Update 965


Get to Work / God-Who-Forgives

On March 20, 2021, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Get to Work,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “God-Who-Forgives.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Free Speech or No Free Speech, That Is the Question!

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

In the Current Events section of our weekly Update no. 961 on February 19th 2021, there was an item headed “Black List for LGBT-‘Hate’ Groups,” which included the following comments:

“C-Fam wrote on February 12:

“‘The UN rights office is collecting the names of anyone who opposes the LGBT agenda in any way. Politicians, religious leaders, and organizations from around the world who defend life and family will likely be put on a blacklist by the UN office for human rights. The drastic new measure may be used to impose sanctions on pro-family advocates and expose them to terrorist attacks…

“‘In the broadly worded prompt, the UN rights office asks for examples of “public expressions or statements by political and/or religious leaders” who challenge LGBT rights… The UN rights office is especially focused on religions of pro-life and pro-family groups. It asks for any “examples where the concept of gender has been used in religious narratives or narratives of tradition, traditional values or protection of the family” in opposition to new LGBT laws and policies.’”

This was interesting as I had been reading a book entitled “Trigger Warning – Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?,” where the author, Mick Hume, makes this excellent analysis:

“More recent struggles for freedom and equality in Western societies were just as intimately bound up with freedom of speech. The demand for free speech, the right for their voices to be heard, has proved central to the struggles for women’s emancipation, gay liberation and racial equality in the UK and US. There is a grim irony in the fashion… for feminist, trans or anti-racist activists today to demand restrictions on free speech as a means of protecting the rights of the identity groups they claim to represent. Without the efforts of those who fought for more free speech in the past, these illiberal activists would not be free to stand up and call for less of it in the present.”

Mr Hume went on to say that “we are living in the age of the reverse-Voltaires… Voltaire was a pioneer of free speech in eighteenth-century Enlightenment France. Voltaire is credited with one of the great historical sayings on the subject: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ The cri de coeur [that is, the passionate outcry, as of appeal, entreaty or protest] of today’s hardcore offence-takers turns his principle inside out: ‘I know that I’ll detest and be offended by what you say, and I will defend to the end of free speech my right to stop you saying it.’ The reverse-Voltaires do not wish to dispute ideas or arguments that offend them. They would deny the other person’s right to say it in the first place.”

Put another way, those who have used the right to free speech in the first place are happy to have done so in pursuit of their agenda, and when that has been achieved, they then try and close down any comment, discussion or debate on that very same subject. Freedom of speech or no free speech, we all know which! It can also be called the cancel culture.

Game, set and match to them, or so they think. Perhaps for the time being, but there is coming a time when this nonsense will simply come to a grinding halt. There will be no need for family groups to defend their position nor will those promoting LGBT rights and other ungodly practices be allowed to function in such a capacity. Rather, they will learn and understand how wrong they had been all along.

The Truth given to us by God in His Word which is casually and callously discarded by those who seem to think that they know better, will become the norm, and society in the soon-coming Kingdom of God will practice the way that leads to a properly ordered society and happiness at every turn. Those of us who have been called to the knowledge of this Truth look forward eagerly to such a time!

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by Norbert Link

We begin with reports on safety concerns regarding the vaccine AstraZeneca and its suspended use by numerous countries; and report on scandals in Germany and a major hit Angela Merkel took in Sunday’s state elections.

We continue with an eye-opening article about the dangerous rise of dictatorships worldwide and the demise of democracy in over 100 countries [please view our new StandingWatch and AufPostenStehen programs in this regard]; address an alleged massive Chinese cover-up regarding the origin and outbreak of the coronavirus; and speak on the political downfall of Governors Newsom and Cuomo.

We address the “crisis” or “challenge” at the US-Mexican border and the ongoing unrest and violence in Oregon.

We also speak on two European states which have opened branches of their embassies in Jerusalem; and point out another diplomatic row between Israel and Jordan. We also report on a new alleged discovery of Dead Sea scrolls.

We conclude with the Vatican’s announcement not to bless same-sex unions, and more stupidity from England.

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

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Safety Concerns for Vaccine

Bloomberg wrote on March 12:

“The World Health Organization called for immunizations with AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine to continue after [many] countries suspended use of the shot over safety concerns… after concerns emerged in Austria last weekend, when the country stopped using some supplies of AstraZeneca’s vaccine as a precaution following reports of a death and illness among recipients. In rapid succession, Denmark, Italy and Norway followed suit, pointing to instances of blood clotting potentially linked to batches of the product. Thailand has suspended AstraZeneca vaccinations.

