July 27, 2018
Caught in the Truth?; Fight Deception!
On July 28, 2018, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Caught in the Truth?” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Fight Deception!”
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.
Two Types of Servants
by Rene Messier (Canada)
Christ talked about two types of servants in the New Testament. We are familiar with His words which we would all like to hear at His return: “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” (Matthew 25:23).
This is an awesome statement, pointing to our future reward for being faithful, ruling in the Kingdom on the earth in the Millennium (Revelation 5:10).
“Well done” is music to our ears if we were told this by our manager or supervisor at work since it would signify that we not only did a good job but that the boss is very pleased with the work we performed. Hearing a compliment like this inspires us to continue to do good and even make attempts to excel in the tasks we have been given to do.
Notice the word “good.” If something is good then it is not bad. The fact that Christ said the servant was good is a very positive thing. It is much more than a manager or supervisor telling us, “good job,” which implies a job well done, bringing a swelling of joy to the hearers of such a nice compliment. Here, Christ is calling the servant “good”—not just the work which he did.
Notice the word “faithful.” If that isn’t also music to our ears, I don’t know what would be. Being called faithful means we did what was required of us. We towed the line, we endured, we did not throw in the towel even in the face of trials and adversity. We kept the faith. We were engaged in the commission of warning the world of impending doom in the near future; of preaching hope at the end of the trials coming on mankind; of proclaiming the future for those faithful servants and the promise of the resurrection and potential for all as God’s plan is rolled out; of getting the gospel—the good news—out to the world. All these aspects are encompassed in the word “faithful,” as applied to the servants of God.
Notice the word “servant.” We are not slaves or servants of Satan but rather slaves or servants of the living God, with the potential of becoming God.
This statement of how Christ is pleased with our performance should inspire us to complete the task we have been given.
Here is the other side of the coin.
Matthew 25:26-30 says: “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Notice the word “wicked.” This is not exactly what we would like to hear from someone above us. Wicked also means malicious and derelict, implying we failed to do the will and desires of what Christ expected of us.
Notice the word “lazy.” This is hardly a recommendation if we are looking for a job. Lazy implies neglect to do what was required of us; in other words, a miserable failure.
The unprofitable servant did nothing with his talent, not even putting it in a bank to draw interest, but he buried it. What was his reward? He lost the talent that he had been given. And he was cast into outer darkness. This is probably not what he expected, but he was a total let-down to what Christ expected of him.
So the question is this: what type of servant are you and do you want to be?
by Norbert Link
We begin with addressing the ongoing Brexit negotiations; the growing influence of China and the EU on the political and technological world scene; the fear of an escalating trade war and its devastating effect for the entire world economy, including the USA; and Steve Bannon’s planned attack on the EU.
We also report on the revelation that Messrs. Trump and Putin discussed Ukraine during their private meeting in Helsinki; and that due to the resignation of a German national soccer player with Turkish roots, an explosive “discussion” on racism and immigrant integration in Germany has evolved.
We focus on Turkey’s economic troubles and the war of words between Turkey and the USA and Israel; and address Israel’s military actions against Syria and the return of radical Islamic State.
We speak on the previous destructions of the Jewish Temples in Jerusalem (in this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Ancient and Modern Beliefs in the Third Temple,” ); the Catholic Church’s attacks on American TV Evangelists; and another vaccine scandal in China.
We conclude with the unprecedented heat wave and the destruction through wildfires in many countries and an article wondering whether dinosaurs could have lived together with modern man.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
Brits Oppose May’s Plan as to HOW to Leave the EU
Reuters wrote on July 22:
“Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to leave the European Union are overwhelmingly opposed by the British public… May’s political vulnerability was exposed by the survey which found voters would prefer Boris Johnson, who quit as her foreign minister two weeks ago, to negotiate with the EU and lead the Conservative Party into the next election.
“Only 16 percent of voters say May is handling the Brexit negotiations well, compared with 34 percent who say that Johnson would do a better job… With a little more than eight months to go before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, May’s government, parliament, the public and businesses remain deeply divided over what form Brexit should take. May’s plans to keep a close trading relationship with the EU on goods thrust her government into crisis this month… Only one in 10 voters would pick the government’s proposed Brexit plans if there were a second referendum… Almost half think it would be bad for Britain.
“The new Brexit minister Dominic Raab… refused to deny reports the government is planning to stockpile food or use a section of motorway in England as a lorry park to deal with increased border checks if Britain leaves the EU without a deal…
“Thirty-eight percent of people would vote for a new right-wing party that is committed to Brexit, while almost a quarter would support an explicitly far-right anti-immigrant, anti-Islam party… Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage and U.S. President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon are in discussions about forming a new right-wing movement…”
Regarding Steve Bannon’s controversial plans, notice articles below.
The Blame Game Has Begun…
EUObserver wrote on July 23:
“Britain’s new foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt warned on Monday in Berlin that there is a clear risk of the UK leaving the EU next March without a deal and that the bloc will be blamed for it by stalling the talks – as the blame-game starts for a possible ‘no-deal’ scenario.
“Speaking on his first trip after being appointed following the resignation of Boris Johnson earlier in July, Hunt told his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, that ‘there is now a very [real] threat of a Brexit no deal accident, and this is because many in the EU are thinking that they just have to wait long enough and Britain will blink.’”
EU and China Take Control of Internet
Politico wrote on July 19:
“The United States is losing ground as the internet’s standard-bearer in the face of aggressive European privacy standards and China’s draconian vision for a tightly controlled web. The weakening of the American position comes after years of U.S. lawmakers and presidents, including both Donald Trump and Barack Obama, backing the tech industry’s aversion to new regulations. The EU has stepped in to fill part of that gap, setting privacy standards that companies like Facebook and Google must follow.
