How can we know that Christ’s return is near? (Part 9)

When Christ was asked by four of His disciples about the end of the age, He said:

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near–at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:32-35).

It is clarified in the parallel Scripture in Luke 21:31 that Christ was speaking about His Second Coming and the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth. “All these things” refer to the events, which we are describing in this series. The Greek word for “generation,” i.e., genea, refers here to the people in the end time–not the entire race throughout many “generations.”

In Psalm 90:10, a generation is described as lasting 70-80 years. We also read in the Bible that God sometimes shortens or prolongs human life, and that bloodthirsty and deceitful men may not live out HALF their days (Psalm 55:23). We know that men will be so bloodthirsty and destructive in the end time that Christ will HAVE to SHORTEN the days of worldwide warfare, lest NO man would survive (Matthew 24:22).

We have not yet seen the beginning of the Great Tribulation, but we know that it is the next major event to occur in our time. When we see the signs of the times, as we are discussing them in this series, we know that Christ’s return is near. We do not know the exact time of Christ’s return, but based on the parable of the fig tree, we CAN say that we ARE living today in the very last generation, and that Christ WILL return BEFORE this present generation has “passed away.”

Following the beginning of the Great Tribulation, Christ warns in Matthew 24:29 of heavenly signs, when “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” The parallel account in Luke 21:25-26 adds that at that time, there will be “distress of nations” on this earth, “with perplexity, the sea and the waves” will be “roaring,” and “men’s hearts” will fail them “from fear and the expectation of those things” which will be “coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Luke 21:11 also states that at that time, “fearful sights and great signs from heaven” will be observed. All of these events are depicted by the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12-14, picturing those “heavenly signs” or cosmic disturbances, which are introduced by a great earthquake.

It appears that certain frightful signs will already begin to occur right after the four horsemen of the Apocalypse have begun to ride and pestilences will be spread throughout the earth. Notice that Luke 21:11 is followed by a description of the Great Tribulation in verses 12-24, and verse 25 continues to describe the terrible heavenly signs, after the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Unless we conclude that verses 11 and 25 refer to the same incident, it appears that certain “fearful sights and great signs from heaven” will occur even prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  Notice, however, that Christ speaks of FEARFUL signs and wonders. Solar eclipses and nice-looking “blood moons”—when the moon does temporarily appear in a somewhat red light—would most certainly not constitute “fearful” signs and wonders.

As we already discussed, God gave His Church the commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness. This includes a warning message of events to occur during the Great Tribulation, showing that the warning must logically precede the time of the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

The last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire and the powerful military leader (the beast) will cause the Great Tribulation. Just prior to that time, they will begin, at first, to temporarily collaborate, to an extent, with Arab nations (including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan) and Turkey in their common goal of destroying “Israel” (Psalm 83:1-8). This collaboration might not endure until the return of Christ.

However, there is no biblical suggestion that a seven-year contract will be entered into between the “beast” and those or other Arab nations, which will allegedly be broken after 3 ½ years.

The passage which is sometimes quoted for the false proposition of a seven-year contract—Daniel 9:27—does not refer to such an end-time physical covenant. Rather, it addresses the death of Jesus Christ in the middle of the week (Wednesday, when He was crucified) after His 3 ½ year-long public ministry. His death did away with or “brought to an end” the sacrificial system of animal sacrifices and “confirmed” the spiritual New Covenant with His people for one prophetic week or seven years (Christ will fulfill the remaining 3 ½ years of His seven year-long ministry when He returns).

It is revealed however that the European invasion of the Holy Land will occur when animal sacrifices will be brought there by the Jews, apparently during or after the completed construction of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount (Daniel 8:11-14; 11:31; 12:11-12). The beast will invade the Holy Land and conquer countries such as Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia (Daniel 11:41-43).

But note that the countries mentioned in Daniel 11:41-43 are NOT the same as the countries mentioned in Psalm 83 with which the beast will have a temporary alliance. In fact, Daniel 11 specifically mentions that those countries (mentioned in Psalm 83) will “escape” the hands of the beast.

Many believe, based on prophecies contained in the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, that immediately before the return of Jesus Christ, a powerful Arab leader— a religious “Mullah” or Madhi, many times imagined to be the “king of the South”— will still arise in the Middle East. Daniel 11:40-41 says: “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack [or: push at] him [the king of the North]; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown…”

Historically, and reviewing the entire biblical prophecy in the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, we can determine that at the time described in verse 40, the king of the North constituted the ninth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire, or the sixth resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire, led by Mussolini and Hitler.