“The moves threaten to derail Europe’s already stuttering vaccine rollout, which trails campaigns in the U.K. and U.S. and could prolong the social and economic pain of the pandemic. They follow complaints from Europe that Astra isn’t delivering enough doses, along with age restrictions that many countries put on the shot in January before recently clearing it for all adults…

The Guardian reported on March 14 that Ireland is suspending the use of the vaccine “as a precautionary measure following further reports of blood clots in people who have received it, this time from Norway… Ireland cited a report into a death and three hospitalisations in Norway that came out on Saturday.” Other countries include Iceland and Bulgaria. Subsequently, it was announced that the Netherlands, Germany and France and Sweden also suspended the use of the vaccine “as a precaution.”

On March 13, MSN reported that “President Joe Biden’s administration is holding on to its stockpile of AstraZeneca PLC vaccines, even though the shot isn’t authorized for U.S. use… the U.K.-based company has begun manufacturing doses in the U.S. to fill an order for 300 million shots the American government placed last year… An AstraZeneca executive told CNBC last week that the company expects to have 30 million doses ready to ship when the shot receives authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.”

Deutsche Welle reported on March 16:

“The EU regulatory body… is ‘still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 with its associated risk of hospitalization and death outweigh the risk of these side effects,’ Executive Director Emer Cooke [said]…”

Dramatic Escalation between EU and UK over AstraZeneca’s Vaccine

The Sun wrote on March 17:

“In a dramatic escalation of their furious row with the pharma giant, EU boss Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc could even suspend patents on the lifesaving jab so anyone could produce it – but critics branded the threats ‘Stalinist.’ In a bombshell intervention, the raging German said she did not rule out triggering emergency powers to ‘make sure Europeans are vaccinated as soon as possible’ – warning ‘all options are on the table’. And in an astonishing broadside aimed at Britain she warned the bloc may restrict vaccine shipments to countries whose rollouts are going far better than its own. Her explosive comments come despite several EU nations pulling the plug on the very same jab earlier this week…

“The remarks reignited a fuming war of words between Britain and the EU…

“The massive row comes after 20 EU countries fully or partially suspended the use of the AZ vaccine over unsubstantiated blood clot fears this week. In Germany doctors at one vaccination centre were reported to have been brought to tears by having to destroy a batch of unused vaccines, describing the situation as a ‘disaster beyond all expectations’… The head of Italy’s medicines agency railed against the move as a ‘political choice’ and vowed to resume vaccinations at a greater than ever pace as soon as possible. Meanwhile in Poland – which has not suspended use of the jab – a top adviser to the PM suggested a commercially motivated ‘disinformation’ campaign designed to benefit AZ’s rivals was behind the decisions.”

Reuters added on March 17:

“The European Union on Wednesday threatened to ban exports of COVID-19 vaccines to Britain to safeguard scarce doses for its own citizens facing a third wave of the pandemic that would jeopardise plans to restart travel this summer… Von der Leyen said the flow of vaccine products was smooth with the United States but aired frustration over lack of deliveries from AstraZeneca in Britain…

“The situation threatens plans announced by the Commission to launch ‘green digital certificate’ that would collate information on vaccinations, tests and COVID recovery to let travellers cross borders freely again.”

Quite an interesting contradiction, as Europe wants more AstraZeneca vaccines while suspending its use.

Europeans Resume Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine

 Deutsche Welle wrote on March 18:

Germany, France and several other EU countries on Thursday have decided to continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) deemed the shot ‘safe and effective’…  Germany will resume administering the jab on Friday, according to Health Minister Jens Spahn. The vaccine, however, will come with new advice on potential side effects…

“France, Italy, Latvia, Bulgaria and Slovenia will also move forward with the AstraZeneca vaccine following the EMA’s guidance. French Prime Minister Jean Castex plans to receive the AstraZeneca shot on Friday to boost public confidence in the vaccine… Spain will reintroduce AstraZeneca vaccinations on Wednesday, but will exclude some demographic groups to minimize health risks. 

“Lithuania will resume using the AstraZeneca jab on Friday… Norway and Sweden will keep the AstraZeneca vaccine suspended as their public health bodies assess the situation… Norwegian Institute of Public Health director Camilla Stoltenberg told reporters [that] it was ‘premature’ to come to a final conclusion on the vaccine.  Sweden has said it ‘needs a few days’ before coming to a decision on the jab.”

Secret Contracts and Corruption in the EU?

Express wrote on March 12:

“AUSTRIA has accused some EU states of having ‘secret contracts’ for coronavirus vaccines in a snub to the bloc’s shambles jabs programme. In a fiery intervention, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz claimed Covid vaccines are not being distributed evenly within the EU. He called for greater transparency because some countries had been able to get ahead after receiving more doses than they were due under the bloc’s pro-rata system. Mr Kurz has held talks with his counterparts from Greece, Belgium, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic to compare the vaccine delivery figures…

“Mr Kurz suggested there has been a ‘bazaar’ for life-saving vaccines within the EU, with secretive side agreements reached between a ‘steering board’ and drugs giants.”