“At the same time, China is dictating companies’ security practices and demanding to see their products’ source code — developments that experts say will undermine global cybersecurity. And while the global tech industry is adapting to these new realities, no one in the Trump administration has devised a clear plan to rebut either of these agendas.
“The result: Beijing and Brussels are effectively writing the rules that may determine the future of the global internet…
“The implications extend beyond pure cybersecurity issues. China’s law raises concerns about internet freedom, censorship and surveillance…”
What a U.S.-China/EU Trade War Could Do to the Global Economy
Market Watch wrote on July 23:
“… neither Washington nor Beijing are set to back down, opening the door to a tit-for-tat spiral. On the U.S. side, the Trump administration appears to be abiding by the president’s assertion that trade wars are ‘easy’ to win… China… sees its technology and industrial policies as non-negotiable and doesn’t want to be seen as being bullied by the U.S…
“… signs of momentum for the U.S. economy are encouraging Trump to push hard on trade… the U.S. economy isn’t geared to produce the types of goods currently imported from China… For China, the tensions come as trade is already slowing… The U.S.-China trade war could escalate quickly, ultimately affecting over $600 billion in trade…”
Handelsblatt Global wrote on July 24:
“Last week brought a foretaste of the stock market turmoil that could be looming… Shares in aluminum giant Alcoa [in Pittsburgh] tumbled by 16 percent on Wall Street on Thursday and Friday after the increased price of metal imports forced it to issue a profit warning… many analysts are warning that many more companies could follow suit. ‘A trade war would be a worst-case scenario, especially for stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic,’ said the chief economist of German bank IKB, Klaus Bauknecht.
“Right now, that is where Mr. Trump is heading. He told CNBC last Friday he was prepared to impose tariffs on up to half a trillion dollars-worth of Chinese goods. He’s repeatedly threatened to impose duties on car imports from Europe, on top of tariffs on steel and aluminum. The EU, which has already taken steps to curb steel imports, said it would retaliate further if necessary… Michael Cembalest, the chief strategist at JP Morgan, said that if Mr. Trump carries out his threats, the US would be imposing the biggest tariff hikes since the 1930s…
“Analysts at UBS said US and European stock markets stand to lose at least 20 percent in a trade war… US consumers are currently buying foreign goods by the bucket loads: America’s gigantic trade deficit reached an all-time high of $566 billion in 2017… The price of washing machines has jumped by 20 percent since March because of new US tariffs…”
Trump Offers $12 Billion in Aid to Farmers Hurt by Tariffs
The Week wrote on July 24:
“The Department of Agriculture on Tuesday announced $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers who have been negatively impacted by President Trump’s escalating trade war. The plan comes as retaliatory tariffs from China and other countries have slashed profits for farmers who grow soybeans, rice, beef, pork, and other products. Farm groups have criticized Trump for implementing tariffs, saying the fallout could cost them billions of dollars.
“The Agriculture Department plans to fund the bailout with direct assistance, trade promotion, and a food purchase and distribution program… Trump on Tuesday said that his tariffs are the ‘greatest.’”
He also said that American citizens ought to be “patient,” as the great positive effect for the USA regarding his tariffs on foreign countries would materialize in time.
Newsmax added on July 24:
“Some farm-state Republicans… quickly dismissed the Trump farm plan, declaring that farmers want markets for their crops, not payoffs for lost sales and lower prices… With congressional elections coming soon, the government action underscored administration concern about damage to U.S. farmers from Trump’s trade tariffs and the potential for losing House and Senate seats in the Midwest and elsewhere.
“The administration said the program was just temporary. ‘This is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration the time to work on long-term trade deals,’ said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as administration officials argued that the plan was not a ‘bailout’ of the nation’s farmers. But that provided little solace to rank-and-file Republicans, who said the tariffs are simply taxes and warned the action would open a Pandora’s box for other sectors of the economy.”
EU vs. USA
Express wrote on July 24:
“European Commission President Mr Juncker travels to Washington in the hope he can put an end to a feud with the US President, a meeting that has been in the making since the pair exchanged views at the G7 summit in Quebec, Canada. During their last encounter, Mr Trump branded the EU’s most senior official a ‘brutal killer’ and has since branded the EU a ‘foe’, citing their trading strategy as the reason for his wariness of the Brussels bloc.
“Despite hoping for Mr Juncker to end the US-EU trade dispute, [Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German industry] believes Brussels should use its position in the world and ‘not allow itself to be blackmailed’. The German business chief is keen to stress the importance of his country’s automotive industry for US jobs… Berlin’s automotive industry employs more than 118,000 people in the US with 60 percent of its production in the States being exported to other countries…”
President Trump stated in a speech to veterans on July 24 that the Europeans (represented by President Juncker) were coming to the White House to beg him to change his mind on imposing further tariffs, including on German cars like Mercedes and BMW, but that he won’t do so. If this will be the end result of the discussions for now, then the EU has already announced that they will retaliate with heavy tariffs worth 20 billion dollars on US products, which, if enacted, would result in terrible economic consequences for all countries and citizens involved.