At that time, the modern remnant of the “king of the South” of this prophecy was Ethiopia. The prophecy in Daniel 11:40 WAS FULFILLED in 1896, when King Menelik II of Ethiopia “pushed at” the Italians and defeated Italy at Aduwa. In 1935, Mussolini responded when the king of the South was Emperor Haile Selassie. Mussolini came against Ethiopia like a whirlwind, using airplanes, and conquered it.

But, what about today or the immediate future? Will there occur another conflict between the king of the North — the final LEADER of the 10th resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire, or the 7th resurrection of the “Holy” Roman Empire — and a king of the South, a final LEADER in the Middle East? Perhaps — but not necessarily so.

Let us first address the concept of a future religious figure, a Mahdi, who will allegedly unite many Muslim nations and attempt to establish the Muslim religion in all the world. This is strictly a Muslim concept. The Bible nowhere says that a Muslim Mahdi will appear in the Middle East or elsewhere, in an attempt to unite Arab and Muslim nations (which would also require healing the long-time animosity between Shias and Sunnis) and to establish a power bloc, ruled by the Muslim religion.

In addition, we need to emphasize that the prophecy in Daniel 11:40 has ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED, and verse 40 is the LAST TIME when the king of the South is mentioned! Beginning with the second half of verse 40, we read exclusively about the king of the North and his activities, and, in verse 44, about rumors from the east and the west.

Some point out that Daniel 11:40 speaks specifically about the time of the end, and that therefore a future king of the South must still arise just prior to Christ’s return.  However, the book of Daniel includes several examples where the terms “the last days” or the “time of the end” are used, without necessarily referring to just a few years prior to Christ’s return.

For instance, we read in Daniel 2:28 that a dream about a statue was to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar “what will be in the latter days.” The dream described four successive world empires which would arise on the world scene, and the fourth empire (the Roman Empire) would survive (through ten successive revivals) until the return of Christ. Much of the dream related to events a long time prior to the last revival of the Roman Empire with ten kings at the time of Christ’s return—the “stone” or Rock which would smite and destroy the ten toes of the statue (verse 44-45).

Something similar can be found in Daniel 8:17, 19, which talks about “the time of the end” and the “latter time of the indignation.” The entire passage starts with the time of ancient Media and Persia, followed by Alexander the Great and, sometime later, Antiochus Epiphanes, and culminating in certain events which apparently end with the last King of the North at the time of Christ’s return. (We understand of course the dual application of this prophecy, as we discussed earlier.)

When reading Daniel 12:4, 9, we are told that the book of Daniel would be sealed “until the time of the end,” but that then “knowledge” in general and the right understanding of the book would increase. This has most certainly started to occur under the late Herbert W. Armstrong (the human leader of the now-defunct Worldwide Church of God) who died in 1986.

Viewing Daniel 11:40 and the historical events in this light, we note that there DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ANOTHER end-time king of the South. If one were to arise, following the historical and biblical records, as set forth in the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, it would have to be—mainly—modern Ethiopia.

But ALL WHICH STILL NEEDS TO BE FULFILLED (and which the previous king of the North—Mussolini—did NOT fulfill), is the invasion of the Glorious Land by the future and final king of the North (verse 41), including Jerusalem (verse 45), as well as the overthrow of “many countries” (verse 41), including Egypt, while the “Libyans and Ethiopians” will follow at his heels (verse 43).

It is entirely possible that the prophecy in verse 40 is dual and a type of future events to be repeated—but it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE this way. It is NOT necessary, based on biblical prophecy, that there will still arise an end-time “king of the South,” attacking or pushing at the end-time king of the North. Christ could return without such an event having to occur first.

Also, a final king of the South would not be from Egypt, and he would not constitute a confederacy of Arab nations led by Egypt. Rather, Ethiopia would be the only possible government that could be the final king of the South.

Until Mussolini, Ethiopia was the only country in all East Africa that continued to stay independent from the Roman Empire throughout history, and that had a government and kingdom dating back before the Roman Empire. It was the southern part of the ancient kingdom of the South. It was the only possible government to be the king of the South under Mussolini, and it would therefore be the only possible government for a final appearance of a king of the South.

Of course, Ethiopia could be a leading nation in collaboration with other Arab nations. We read in Ezekiel 30:1-9, 18-19 that at the time of the “day of the LORD” (a reference to the end time), the sword will come upon Egypt, as well as on additional countries like Ethiopia (Cush), Libya (Put), and Lydia (or Lud; compare Jeremiah 46:8-9, showing that Egypt, Ethiopia, Lydia and Libya will be allies at that time of the end). Verses 4-5 refer to Chub, which is nowhere else mentioned in Scripture; the passage could also read, “and ALL (Chub) the men of the lands who were allied…” We also read specifically in verse 18 that at that time of the “day of the LORD”, Egyptians will go into captivity (through the king of the North, compare Daniel 11:42).