Money makes the world go around. Several German politicians had to resign when it became known that they had allegedly manipulated the system by profiting financially, having received payments for brokering face mask procurement deals.

In addition, Deutsche Welle wrote on March 12:

“A year ago, Germany was effusively praised for its coronavirus response. Nobody would think to do that now. If anything, the international view today is a mixture of astonishment and schadenfreude… Germany has morphed from model student to pandemic problem child in short order, fighting failure in a number of subjects.”

Merkel Takes Major Hit in Regional Elections

The Guardian wrote on March 15:

“Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats face questions over… the impact of a corruption scandal involving face mask production following historic defeats in German regional elections on Sunday – just six months before a national vote. Merkel’s successor as chancellor is due to be chosen by the voters in September and the CDU’s worst ever results in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, which were once considered its strongholds, have increased pressure on the party to work out how it can regain the confidence of the public in time.

“In the wealthy southern state of Baden-Württemberg, the CDU’s result slumped to just 24%, way behind its main rival, the pro-environmental Greens, who made gains to secure 33%. The CDU had previously ruled the state from 1953 for almost 58 years. In Rhineland-Palatinate, south-western Germany, the CDU vote fell by more than four points to 28%, with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) securing victory with 36%.

“The CDU has had to face up to the fact that a corruption scandal involving alleged kickbacks over face mask procurement, which led to the resignation of three MPs within a week, in the run-up to the votes, has seriously damaged its image… A sluggish nationwide vaccine rollout,  which has been largely blamed on Merkel and her health minister Jens Spahn’s decision to allow the European commission to take control of orders, is also thought to have contributed to voter distrust…

“The fact that the CDU has returned such historically bad results, which have plunged the party into its worst crisis for years two months after electing a new party leader, Armin Laschet, has raised serious questions as to whether he is the right candidate to take it forward…

“Sunday’s state elections kicked off what has been labelled ‘superwahljahr’ or ‘super election year’, to include further votes in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in June, Lower Saxony and Berlin in September and culminating in the federal election on 26 September, together with elections in the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Thuringia on the same day…”

Newsmax added on March 14:

“The results are also a blow to CDU party chairman Armin Laschet, who took pole position in the race to succeed Merkel by winning the CDU leadership two months ago… Soeder, the leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), is the preferred conservative candidate for chancellor among German voters… Soeder and Laschet want to settle the candidacy matter by May 23. No German chancellor has ever come from the CSU.”

AFP wrote on March 14:

“‘This is a dark hour for the CDU,’ said Die Welt daily, while Die Zeit newspaper called it ‘a disaster’… The Greens… could emerge as kingmakers in September’s elections.”

Interesting developments in Germany…

Dictatorships on the Rise all over the World

On March 12, 2021, the American Institute for Economic Research published the following report:

 “… few people have recognized how pandemic-spurred crackdowns have devastated democracy around the world. Emergency proclamations have entitled presidents and other government officials to seize vast new powers previously forbidden to them. Government bureaucrats became a new priesthood that could sanctify unlimited sacrifices merely by invoking dubious statistical extrapolations of future perils.

“In October, Freedom House issued a report…  which warned that since the pandemic started, ‘the condition of democracy and human rights has worsened in 80 countries.’[According to new estimates, the number has climbed since then to at least 100 countries.] Abuses of power have been propelled by a presumption that government officials are entitled to all the power they claim to need to keep people safe.

“When the pandemic arrived in America… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set the standard when he effectively declared that he was entitled to inflict any burden on his state’s residents to ‘save just one life.’ Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer prohibited anyone from leaving their home to visit family or friends. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti banned people from walking or bicycling outside. More than ten million jobs were lost thanks to lockdowns, a major reason why life expectancy in the United States last year had its sharpest plunge since World War Two.

Australia imposed some of the most heavy-handed restrictions. In August, the state of Victoria dictated an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for the Melbourne area and prohibited people from venturing more than three miles from their residence…

Britain unleashed some of the most absurd restrictions. In June, it prohibited couples who live in different homes from having sex indoors…

New Zealand has imposed four separate lockdowns in its pursuit to banish the virus from the island, repeatedly placing residents in the capital city under house arrest. In October, the government announced it was creating ‘quarantine centers’ for anyone who tests positive and refuses to obey government orders…

“In Uganda… only the government may hand out food aid. Anyone else who does so can be charged with murder… since they might do it in a disorderly way, attract crowds and thereby spread the coronavirus…

“In Kenya, police killed at least 15 people during brutal crackdowns on alleged violators of lockdown decrees. Amnesty International declared that the Covid-19 pandemic provided ‘the perfect storm for indiscriminate mass violence’ by the police…

“Many regimes have expanded the definition of ‘fake news’ to justify repression.

