March 4, 2022
Forever Young / The End of Violence
On March 5, 2022, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Forever Young,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “The End of Violence.”
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.
The Importance of Women during the Work of Jesus
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
When we read about Jesus Christ travelling in Judea and Galilee, it is easy to think that He travelled with only the twelve disciples. However, when we read Acts 1:21-23, we find that there were at least two others, and probably more, who accompanied Him and the disciples all the time, beginning from the baptism of John. From these two disciples were proposed Joseph called Barsabas who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias, and Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot.
During His ministry, Jesus sent out seventy others to preach the gospel two by two. We can read this in Luke 10:1-9. At times, He had quite a large group of people following Him as He did His Work.
The question that can be raised is, was it only men that worked with Christ as He preached? We can read in Matthew 27:55-56, “And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (who was named Salome, compare Mark 15:40).
These many women had travelled with Jesus at least on His last trip to Jerusalem and certainly during previous times as well (compare Mark 15:41). The word used for what they were doing is ministering. This word is translated from the Greek word diakoneo which means “to be an attendant or assistant, to supply the necessities of life, provide the means of living, to fill the office of deacon or deaconess.” These women were providing the physical needs of Jesus and His disciples.
This is also stated in Luke 8:1-3, “Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities – Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him (most translations read ‘them’; i.e. including the disciples) from their substance” (or possessions).
We see that during the ministry of Jesus Christ, much of the physical needs and support for Him and His disciples was provided by many women, not just a few. Without their help, His Work would have been much more difficult.
An interesting event occurred during the Work of Christ when He was at Samaria. He asked a woman of Samaria for a drink of water. He then went on to expound spiritual truth to her. (John 4:1-26). In John 4:27 the response of the disciples is quite interesting. “And at this point His disciples came, and they marvelled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, ‘What do you seek?’ or, ‘Why are you talking with her?’” From this it appears that it was not usual for a man to speak in public to a woman nor for a religious leader to teach a woman individually. Yet we are able to learn today from what He said to her then.
We know that after the burial of Christ, some of the women who had ministered to Him in Galilee prepared spices to anoint His body (Luke 23:55-56; Mark 16:1). It is also interesting that after His resurrection, the first persons to be made aware of this were three women. In fact, the first person to see Jesus after His resurrection was Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9).
There is one very important event just two days before Christ’s last Passover. This is described in Matthew 26:7, 10, 13: “… a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.” After the disciples complained that this was a waste, He remarked: “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me.” “…In pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Now alabaster is like a soft marble, pure white and translucent. Mark 14:3 informs us that the oil was oil of spikenard, an Indian herb from the Himalayas, which was very expensive. So, this woman had given Him a very valuable offering, and had begun the process of preparing His body for burial. She believed Him when He said He was going to Jerusalem and be delivered up to be crucified.
From this, we learn that although Christ was training men for leadership positions, He was considerate of women, giving them favour at times. And as for this particular woman, she gave her very valuable possession to her future King without expecting anything in return—an attitude that we should have whenever we give a gift. One day we will find out who she was, and be able to thank her for setting such a good example for many others.
by Norbert Link
To begin with, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Biden’s State of the Union Speech—God Help Us!”, providing an in-depth analysis of President Biden’s controversial and troublesome statements in his address.
We continue with reporting on the development pertaining to Ukraine and the world’s reaction to Russia’s invasion. We draw a comparison between the present situation and the past, leading to World War 2. We ask who is to stop Putin, in light of weak leadership in the Western World, but also explain that some of the sanctions are having an effect on Russia, but they come with a price, while other sanctions are meaningless for the time being, and the most important and effective sanctions have not been issued, so far. However, it seems that Putin had underestimated the Ukrainians’ resolve, and the growing popularity of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom Putin is apparently determined to assassinate.
For a thorough discussion on the reasons for Putin’s behavior, please view our recent message, “Mass Murderer Putin—the Modern Hitler; Comments on News and Prophecy, February 26, 2022.”
We speak on Putin’s latest threats and the failed meeting between Russia and Ukraine. We also address Germany’s “change of heart.”
We conclude with Biden’s terrible poll numbers and his nomination of a black woman for the Supreme Court, who has been labeled a left-wing activist.
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
Just like in 1941
Thomson/Reuters wrote on February 25:
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday… the bombing of Kyiv was reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s attacks during World War Two…
“Zelenskyy said there was now a ‘new iron curtain’ between Russia and the rest of the world, adding in a later speech his nation had been ‘left alone.’ ‘Who is ready to fight alongside us? I don’t see anyone.’”
Hitler and Putin… two of a Kind
The Washington Post wrote on February 24:
“By 1939, parts of Czechoslovakia had already been carved off and taken over by Nazi Germany, which claimed that millions of ethnic Germans were being persecuted there. The previous September, European powers, seeking to avoid war, had acquiesced and done nothing…
“On March 15, 1939, the sickly Czech president, Emil Hacha, was in Hitler’s study surrounded by the Führer’s henchmen. ‘Hitler was at his most intimidating,’ historian Ian Kershaw wrote in his 2000 biography of the Nazi leader. ‘He launched into a violent tirade against the Czechs.’ The Nazis needed to take over Czechoslovakia to protect Germany. Hacha must agree or his country would be immediately attacked and Prague, its capital, bombed. Hacha fainted… but was revived and gave in to Hitler’s demand. German troops marched in a few hours later. Hitler said it was the happiest day of his life.