Even though Ezekiel 30 does not refer to those nations as being the king of the South, they seem to describe a power bloc in opposition to the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Assyrian (German or Austrian) leadership. None of these countries referred to in Ezekiel 30 are mentioned in Psalm 83:1-8. It appears, then, that the countries mentioned in Psalm 83, which are allied WITH Assyria, are different from the countries, mentioned in Ezekiel 30, which are apparently allied AGAINST Assyria.

As the ninth revival of the ancient Roman Empire, under Mussolini, was comprised of several nations and powers, including Hitler’s Germany, and as the final revival of the king of the North will consist of ten European nations or groups of nations, under Assyrian leadership, so if there is to be a future king of the South, he might very well constitute a coalition of Middle Eastern nations, under Ethiopian leadership.

When wanting to consider prophesied end-time events in the Middle East, we must foremost look at Europe under German leadership and the final revival of the Roman Empire. When we see modern Assyria (Germany) form an alliance with certain Muslim nations against Israel; when we see ten European nations or groups of nations transfer their power to the beast–a military leader of German or Austrian descent–and when we see that the beast will shortly thereafter invade the Middle East and fight against the state of Israel and other Arab nations, then we know that the return of Jesus Christ will be imminent.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Current Events

by Norbert Link

We begin with reports on the end of the shutdown and the question as to what will happen next. Please view in this regard the following program, titled, “Shutdown Ends Temporarily…What’s Next?—Comments on News and Prophecy (January 26, 2019)” .

We continue with America’s new production of nuclear weapons; the Polar Vortex and disagreements on Global Warming; and questionable conduct by the FBI. We continue with the Brexit situation in the UK and address developments pertaining to Russia and Iran.

We speak on dramatic increase of defense spending by NATO and the EU; threats for the European democracy; and the growing anti-Semitism in the light of the memorial of the Holocaust.

We conclude with an interesting article on earthquakes in Israel. In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Is the Prophesied Big Earthquake in Israel Going to Hit?”

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

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“HOW TO KEEP THE SABBATH,” our newest booklet, written by Evangelist Norbert Link, has been sent to graphic artist Shelly Bruno for finalization in preparation for printing.

The 2019 Church Conference will be conducted in Escondido, California. Arrival will be Wednesday, April 3, 2019, and departure is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

“Is the Prophesied Big Earthquake in Israel Going to Hit?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Scientists predict that a huge earthquake is about to hit Israel. They estimate that in the case of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 7,000 people will be killed. The Bible tells us that such an earthquake will occur when Jesus Christ returns to set up the government of God on this earth. This is no coincidence. God is letting us know the signs of these end times.

“Ehebruch–ein Kavaliersdelikt?”  is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Adultery–a Trivial Offense?”

“Shutdown Ends Temporarily…What’s Next?—Comments on News and Prophecy (January 26, 2019),” presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Will there be a second shutdown? Will there be a declaration of national emergency? Why was there a shutdown in the first place? Why did it end? Why was there such a hostile reaction by some hard-core right-wing pundits to President Trump’s ending of the shutdown? Did the shutdown accomplish anything? Why are politicians so dishonest?

“The Way to Peace,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Christoph Sperzel (Germany), is now posted.

“Hate! But Do Not Hate!” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

What does the Bible say about hate? There are in fact many things that God hates but He is also the God of love. How and in what way is it acceptable to “hate” and how is it not?

This Week in the News

Trump Ends Shutdown Temporarily

The Wall Street Journal wrote on January 25:

“President Trump [has] reached a deal with congressional leaders to reopen the government for three weeks while negotiations over border security funding continue… The stopgap spending bill… provides no immediate funding for a border wall

“Mr. Trump warned that if no deal is reached by Feb. 15, the government could shut down a second time. He also threatened to address border security unilaterally [by declaring a national emergency] if no agreement is struck by that point…”

Breitbart wrote on January 27:

“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border would be a ‘terrible idea’ and that he would fight it.”

Many Republicans feel the same.

The Hour of National Turmoil

The Associated Press wrote on January 25:

“Recent polls found Trump bore the blame for the shutdown… Republicans were openly calling on him to back down from his demands and reopen the government…

“The breakthrough came as LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey both experienced at least 90-minute delays in takeoffs Friday due to the shutdown. And the world’s busiest airport — Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — was experiencing long security wait times, a warning sign the week before it expects 150,000 out-of-town visitors for the Super Bowl…

“The standoff became so severe that, as the Senate opened with prayer, Chaplain Barry Black called on high powers in the ‘hour of national turmoil‘ to help senators do ‘what is right.'”