The Washington Post wrote on July 25:
“Several of President Trump’s senior economic advisers believe he plans to push forward with 25 percent tariffs on close to $200 billion in foreign-made automobiles later this year… despite numerous warnings from GOP leaders and business executives who have argued that such a move could damage the economy and lead to political mutiny. But Trump has become increasingly defiant in his trade strategy, following his own instincts and intuition and eschewing advice from his inner circle. He has told advisers and Republicans to simply trust his business acumen, a point he tried to reinforce Wednesday morning in a Twitter post: ‘Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop Trade talks or the use of Tariffs to counter unfair Tariffs, I wonder, what can they be thinking… Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off?’”
Subsequently, as the following articles point out, Junker and Trump agreed that they would work on reducing the trade tensions between the two power blocs. Many concluded that the concerns raised in the articles above are therefore no longer valid. But is this a correct assessment of the situation?
“Deal” Reached Between Trump and Juncker… How Good Is It?
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 25:
“US President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker met at the White House on Wednesday, where they announced that the US and the European Union would work to reduce trade tensions that have arisen over the past few months out of Trump’s confrontational trade policy. The meeting comes after weeks of acrimony between the US and EU — which account for 50 percent of global trade — as both sides slapped tariffs on one another.
“In an unexpected press announcement in the Rose Garden, Trump and Juncker laid out the major goals that they had agreed upon in their meeting:
“The US and the EU would work towards ‘zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,’ Trump said. The EU would buy significant amounts of liquid natural gas from the US to help diversify the bloc’s energy sources, as well as increase its imports of US-grown soybeans. Both sides will hold off from imposing any further tariffs, and the EU will reassess existing tariffs on US steel and aluminum as long as trade talks remain ongoing…
“Trump said that the US and the EU had launched ‘a new phase of close friendship and strong trade relations in which both of us will win.’… If trade barriers between the US and the EU are eventually reduced following future talks, the result would be a significant U-turn from the US president’s protectionist policies towards Europe…
“While both he and Juncker said no new tariffs would be imposed as long as trade talks remained ongoing, it was unclear whether or not Trump had backed away from eventually slapping import fees on foreign cars, given the ‘non-auto industrial goods’ exception he pointed out…
“Juncker’s willingness to reform the WTO with Trump lines up the EU with the US against China…”
Much of the conservative US press hailed the “deal” as a victory for Donald Trump. The article in Deutsche Welle, quoted above, hailed it as a success for the EU. However, reviewing the “terms” of the deal, there were very few substantive provisions which were “agreed” upon. The new era of “close friendship” might be short-lived. Note the next article.
“Deal” Could Fall Apart on a Moment’s Notice
The Washington Post wrote on July 25:
“Trump did not definitively agree to suspend steel and aluminum tariffs against E.U. countries… There was not a specific agreement on existing tariffs on automobiles, which had been Trump’s primary source of frustration with European leaders since at least last year. And while Juncker is an important figure in European politics, any final deal must be seen as acceptable to a range of leaders of E.U. nations, any one of whom could issue a statement that offends Trump and upends the entire process…
“The White House has touted half-step trade agreements before, only to see them crumble and lead to increased acrimony. In May, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from a trip to Beijing and said that the trade war with China had been put on hold and that both sides had agreed to halt new tariffs. The detente lasted only days before talks broke down, leading to an escalation of protectionist trade measures by the world’s two largest economies…
“Before Trump could impose tariffs on auto imports, the Commerce Department would have to issue a finding that they pose a national security threat. Several Republican lawmakers have said such a finding would be laughable, but the Commerce Department has flexibility to make a determination on its own… Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday evening that his investigation into auto imports remained ongoing despite the White House agreement, a sign that tensions between Trump and European leaders could reignite on a moment’s notice…”
In addition, as recent events have shown, nobody seems to be able to recall exactly after a while as to what actually was “agreed” upon.
“Germany Reacts to Juncker-Trump Trade Deal with Cautious Relief”
Deutsche Welle reported on July 26:
“German politicians and business leaders reacted with relief, surprise, and some skepticism…
“German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier was among the first to express his approval, tweeting that the new deal would ‘avoid trade war & save millions of jobs!’ Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also took to Twitter to declare Juncker’s negotiations a triumph for European solidarity… The optimism was echoed through Angela Merkel’s official channel’s, with the chancellor’s deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer saying that the government welcomed the agreement, and that the ‘EU Commission could continue to rely on our support.’…
“But Germany’s business chiefs were a little more cautious. ‘The solutions that have been presented are moving in the right direction, but a proper portion of skepticism remains,’ said Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK). ‘We’re still some distance away from equal negotiations. The unjustified car tariffs are not completely off the table.’
“Dieter Kempf, the president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), made similar noises, telling the DPA news agency: ‘The spiral of tariffs in transatlantic trade has been stopped for now. Now these words have to be followed with actions.’
“Holger Schmieding, chief economist at the Berenberg Bank, offered perhaps the pithiest comment: ‘It’s not a proper deal, but it’s a step away from the abyss.’
“Meanwhile, opposition political parties pointed out that Trump had developed a reputation for reversing his decisions, or even denying his own statements. Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, deputy leader of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), would only say that ‘it remains to be seen,’ whether the agreement would be work out. The US president ‘has often shown himself to be unpredictable,’ he told DW…
“Katharina Dröge, trade policy spokeswoman for the Green party, also argued that the deal included unpleasant concessions to the US, which, she said, contains ‘the most problematic parts’ of the old free trade agreement TTIP. ‘So the EU has entered into a game on Trump’s terms. Juncker hasn’t produced a solution, just medium-term conflicts within the EU,’ she told DW.
“Other politicians were more scathing. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) EU trade specialist Bernd Lange said bluntly, ‘That wasn’t a success, what Mr Juncker negotiated over there.’ Speaking to public radio station Deutschlandfunk, Lange said Juncker had barely won any gains from Trump, and criticized the fact that US steel and aluminum tariffs were still in place.”
