedings against the pastor.”
Homosexual pedophiles ARE criminals, and the practice of homosexuality IS called an “abomination” in the Bible. Germany’s Protestant Church in Bremen does not stand as a beacon for the values of God.
UN Security Council Calls of Global Ceasefire, with the Support of Pope Francis
CNA wrote on July 5:
“Pope Francis applauded the United Nations Security Council Sunday for its recent resolution calling for an immediate global ceasefire amid the coronavirus pandemic… The ceasefire resolution applies to conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Libya, South Sudan, and Congo… It demands ‘a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days’ to ensure that medical and humanitarian aid will reach those in need as the coronavirus continues to spread. The 15 countries that make up the Security Council passed the resolution July 1 after months of disagreement between China and the United States…
“The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres first called for a global ceasefire on March 23 with Pope Francis echoing this appeal the following week… [The Pope said:] ‘May Mary, the humblest and highest of creatures, implore from God wisdom of the heart for us…’”
Mary, the “humblest and highest of [God’s] creatures”??? Also, the UN words and resolutions for a global ceasefire are meaningless.
After Queen Elizabeth II… Charles or William?
Geo News wrote on July 4:
“Queen Elizabeth II has reportedly turned down calls for Prince William to take over the throne after her instead of his father Prince Charles. According to royal expert Victoria Arbiter, many in the United Kingdom are longing to see the Duke of Cambridge become the next King before Prince Charles after the abdication of Her Majesty…
“Simon Vigar, a correspondent to Channel 5 however, claimed that despite being in-demand, the monarch would never allow that to happen. ‘The Queen doesn’t believe in breaking the rules, she does not want Charles to step aside when she passes. William doesn’t want that to happen,’ he said… William’s youth, charisma and his modernization of the monarchy make him one of the most popular and admired members of the British royal family.”
Will there even be another king in the UK before the Great Tribulation starts? And if so, will it be Charles or William?
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 6)
In the previous five instalments, we wrote about the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, the elders, and the institution of the Sanhedrin. In this installment, we will be discussing additional influential groups at the time of Jesus, as spoken about in the Bible and also in archeological and historical records, namely the Essenes, the Zealots (and in passing the tax collectors) and the Herodians.
The Essenes are not mentioned directly in the Holy Bible. However, their existence has been well established, and from what we know about them, it is clear that they would have been at odds with Jesus, His teachings and His practices. Contrary to the opinion of some “experts,” Jesus was most definitely NOT a member of the sect of the Essenes.
The Essenes have been described as a “Jewish mystical sect somewhat resembling the Pharisees… They originated about B.C. 100, and disappeared from history after the destruction of Jerusalem” (M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition).
The Smith’s Bible Dictionary says this about the Essenes:
“It seems probable that the name signifies seer, or the silent, the mysterious… There were isolated communities of Essenes, which were regulated by strict rules, analogous to those of the monastic institutions of a later date. All things were held in common, without distinction of property; and special provision was made for the relief of the poor… Slavery, war and commerce [trading] were alike forbidden. Their best-known settlements were on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea.”
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia states:
“The Jewish historian Josephus records that Essenes existed in large numbers, and thousands lived throughout Roman Judaea … The Essenes lived in various cities but congregated in communal life dedicated to voluntary poverty, daily immersion, and asceticism (their priestly class practiced celibacy). Most scholars claim they seceded from the Zadokite priests… The Essenes have gained fame in modern times as a result of the discovery of an extensive group of religious documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are commonly believed to be the Essenes’ library. These documents preserve multiple copies of parts of the Hebrew Bible untouched from possibly as early as 300 BCE until their discovery in 1946.”
The Encyclopaedia Britannica adds that “The Essenes, a quasi-monastic dissident group, probably [included] the sect that preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls. This latter sect did not participate in the Temple worship at Jerusalem and observed another religious calendar, and from their desert retreat they awaited divine intervention and searched prophetic writings for signs indicating the consummation.”
We should note that the Dead Sea Scrolls do not contain many Old Testament passages, while including other writings which were not inspired. About 40% are copies of texts from the Hebrew Scriptures. The books of Esther and Nehemiah were not included at all. Approximately another 30% are texts from the Second Temple Period which ultimately were not canonized in the Hebrew Bible, like the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, the Book of Tobit, the Wisdom of Sirach, Psalms 152–155, and others.
It has been claimed that the biblical writings contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls are completely identical with the Hebrew Bible, as we have it today, but that is not true. There are differences, and we must not replace the Bible with the Dead Sea Scrolls. As we pointed out in previous instalments, God used the scribes to preserve the Hebrew Bible, not the Essenes.