“An Associated Press article in January explained why Californians were denied access to the information that determined the fate of their freedom: ‘State health officials said they rely on a very complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead the public if they were made public.’ But many data-driven dictatorial policies relied on data that was either fraudulent, politically contrived, or laughably inaccurate…

“The pandemic’s precedents pose a long-term peril for liberty around the globe… the media in some Western nations were the biggest cheerleaders for obliterating limits on political power…

“Federal judge William Stickman IV declared in September, ‘Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic invasion the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional.’ But unless there is a similar stark ruling from the Supreme Court, shutdowns could return whenever politicians can panic enough citizens with some new threat… The pandemic painfully illustrated how government officials can always concoct the data to justify whatever decree they itch to issue…  Covid-19 crackdowns are a warning for people to be wary of oppressive governments regardless of their purported mandate. The world doesn’t need any more Cage Keeper Democracies where citizens’ ballots merely designate who will place them under house arrest.”

This article is by no means exclusive. Many European countries, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy, could also be mentioned with their dangerous and autocratic lockdown measures.

In his first prime time address to the nation, President Biden stated that “if we do our part,” then “there is a good chance” Americans will be able to have “small” events by Independence Day. He clarified that he does not mean large events with lots of people together, but that there is a good chance that “your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbeque” (compare Breitbart, March 11). Apart from the fact that the President has no constitutional authority to make or enforce such proclamations, in a segment of the “Ingraham Angle” on Fox News, Senator Rand Paul ridiculed the naivety of the President and his lack of contact with reality, stating that such meetings “in our backyards” have taken place for a long time all over the country, with or without the President’s blessing.

Paul also compared Dr. Fauci with a “Greek philosopher” who tells “noble lies” to help the “ignorant” public “because he doesn’t think you are smart enough to make any of these decisions on your own.” Paul also stated: “You can sequentially look at the date when each mandate was passed and when it got ratcheted up. You can look at the incidence of the disease, and what you find is they were proportional, meaning the more mandates we got, the more disease we got. The mandates did not cause the disease but there is no evidence the mandate slowed down the disease at all” (see Fox News, March 13).

Massive Cover-Up of COVID-19 Origin?

Fox News reported on March 13:

“[David Asher] the State Department’s former lead investigator who oversaw the Task Force into the COVID-19 virus origin tells Fox News that he not only believes the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but that it may have been the result of research that the Chinese military, or People’s Liberation Army, was doing on a bioweapon… He believes the Chinese Communist Party has been involved in a massive cover-up during the past 14 months. ‘And if you believe, as I do, that this might have been a weapons vector gone awry, not deliberately released, but in development and then somehow leaked, this has turned out to be the greatest weapon in history,’ Asher said… ‘You’ve taken out 15 to 20 percent of global GDP. You’ve killed millions of people. The Chinese population has been barely affected. Their economies roared back to being number one in the entire G20.’…

“‘China has been involved in this type of virus research since 2003, the SARS outbreak,’ according to Miles Yu, the State Department official who co-wrote a recent op-ed in the WSJ with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the virus origins. ‘China’s biosafety standard is really low and is very dangerous. So this is an accident waiting to happen.’”

Numerous theories exist as to the origin of the virus, including the Chinese population’s consumption of infected bats and other unclean animals.

On March 15, The Times of Israel and AFP reported:

 “Experts believe that SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, originally came from bats, and jumped into humans via an intermediate animal. However, samples from tens of thousands of wild, domestic and farm animals in the region revealed no trace of the virus. The scientists are also uncertain as to where and when the outbreak started, though the Wuhan cases remain the earliest known…

‘There was conduit (back) from Wuhan to the provinces in south China where the closest relative viruses to SARS-CoV-2 are found in bats,’ Daszak [of the WHO team] told an event hosted by Britain’s Chatham House think-tank last week… The team also did not rule out transmission through frozen meat — imported frozen food packages being Beijing’s favorite theory [saying that frozen wild meat from neighboring provinces remained a ‘very valid option.’