Steve Bannon Plans to Attack the EU
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 23:
“Steve Bannon plans to build a right-wing populist think tank in Europe. German lawmakers called the plans by the former adviser to the US president to influence the 2019 European elections ‘a frontal attack on the EU’…
“Bannon has become a controversial figure, known for his ties to the campaigns for the UK to leave the European Union and the election of US President Donald Trump…
“Bannon has worked with many of Europe’s far-right parties, including the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the only party in the country to express optimism over Bannon’s project. Although the AfD has declined help from Bannon’s foundation for its electoral campaigns, party co-chair Alice Weidel recently sought his advice when both were in Switzerland in March for a conference. Weidel described Bannon’s strategy as ‘exciting and ambitious.’”
Politico added on July 25:
“Out of favor at the White House and out of a job at Breitbart, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is looking for new paying clients by making waves in Europe… at its root, this Bannon bombshell is a threat to European democracy… It should come as no surprise that he was invited to the fray by the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose National Rally party has been bankrolled by Russian loans…
“Bannon believes he can bring U.S. dollars to Brussels, exploit issues like migration and manipulate social media algorithms to determine the election outcome. His goal is to create a far-right super-bloc that would bring together parties with a xenophobic, anti-EU and authoritarian bent, from Italy to Poland. He’s declared that they should wear accusations of racism ‘like a medal.’…
“We can’t know if Bannon’s latest desperate gasp for relevancy poses a real threat, or if this is another grand delusion. Breitbart failed to make inroads into Europe… But we do know that the EU can’t afford to sleep-walk into another political crisis and that the European Parliament has a key role to play…”
Most Germans Feel They Don’t Need the USA
Handelsblatt Global reported on July 23:
“Fifty-six percent of Germans said Europe can guarantee its own safety without US support, according to a survey [by RTL].”
Putin and Trump Discussed Ukraine in Secret
Bild Online wrote on July 20:
“Putin proposed a referendum in Eastern Ukraine – currently occupied by pro-Russian forces – to Trump. Two NATO sources who are familiar with the issue have confirmed this on Friday. Previously, only ‘Bloomberg,’ referring to Russian diplomats, had reported that Putin had proposed such a deal… US Ambassador to Moscow, Jon Huntsman, has informed several NATO ambassadors about the Russian President’s suggestion. This allegedly occurred in the middle of the week, after Huntsman flew directly from Helsinki to Brussels. He allegedly said that the US ‘is looking into the suggestions’.
“Germany’s and France’s NATO ambassadors allegedly declared that such a referendum would only be possible if a United Nations peace mission were to gain access to all occupied areas of Eastern Ukraine first… The character of such a referendum is still unclear. Are the eastern Ukrainians supposed to decide on their independence, or on whether to become part of Russia? The referendum in Crimea in 2014… could be the model for the suggested referendum. The 2014 referendum served as Russia’s justification for the annexation of Crimea…
“Kiev has harshly criticized a possible referendum against Ukraine’s will. The political director of the Ukrainian Foreign Office, Oleksii Makeiev, tweeted: ‘We reject this crazy idea of a referendum at Russian gunpoint in the occupied areas’. The referendum is ‘absolutely unacceptable’ to Ukraine and its partners. Jakub Janda, Director of the Czech think tank ‘European Values’, is also outraged: ‘The fact that Putin has proposed a referendum on occupied Ukrainian territory is outrageous and merely shows that Russia is not interested in leaving the Ukrainian territory that it has forcefully occupied’.
“A referendum under foreign occupation would not legitimize the occupation, Janda told BILD: ‘That’s why the Russian referendum on Crimea was viewed as invalid by the entire civilized world’. According to Janda, Trump should have rejected Putin’s suggestion immediately.
“Approximately 30 minutes after the German version of this article was published on Friday evening (German time), the US State Department’s spokeswoman Heather Nauert declared that ‘the Administration is not considering supporting a referendum in E Ukraine. A “referendum” would have no legitimacy. We continue to support Minsk agreements for solving the conflict in Donbas.’ This comes after four days of the US administration neither admitting that Mr. Putin offered such a deal nor telling the public that the US was elaborating the circumstances of a possible implementation.”
In spite of the White House’s belated “denials,” Bible prophecy shows that ultimately, Ukraine and Russia will be collaborating forces against Europe.
Racism or Failed Integration in Germany?
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 23:
“After weeks of silence, [German National Soccer Player Mesut] Özil announced in a series of three extended tweets that he would no longer suit up for the German national team because he didn’t feel welcome. He specifically blamed DFB [German Soccer Configuration] President Reinhard Grindel, a former conservative politician, for encouraging a xenophobic atmosphere in the team. Grindel and DFB team manager Oliver Bierhoff had linked Özil’s Erdogan meeting with Germany’s disastrous performance at the 2018 World Cup… In a statement on its website, the DFB rejected the charge of racism…
“No one in political Germany is happy about Özil’s cordial meet-and-greet with [President] Erdogan [when Özil and another German-Turkish national soccer player posed for a photograph with Turkey’s dictator], who has been accused of trying to undermine Turkish democracy and of ignoring the human rights of his political opponents. At the same time, leaders from nearly all Germany’s major parties said that Grindel and Bierhoff’s attacks on Özil encouraged a split in public attitudes toward national team players with or without foreign roots…
“The Özil case is deeply unsettling to German society because the country’s national team has been previously held up as a model of successful integration of people with foreign roots into mainstream society. That image has now been shaken… Representatives of Germany’s large Muslim community agreed that the affair had damaged the cause of integration and said latent racism inspired some of the criticism of Özil… That view was confirmed, if indirectly, by the far-right populist, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which interpreted the affair as evidence that multiculturalism had failed in Germany…
“But [German Foreign Minister Heiko] Maas cautioned against drawing too many conclusions based on the story of a highly atypical individual. ‘I don’t think the case of a multimillionaire living and working in England tells you much about Germany’s capacity for integration,’ Maas said.