The Early Church by Henry Chadwick, pages 13-14, adds the following comments:
“They were a rigidly separatist society… Their life was frugal… Although they did not condemn marriage as wrong, they expected full members of the community to be celibate. They practiced very frequent ritual washings, and had a sacred common meal to which the uninitiated were not admitted…”
Josephus wrote in “The Jewish War” that the Essenes “ritually immersed in water every morning and studied the books of the elders, preserved secrets, and were very mindful of the names of the angels kept in their sacred writings.” Wikipedia adds that “Their theology included belief in the immortality of the soul and that they would receive their souls back after death.” They also believed apparently in the coming of two Messiahs. PBS informs us that “Some of their writings talk about a Messiah of David that is a kind of kingly figure who will come to lead the war. But there’s also a Messiah of Aaron, a priestly figure, who will come to restore the Temple at Jerusalem to its proper purity and worship of God.”
Jesus did not belong to the Essenes. For example, Quora.com points out that Mark 7 “records an incident in which Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees because some of his followers do not wash their hands [in a ritual way] before they eat…The Essenes were even stricter about handwashing than the Pharisees, so a lack of concern over this issue reveals a very un-Essene-like philosophy.” In addition, Jesus did believe in trading and commerce (Matthew 25:14-16), and He did not uphold the concept of secluded “monasteries” (He sent His disciples into the world); and He upheld the Hebrew calendar. The apostle Paul, reflecting the teachings of Christ, spoke strongly against “asceticism” (Colossians 2:21) and the “worship of angels” (Colossians 2:18). Both Christ and Paul rejected the concept of mandatory celibacy (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Timothy 4:3). They most certainly did not believe in the immortality of the soul (Matthew 10:28). Some feel Jesus had at times encounters with the Essenes. If so, it is obvious that such encounters would not have manifested substantial agreement between them.
Another group at the time of Christ were the Zealots.
“The New Testament speaks little of the friction between Rome and the Jews. We do know that one of Jesus’ disciples was a [former] zealot. The zealots favored armed rebellion against Rome. They believed that God would deliver Israel with the sword. Their reasoning went back to the days of David. When there was a gentile problem, what did David do? He got out his sword and dealt with it, and God was on his side. Surely, God would raise up a new Son of David who would do the same.”
We hasten to add here that David SINNED when he fought in war. Regarding this often-misunderstood truth, please read our free booklet, “Should YOU Fight in War?” and our free booklet, “Obeying God Rather than Men.”
Continuing with the quote from the above-mentioned source:
“It is interesting that one of Jesus’ disciples, Simon, was a zealot (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13). Considering the fact that Jesus opposed violent rebellion against Rome, many probably wondered why Jesus would choose such a fellow. The irony increases when we add the fact that Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors were very much in league with Rome. There were probably no two groups of Jews in Palestine who hated each other more than the tax collectors and the zealots. Yet, Jesus chose one of each. Most people probably would have been afraid that these two fellows would kill each other. The Lord wasn’t. He knew the kingdom of God was more powerful than the hatred of men. The very fact Jesus chose two men so opposite in their worldviews was a demonstration of its power.”
God’s Word First states this:
“The term ‘zealot’ in Hebrew means one who is zealous on behalf of God. The term derives from Greek (zelotes), ‘emulator, fanatic, admirer or follower.’ Zealots were known in the time of Jesus as religious fanatics who defended the Law of Moses and… the national life of the Jewish people relentlessly opposing any attempt to bring Judea under the dominion of idolatrous Rome… radicalized zealots were a dangerous, unorganized, unpredictable sect… More like revolutionists, many members of this party bore also the name Sicarii, from their custom of going about with daggers (‘sicæ’) hidden beneath their cloaks, with which they would stab anyone found committing a sacrilegious act or anything provoking anti-Jewish feeling…
“The Zealot sect traces its roots back to the Maccabean revolt about 150 BC, about the same time the Pharisees began. The Zealots objected to Roman rule and violently sought to eradicate it by generally targeting the Romans, their Jewish collaborators, and the Sadducees, by raiding for provisions and other activities to aid their cause…
“Some of the more notorious were untrustworthy as they were known to take monetary bribes from the enemy to back off and at times do evil to their own people under deception in order to incite them to engage in action, riot or war whatever the prevailing situation might warrant…”
The Encyclopaedia Britannica adds that the Zealots “were aggressive revolutionaries known for their violent opposition to Rome and its polytheisms.”