Right-Wing Conservatives Against Trump

Breitbart wrote on January 25:

“On Friday’s edition of the Fox Business Network’s ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight,’ host Lou Dobbs stated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) won the shutdown battle and President Trump ‘got rolled on this.’ Dobbs said… ‘to deny it is to try to escape from reality.’”

Breitbart added on January 25:

“The White House finally caved to Democrats demands, despite Trump’s repeated assertions this week that he would not do so.”

The Guardian wrote on January 25:

Ann Coulter, author of In Trump We Trust, tweeted: ‘Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.’ And so it was that Trump… found himself crushed by Pelosi on his left and Coulter on his right…”

Trump Should Be Praised

USA Today wrote on January 26:

“Right-wing pundits are not happy… As the saying goes, with friends like these who needs enemies?

“Indeed, right-wing pundits caused the mess… by bullying the president into a decision he originally rejected: close the government, and then negotiate…

“Of course Ann Coulter, Michael Malice, Tomi Lahren, Breitbart News, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Steve Doocy and their ilk have a First Amendment right to make disparaging comments about the president of the United States. But the president has an Article 2 responsibility to make sure the government is functioning…

“The president’s decision on Friday to reopen the government… demonstrates that he recognizes his immense constitutional responsibility.

“President Trump should be commended for his decision, not condemned for it.”

Only the First Round?

Fox News wrote on January 25:

“… this shutdown, and the one that will likely follow it on Feb. 15, was not about money. It was about establishing dominance. It was about base voters. It was about bragging rights. And most of all, it was about the 2020 election.”

Many feel that President Trump will not shut down the government again, as he would lack support for such a step from most Americans, including many Republicans. On the other hand, the right-wing pundits who speak for many of his supporters would strongly support such a move.

On Saturday morning, and subsequently, President Trump tweeted several messages, reiterating that he will insist on building a wall.

Second Shutdown an Option

The Hill wrote on January 28:

“Lawmakers in both parties are skeptical about President Trump’s chances of securing funding for his wall on the Mexican border… Democrats seem unlikely to budget any money for a border wall, and even if they did, lawmakers say such a deal would likely require Trump to include significant immigration reforms, such as giving immigrants known as Dreamers a pathway to citizenship or permanent residency.

“That would be a tough nut to crack in only three weeks, and the concessions could also damage Trump with his base… Trump [said on Sunday] that he is doubtful Congress can come to a deal over border wall funding, adding that another government shutdown is ‘certainly an option.’”

The Cost of the Shutdown

The Week reported on January 28:

“The 35-day government shutdown cost the American economy $11 billion, $3 billion of which will never be recovered, an analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office revealed. The loss of work from federal employees, suspension of federal services, and decreased economic demand chiefly contributed to the slowdown, the report says…

“A separate CBO economic outlook report also found that, if taxation and spending remains unchanged, the federal deficit will grow to an annual total of $1 trillion in [the] next decade.”

Will Americans Remember?

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 25:

“The ‘deal’ President Trump announced to temporarily end the longest government shutdown in US history was no deal at all. But given the suffering his shutdown continues to cause for so many, there are no winners here.

“It took US President Donald Trump 35 days to sign off on a bill that he could have had before Christmas [Instead, he listened to the bad advice of right-wingers such as Limbaugh and Coulter]…

“Trump’s… triggering of the shutdown… meant that 800,000 government workers and their families have had to make ends meet despite going without pay for over a month. Not to mention the more than one million government contractors who went unpaid…

“One could speculate now what caused Trump to cave… But it is an exercise in futility; no one really knows Trump’s mind

“Let’s hope that Americans remember the… president who would readily gamble other people’s lives and livelihoods for a pointless border wall he ultimately did not even get…”

The Reckless Nature of Politicians

Some feel that President Trump has a chance of receiving the support of Democrats for building a wall for a barrier, as Democrats advocated better border security in the past. The following article questions this conclusion, with interesting arguments:

The Week wrote on January 25:

“After 35 days… the longest government shutdown in history is finally coming to an end. It accomplished nothing…

“The worst thing of all? It’s only going away for three weeks. Meanwhile the president and the Democratic Party remain as divided on the question of funding for the border wall as they were in December. The deal will fund the government for less than a month while members of both parties in Congress are expected to ‘negotiate.’ What do they have to say to each other that they have not been saying for days and weeks and months now? Nothing will come of it…

“As long as Democrats control the House, the wall is never going to happenPoliticians change their minds about all sorts of things every day. It is almost never because they have had a genuine change of heart. These shifts follow a straightforward pattern: The Blue Team says because it is rhetorically beneficial to them at a certain juncture. The Red Team says not x for the same reason. Eight or even four years later the Red Team might say x and the Blue Team not x, making exactly the same arguments as the other side. Who cares…”

This describes perfectly the nature and motives of politicians.