“The idea of a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology — a hypothesis promoted by former US president Donald Trump’s administration — is ‘the least likely on the list of our hypotheses,’ said [a team member]… However, back in Geneva, in the face of clouds of suspicion that continued to hang over the mission, WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted all hypotheses remained on the table

“Trump had accused the WHO of being China’s puppet. Though his successor Joe Biden has changed the tone towards the UN health agency since becoming US president in January, Washington has continued to voice serious concerns about the WHO investigation, and has pushed Beijing to provide more information…”

Recall Looms for Gavin Newsom

Deadline wrote on March 11:

“Late Wednesday night, the group organizing the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom announced it had collected over 2 million signatures… About 1,500,000 signatures are needed to trigger a recall election under state law…

“Organizers have until March 17 to gather signatures. Election officials have until April 29 to verify them. If there is a recall election, it will most likely be in November and feature just two questions on the ballot: ‘Should Gavin Newsom be recalled?’ and another asking voters to choose a replacement…

“The governor has been barnstorming the state for weeks visiting Covid-19 vaccination clinics and announcing the reopenings of schools in the state, theme parks, restaurants and generally loosening the restrictions that have many Californians so angry.”

Democratic Governors Newsom and Cuomo (see below) misused their powers to such an extent that their political survival is now on the line.

Walls Closing in for Andrew Cuomo

The Associated Press wrote on March 12:

“Facing unprecedented political isolation, a defiant New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted on Friday that he would not step down in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and condemned the sprawling coalition of Democrats calling for his resignation as ‘reckless and dangerous.’… The embattled governor’s comments came on the day his party in New York and beyond turned sharply against him following allegations of harassment as well as sweeping criticism of Cuomo for keeping secret how many nursing home residents died of COVID-19 for months… A majority of Democrats in the state legislature and 21 of the state’s 27 U.S. House members have called on him to step down…

“Never before has the brash, 63-year-old Democratic governor, the son of a New York governor himself, been more politically alone… The state Assembly allowed an impeachment investigation into Cuomo on Thursday as lawmakers investigate whether there are grounds for his forcible removal from office.”

By March 12, seven women have claimed inappropriate sexual conduct by Cuomo towards them. More than 30 women who have worked or interacted with Cuomo allegedly confirmed that bullying was a defining element of his management style (New York magazine, March 12). Cuomo has denied all of the allegations. His brother Chris, moderator at CNN, was prohibited by the network to speak about his brother Andrew. The following high-ranking Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler as well as Adam Schiff and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), called on Cuomo to resign. Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden spoke on the issue as well, but refused to demand Cuomo’s resignation. Biden said Cuomo should resign if harassment and sexual misconduct allegations are confirmed. He added that he thinks Cuomo will probably end up being prosecuted.

Joe Biden under Attack

The Daily Mail wrote on March 12:

“Biden’s flights of fantasy: President WRONGLY claimed that Covid-19 cost more lives ‘than WWI, WWII, Vietnam and 9/11 combined’ and MISLED the public on timelines of Trump’s response to the virus and number of vaccine doses he ordered…

“What unity, Joe? Biden marks passage of $1.9T COVID bill with Rose Garden ceremony featuring NO Republicans…”

None of the Republicans had voted for the COVID-19 bill, claiming that it included billions upon billions of dollars for unrelated “gifts” (pork) in support of numerous Democratic pet projects. This country has never been as divided since the Civil War, as it is today.

“Still No Crisis?”

The Daily Mail wrote on March 13:

“In recent days, more than [3,600] unaccompanied teens and children have been held in Customs Border Patrol (CBP) detention centers designed for adults with most children spending on average 108 hours in the facilities – much higher than the 72-hour limit.

“The surge comes after Biden lifted a policy that had forced migrants to remain in Mexico while awaiting legal hearings to enter the US. This has fueled an influx of migrants but facilities and shelters cannot cope with the rise in demand. Children at the Donna facility in south Texas are reportedly going hungry and are only able to shower once a week as the center is at 729% of its legal capacity.

“However the official line coming from the Biden administration continues to be that there is no crisis, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki refusing to be drawn into saying the word Thursday…”

A crisis because of the government’s own making…

Deutsche Welle reported on March 14:

“The US Department of Homeland Security has ordered the government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help care for a rising number of migrant children… to make sure the children are safely accommodated and transferred to people who will take care of them, such as relatives already in the US… The order comes as hundreds of children arrive at the border every day in what is fast becoming a major humanitarian challenge for President Joe Biden…

“The increased influx of minors comes after Biden reversed some of the restrictive migration policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump. The danger of coronavirus infection in shelters is an additional headache for US immigration authorities… The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is meant to take in such children after they have been processed by border authorities, is also overwhelmed, with some 8,800 unaccompanied children in custody… There have been reports of parents sending their children across the border from Mexico unaccompanied.”

Unrest in Oregon

The Daily Mail wrote on March 13:

“Cops detain an ENTIRE block of Antifa protestors on the second night of chaos in Portland: Activists smash windows in ugly clashes with the police…

“The ugly scenes occurred Friday after a group of activists assembled to march against the Department of Homeland Security. One local journalist claimed that between 100 and 150 protesters started making their way through the city’s Pearl District and began ‘breaking the glass of businesses’ and ‘attacking’ anyone who was filming them.”