Regarding Simon the Zealot, amazingbibletimeline.com states the following:
“The apostle named Simon the Zealot was mentioned only four times in the Bible, and the Synoptic Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke) named him as one of the Twelve ([Matthew] 10:4; Mark 3:18; and Luke 6:15). Readers find him again in the book of Acts (1:13) after the death of Jesus and his ascension to heaven where Simon and his fellow apostles gathered together to elect a replacement for Judas Iscariot… In some versions of the Bible, Matthew 10:4 and Mark 3:18 (NRSV) both mentioned him as ‘the Cananaean,’ while Luke tagged him as ‘the Zealot’… Why he was nicknamed as ‘the Zealot’ is still being debated… Perhaps he was involved at some point in his life with the Zealots, a group of nationalistic Jews (sometimes bordered on fanatical) who actively sought independence from Roman rule. They—along with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Idumeans—actively participated in the Roman-Jewish War of the 1st century. It was unclear whether Simon participated as a fighter for them or that he was simply a religious enthusiast.”
The Bible does not report any encounters between Jesus and the Zealots, but it is clear that they would have known each other (Simon the Zealot being one of His first disciples), and their philosophies on violence, war and peace were diametrically opposite. As we point out in our above-mentioned booklets, Jesus NEVER resorted to violence, and He never preached that we should be engaging in violence in any way (John 18:36). Jesus was most certainly not a zealot, as Herod and Pilate recognized (Matthew 27:24; Luke 23:4, 14-15; John 18:38). He had to teach His disciples, however, not to engage in violence either (Matthew 26:51-53). For some of them, this was more difficult to understand than for others, and contrary Jewish influence and traditions had to be eradicated in all of them.
Another group with whom Jesus did have encounters, according to the Bible, were the Herodians.
Wikipedia tells us:
“The Herodians (Herodiani) were a sect of Hellenistic Jews mentioned in the New Testament on two occasions — first in Galilee, and later in Jerusalem— being hostile to Jesus (Mark 3:6, 12:13; Matthew 22:16; cf. also Mark 8:15, Luke 13:31-32, Acts 4:27). In each of these cases their name is coupled with that of the Pharisees who began to plot against Jesus in response to his actions in healing on the Sabbath day, and drew the Herodians into their conspiracy.”
The Jewish Encyclopedia adds about the Herodians:
“Priestly party under the reign of King Herod and his successors; called by the Rabbis ‘Boethusians,’ as adherents of the family of Boethus, whose daughter Mariamne was one of the wives of King Herod, and whose sons were successively made high priests by him. They followed the Sadducees in their opposition to the Pharisees, and were therefore often identified with the former… According to the Gospels, their plot against the life of Jesus was supported by the Pharisees… wherefore Jesus warned his disciples, saying ‘Beware of the leaven [i.e., the teaching] of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod’ (Mark viii. 15; Matt. xvi. 6 has ‘Pharisees’ and ‘Sadducees’)…”
Some claim that the Herodians were a religious party, while others contend, perhaps more accurately, that they were strictly public political supporters of King Herod the Great. As such, they had strong teachings, which were detrimentally opposite to Jesus’ teachings, as we will see.
Wikipedia tells us that “Like the Pharisees, the Herodians wanted political independence for the Jewish people. Unlike the Pharisees, who sought to restore the kingdom of David, the Herodians wished to restore a member of the Herodian dynasty to the throne in Judea.”
“The first appearance of the Herodians in Scripture is Mark 3:6, ‘Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.’ Jesus had been doing miracles, which caused some of the people to believe in Him for salvation, and that threatened the power and position of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Herodians. The Herodians again joined with the Pharisees to challenge Jesus, to see if they could trap Jesus in His words by a trick question, to either discredit Him or to get Him to stop preaching (Matthew 22:16).
“Jesus regarded the two groups as in unity against Him and warned His followers against them… Many scholars believe that the Herodians looked to Herod as a messiah, a savior of sorts who would put the Jewish land in favor with the Roman Empire and bring blessings to them. Jesus’ presentation of Himself as the Messiah was a threat to the Herodians’ attempt to make Herod the influential political power in the land.”
Christ was also rejected by the Herodians because He did not engage in politics, in support of King Herod or any other human ruler. Even though He taught to pay taxes and not to engage in violent rebellion against the government, He did not “accommodate” Herod (who wanted to kill Him and whom He called a fox; Luke 13:31-32) when He was asked to perform miracles for Herod’s entertainment (Luke 23:8).
