November 15, 2019
Comments on News and Prophecy (November 16, 2019); Words
On November 16, 2019, Norbert Link will present “Comments on News and Prophecy (November 16, 2019),” and Brian Gale will present the sermon, titled, “Words.”
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.
Time Is Running Out
by Norbert Link
Having been a baptized member of the Church of God since 1974, I have seen many people come to and leave the Church. They had enthusiastically “joined” the Church, but then something bothered them, and they left. Sometimes, it had bothered them for years. They were unable or unwilling to cope with it, until the opportunity arose which seemed to make their departure legitimate and justified. But it never is.
I have observed entire groups following “their” minister out of the Church when he found fault with the Church’s teachings; this happened in 1974 and 1975 when the Church’s doctrine on Pentecost and on divorce and remarriage was clarified; that happened in 1978 when a high-ranking minister was disfellowshipped, due to inappropriate personal conduct, and when he then started his own church organization to which many flocked; it also happened in 1979 when the Attorney General of the State of California launched his illegal and blatantly unconstitutional attack on the Church, while embracing the support of disgruntled members and ministers; and it happened of course on the largest scale, up until now, after Herbert Armstrong’s death in 1986, when the new leadership dismantled and destroyed everything which we had embraced and proven to be the Truth.
Since then, we have seen further departures from the Church by individuals or entire families. We have also observed many splits amongst church groups, with some of them being justified and required, while others were not. But the Bible predicts that a more or less “organized” falling away from the Truth is still going to occur (Matthew 24:10-12), approximately at the same time when the “Man of Sin” will appear who will sit “as God” in the “Temple of God,” claiming to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
Since being in God’s Church, I have witnessed the fulfillment of some prophetic events, but only recently has the fulfillment reached a degree which was unheard of in the past. Judging from the signs of the times, and looking at the parable of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32-33), we know that the time is short; that the Day of Christ’s return is near; but also, that the Great Tribulation is just about upon us.
The unspeakable tragedy in these final hours is that Church members will give up and throw in the towel… even though they should be strengthened in their spirit and lift up their heads with encouragement when they see what is happening all around them (Luke 21:28). The Berlin Wall fell in 1989—so many years ago—but since then, Europe has been uniting, and now, as never before, voices demanding a unified army are getting louder and louder. Such an army is now within reach, and its strong military leader of German or Austrian descent, who is of course alive, will arise and manifest himself very soon.
Ever since President Trump came to power, the relationship between Europe and the USA, which was never that great to begin with, has deteriorated in unique and unparalleled ways, which will ultimately lead to a nuclear war between these two power blocs. Even though the Brexit debacle has been a constant and somewhat tiresome theme in the media for years, the ultimate outcome is predetermined: There will be a Brexit, and the consequence will be a further deterioration between the UK and the EU, which will culminate in a nuclear war between these two powers. All of this is prophesied; it HAS to happen, and it will.
After President Trump came to power, the relationship between the USA and Israel, which was not that friendly under President Obama, improved tremendously, and more and more demands are made for the building of the Third Temple, which some time back would have been unthinkable. Many ascribe a providential role to President Trump, comparing him to King Cyrus who helped the Jews to build the Second Temple. (We believe this too, and so we know that President Trump is not going to be forced out of office through impeachment, but rather, that he will be re-elected in 2020, as he will have to stay in power to fulfill his role of what has been biblically prophesied.) But when the Third Temple is being built and animal sacrifices are being brought again on the Temple Mount, Europe will intervene militarily with the declared goal of bringing peace to the region which will be rocked by turmoil, terrorist attacks, local wars and terrible aggression among Jews and Arabs.
KNOWING all this, why is it that in these critical times, members of the Church of God lose heart and walk away? Why are they forgetting Christ’s admonition to hold fast what they have so that they don’t lose their crown (Revelation 3:11)? Why do they forget that it is because of them—the elect or the chosen ones—that mankind will survive (Matthew 24:22)? But they will of course only be and remain to be part of the elect if they don’t give up and walk away.
Satan does not want anything more than to destroy mankind… and especially the people of God. And he will do everything he can to get to God’s people. He knows our weaknesses. Do we have problems with authority in general and with Church authority in particular? Satan will come in and use that weakness to get us out of the Church. Do we have problems and disagreement with any particular Church teaching or any particular Church practice? Satan will come in to use that disagreement and see to it that it grows in our lives to the point that we leave the Church.
But in walking away from the Church of the living God—which is the body of Christ, the foundation and pillar of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15)—we cut ourselves off from the vine (John 15:1). Whatever the reason for our departure, we will be the branches which will wither away (John 15:6). And even if we don’t leave voluntarily, but keep on harboring disagreements with God’s Church in our lives, losing the love of God and becoming hostile to Him, God can cut us off (Romans 11:22), and He will do so if this becomes a necessity in order to prevent us from sowing discord and causing divisions among brethren (Proverbs 6:19; Romans 16:17).