On Thursday, according to The Daily Mail, Antifa protestors had set fire to American flags and smashed windows of the courthouse. Further violence was reported Friday night. The violence did not stop with the change of the Presidency.

Czech Republic and Hungary Open Branches of their Embassies in Jerusalem

JTA wrote on March 12:

“The Czech Republic opened a branch of its embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the second EU member state to make such a move after Hungary… The Czech Foreign Ministry has told journalists that the new mission is not a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, which the United States in 2017 recognized but the European Union and many other countries and international bodies have not pending Israeli peace talks with the Palestinians.

“But observers… have argued that the  mission’s opening cannot be seen separately from the debate about the status of Jerusalem… Rudolf Jindrak from the [Czech] presidential office described this as a highly significant symbolic step and the president’s spokesman, Jiri Ovcacek, even connected it directly with the effort to move the embassy there…”

The refusal of the EU to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has wide-ranging prophetic consequences.

Diplomatic Row between Israel and Jordan

Times of Israel wrote on March 13:

“Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi on Friday lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a canceled visit to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein. Safadi confirmed that Jordan held up granting Netanyahu overflight permission in retaliation, causing him to postpone a planned visit to the United Arab Emirates.

“The diplomatic spat underscored… tensions between the two neighbors that have simmered for years… Hussein had been set to visit the Temple Mount on Wednesday for Lailat al-Miʿraj, a holiday marking a journey undertaken by the Prophet Muhammad. Safadi accused Israel of violating an agreement on the arrangements for the visit, while Israel has said Hussein arrived with heavier security than promised…

“Under their 1994 peace treaty, Israel recognizes Jordan as the custodian of the Temple Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism and the site of the third holiest shrine in Islam. Israel captured the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s Old City from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. However, it allowed the Jordanian Waqf to continue to maintain religious authority atop the mount, where Jews are allowed to visit, but not to pray.

“Netanyahu said Israel straightened out matters with Jordan and that he would visit the UAE soon…

“[It was] also reported the US told the UAE to scale back Netanyahu’s trip, before it was canceled, due to concerns over interfering in Israel’s March 23 elections… [a] news report said Netanyahu wanted to sign a peace treaty with Sudan while in Abu Dhabi, but the US told the UAE hosting such a ceremony would amount to election interference.

“Hebrew media reports on Wednesday suggested Netanyahu may have also been hoping to meet Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and/or Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the trip, which was scheduled to be held 12 days before Israel holds its fourth national election in two years….”

Discovery of More Dead Sea Scrolls

ABC News reported on March 16:

“Israeli archaeologists on Tuesday announced the discovery of dozens of Dead Sea Scroll fragments bearing a biblical text found in a desert cave and believed hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome nearly 1,900 years ago. The fragments of parchment bear lines of Greek text from the books of Zechariah and Nahum and have been dated around the first century based on the writing style, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. They are the first new scrolls found in archaeological excavations in the desert south of Jerusalem in 60 years.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish texts found in desert caves in the West Bank near Qumran in the 1940s and 1950s, date from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D… The roughly 80 new pieces are believed to belong to a set of parchment fragments found in a site in southern Israel known as the ‘Cave of Horror’ — named for the 40 human skeletons found there during excavations in the 1960s — that also bear a Greek rendition of the Twelve Minor Prophets…

“The fragments are believed to have been part of a scroll stashed away in the cave during the Bar Kochba Revolt, an armed Jewish uprising against Rome during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, between 132 and 136…”

Skepticism as to the age is in order as the article also stated that “the exhibit included far older discoveries of no lesser importance found during its sweep of more than 500 caves in the desert: the 6,000-year-old mummified skeleton of a child, an immense, complete woven basket from the Neolithic period, estimated to be 10,500 years old…”

This is highly questionable, as man was only created by God about 6,000 years ago.

Vatican Won’t Bless Same-Sex Marriages

The Associated Press reported on March 15:

“The Vatican [with the approval by Pope Francis] decreed Monday that the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions since God ‘cannot bless sin’… [The Vatican] distinguished between the church’s welcoming and blessing of gay people, which it upheld, but not their unions. It argued that such unions are not part of God’s plan and that any such sacramental recognition could be confused with marriage… Catholic teaching holds that marriage, a lifelong union between a man and woman, is part of God’s plan and is intended for the sake of creating new life. Since gay unions aren’t intended to be part of that plan, they can’t be blessed by the church, the document said… Francis has endorsed providing gay couples with legal protections in same-sex unions, but that was in reference to the civil sphere, not within the church.

“… the head of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said the new document would be incorporated into the German discussion, but he suggested that the case was by no means closed… Other commentators noted that Catholic Book of Blessings contains rites of blessings that can be bestowed on everything from new homes and factories to animals, sporting events, seeds before planting and farm tools.”