“Turkish MPs, including one senior minister, commended Özil’s move. ‘I congratulate Mesut Özil who by leaving the national team has scored the most beautiful goal against the virus of fascism,’ Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul posted on Twitter…”
These questionable reactions by Turkish and Arab officials won’t make most Germans very happy. In all fairness, it must be said that Özil’s performance at the latest World Cup was substandard… as this is true for just about EVERY German player and their coach. And it must be allowed to say that Özil’s refusal to sing during the national anthem and his habit to publicly pray on his knees to Allah on the soccer field in front of the cameras prior to the start of an international soccer game did not look too good in the eyes of many Germans. Many, but by far not all Germans, do accept when Catholic national soccer players make the sign of the cross when they score a goal or fail to do so, but for a German national soccer player to pray publicly to Allah might have been, rightly or wrongly, “a bridge too far.”
Turkey Before the Crash?
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 23:
“The Turkish lira is falling, prices are rising. Experts warn that the Turkish economy is close to collapse…
“The Turkish economy has recently grown by 7.4 percent… But at the same time… inflation is at a record level of 15 percent. The economic situation has not been this bad in years…
“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan… is promising his country a glorious future… Investors are worried about the independence of the Turkish central bank… Erdogan’s tendency to seize all decision-making power has deeply unsettled markets.
“Now it is up to 40-year-old Berat Albayrak to regain the business world’s confidence… He studied business administration in Istanbul and the US, and was energy minister in the last cabinet. Nevertheless, he is considered a relatively inexperienced politician who has simply been given a key position by his father-in-law. Up to this point the chief economic advisor had been former Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, an ex-Merrill Lynch economist who was considered investor-friendly and someone who even dared to contradict Erdogan. Now since the office of prime minister has been abolished, he will no longer be in the cabinet…
“Albayrak must now deliver… otherwise Turkey will face a financial crash… This scenario would not only impact Turkey itself but also have consequences for Europe, because many Turkish companies are highly indebted to European financial institutions.”
Turkey Opposes the USA
The Washington Examiner wrote on July 24:
“Turkey plans to keep purchasing Iranian oil in defiance of American sanctions on the rogue regime… ‘We buy oil from Iran and we purchase it in proper conditions,’ Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday. ‘What is the other option?’
“Cavusoglu’s comments raise the specter of yet another clash between the U.S. and Turkey, which is also in the final stages of an arms deal with Russia that could trigger American sanctions. Turkish officials, in both cases, have dismissed the U.S.’ threat of sanctions to constrain the choices of other countries…”
War of Words between Turkey and Israel
The Daily Star wrote on July 24:
“President Erdogan of Turkey has launched an astonishing attack on Israel – saying the ‘spirit of Hitler has re-emerged’ among administrators. The Ankara chief’s words were in response to Israel’s new ‘nation-state’ law, with Erdogan branding Israel the ‘most Zionist, racist and fascist country’… The ‘nation-state’ law has been criticised for effectively ruling out a two-state solution to the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict…
“Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has hit back, saying Turkey has become a ‘dark dictatorship’ under Erdogan. In a war of words, he accused the Turkish president of ‘massacring Syrians and Kurds’.”
Erdogan is someone to talk about the spirit of Hitler!
The Fight for the Golan Heights
Reuters wrote on July 24:
“Israel said it shot down a Syrian warplane that crossed into the occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday, but Damascus said the jet was fired on as it took part in sorties against rebels within Syria. The incident added new fuel to weeks of tensions over the Golan, a strategic plateau between the two old enemies and where Israel has been on high alert as Syrian government forces, supported by Russia, close in to regain rebel-held ground.
“For the second time in as many days, Israeli sirens sounded on the Golan and witnesses saw the contrails of two missiles flying skyward… On Monday, Reuters witnesses on the southern edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan spotted numerous warplanes and helicopters in the skies over Syrian territory, some of them dropping bombs. Anti-aircraft return fire could also be seen.”
Did 15th Century Christians Expect Building of a Third Temple?
The National Library of Israel wrote on July 19, 2018:
“In commemoration of the Ninth of Av, the day of mourning and fasting marking the destruction of [the] Temple, the National Library of Israel presents [an] ancient map printed in Hartmann Schedel’s large world chronical. The chronical…, published in 1493 in the German city of Nuremberg, was an ambitious undertaking. It contained an overview of world history from the creation of the world until that time. The book boasts a mass of illustrations drawn by the leading artists of the time…
“The map illustrated the destruction of Jerusalem and depicts the Temple going up in flames. However, this is not an illustration of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period and a description of the Jews who lived there. It is rather the printing of an engraving depicting Jerusalem’s Christian sites alongside the Temple, typical to the 14th-15th centuries.
“It is fascinating though, that the text accompanying the map describes the history of the destructions of Jerusalem – first, the destruction of the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the destruction of the Second Temple by Titus, the Temple vessels being looted, the execution of Shimon bar Giora in Rome, and finally, Jerusalem being turned into Aelia Capitolina, the Roman colony built upon the ruins of the holy city. The author of the text relates that the city was later held for short periods of time by other Western and Crusader kings (Charlemagne of France, Conrad III of Germany and Louis XI, also of France) – but they did not manage to hold it for long against armies of Islam. According to the author, in  the city was under the control of Mohammed’s battalions, which Schedel refers to as ‘a nation of sin.’”