When Christ returns, He will be asking the fundamental question: Will He really find faith on the earth (Luke 18:8)? Some will have the required faith, but how many? God could not even find ten righteous people in Sodom. We are warned that in these last days, the righteous and faithful people will be disappearing more and more (Psalm 12:1). This must not happen to us. We must not give in to Satan’s evil devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). We must stay close to God and resist Satan, and he will flee from us, while God will lift us up (James 4:7-10). And THEN, we will receive our crown of glory when Christ returns (1 Peter 5:4) … in the very near future.
by Norbert Link
We report on the anniversaries on November 9 of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Reichskristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) and the alarming signs that not all is well in the state of Germany; speak on Europe’s move toward more independent power of the USA; and address the situation in the UK and the feeling of many Britons regarding Brexit.
We focus on the chaotic situation in Spain and Bolivia; point out the ever-increasing number of wars worldwide; speak on President Trump’s future, also in respect to the prophesied erection of a Third Temple in Jerusalem; and address America’s terrible immigration record and its dealing with DACA, as well as the warning signs of economic trouble for many Americans.
We speak on Australia’s “unprecedented” wildfire dangers; address the seal of confession within the Catholic Church which is important for all religious ministers; report on comments by Pope Francis about the Devil (in this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Is Pope Francis the False Prophet of the Bible?”) and conclude with a horrible campaign designating abortion as an act of love.
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
November 9th: A fateful Day in German History
The Local wrote on November 9:
“So many momentous events happened in Germany on November 9th during the 20th century that it has become known as the country’s ‘day of fate’… here’s a look at four times history was made on November 9th…
“With Germany on the brink of defeat in World War I and a revolutionary mood sweeping the country, the unpopular emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate, ending Germany’s monarchy… on November 9th, 1918, the deputy chairman of the Social Democrats, Philipp Scheidemann rushed to the balcony of Berlin’s Reichstag parliament to announce the birth of what would become the Weimar Republic…
“Adolf Hitler, the then relatively unknown Nazi Party leader, and his cronies tried to seize power with a coup that started in a crowded Munich beer hall on November 9th, 1923…
“Nazi thugs torched synagogues, smashed Jewish-owned shops and rounded up Jewish men across Germany on November 9th, 1938, in what became known as ‘Kristallnacht’ or the ‘Night of Broken Glass’…
“The fall of the Berlin Wall in a bloodless revolution on November 9th, 1989 [ended] 28 years of Cold War separation. But because of the dark chapters associated with the date in the past, it was considered an ill choice for a public holiday. Germans instead celebrate October 3rd, 1990, the official reunification of East and West Germany.”
Some of these events might have been staged to take place on November 9, but others were clearly not. And they might not have been “coincidental” either.
Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989
Express wrote on November 9:
“Angela Merkel… paid tribute to those who were killed or imprisoned for trying to flee from East to West Germany and insisted that the fight for freedom worldwide was not over. She said: ‘The Berlin Wall… teaches us: No wall that keeps people out and restricts freedom is so high or so wide that it can’t be broken down.
“The values on which Europe is founded – freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, respect for human rights – are anything but self-evident. And they have to be filled with life and must be defended again and again…”
While focusing on Europe, her critical remarks about walls were obviously directed at President Trump.
Walls Still Exist in Germany
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 9:
“… the hope on East Germans’ faces in those images from 1989 stands in stark contrast to the divided Germany of today, where many still debate the outcomes of reunification… German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier… warned, new walls have been built across Germany: ‘Walls of frustration, walls of anger and hatred; walls of speechlessness and alienation; walls that are invisible but still divide; walls that stand in the way of our cohesion.’…
“Despite the progress made since German reunification, the political, economic and cultural divide between eastern and western Germany still runs deep. Unemployment is still higher in the east, eastern Germans are still underrepresented in leading positions and many still feel left behind as the ‘losers’ of reunification…
“Thirty years after reunification, Germany is faced with the decision of what kind of country it wants to be.”
The political, economic and cultural divide between eastern and western Germany explains why especially in East Germany, radical parties on the left and the right are so successful.
The West’s Takeover
The Guardian wrote on November 9:
“Thirty years ago, Elfriede Begrich delivered a stirring sermon to a packed Gethsemane church in East Berlin. She quoted Deuteronomy 2.7: ‘God watches over you as you wander through this great wilderness’. ‘In those days every verse in the bible sounded like a political manifesto,’ the former Protestant pastor recalled this Saturday…
“This year… 42% [of the citizens of Berlin] felt the process of reunification had taken place too quickly. Many, like Elfriede Begrich, had hoped for at least symbolic gestures to assure them that the new Germany would be a fusion of its two halves, rather than a takeover by the west…”
East Germany was clearly taken over by the West. Even though it is described as being a peaceful takeover, East Germany’s institutions and laws were totally dismantled. East Germans have not forgotten that.
Remembering the Reichskristallnacht on November 9, 1938
The Algemeiner wrote on November 8:
“It’s been 81 years since Kristallnacht (“The Night of Broken Glass”), when Nazis torched synagogues, vandalized thousands of Jewish homes, schools and businesses, and killed nearly 100 Jews on the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938 in what was a precursor of things to come in Germany.