CNN added on March 15:

“… the Holy See referred to homosexuality as a ‘choice,’ described it as sinful and said it ‘cannot be recognized as objectively ordered’ to God’s plans… The decision is a setback for Catholics who had hoped the institution would modernize its approach to homosexuality…

“The statement says that gays and lesbians, as individuals, may receive a blessing if they live according to Church teaching. But blessing same-sex unions, the Vatican said, would send a sign that the Catholic Church approves and encourages ‘a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God.’… In a commentary provided with the Monday statement, the Vatican insisted that ‘the negative judgment on the blessing of unions of persons of the same sex does not imply a judgment on persons.’”

The Bible teaches that homosexual practices are sinful, but the Vatican’s double-talk and inconsistent practices are more confusing than helpful.

More Stupidity from England… Men Under Curfew?

The Daily Mail wrote on March 11:

Men should be banned from being outdoors after 6pm to ‘make women a lot safer’ after the abduction and suspected murder of Sarah Everard in London, a Green Party peer has suggested. Baroness Jones made the comment in a discussion in the House of Lords during a debate on domestic violence.

“The issue of women’s safety has been again thrust into the spotlight following the disappearance of 33-year-old Ms Everard as she walked home to Brixton from her friend’s home in Clapham, south-west London, on March 3…

“[Baroness Jones] calls for a curfew echoed those made during the Reclaim The Night rallies in the 1970s, when members of the Women’s Liberation Movement took to the streets in the wake of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Baroness Jones added later on Twitter her solution was ‘better than the Met telling women to stay indoors,’ following reports of officers cautioning women to be careful… [Jones] came third in the 2012 election won by Boris Johnson.”

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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What events recorded in the Book of Exodus concerning the Passover period are still relevant to Christians?

The importance of this period relates to the covenants God made with Abraham—which included God’s promise to deliver Abraham’s future descendants from slavery:

“Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions’” (Genesis 15:13-14).

The time did come when God began to fulfill His promise to save the people of Israel, and God chose Moses to lead the nation out of Egypt:

“And the LORD said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt’” (Exodus 3:7-10).

God revealed Himself to Moses, saying, “‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’” (Exodus 3:6). Likewise, God told Moses to tell the children of Israel about God and what He was going to do:

“‘Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, “The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, ‘I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey’”’” (Exodus 3:16-17).

That the Israelites of that time were anticipating help from God—especially the “elders of Israel”—seems apparent based on their traditional knowledge of God’s relationship with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. For Joseph had left instructions for his bones to be carried to the land God had promised (Genesis 50:24-25). Also, Stephen spoke of how Moses, before God revealed Himself to him, considered himself as one who might save Israel from Egyptian slavery:

“For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand” (Acts 7:25).

But God did deliver the people out of slavery, and He did use those whom He chose for this responsibility. This is important to understand, and we will see how the events of the Passover were enacted through God’s instructions and followed by Moses and the people. Also, consider how God memorializes His actions in delivering Israel, as noted in Micah 6:4, “‘For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam’”; and Psalm 103:7, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.”

With great power God brought terrible destruction to the nation of Egypt. In a series of relentless plagues, Egypt was so decimated that even Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “‘Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?’” (Exodus 10:7).

Yet, a final plague, the tenth, did cause Pharaoh to free the Israelites, but Egypt paid a bitter price:

“Then Moses said, ‘Thus says the LORD: “About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel”’” (Exodus 11:4-7).

Just as God warned through Moses, so the firstborn of Egypt died:

“And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock” (Exodus 12:29).

God gave very specific and detailed instructions to Moses and Aaron regarding the observance of the Passover, calling it “‘the Passover sacrifice of the LORD’” (Exodus 12:27). This included the institution of His calendar, insofar as the order of the months are concerned, with instructions of when and how to observe the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Note chapters 12 and 13 in this regard).

While both the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread had specific meaning for the Israelites of that time, their observance was instituted as part of God’s choosing them to be His nation with implications for successive generations, as well. In fact, God specifically commanded that the observance of these holy times to be continued:

“‘So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day [the first Day of Unleavened Bread] I will have brought [or better: “I brought,” compare NIV, RSV] your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance’” (Exodus 12:17).

“‘And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this [Passover] service [of eating the Passover lamb].  And it shall be, when your children say to you, “What do you mean by this service?” that you shall say, “It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households”’” (Exodus 12:24-27).