Since the illustration does not depict the destruction of the First and the Second Temple, it is clear that the belief existed already in 1493 that a Third Temple would be built and subsequently occupied by “Christianity.”
Mourning for the Destruction of Two Temples
The Allgemeiner wrote on July 24:
“Some 2,000 people took part in the Women in Green organization’s 24th annual ‘Walk Around the Old City’ in honor of the Tisha B’Av holiday on Sunday… Tisha B’Av is an annual holiday mourning the destruction of two Holy Temples inside the Old City and is marked with fasting, reading from the book of Lamentations and restrictions on activities that might evoke joy or pleasure.
“Despite the fact that Tisha B’Av is a 25-hour fast day, Jews gathered for a march circumnavigating the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, which included speeches from Minister for Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ze’ev Elkin, Deputy Minister of Defense MK Rav Eli Ben Dahan, Deputy Mayor of the City of Jerusalem Dov Kalmanovich, chairman of the Republican Party in Israel Marc Zell and popular Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick.
“The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the march, calling it ‘provocative.’ ‘The Ministry confirmed that this march is an extension of the state of extremism that dominates the political arena in Israel and the settlers since Trump’s ominous declaration on Jerusalem, and the transfer of the embassy and the continuous Judaization of the Holy City and its separation from its Palestinian surroundings,’ they said in a press release issued prior to the march. The Palestinian ministry called upon foreign countries to intervene against Women in Green… The march went off without a hitch, however…”
Of course, foreign countries would not intervene to prevent a march like this. But it is interesting that foreign countries are being asked to take a stance against Israel. The Bible shows that in the future, that is exactly what will happen, and that European powers will invade the Holy Land and occupy Jerusalem.
This will in turn provoke a military response from Far Eastern nations, including Russia and China.
Return of Islamic State?
Reuters wrote on July 24:
“Months after Iraq declared victory over Islamic State, its fighters are making a comeback with a scatter-gun campaign of kidnap and killing. With its dream of a Caliphate in the Middle East now dead, Islamic State has switched to hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the government in Baghdad…
“Islamic State was reinventing itself months before Baghdad announced in December that it had defeated the group… Iraq has now seen an increase in kidnappings and killings, mainly in the provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahuddin, since it held an election in May, indicating the government will come under renewed pressure from a group that once occupied a third of the country during a three-year reign of terror.
“Last month saw at least 83 cases of kidnap, murder or both in the three provinces. Most occurred on a highway connecting Baghdad to Kirkuk province… In one incident on June 17, three Shi’ite men were kidnapped by Islamic State militants disguised as policemen at a checkpoint on the highway. Ten days later their mutilated corpses were discovered, rigged with explosives to kill anyone who found them… a relative of the men… said security forces were uncooperative. He had implored the soldiers who found the men’s bullet-ridden car to pursue the kidnappers but was refused…
“Numerous attempts to track down and kill Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have failed, and his fighters are still active in other Arab states. In Syria, Islamic State still holds some territory but has suffered militarily. In Egypt, it is concentrated in the sparsely populated northern Sinai desert. It holds no territory but conducts hit-and-run attacks. Islamic State has tried to rebuild in Libya through mobile units in the desert and sleeper cells in northern cities.
“The group has exploited the ethnic and sectarian divide in Iraq. Iraqi and Kurdish forces fought together against Islamic State. Now ties are strained over a Kurdish bid for independence last year which Baghdad stifled. Lack of coordination has caused a security vacuum in disputed territories, from which Iraqi forces dislodged the Kurds, creating opportunities for Islamic State…”
Vatican Attacks America’s TV Evangelists and Biblical Teaching
Christian Today wrote on July 19:
“A Vatican approved journal has launched a stinging attack on ‘prosperity gospel’ evangelicals with a broadside against the theology that teaches God wants Christians to be rich. The article in La Civilta Cattolica… was written by Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit priest, and Marcelo Figueroa, a Protestant pastor from Argentina. It is the second time the two authors have collaborated. Last year they criticised the ‘ecumenism of conflict’ that saw US Protestant and Catholic fundamentalists join forces to promote ‘division and hatred’…
“While born in the US, [the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’] has spread around the world through Africa, Asia, China and Latin America, the authors say. They trace its origins to the Word of Faith movement of Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003), and reference modern-day exponents such as Kenneth Copeland, Norman Vincent Peale, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.
“They criticise prosperity preaching for elevating the ‘word of faith’ above the Bible… The result, they say, is that: ‘There can be no compassion for those who are not prosperous, for clearly they have not followed the rules and thus live in failure and are not loved by God.’
“Furthermore, they say, the dominance of this teaching has political consequences: ‘It leads to the conclusion that the United States has grown as a nation under the blessing of the providential God of the Evangelical movement’…”
The above-quoted article in the Vatican-approved Journal displays shocking biblical ignorance in that it denies the FACT that God WILL bless us, including financially, when we obey Him. It is also extremely dangerous and a direct attack, which was perhaps prompted by willful ignorance, on the biblical teaching that America WAS blessed by God because of the unconditional obedience of Abraham—but that due to America’s ongoing disobedience, God has begun to withdraw those blessings in many different ways.
Vaccine Scandal in China—May the West Wake Up!