“In the aftermath, some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps… ‘This Shabbat marks 81 years since Kristallnacht. It is inconceivable that today Jews need to remove their kipah in order to walk the streets of Europe,’ said [Jewish Agency chairman Isaac] Herzog…”
The Jerusalem Post wrote on November 8:
“António Guterres [the secretary-general of the United Nations] said that terrorists and neo-Nazis are ramping up recruitment and radicalization, and that they use the Internet as a tool to spread bigotry. He said online efforts are specifically targeted at luring in young and vulnerable people. Guterres called for urgent action by parents, teachers and political leaders ‘before underground hatred becomes an overt and alarming new normal.’…
“Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations… echoed Guterres’s warning on the dangers of rising antisemitism… ‘Tonight we are remembering what happened on Kristallnacht on November 9… It is important not only because of the destruction that night, but also what is happening now. We know that it might happen again.'”
Indeed it will, and much worse.
Europe vs. Israel
Times of Israel wrote on November 12:
“Israel on Tuesday condemned as politically motivated and discriminatory a decision by the European Court of Justice that determined that Israeli goods made in the settlements must be labeled as such. The ruling… serves as ‘a tool in the political campaign against Israel,’ the Foreign Ministry said in a statement… There are more than 200 territorial disputes across the world, but the European court has never ruled on any of them, the ministry said…
“Tuesday’s ruling, handed down by 15 judges in the court’s Grand Chamber in Luxembourg, ‘diminishes the chances of reaching peace,’ the ministry stated… According to the Luxembourg-based court, ‘Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin… Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely joined the chorus of condemnation, calling the judges’ ruling political and hypocritical. Settlements are an integral part of Israel, and it does not make a difference whether a product was manufactured in Tel Aviv or in a West Bank outpost, she said…
“Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem also chimed in, taking to Twitter to suggest the court ‘label and condemn the hundreds of rockets fired into Israeli territory today.’”
Bild Online spoke about a scandalous judgment and reported that the USA has condemned it as well. It reminds us somewhat of the requirement for Jews to wear special identification cards in Nazi Germany.
More Power to Europe?
Reuters wrote on November 9:
“… incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen [who is supposed to take over the EU Presidency on December 1] said on Friday, ‘… Europe must… learn the language of power… That means on the one hand developing our own muscles… for example in security policy. On the other hand, it means engaging our available power with more focus,’ she added…”
Reuters wrote on November 12:
“European Union governments gave the green light on Tuesday for 13 new defence projects in a step to develop more firepower independently of the United States… work will begin on a new patrol vessel, an electronic jamming weapon for aircraft and technology to track ballistic missiles…
“Some 47 joint EU defence projects are now in the works following the signing of a pact by France, Germany and 23 other EU governments in late 2017 to fund, develop and deploy armed forces following Britain’s decision to quit the bloc… the bloc hopes to launch a multi-billion-euro weapons fund from 2021 requiring EU member states to work together on designing and building new tanks, ships and technology…
“France will head plans to better track ballistic missiles in space, and develop an electronic jamming weapon with Spain and Sweden for European combat aircraft to overcome enemy air defences. With Italy, France will develop a prototype for a new class of [a] military ship, to be known as a European Patrol Corvette.
“France, Portugal, Spain and Sweden also aim to deliver a new anti-submarine system to protect sea lanes and communication. France is already leading work on new European helicopters.”
Europe will become more and more powerful militarily and will soon be able to challenge the US and the UK.
Boris Johnson to Break Another Promise?
The Guardian wrote on November 11:
“The incoming president of the commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote to the prime minister [Boris Johnson] last week, asking him to propose a British candidate or candidates for EU commissioner ‘rapidly, in the shortest time possible’. Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday that the government would comply with the law…
“In his first address to the House of Commons after becoming prime minister in July, Johnson told MPs that ‘under no circumstances’ would he nominate a new commissioner…’”
However, as Express reported on November 12, “BORIS JOHNSON has infuriated new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen by once again ignoring a request for Britain to nominate a candidate for her team” as “the deadline to put forward a British commissioner came and passed on Monday.”
Deutsche Welle added on November 14:
“The European Commission said on Thursday it was initiating infringement proceedings against the UK, hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to nominate a British candidate as an EU commissioner.
“‘As the Guardian of the Treaties, the European Commission has today sent a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breaching its EU Treaty obligations by not suggesting a candidate for the post of EU Commissioner,’ the Commission said in a statement.
“It added that London had time until next Friday, November 22, to respond.”
The relationship between the EU and the UK is deteriorating more and more.
Most Britons Prefer Brexit over Northern Ireland
The Huffington Post wrote on November 11:
“A majority of Remainers and Leavers would be prepared to see Northern Ireland leave the Union in order to achieve their preferred Brexit outcome, a survey has found…
“Four in 10 Britons would not be concerned if Northern Ireland leaves the UK. 41% said they cared little or not at all about Northern Ireland. A majority would rather have their preferred Brexit outcome than see Northern Ireland stay in the Union; which was true for both Remainers and Leavers. Even those who care a ‘great deal’ about Northern Ireland, and want it to stay in the UK, would choose their Brexit preference over the Union remaining intact.”