New Nuclear Weapons

npr (National Public Radio) wrote on January 28:

“The U.S. Department of Energy has started making a new, low-yield nuclear weapon designed to counter Russia (called W76-2)… The (already existing) W76-1 is believed to have a yield of around 100 kilotons… By contrast, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of about 15 kilotons.

“The Energy Department would not provide details about the W76-2, but it’s believed to have a yield of around 5 to 7 kilotons… That smaller yield is probably created by removing or disabling the secondary stage of the W76-1. The secondary is designed to deliver a large thermonuclear blast triggered by a much smaller nuclear weapon known as the primary. Removing or disabling the secondary while leaving the primary would, in effect, create a smaller weapon.

“Last year the Trump administration made the case for the development of a smaller nuclear weapon that could be launched from a submarine… [There are worries that] the new warhead could actually make nuclear war far more likely

“The National Nuclear Security Administration says its first production unit of the new weapon is underway. It is on track to deliver a small number of weapons to the Navy by October of this year.”

The Polar Vortex… Historic Winter Freeze

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 30:

“A record arctic air mass will remain over the central and eastern United States over the next several days. Chicago has already recorded temperatures colder than parts of Antarctica

“Including the wind chill factor, parts of the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Minnesota had temperatures of -70 Fahrenheit (-56.7 Celsius)…  In Chicago, the morning temperature was -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 Celsius), which was colder than Alaska’s state capital and parts of Antarctica…”

Dangerous Cold and Global Warming

The Weather Channel wrote on January 29:

“President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that he wants global warming to ‘come back fast’ in response to the dangerous cold outbreak… ‘In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the… is going on with Global Waming (sic)? Please come back fast, we need you!’ Trump tweeted.

“The comment highlights a lack of understanding about the difference between weather and climate. NASA makes this distinction: ‘Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.’ The consensus of scientists is that individual weather events do not reflect the long-term trend of global warming…

“This isn’t a one-off comment by the president on weather and global warming. Trump continues to deny the existence of climate change and often points to individual weather events as evidence that climate change is a ‘hoax,’ as he has called it in the past. In November, Trump denied his own administration’s National Climate Assessment, noting that global warming is only temporary.”

Scientists are not as unanimous in their conclusions for man-made global warming as the article implies. Quite a few scientists deny man-made global warming. Interestingly, the late founder of the Weather Channel, meteorologist John Coleman, was an ardent denier of climate change and filed a lawsuit to prove his conclusions.  Apparently, the lawsuit ended with Coleman’s death. Amongst others, the late Michael Crichton, a doctor and novelist (“ER,” “Twister,” “The Andromeda Strain,” “Jurassic Park”), also questioned man-made global warming.

Is This Really Happening in the USA? It Sure Is!

The New York Post wrote on January 25:

“New video shows the moment Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime confidant, was taken into custody during a pre-dawn raid Friday carried out by armed FBI agents. With their guns drawn, several agents stormed Stone’s home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, around 6 a.m. — pounding on the door and bellowing, ‘FBI! Open the door!,’ according to the footage obtained by CNN.

“The dramatic moment was witnessed by former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Chad Johnson. ‘FBI arrested my neighbor Roger before my morning jog, I’ve only seen [something] like that in movies, crazy to start to my Friday,’ he tweeted.

“Stone is facing multiple counts including obstruction of an official proceeding, making false statements and witness tampering related to his communications with WikiLeaks and information he’s alleged to have shared with the Trump campaign. The charges stem from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

Sadly, such controversial and objectionable behavior by the FBI is only all too common. In addition, special counsel Muller was commissioned to look into collusion by Trump with the Russians. He found nothing in that regard; instead, he indicted some friends of Trump for unrelated crimes, which he was not commissioned to investigate, to justify two years of time and millions of dollars on what many have labeled a “witch hunt.”

FBI Can’t Find Motive in Las Vegas Shooting

The Week wrote on January 29:

“The FBI has concluded its 16-month investigation into the mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival in 2017, which left 58 people dead and hundreds injured, but could not find [a] ‘single or clear motivating factor’ behind it. Shooter Stephen Paddock wanted to inflict ‘the maximum amount of damage,’ the FBI said in a report released Tuesday, but added that he was not ‘directed, inspired, nor enabled by ideologically-motivated persons or groups.’

“His decision to die by suicide suggests he wanted to ‘attain a certain degree of infamy via a mass casualty attack,’ the FBI said. Because he did not leave a note, investigators say this report ‘comes as close to understanding the why as we’re ever going to get.’”

Actually, it is quite astonishing that the FBI could not find a motive after 16 months of investigation. Of course, the FBI would not even dare to consider factors outside the physical realm. It is obvious to us, however, that the murderer was influenced, if not possessed, by demonic forces.