Reuters wrote on July 23:
“A vaccine scandal in China, which has prompted angry reactions from citizens fed up with safety scares, is sending ripples across the local drug market and threatening Chinese ambitions to play a larger role in the global pharmaceutical space…
“Changsheng has been found to have faked production documents related to a rabies vaccine that is given to babies as young as three months…
“The Changsheng case is the latest in a slew of scandals that has plagued China’s pharmaceutical industry in recent years. A regulator in the northeastern province of Jilin, where Changsheng is based, revealed on Friday that the company had last year sold 252,600 substandard DPT vaccines to inoculate children against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus…”
The Sun wrote on July 25:
“Deadly wildfires and killer heatwaves are ripping through the planet from Athens and Sweden to Los Angeles and Japan…
“The planet is ablaze as it was gripped by a mammoth killer heatwave which has left hundreds dead. Across Europe, North America and Japan, searing heat and devastating wildfires have also left tens of thousands in hospital(s)…
“The worldwide trail of extreme heat, death and destruction has seen at least 79 dead around the Greek capital Athens in the country’s worst wildfire in a decade. Temperatures of 41C (106F) in Japan [were] killing 65, with more than 22,000 in hospital(s) with heat stroke(s)… Forest fires [broke out] in Sweden and Norway which have left one dead and dozens injured. The heatwave hit cities across Canada and led to at least 70 deaths in Quebec province alone. Record-breaking temperatures [are measured] in parts of southern California, including 49C (120F) in Chino, outside of Los Angeles.
“Reports from Algeria say the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Africa was in the northern city of Ouargla on July 5 which suffered a scorching 51.3C (124.3F) heatwave…
“A wildfire which erupted near the Teide volcano in central Tenerife yesterday was brought under control by emergency workers. The Spanish island has been blighted by sporadic infernos since last month… The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, said a state of emergency had been declared in the Attica region, which includes Athens, and ordered three days of national mourning. Greece’s interior minister Panos Skourletis described the fires as a ‘national tragedy’ and a ‘biblical disaster with human losses.’”
It was also reported that during a UK heatwave, Britain “soars towards [the] hottest day ever” (The Telegraph, dated July 25). In Germany, “The heat wave has shut down [the] Hanover airport, damaged roads and devastated crops, with higher temperatures still to come” (Deutsche Welle, dated July 25).
These are unfortunate, but in comparison very minor forerunners of a biblically-prophesied unparalleled worldwide destruction through hot temperatures and fire.
Dinosaurs together with Humans?
The Daily Star wrote on July 8:
“From Australia to Peru, ancient etchings on the walls of caves show humans alongside great beasts resembling dinosaurs. A painting from the Amazon rainforest basin shows dinosaurs surrounded by human beings. Sculptures found in the El Toro Mountain depict dinosaurs seemingly reaching up to eat foliage from the upper branches of trees.
“But scientists are skeptical over claims humans painted dinosaurs seen first hand.
“The Protoceratops – one of the most heavily replicated dinosaurs – has been incorporated into sculptures in hundreds of countries. Hongshan carvings dating back 4,000 years were also unearthed recently in China…
“Herodotus, a historian from the 5th century BC,… wrote: ‘There is a place in Arabia, situated very near the city of Buto, to which I went, on hearing of some winged serpents; and when I arrived there, I saw bones and spines of serpents, in such quantities as it would be impossible to describe. The form of the serpent is like that of the water-snake; but he has wings without feathers…’
“… scientists are looking into the possibility of potentially bringing back ancient creatures using DNA. The wooly mammoth is the most heavily-discussed candidate – with pristine DNA have been preserved in ice.”
What are the answers to the questions raised above? Please read our free booklet, “Heavens and Earth… before and after the First Man.”
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
Is it your understanding that all sins, past, present and future, are forgiven upon conversion and that we don’t have to repent of any sins that we may commit after conversion? (Part 1)
This is clearly not our understanding. The erroneous concept that we do not have to repent of any sins that we may commit after conversion is part of the “once saved, always saved” (or eternal security) doctrine espoused by some, in mainstream Christianity. One such proponent gave the following five Scriptures and explanations and said that “they prove the glorious truth of scripture—‘once in Christ, in Christ forever.’” Let us review these:
- John 5:24:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
The proponents of eternal security say that “this passage is a one-way street and carries no threat of reversal.” However, many other Scriptures state otherwise. Nothing can stop us from attaining this, except we ourselves!
This verse talks about the time when someone puts his trust in God and makes the decision to follow and obey Him and if he remains faithful to his calling for the rest of his life, he will make it, with the help of God, into the Kingdom of God.
There is the understanding by some that believers do not have to keep asking for forgiveness or repenting in order to have their sins forgiven. How wrong can they be? Of course, Jesus died for all of our sins, past, present and future, but the Bible is clear that repentance is necessary and that we must ask for forgiveness as we acknowledge our sins to God.
One writer stated that “the word ‘believes’ in John 5:24 is a present active participle in the Greek. Therefore, the Lord is saying here that we must continually be believing the Father, that is His testimony about Jesus.”
From the website “alphadictionary.com” they state the following: “The present active participle, like all present participles, is derived only from imperfect verbs, since it refers to an action that is currently taking place or which takes place repeatedly.”
- John 10:27-28:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
The Pulpit Commentary observes the following in John 10:27 in respect of the sheep:
“‘My sheep hear my voice’ (their receptivity).
“‘And I know them’ (the Lord’s response to their faith).
“‘And they follow me’ (their active obedience).”