Many Britons feel that in a few years from now, the UK, uniting Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be history.
More Uncertainty in Spain
The Associated Press wrote on November 11:
“A general election called to end political deadlock in Spain has only deepened uncertainty about the future of the European Union’s fifth-largest economy… No party achieved a clear mandate to govern in Sunday’s vote, which was the second election in seven months and was intended to clear away the stalemate. Further weeks or months of political jockeying now lie ahead.
“Incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s left-of-center Socialists captured the most seats, with 120. But that is far short of a majority in the 350-seat chamber…
“Support surged for far-right party Vox, which was launched just six years ago. It collected 52 seats, more than double its showing in the last election in April, making it the third largest party in parliament behind the Socialists and the conservative Popular Party, which recovered to collect 88 seats. Across Europe, far-right parties have made gains in recent years, setting off alarm bells about the bloc’s political direction.
“Some analysts put down Vox’s rise to nationalist sentiment stirred up as a result of mass protests by separatists in the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia. The protests have included recent violent clashes with police that left more than 500 people injured. The push for Catalan independence, which the national government won’t allow, is Spain’s most serious political issue in decades and shows no signs of abating. Three Catalan separatist parties won a combined 23 seats, one more than in April…”
“Spain’s Pedro Sánchez Is Paying the Price for Underestimating the Far Right”
New Statesman wrote on November 11:
“After refusing to form a left alliance, the Socialist Prime Minister gambled on an early election and was painfully exposed… The previous election in April handed Sánchez victory but his party was still short of the 176 seats needed for an outright majority… And so, as King Felipe VI dissolved parliament and triggered a new election…
“Spanish fascism didn’t end with a war or a revolution…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 12:
“The Spanish Socialists have reached an initial agreement to work towards forming a minority government with left-wing populists Podemos. With a deal, the two parties’ seats still fall 21 short of a majority… Possible parties to make up the shortfall could be the leftist Mas Pais and the Basque nationalists…”
None of that sounds too promising. And as there is turmoil and uncertainty in Spain, so there is turmoil and uncertainty in Bolivia, a former Spanish colony. Bolivia’s independence from Spain was declared in 1825 and officially recognized in 1847. Note the next article.
Bolivia in Turmoil
The Week wrote on November 11:
“[Socialist] Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned Sunday… Despite agreeing to new elections, Morales was put in an even more difficult position after Bolivia’s military chief Gen. Williams Kaliman appeared on television and called for the president to resign in the hopes of allowing ‘peace to be restored and stability to be maintained for the good of our Bolivia.’
“Morales was first elected in 2006 and was the first member of the country’s indigenous population to become president. For years, Morales was lauded for his government’s progress, but Bolivians eventually grew concerned about his reluctance to give up power, especially after his most recent re-election, which led to accusations of fraud.”
The Independent added on November 11:
“Former Bolivian president Evo Morales has denounced what he has claimed was an ‘illegal’ warrant for his arrest, as supporters of the outgoing leader were accused of setting fire to his opponents’ homes… he has claimed he was the victim of a military coup – and that the police were preparing to take him into custody…”
NPR added on November 11:
“[Morales’] resignation has not settled the nation… A slew of other top officials have also resigned, including the vice president, the heads of both legislative chambers, the head of the electoral tribunal, and Bolivia’s police commander. The result is a power vacuum: it’s not clear who is in charge of Bolivia, and how a successor to Morales will be chosen.”
Deutsche Welle added on November 12:
“Former Bolivian President Evo Morales is headed for Mexico after being granted asylum there… The Mexican Foreign Ministry said it had made the decision to grant an asylum request… for humanitarian reasons. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Morales’ ‘life and physical integrity’ were at risk in Bolivia…
“The world has reacted with a variety of perspectives on the developments… Mexico, Uruguay, Cuba, Venezuela and Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez have said Morales was deposed illegally. However, the US State Department has said the situation in Bolivia was not a coup…”
Bolivia’s “Interim President”
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 12:
“Opposition politician Jeanine Anez on Tuesday declared herself Bolivia’s interim president… Clashes broke out on the streets of La Paz, Bolivia’s capital… after Anez’s declaration… Morales… called her announcement ‘the most disastrous … coup in history.’ The former Bolivian president said that the opposition leader ‘declared herself… interim president without a legislative quorum, surrounded by a group of accomplices and backed by the armed forces and police that repress the people.’…
“Bolivia’s political crisis is far from over after Anez’s move. Under the Bolivian constitution, Morales’ resignation needed to be approved by both houses of Congress, and lawmakers failed to get the quorum for an assembly session on Tuesday…”
Trump Hails Morales’ Ouster
The Hill wrote on November 11:
“President Trump hailed the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales as a ‘significant moment for democracy’…
“‘After nearly 14 years and his recent attempt to override the Bolivian constitution and the will of the people, Morales’s departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard,’ Trump said in a statement. Trump said the events in Bolivia ‘send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail. We are now one step closer to a completely democratic, prosperous, and free Western Hemisphere.’”
Current events in Bolivia do not seem to support the claim that “democracy” is being preserved. Rather, it looks more like anarchy.