Shortly after leaving Egypt, God revealed the weekly Sabbath day (Exodus 16) to Israel. Even though the Sabbath was in force and effect since the creation of the first man, it seems that Israel had forgotten about it, while in Egyptian slavery. Three months following their departure from Egypt, God spoke His commandments from Mount Sinai and made a covenant with the children of Israel. We see that God was accomplishing much more than freeing the Israelites from captivity:

“And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:  “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel’” (Exodus 19:3-6).

After forty years and just before his death, Moses once again reminded Israel of God’s purpose in saving them from captivity in Egypt and making them His chosen people:

“‘For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments’” (Deuteronomy 7:6-9).

Returning to the events in Exodus 12 and 13, we find a remarkable testimony about how the children of Israel responded to God’s instructions about the Passover through Moses and Aaron:

“Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did” (Exodus 12:28); and, “Thus all the children of Israel did; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did” (Exodus 12:50).

That remarkable attitude of careful obedience to God on Israel’s part serves as an example for Christians, today. However, they left another, regretful example, because the thankfulness for God’s mighty intervention on their behalf soon waned into outright rebellion. Moses confronted Israel about this, and it is left as a warning we should heed:

“Remember! Do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day that you departed from the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD” (Deuteronomy 9:7).

The Passover and the annual Holy Days of God, along with the weekly Sabbath, have been observed throughout the generations but only rarely with the commitment and zeal that God has commanded. Following the reigns of David and Solomon over all Israel, the Holy Days of God lost their place in the lives of the now divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

Israel in particular, under the rule of Jeroboam, was led into idolatry and rejected God’s rule over them. From that state of rebellion, the ten-tribe nation of Israel never recovered and was eventually driven into national captivity (2 Kings 17).

Judah, on the other hand, experienced times when a righteous king arose and restored national obedience to God. In particular, both King Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30) and King Josiah (2 Kings 23) restored true worship of God in Judah. That restoration centered on re-establishing observance of the annual Holy Days of God—especially, the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Following their return from Babylonian captivity, the Jews once again observed the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ezra 6:19-22); also, the Feast of Tabernacles was kept again (Nehemiah 8). Weekly Sabbath observance was strictly practiced under the strong leadership of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13).

That brings us to the New Testament times of Jesus. It is not within the scope of this Q&A to review all the references about Jesus and His disciples observing the weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days, but note carefully that they indeed kept what God had commanded.

Jesus Christ observed and brought full meaning to “the Passover sacrifice of the LORD” as mentioned in Exodus 12:27. He instituted a different way for His followers—those who are baptized members of the Church of God—to keep this Feast. Here are Paul’s instructions—just as He received from Jesus:

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

It should be more than obvious that we, as Christians, must keep the Passover just as Christ has commanded.

It is important to consider what Jesus said to His disciples during this Passover service. He referred to the future in God’s Kingdom, when the elect of God would be with Him:

“‘But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom’” (Matthew 26:29).

The events surrounding the first Passover are absolutely and profoundly relevant to true Christians, today! The knowledge and observance of all that God has commanded separates us from this world—a world held captive to sin through the powerful deception of Satan the Devil (1 John 5:19).

“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Romans 6:17).

Like Israel of old, God has chosen us, but our calling from God is to enter His Family and to be given eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Let’s never lose sight of this incomparable opportunity:

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Lead Writer: Dave Harris

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Coming… A Worldwide Dictatorship,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

The whole world is being prepared today for accepting a global autocratic dictatorship. Its beginning is already manifesting itself on the world scene. Do you know what is happening, and why, and that the Bible has prophesied this end-time development thousands of years ago?

“Eine weltweite Diktatur kommt!,” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program. Presented by Norbert Link, this video covers the same topic as described in the English version. 

“Unsere Hindernisse überwinden,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon which is presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “Overcome Our Obstacles.” 

“Are Jews and Christians at Odds with Jesus Christ?” is the title of our newest booklet. This has been sent to graphic artist, Shelly Bruno, in preparation for printing. While this will be posted to our website, hard copies will be available upon request.

A new member letter has been written by Eric Rank who discusses what is really important for true Christians in light of the upcoming Passover and Spring Holy Days. The letter will be distributed next week to our members and subscribers. 

“Die Ewigkeitsklausel,” is the title of a split sermon presented last Sabbath in Germany by Thilo Hanstein. Title in English: “The Eternity Clause.”

“Stehen wir alleine vor Problemen?” is the title of a split sermon presented last Sabbath in Germany by Christoph Sperzel. Title in English: “Are We Facing Problems Alone?”

“Fatigue,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:

What happens when you are in a role where there are a lot of alerts always coming at you? The natural tendency is to start to ignore important issues. What happens when this occurs to us as Christians? How do we combat this?

“The Leaders and Followers,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

What makes a good leader and what are the responsibilities they must uphold to be considered as such?  What are the roles of a follower and how do the followers and the leaders complement one another?

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

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.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

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