Following God obviously requires active and ongoing obedience. It would be ridiculous to think that a true Christian could wilfully be disobedient to God, and, without repentance and genuinely asking for forgiveness, have his sins forgiven before he even committed such acts. That erroneous thinking and “belief” will encourage a lack of care in necessary behaviour and lead to a person doing what he wants to do, thinking that it doesn’t matter as he has already been forgiven. It beggars or is beyond belief that there are those who read the Word of God and who come to such a conclusion.
One writer stated the following:
“Some people see salvation with ‘no strings attached’ that is, regarding how far one may stray doctrinally or sinfully, he will always be of the group that shall never perish. But the context of John 10:27-29 destroys this deadly interpretation of the most commonly cited proof for eternal security. Verse 27 describes the sheep and states that they follow Jesus. The Greek word is a continuous tense and describes the only people who will never perish and won’t get plucked out of God’s hand (see verses 28-29).”
The fact that following Jesus is a continuous action and doesn’t allow for wilful disobedience and turning one’s back on the Way of Life that He commands us to live is clearly shown in Matthew 10:22, which reads: “And you shall be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” This same principle of enduring to the end is a theme within the Word of God.
Another writer, an on-line commentator, observed as follows:
“Notice first of all who His sheep are: They are those who hear His voice and follow Him. The idea that obedience is essential to salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ is claimed through God’s revelation. Jesus identifies those who belong to Him, having His blessing, protection, they are people who listen to His directions and carry them out! That is the only way one is really acting ‘by faith.’ One can look at the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews, where so many were successful ‘by faith,’ and if you are honest with yourself, you’ll see each one carefully followed the Lord’s directions.
“That is the way one can be SURE of his/her salvation. Truly, no one is wise or strong enough to overpower God and take you or me away IF we are loyal to Him. Yet, one can walk away, as we have seen many do in the centuries past, as they are recorded in the Bible for us to see. We are often referred to them as they did receive the wrath of God, because they failed to listen and perform as directed.
“Remember how the serpent beguiled Eve, in persuading her that she would not experience the consequences that God said she would when and if she failed to follow His teachings. Think about this: why would the Lord give so many warnings about being led astray and falling, IF IT WERE IMPOSSIBLE? Why are we told to make our calling and election sure, if there is no way it can be made unsure?”
The passage in 2 Peter 1:5-11 is very instructive:
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
It is clear from this passage of Scripture that the continuance of obedience to God’s instructions is essential.
- Ephesians 4:30:
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom [which] you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
We read earlier in the book of Ephesians (chapter 1:13-14) about being “sealed”: “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who [which] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
In verse 14, the guarantee is a down payment or earnest (an old-fashioned description meaning a deposit), but has not yet come to full maturity and this will only occur at the resurrection to life at Christ’s return for all those who have died in the faith; and at the time of change to eternal life for those who are still alive in Christ when He returns and have endured unto the end.
In Strong’s Concordance #4972, we read that the Greek word for seal is sphragizo. One of the definitions is that which “signifies ownership and the full security carried by the backing (full authority) of the owner. ‘Sealing’ in the ancient world served as a ‘legal signature’ which guaranteed the promise (contents) of what was sealed.” However, in Matthew 27:66, the same word is used: “So they went and made the tomb secure sealing the stone and setting the guard.” Just two verses later in Matthew 28:2, we read: “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it.”
This shows that the seal could be broken in some circumstances. An instance of this is shown in 1 Timothy 1:18-20: “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
The verses quoted show that the understanding that the seal of the Holy Spirit is an unconditional guarantee of “once saved, always saved” is a flawed and erroneous concept.
- Philippians 1:6:
“… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”
We read in many other Scriptures that a believer has to endure to the end to be saved and, therefore, this verse must be interpreted with that understanding. God will complete the good work that He has begun in us, subject to us playing our full part, and nothing less will do.
- 2 Timothy 1:12:
“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
God does not call and choose us unless He is fully convinced that we will be able to live His Way of Life. He is not in the business of failure and He calls us, knowing that we have what it takes to stay close to Him until the end. However, we must make that concerted effort and not wander off the path to eternal life which some have done and more will do in the future.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Here are the dates for the 2018 Fall Holy Days:
Feast of Trumpets—September 10
Day of Atonement—September 19
Feast of Tabernacles—September 24-30
Last Great Day—October 1
“Ancient and Modern Beliefs in the Third Temple,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
A German Christian map from the 15th century was recently presented to the public by the National Library of Israel, picturing what appears to be the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem with Christian involvement. This year’s celebration of the Jewish festival of Tisha B’Av, commemorating the destruction of the two Holy Temples, prompted a strong reaction of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking for foreign powers to intervene. This program will show you how all of this is related and points at events prophesied in the Bible, and why they indicate the soon-coming return of Christ to establish God’s Government on earth.
“Kann man die Wiederkunft Christi anhand der Zahlen in Offenbarung und Daniel berechnen?” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Can One Calculate the Return of Christ in Light of the Numbers in Revelation and Daniel?”
“Preparation and Consistency,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We have to continually prepare in our lives, both in the physical and in the spiritual realms. Our preparation will determine our outcome in both. But it is not enough to just decide to prepare, we must have an outcome, a desire or a goal that we are fixated on and consistently driving towards. It is not enough to just casually want it. Rather it must become our purpose, our driving goal and desire, anything less does us and others around us a disservice.
“The Two Witnesses and Christ’s Return,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Who are the two witnesses? When will they begin and when will they end their work of preaching the gospel and proclaiming the last warning message? What will happen during their activity? When will Christ return? Could our life have any influence on the time of His Second Coming, by either delaying or accelerating it?
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
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