No Peace, but More Complex Wars
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 8:
“After the Cold War ended, the world hoped for an era of peace. But things turned out differently. Now… wars are more complex than ever. The 20th century was dominated by wars. An estimated 80 million people died in two world wars. Then there was the Cold War: An arms race between the USA and Russia. In Europe and large parts of the world, two hostile sides faced each other. In Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America, the global powers financed bloody proxy wars…
“There are still many conflicts around the world. Since the mid-2000s, their number has increased again… Among them are the Yugoslav wars and the conflicts in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The war in Mali from 2012 and the continuing war in Syria, which began in 2011, seem to continue the trend. In the last ten years alone, researchers… have counted 23 wars and 162 minor conflicts…
“In addition to the model of bilateral conflict with two opposing sides, there are often other parties involved as well who may for example send troops or supply weapons, expertise or training. Until the beginning of the 2000s, only two or three external parties, on average, participated in any given conflict. In the following years, that average rose to between four and five.
“The main reason for this is the complex conflicts in the Middle East: In 2009, 46 external parties were involved in the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan… The war in Syria today is similarly complex: Bloomberg, for example, counted ten different main participants alone in the constantly changing network of interests at the beginning of October 2019…”
Christ warned that in these end times, we will be hearing more and more of wars and rumors of wars. Nuclear World War III is now clearly on the horizon. There will not be any peace until Christ returns.
A Third Term for Trump?
The Telegraph wrote on November 9:
“Robert De Niro… believes [that] the US president… is leading America towards war. In the past, the actor has been extremely vocal of his dislike for Donald Trump… ‘If he did win the next election, there’s definitely more chance of him allowing us to get into a war, and if you’re a president in a war, it’s more likely a chance you would stay for a third term. Imagine him in a third term.’”
It might come to that.
Trump—the Anointed King to Build the Third Temple?
Breaking Israel News wrote on November 11:
“After much deliberation, the Sanhedrin has issued a declaration calling on Iran to… return to their Biblically-correct identity as the Persian Empire. If they do not, another, possibly President Trump, will take the role of the ‘anointed king’ designated to lead the effort to build the Temple…
“[The Sanhedrin stated:] ‘Iran’s actions are in stark contrast to the great King Cyrus of Persia who ended seventy years of exile that began with the destruction of the First Temple. King Cyrus commanded the Jews exiled in Babylonia to return to Eretz Yisrael and rebuild the temple. King Cyrus aided in the restoration of the Temple by providing the tools to restore the temple and begin the Temple service. Cyrus is the ‘Anointed King’ that is mentioned in the prophecies of Isaiah one hundred and fifty years before his reign…’
“Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, emphasized that Iran stands at a historic crossroads… ‘The role of Cyrus as the anointed king was for a specific role… There needs to be a central figure… In his time, it was Cyrus,’ Rabbi Weiss said, noting that the Sanhedrin had compared President Trump to the Persian king. ‘This could be Trump but he also stands at a crossroads…’”
Breaking Israel News wrote on November 13:
“At a super donor event, being blessed by Jews as a King, Trump suggested he may take on a new role: Prime Minister of Israel… The invitation said the event was intended to ‘show appreciation’ to Trump, as ‘never before have Jews, here and in Israel, had such a loyal friend and supporter in the White House.’
“To honor the occasion, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson recited the blessing said upon seeing a non-Jewish ruler… ‘I think I have an approval rating of 98 percent in Israel,’ Trump said. ‘If anything happens here, I’m taking a trip over to Israel. I’ll be prime minister.’”
Note our Editorial in this issue.
DACA’s Uncertain Future
The Independent wrote on November 12:
“Donald Trump [stated that] ‘Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from “angels”… ‘Some are very tough, hardened criminals.’
“In June 2019 there were a reported 825,000 total DACA recipients — otherwise known as Dreamers. The majority are 25 years old or younger, Latin American-born and live across 20 US metro areas…
“The president attempted to terminate the programme two years ago, though two federal court rulings have since blocked the move. The nation’s top court will hear arguments on three consolidated cases… and determine whether the administration has a reasonable explanation to begin dissolving DACA.
“It’s unclear what would happen if the justices sided with the White House: Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have been unable to draft any legislation meeting the president’s demands for a wall while also extending protections to certain undocumented immigrants. Mr Obama found himself at a similar point when he introduced DACA in the Rose Garden in June 2012, urging Congress to pass an act that would protect Dreamers…”
This is indeed a terrible situation. Even IF some of the dreamers were criminals, many are not, and to deport all of them would constitute a terrible injustice.
Is DACA Doomed?
The Week wrote on November 12:
“As many as nine in 10 poll respondents say the so-called ‘Dreamers’ should have a path to citizenship. Crucially, that is a view shared by most Republicans, even though President Trump announced the end of the program in 2017. DACA is popular…
“The case before the Court turns on a pretty narrow question of law. The debate isn’t whether Trump had the right to bring DACA to an end, but whether his administration gave the wrong reason for doing so. The administration said that former President Obama overstepped his authority when he created DACA by executive order in 2012, and that the White House had no legal choice but to end the program.