Martial Law in the UK?

Daily Mail wrote on January 27:

“Whitehall officials have been ‘war-gaming’ imposing martial law to avoid chaos on the streets after a no-deal Brexit… The extreme measures are being considered as part of a major response if the UK crashes out of the EU at the end of March.

“Mandarins have been discussing whether to use wide-ranging powers in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 – which include curfews, travel bans and deploying the army…

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there was no ‘specific’ plan for martial law, but did not completely rule it out. ‘Of course Government all the time looks at all the options in all circumstances,’ he [said]. ‘It remains on the statute book but it isn’t the focus of our attention.’”

Brexit–No Deal No Money?

Daily Mail wrote on January 30:

“Ministers ramped up tensions with the EU today in the wake of Theresa May’s historic Commons victory – warning that the £39billion divorce bill could be axed if it does not compromise.

“Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng insisted Brussels would not get a ‘penny pinch’ from the UK unless there was ‘some give’ on the hated Irish border backstop. The threat came as the PM braces for ‘trench warfare’ with the EU after leaders flatly dismissed calls to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Putin’s Apocalypse

Project Syndicate wrote on January 24:

“In the last year, Putin has spoken about a ‘nuclear apocalypse’ more than any Western leader has over the last decade… Putin has blamed the risk of a catastrophic outcome on the West, framing Russia’s hypothetical use of nuclear weapons as revenge or retaliation.

“… the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has predicted a Book of Revelation-style reckoning [and it is] his belief that doomsday is near… Chair of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin has argued that the end of the world is already upon us and ‘the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.’

“… apocalyptic rhetoric in Russia is closely related to positioning Putin as a kind of messiah… Alexander Dugin, the leader of the Eurasia movement and arguably the Kremlin’s chief ideologist, calls Putin ‘katechon,’ an Orthodox leader who prevents the ‘kingdom of the Antichrist,’ which he defines as a combination of Western ‘globalization, post-liberalism, and post-industrial society’…”

The Bible shows that Europe will attack Russia and other Far Eastern nations, apparently with chemical and biological weapons, and that these nations (the kings of the East) will retaliate against Europe, apparently with nuclear weapons.

Coming… War with Iran?

Lobe Log wrote on January 25:

“Donald Trump’s domestic troubles, combined with the current makeup of his foreign policy team, provide a confluence of circumstances, perhaps a perfect storm, to pull the United States into a war with Iran… Trump’s position has never been weaker. And despite what appears to be his personal desire to extract U.S. troops from the Middle East… his deepening political problems may make war more attractive.

Israel has exhibited a new boldness in bombing suspected Iranian weapons sites in Syria. ‘Analysts have warned that Israel’s new openness [in publicly claiming responsibility for the strikes] could ratchet up tensions, making it harder for Iranian leaders to ignore attacks and pushing them to retaliate,’ The New York Times reported this week.

“Meanwhile, any incident involving Iran… could quickly spiral out of control, drawing in U.S. forces.

“The potential of some kind of conflict with Iran escalating into a larger regional war is very real, possibly more real than ever. Although some have been sounding the alarm, the attention given to this dire situation is nowhere near the level it deserves… it’s possible that the United States could find itself in a new Middle East war without anyone really noticing it happen.”

Europe vs. USA on Iran

Handelsblatt Global wrote on January 31:

“Germany, France and Britain have set up a special payment platform to keep trade with Iran intact despite Washington’s sanctions. That’s unlikely to go down well with the US administration… It won’t be the first time that Europe and America clashed over how to handle Iran after their quarrel over the nuclear deal in 2015…

“European countries tried to keep doing business in Iran, and were promised protection by Brussels. The EU called on companies to reject US sanctions and passed a blocking statute guaranteeing help for businesses in case of US retaliation. This has not proved successful, however. The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, countered these efforts and contacted companies individually, pressuring them to withdraw from Tehran. One after another, German firms fell into line. Within short order, Siemens, BASF, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telekom and Munich Re announced they would stop doing business in Iran.

“Now, there are several ways Washington might respond to the newly-created payment channel… The administration could sanction the bureaucrats involved in the vehicle, the French, British and German board members. It could sanction companies attempting to use the vehicle. Or it could warn such businesses that if they engage with the vehicle, legally or not, they will face consequences…”

Deutsche Welle added on January 31:

“On Thursday, the US State Department said it was ‘closely following’ reports on the European mechanism. ‘As the president has made clear, entities that continue to engage in sanctionable activity involving Iran risk severe consequencesthat could include losing access to the U.S. financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or US companies,’ the State Department said in a statement.”