In this series, we have looked at the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes, the Elders, the Sanhedrin, the Essenes, the Zealots and the Herodians. There were other religious groups at the time of Jesus, but these were the principal players at that time.
J C McRuer states:
“Whatever may have been the theological and philosophical differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees [and the other groups which we discussed herein], Jesus’ early ministry arrested the attention of the leaders of both [rather, all] parties. They saw in His teaching new concepts of human values and human obligations – concepts that, if allowed to take root and grow, would destroy not only much of the power they wielded in religious [and political] affairs, but many of the vested interests which were the source of their great wealth. From the early days they were united in one thing – the determination that Jesus’ ministry should be of short duration…
“In the synagogues of Galilee, Jesus’ voice was heard as one with a mission. ‘For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:20) were strong words, revolutionary words, revolutionary words that preached rebellion not against the power of Rome but against special privilege in everything religious. He was a humble man, a carpenter’s son. To the crowds that came to hear him he taught as a man of astonishing knowledge and as one who had authority – not as their scribes.”
In “From Sabbath to Sunday” by Samuele Bacchiocchi, we read the following on page 34:
“Our story provides a fitting example of this prevailing perversion, by contrasting two types of Sabbath-keepers. On the one side stood Christ ‘grieved at the hardness of the heart’ of his accusers and taking steps to save the life of a wretched man (Mark 3:4-5). On the other side stood the experts of the law who even while sitting in a place of worship spent their Sabbath time looking for faults and thinking out methods to kill Christ (Mark 3:2,6). The contrast of attitudes may well provide the explanation to Christ’s questions about the legitimacy of saving or killing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:4), namely that the person who is not concerned for the physical and spiritual salvation of others on the Sabbath is automatically involved in destructive efforts or attitudes.”
This sums up the massive difference between the approach of Jesus Christ and the religious (and political) leaders nearly 2,000 years ago and what our Saviour had to contend with during His earthly ministry.
It is interesting to note that while the common denominator of the different religious (and political) groups at that time was the destruction of Jesus, there was apparent disunity between the various sects of Judaism at that time on many other issues. Today, we have disunity between the very many different groups in mainstream Christianity, all of whom have considerable differences with apostolic Christianity which is the basis for the understanding of the true Church of God.
It is also an interesting exercise to review the religious environment that Jesus was born into, and His teaching seemed revolutionary to many at that time. It was certainly in sharp contrast to the mainstream Judaic beliefs, and this was deemed to threaten the position and standing of the ruling religious elite.
In the end, they seemed to have succeeded when Jesus was crucified but, instead of that being the end of His teaching, it was, in fact, just the beginning as we see down through the events of the last 2,000 years.
However, the same sort of situation is also prevalent today. The true Church of God which teaches apostolic Christianity without any additions or deletions is criticised and accused by the mainstream churches of today. What an apt comparison that is, but nothing really changes!
When Jesus Christ does return to set up the Kingdom of God on earth (not in heaven as many mainstream churches seem to believe), the people of God, baptised faithful and loyal spiritually begotten members of the Church that Jesus founded nearly two millennia ago, will become born-again members of the God Family. They will teach the truths during the Millennium which have generally been discarded today and seen as in error by mainstream Christianity, which itself is full of errors and syncretism and, at last, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habbakuk 2:14).
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Our newest booklet, “Obeying God Rather Than Men,” has been translated into German and was sent to Germany for printing. Title in German: “MAN MUSS GOTT MEHR GEHORCHEN ALS DEN MENSCHEN.”
“California’s Ongoing Persecution of Churches,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Unconstitutional governmental restrictions in California, pertaining to Church services, are violating our religious liberties and freedoms and oppose the commands and injunctions of Almighty God. Some politicians, Church members and faith leaders are decrying Governor Gavin Newsom’s ban on singing in houses of worship, while others don’t seem to understand or are puzzled and confused. So what are Christians supposed to do?
“Wird Russland Berlin zerstören?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Will Russia Destroy Berlin?”
“Mit beiden Füssen” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermonette, presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “Both Feet In.”
“Die Familie,” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Robert Muhr. Title in English: “The Family.”
“Do Your Best,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Why is it important for us as Christians to do our best at whatever we choose to do? What can we do to dedicate ourselves in our lives?
“TEST Your Conversion!”, the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
“Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Don’t you understand that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless, of course, you fail the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5 CEB).
The YouTube channel for the Church of the Eternal God presents past videos for StandingWatch programs along with sermonettes, sermons and promotional videos. These are also available on our website: www.eternalgod.org.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
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