“The Supreme Court might agree. Or it could decide — as lower courts have — that Obama had the authority to create DACA, and that the Trump administration’s reasoning for ending the program was based ‘on an erroneous view of what the law required.’ If that happens, the Trump administration would probably be given the chance to go back to the drawing board and come up with a proper reason for ending the program. Still, if Obama had the discretion to create the program, there is little question that Trump has the authority to pull the plug — what a president can make, a president can unmake…
“It is at this point that Congress could step in and do the right thing. But the legislative branch’s failures on immigration in general — and saving the Dreamers, in particular — are legion. The House and Senate have been trying to pass a path to citizenship for the young migrants for nearly two decades.”
The incompetency of the US government is breath-taking.
America’s Pitiful Record
Axios wrote on November 12:
“New government data shows that the U.S. government held 69,550 migrant children in custody in 2019, a 42% increase from fiscal year 2018… UN researchers report that the U.S. detained more children than any other country in the world this year…
“Around 4,000 kids are still in custody, but more are arriving every week… Nearly 3,000 children were forcibly removed from their parents’ custody, while an additional 1,556 migrant families were separated between July 2017 and June 2018…”
The immigration record of the USA is indeed awful and inhumane.
US Borrowers Are Going Underwater on Car Loans
The Wall Street Journal wrote on November 9:
“Consumers, salespeople and lenders are treating cars a lot like houses during the last financial crisis: by piling on debt to such a degree that it often exceeds the car’s value. This phenomenon—referred to as negative equity, or being underwater—can leave car owners trapped. Some 33% of people who traded in cars to buy new ones in the first nine months of 2019 had negative equity, compared with 28% five years ago and 19% a decade ago…
“Borrowers with negative equity at the time of purchase tend to get longer loan terms, higher interest rates and higher monthly payments… The result for some consumers is a cycle in which each new trade-in leaves them deeper underwater… If borrowers default, lenders generally repossess the cars and try to resell them, then apply that money to the unpaid balance. Often, though, that isn’t enough to cover the borrower’s unpaid balance.”
The same phenomenon can be observed in the housing market. We should not fool ourselves in thinking that we will not experience another financial crisis soon, which will be devastating for many Americans.
Wildfires in Australia
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 11:
“The Australian state of New South Wales declared a state of emergency on Monday due to ongoing, unprecedented wildfire danger. New South Wales Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said on Monday that residents were facing ‘what could be the most dangerous bushfire week [the] nation has ever seen.’…”
Deutsche Welle added on November 12:
“Increased heat and high winds have threatened to make the already devastating bushfires worse. Authorities in Sydney are warning residents of ‘catastrophic fire danger’ — the first time that designation has been assigned since fire ratings were introduced in Australia in 2009. The warning has triggered evacuations in the state of New South Wales and forced more than 600 schools across the state to close.”
The Guardian wrote on November 12:
“It could be months before eastern Australia has more than a million hectares of bushfires under control, the New South Wales fire chief has warned, as the country faces one of its worst bushfire outbreaks… concern was growing over unpredictable wind changes worsening fires in the neighbouring state of Queensland, with much hotter temperatures also predicted for the Sydney area next week.”
The Bible has predicted that in these end times, more and more devastating wildfires will spread throughout the world, and especially in countries which are descendants of the ancient House of Israel. Australia is of course one of those countries.
Breaking the Seal of Confession?
MSN wrote on November 11:
“The Roman Catholic Church says it would reject any recommendation from a U.K. inquiry that would require priests to break confession to report child sexual abuse. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, [said:] ‘The history of the Catholic Church has a number of people who have been put to death in [defense] of the seal of the confession. It might come to that.’…
“When asked by Brian Altman, the lead lawyer on the inquiry, how the Catholic Church would respond to a recommendation of breaking the seal of confession in cases where abusers have admitted child abuse, Nichols said: ‘It would not be well received. It would be rejected,’ he said. This comes after the Australian Catholic Church opposed the Australian Royal Commission’s recommendation of breaking the seal of confession in 2018.”
This problem is not limited to the Catholic Church. Any minister who is being given confidential information must make a conscious decision as to how to proceed and use the communication received. It would therefore be important to tell anyone before communication is given what the parameters and consequences of obtaining that information would be for the parishioner.
Pope Francis: The Devil Destroys
Vatican News wrote on November 12:
“‘The devil exists, sowing hatred and death throughout the world… When you talk badly about someone you destroy them… The tongue is a fearsome weapon… Gossip kills. Slander kills’, [the Pope] said… ‘Cain and Abel were brothers’, he said, ‘but the jealousy and the envy of the one destroyed the other’. This is the way it is, said the Pope, just watch the evening news: ‘wars, destruction, people dying of illnesses caused by wars’.
“Pope Francis recalled the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the horrors of war, the Nazis, and those who ‘tortured anyone who was not of “pure race”’… The Pope said he often has the impression the news is a story of hatred and destruction, wars and terrorist attacks. ‘So many children die of hunger and disease’ because they have no water, no education, or healthcare, said the Pope. Instead, ‘the money needed for this goes to manufacturing weapons of destruction’…”
The Devil exists indeed, even though most people don’t believe in him. That foolish ignorance empowers him even more.