EU Warns USA over Tariff Debacle

The Hill wrote on January 23:

“The European Union said Wednesday that it will retaliate with nearly $23 billion in tariffs if President Trump puts taxes on imported EU cars and auto parts…

“Trump has long threatened to slap 25 percent tariffs on foreign cars and auto parts, citing the national security concerns his administration raised to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum last year… a U.S. probe of automotive imports will be completed in February.”

Comeback for Schulz?

Bild Online reported on Sunday, January 27, that former SPD leaders Martin Schulz and Sigmar Gabriel are very dissatisfied with their own party (the junior governmental coalition party of Angela Merkel’s CDU) and are allegedly contemplating to initiate a comeback.

Der Merkur confirmed on January 27 that there are rumors regarding a putsch from Gabriel and Schulz if the SPD were to lose the upcoming European election and the local election in the city of Bremen by the end of May. It was stated that in such a “worst-case scenario,” the current leaders of the SPD would no longer be tolerable.

On January 29, Focus Online discussed the pro and cons for such an alleged putsch as well, but concluded that it won’t happen.

Given Sigmar Gabriel’s current position on political issues, including the European army and the German-French friendship, it does not seem that he will play a prominent role in the future. It may be different for Martin Schulz.

A European Army

Forbes wrote on January 23:

“With Brexit looming and Europe under threat from populism, France and Germany have signed a historic new friendship treaty in the city of Aachen. Both countries agreed to establish common positions and issue joint statements on key EU issues, deepen economic integration and further develop their defensive cooperation

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the aim of the pact is a ‘German-French economic area with common rules’ and ‘a common military culture’ which could ‘contribute to the creation of a European army.’ Unsurprisingly, the announcement of the treaty and particularly Ms. Merkel’s references to the potential creation of an EU army have enraged nationalists and Eurosceptics. Some merely called it a symbolic and irrelevant gesture while others accused their governments of signing away national sovereignty.

“The subject of an EU-army has been a prickly issue across Europe for years. After World War II, plans for such a force initially gained traction before grinding to a halt in the mid-1950s. While the threat from a resurgent Russia has given the idea new impetus, it has proven extremely controversial in many parts of the EU. In some countries, such as the UK, a united military service with old Second World War enemies Germany and Italy would prove unacceptable in some quarters…

“The most recent research on the issue was conducted… in 2017 and it found that support was highest in the Netherlands and Belgium at 74%. In France and Germany, it stood at 65 and 55% respectively. In the EU’s neutral countries, support was 45% in Austria, 46% in Ireland, 42% in Finland, 55% in Malta and just 40% in Sweden.”

However, today, the figures would show that the support for a European army is much higher in certain countries, especially in Germany.

Bigger than the USA

Express wrote on January 23:

“Angela Merkel has boasted about Germany and France’s plans for an EU Army in a defiant speech where she warned it would be bigger than the US forces…

“She said: ‘… we have even more than 170 different weapons system, the US have less than 60… The French leader argued the two nations’ partnership will provide EU citizens with the ‘real protection’ they need.”

USA Committed to NATO

USA Today wrote on January 25:

“President Donald Trump ‘is committed to NATO’ and deserves credit in obtaining $100 billion more in defense spending for the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said Sunday…

“Stoltenberg’s comment stands in contrast to Democrats who fear Trump wants to pull out of NATO… A New York Times report earlier this month said Trump repeatedly told aides he wanted to pull out of the alliance. In response to the report, Democrats pushed for legislation requiring congressional approval of any move to leave NATO.

“Trump has also been criticized for his aggressive approach in insisting America’s ‘delinquent’ allies pay a greater share toward the collective defense agreement. At the summit in July, he demanded the other members ‘immediately’ increase their contributions. Stoltenberg said the tough approach paid off.

“‘… you have to remember that the increase we now see in defense spending by European and NATO allies comes after years of decline. So before they were cutting billions. Now they’re actually adding billions,’ he said.”

On the one hand, Stoltenberg is fooling himself and others, not knowing and understanding biblical prophecy. On the other hand, the US is causing actions, which will in turn lead to an attack by the newly powerful EU—and that on Britain and America!

Free Europe in Danger

The Guardian wrote on January 25:

“Liberal values in Europe face a challenge ‘not seen since the 1930s’, leading intellectuals from 21 countries have said, as… nationalists look set to make sweeping gains in EU parliamentary elections…

“They write of their regret that Europe has been ‘abandoned from across the Channel’ – an oblique reference to the drawn-out Brexit process that has arguably brought Anglo-European relations to their lowest point since the second world war…

“Unlike Eurosceptics in the UK, most European counterparts do not want to leave the EU but to take it over…”

Anti-Semitism on the Rise in Europe

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 27:

“Jewish organizations say they have seen an increase in anti-Semitism in Germany… Some 41 percent of Jews in Germany said they were victims of anti-Semitic hostility, compared to an average of 28 percent in the other surveyed countries.