Abortion an Act of Love?
Breaking Israel News reported on November 10:
“The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) launched a new campaign… dubbed ‘Abortion Actually.’ [It] makes the following claim:… ‘What is abortion actually? An act of love. An act of compassion. An act of healing. An act of selflessness. Abortion actually is something 1 in 4 people will experience in their lifetimes. It’s health care. It’s freedom… If you believe that abortion is at its core, an act of love, compassion, healing, and selflessness – please join our campaign today…’
“The NWLC campaign seeks to keep abortion available with an initial investment of $350,000 to 11 pro-abortion groups across the U.S.
“Dr. Eli Schussheim, a highly regarded Israeli surgeon who is the director of EFRAT-C.R.I.B, reacted to the new campaign from a Biblical perspective… ‘I object to abortion as a doctor… I am a doctor and have treated approximately 76,000 women that all claimed to have economic or family reasons to have an abortion,’ Dr. Schussheim said. ‘Not a single one has expressed regret at her decision to have a baby. On the other hand, unlike other surgical procedures, abortion does not leave a physical scar but always leaves a scar on the psyche. From a medical standpoint, abortion, as this organization describes it, is horrible for women…’”
This new campaign endorses and promotes entirely ungodly and despicable concepts. Woe to those who call evil good!
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.
Could you explain what “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” really means?
You are referring to 2 Timothy 2:15 which reads: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
In our Q&A “How Does the Church of the Eternal God and its International Affiliates Differ from Other Christian Churches? (Part 1) we state the following:
“In charging Timothy with ‘rightly dividing the word of truth,’ Paul brings out the fact that God’s Word must be read and studied, ‘here a little and there a little’ (Isaiah 28:9-10). All Scriptures to a given concept must be consulted, to avoid reaching a wrong conclusion. The Word of Truth must be taught honestly, while nothing is to be added or deleted. In dividing or ‘cutting straight’ God’s Word, error and false interpretations are being cut off. As Paul admonished Timothy to preach God’s Word ‘in season and out of season’ (compare again 2 Timothy 4:2), and not to be ‘ashamed of the testimony of our Lord’ and the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8), so Paul also did not shun ‘to declare… the whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27).”
The word “orthotomeō” (Strong’s Number: G3718) meaning “‘rightly dividing’ can be understood as follows: ‘To cut straight, to cut straight ways. To proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course, equivalent to doing right. To make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly.’”
The Bible clearly says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Also, we read in John 17:15-19: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”
We are clearly told that Jesus prayed that His disciples would be set apart by the Truth of God. They would be able to rightly divide the word of Truth.
From the Scriptures already quoted we can see that we must read the Bible, study it, and diligently seek correct understanding from it. As we do, we can show ourselves approved unto God as workmen who need not be ashamed.
We must also realise that the Bible, in its original form, is the Word of Truth. There are no contradictions; otherwise, the Bible could not be trusted.
Let us break down 2 Timothy 2:15 which is Paul’s instruction to Timothy who was a minister in the New Testament of God. However, just because this was an instruction to a minister at that time doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t apply to all Church members as well down through the ages to the present time. We are admonished to “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) – again, an exhortation that applies to all members of the Church of God whether they are ministers or members.
2 Timothy 2:15 starts out by saying: “Be diligent”; that is, to make every effort, be studious and unflagging in this endeavour. Barnes Notes on the Bible states the following:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God – Give diligence or make an effort so to discharge the duties of the ministerial office as to meet the divine approbation. The object of the ministry is not to please men. Such doctrines should be preached, and such plans formed, and such a manner of life pursued, as God will approve. To do this demands study or care – for there are many temptations to the opposite course; there are many things the tendency of which is to lead a minister to seek popular favor rather than the divine approval. If any man please God, it will be as the result of deliberate intention and a careful life.”
As mentioned, this admonition applies to all ordained and unordained members of God’s Church. We all must be diligent in discharging our individual duties and responsibilities—whatever they may be.
“…to show yourself approved unto God.” In Matthew 25:23 we read: “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” This is part of Christ’s teaching in the parable of the talents and must be our aim in life. We must remember that our calling now is the only opportunity that we will have, and we must make it fully count as there is no second chance for anyone.
“… a workman who does not need to be ashamed.” This must be our goal. Three verses earlier, in 2 Timothy 2:12, we are told that if “If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us.” That is a pretty stark warning for us to do the right thing. Timothy was given the task of reminding them “of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:14). God will surely be pleased when we take His Word seriously and rightly divide the Word of Truth. While ministers are to preach the Word of God in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2), we all have the responsibility to answer those with meekness and fear who ask us regarding the hope that is in us (compare 1 Peter 3:15). In 1 Timothy 4:16, a warning is given: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
“… rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” The word “rightly dividing” literally means “to rightly cut, to cut straight.”
As mentioned above, there are warnings about not adding to or taking away from God’s Word. We read in Deuteronomy 4:2: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
Deuteronomy 12:32 states: ““Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
Revelation 22:19 adds: “… and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
We also read in Mark 7:13 about those who are “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things that you do.” This follows on from verse 7, which reads: “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
It should be further added that in Romans 8:9 & 14 we read that “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” In order to obtain the Holy Spirit, we need to repent, believe and be baptised (see Acts 2:38). God only gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him (see Acts 5:32). It follows that those who are not obedient to God will not receive His Holy Spirit and, therefore, will not be able to properly divide the Word of Truth. Even those who might be called by God and who are on their way towards baptism must be careful not to reject or second-guess the teachings of God’s Church, which is the foundation and the pillar of the Truth (2 Timothy 3:15), and to replace them with their own personal opinions.
It is clear from mainstream Christianity that tradition can play quite a part in their “understanding” of the Way of God. On the website carm.org/catholic/roman-catholicism-bible-and-tradition, we read:
“One of the great differences between Protestant and Catholic doctrine is in the area of Tradition. The Protestant church maintains that the Bible alone is intended by God to be the source of doctrinal truth (2 Tim. 3:16). The Catholic Church, however, says, ‘Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God . . .’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97).
“The Catholic Church reasons thusly:
“‘1. The apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority’ (Par. 77).
“‘2. This living transmission, accomplished through the Holy Spirit, is called tradition…’ (Par. 78).
“‘3. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence’ (Par. 82).
“Within the Catholic scope of Tradition, many doctrines have been ‘revealed’ to the Church over the centuries. For example, there is the veneration of Mary, her immaculate conception and her bodily assumption into heaven. There is also the Apocrypha, transubstantiation, praying to saints, the confessional, penance, purgatory, and more. Protestantism as a whole differs with Catholicism in these additions.”
This article states that “The Protestant church maintains that the Bible alone is intended by God to be the source of doctrinal truth (2 Tim. 3:16),” which is incorrect. For example, the Bible clearly teaches the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath and the annual Holy Days, which neither Roman Catholicism nor Protestantism accepts. They have replaced them with Sunday and man’s holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.), which have no biblical basis whatsoever. For more differences, please see our “Statement of Beliefs,” which will show a great disparity between the Church of God and mainstream Christianity.
From what we have seen, these churches have not rightly divided the Word of Truth. In addition, they have added things and taken away things through tradition and faulty reasoning and the outcome of such practices is not favourable!
Two additional examples of how the Bible has not been the basis of understanding can be seen in the false belief in the Trinity. In the New Bible Dictionary we read the following: “The word Trinity is not found in the Bible, and, though used by Tertullian in the last decade of the 2nd century, it did not find a place formally in the theology of the Church till the 4th century.” In other words, this is something that has been “added” which is condemned in God’s Word.
Another example is that of the Rapture. Wikipedia, under the heading of “Rapture,” makes these observations: “Pre-tribulation rapture theology originated in the eighteenth century, with the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather, and was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, and further in the United States by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 20th century.” The rapture is not mentioned in the Bible and is another example of a belief not shown in the Bible being “added” which is contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture.
As stated above, other examples of changing God’s Word to suit man’s requirements is that of the weekly Sabbath. Saying that a change was made because Christ was raised from the dead on a Sunday morning is both incorrect (it was Saturday evening) and has no biblical basis whatsoever. It was, in brief, a change not approved of or authorised by Scripture.
There are many other examples of similar “adding to and taking away” from the inspired Word of God, which would clearly come under the heading of NOT rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
We must always let the Bible interpret itself. It is infallible in its original form and must be our guide to life, and we must never fall into the trap of human reasoning. We must always rightly divide the Word of Truth as the Bible instructs!
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A Tech Team Meeting was conducted via SKYPE this past Sunday morning (November 3, 2019). Hosted by Eric Rank, emphasis was given to improving sending out the Update. We also discussed posting Spanish translations on the Web and touched on other items regarding the upkeep of our websites. We have now created a new page for the Spanish language and posted several Spanish articles.
“Is Pope Francis the False Prophet of the Bible?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link.
Here is a summary:
Quite a few assume that he is, while others are skeptical. This program will discuss the arguments for and against such conclusions in the light of most recent developments within the Catholic Church and some of Pope Francis’ statements which challenge long-held Catholic beliefs.
Pastor Rene Messier informed us that the French booklet on “Europe in Prophecy” has now been posted on the website.
“Wie werden wir in der Auferstehung aussehen?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “How Will We Look in the Resurrection?”
“Die Charakterzüge eines Christen”, the sermonette presented last Sabbath in Germany by Christoph Sperzel, is now posted. Title in English: “Character Traits of a Christian.”
“What Do You Expect As a Christian?”, the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
As Christians living at this time and age, what is it that we expect? How do we view the things that are happening to us? How do we respond to the constant trials and tests that we are facing? What can we expect from God in regard to our calling and His promises? We need to have a clear understanding in these matters and make sure that we are not just hearers but also implementers so that we are not caught off guard.
“How Boldly and Courageously Do You Talk with God?”, the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We ought to pray to God with boldness and with courage. We should be daring and vigorous in our expression. This sermon shows examples of righteous people who spoke to God with boldness. But we must also be careful not to carry our “boldness” too far.
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.
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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