Handelsblatt Global wrote on January 25:

“Anxiety is increasing that remembrance of the Holocaust, and of Germany’s and Europe’s anti-Semitic past, is fading. A survey published this week found that 90 percent of Jewish people in the European Union feel that anti-Semitism has grown in the last five years. One in three is considering emigrating.

“Another survey, taken last year, showed that anti-Semitism is strong in France, but also prominent in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden and Belgium. Last fall, Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, noted that in Germany people are almost accustomed to Jewish institutions requiring police protection.

“Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, highlighted this situation in a speech to the European Parliament marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The future for Jews in Europe is bleak, he said.

“… the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker, said… he was deeply worried that Jews are afraid to practice their faith in Europe, and that Holocaust denial remains alive on the continent…”

Hitler’s Plan for Holocaust in USA and Canada

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 27:

“A Canadian archive has acquired a book owned by Adolf Hitler that shows his plans for Jewish people living in Canada and the US. The archive said the book shows what could have happened if World War II ended differently.

“[The book] contains detailed Jewish population data, as well as information on key organizations and media for Canadian and American Jewish communities… [It] demonstrates that the Holocaust was not purely a European event, but rather an operation that was stopped before it reached North America.”

Earthquakes in Israel

Breaking Israel News wrote on January 27:

“Last Thursday evening, northern Israel was shaken by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake. Earthquakes are not uncommon in Israel as the Syrian-African fault line… runs underneath the Jordan Valley.

“The last earthquake in northern Israel was in July, measuring 4.1 on the Richter Scale, but seismologists estimate that according to statistics and the geologic history, the region should experience a major quake every 80-100 years. The last major quake was in 1927 and registered 6.2 on the Richter Scale killing 500 people. Another major earthquake is therefore now due…

“A 2016 report… stated that in the case of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, an estimated 7,000 people would be killed, another 8,600 injured and 377,000 left homeless. In addition, such a quake could cause up to $55 billion in damages.”

According to Revelation 11:13, a future earthquake in Israel will cause the death of 7000 people.

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.

The Christian Way; Adultery–a Trivial Offense?

On February 2, 2019, Christoph Sperzel will present the sermonette, titled, “The Christian Way,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Adultery–a Trivial Offense?”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at (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.

The Day of Adversity

Last week the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States ended. Hundreds of thousands of people in the country were negatively affected in a direct way, and many more were indirectly affected. The estimate by the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost of this historic event approaches $11 billion. It is quite a ridiculous sum of money, especially considering that it was incurred as a result of fighting between political parties over issues that are still unresolved. There is little argument in declaring that this event is an embarrassing failure of the nation’s leaders on all sides to manage the resources they are responsible for governing. Yet, it happened for a reason.

God allowed the shutdown to happen as a manifestation of man’s utter inability to govern. Satan has great wrath towards this country, and at this point, God does not prevent Satan’s evil actions because this nation has to be punished for its many sins. God has decreed the downfall of this country. Sadly, innocent people will be affected in the process, but we can trust in God for His protection.

As damaging as the government shutdown has been, we can be sure that God was involved in allowing it in order to fulfill His overall plan. Solomon writes about God’s involvement during detrimental times in Ecclesiastes 7:14, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him.”

Even the times when bad things happen are under God’s control. We understand, of course, that in this day and age, Satan is the ruler of the world, including the USA. But he can do nothing which God does not permit, and God allows nothing which would be against His overall plan and purpose for mankind.

For reasons that we might not always understand, circumstances take place that bring about an effect that can seem to have categorically negative consequences. We may even be directly affected. However, if we trust in God, we have nothing to fear because a wonderful and perfect plan is being worked out.

When we consider the terrible situation of Joseph, when he was sold into slavery by his brothers, it is humanly easy to judge the actions as being unjust, which they were. But even Joseph himself could see the hand of God in the matter. When Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt, he revealed himself to them saying, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life… So now it was not you who sent me here, but God…” (Genesis 45:5-8). In the individual adversity of Joseph, and in the famine of the entire region of the Middle East, humanly negative events took place to fulfill a greater plan of God.

Is there any reason that we should consider our lives to be any different? Does God allow difficult things to happen in our lives and does He allow the destruction of the nations we live in for no particular reason? Of course not. At scales small and great, God is conducting a symphony of events to bring about His plan. This plan ultimately involves the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the Earth under the rulership of Jesus Christ. But it also involves shaping our own behaviors to become ever-more obedient, following the model of Jesus Christ’s perfect life. Throughout the entirety of history, detrimental events take place, and they will continue to do so. But all of these events are permitted, and sometimes even directly caused by God for His purpose.

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