“Russia’s Vladimir Putin did not bother to speak with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, before launching his assault Thursday. But some observers see brutal similarities to Hitler’s seizure of Czechoslovakia just before World War II. ‘This is all truly dictated by our national interests and dictated by care for the future of our country,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday after the Russian assault began. Putin on Monday claimed pro-Russian residents of Ukraine faced ‘genocide.’…
“In March 1938, during the run-up to World War II, Hitler had first engineered the Nazi takeover of Austria, which already had strong pro-Nazi sympathies. Seven months later, he was plotting the seizure of part of Czechoslovakia, claiming that ethnic Germans in the Sudeten regions bordering eastern Germany were being mistreated. ‘I must also declare before the German people that in the Sudeten German problem my patience is now at an end,’ Hitler said on Sept. 26, 1938. Czechoslovakia must ‘give the Germans their freedom, or we will get this freedom for ourselves.’
“Four days later, during the famous Munich conference — now known as the centerpiece of the ‘appeasement’ of the Nazis — Great Britain, France and Italy agreed to the handover of the Sudeten region to Germany, hoping it would prevent further aggression. ‘It is the last territorial claim which I have to make in Europe,’ Hitler said. Within six months, he took the rest of Czechoslovakia, and on Sept. 1, 1939, he attacked Poland, starting World War II….
“Hitler wanted to take over all of Europe… Putin wants to restore Czarist Russia, the Russian empire. It’s a threat in particular to Finland, which was part of the Russian empire, to the Baltic states, which were part of the Russian empire, and to Poland, which was part of the Russian empire…”
Some have even wondered whether it is Putin’s intent to include East Germany in his envisaged new Russian Empire.
Where are our Leaders?
The Sun wrote on February 25:
“A MAD, murderous dictator threatens to unleash a nuclear world war. No longer is this a mere movie plot. Today it is terrifyingly real. It is paramount, as in 1939, that the free peoples of the West defeat this hideous new evil, this Hitler for our times… Putin is inflicting his monstrous tyranny on an innocent population. And, if unrestrained, he will keep coming.
“Decades of unpunished crimes and unchallenged power have addled his mind. Forget his ludicrous denials and lies — such as Russia being ‘threatened’ by Nato… or that he is ‘de-Nazifying’ Ukraine. The chilling reality is that he has publicly declared that a democratic country of 43 million people has no right to exist.
“With age now against him, he intends to go down in history as the man who, by force, folded Ukraine into Russia before establishing a new empire to replace the Soviet Union he still mourns. Putin will turn a deaf ear to the screams of children he orphans — and a blind eye to the cities he destroys and the thousands he slaughters, his own soldiers included. He believes this is his destiny…
“Most of us in the West are not currently blessed with great leaders and Putin knows it. The fractious, feeble, hand-wringing squabblers of the EU. America’s frail, doddering Joe Biden, pathetically intoning as the tanks rolled in that ‘Jill and I are praying for’ Ukraine…
“Leaders even congratulated Putin on winning blatantly rigged elections. Angela Merkel brainlessly closed Germany’s nuclear power stations and left her country mainly reliant on Russian gas and coal… Russia is not, and was not, our friend. Nor China. Nor evidently is President Imran Khan of Pakistan… [Neither is India which did not condemn Russia for its invasion.]
“All of us in the West should have woken up years ago. But if there was still any doubt about Putin, his not-so-veiled threat to nuke countries standing in his way must end them for good. The man is deranged.”
Who Will Stop Putin?
The Sun published on February 25 a strongly-worded editorial by Piers Morgan, with the title, “Knock Him Out.”
“WHO’S going to stop him?… I don’t see any answer. Oh, I hear lots of talk.
“Boris Johnson, desperate to restore his shattered reputation as the partygate scandal still rages, is giving it the full Churchillian rhetoric and demanding: ‘Diplomatically, politically, economically — and eventually, militarily — this hideous and barbaric venture of Vladimir Putin must end in failure.’ Fine words, Prime Minister — but how, exactly, do you intend to make him fail?…
“French President Emmanuel Macron, humiliated by his pointless and deluded attempts at diplomacy, is feeling betrayed by Putin’s duplicity in their conversations (a former KGB officer lied? Wow, I’m shocked!) and has ordered Russia to ‘immediately put an end to its military operations’. Why would it do that? Putin’s doing what he’s wanted to do, and planned to do, for years.
“Germany’s new Vice-Chancellor, Robert Habeck, huffed and puffed and warned Russia would have ‘severe political and economic consequences.’ Like what, exactly? His country’s grown so dependent on Russian energy that it can’t afford to do anything meaningful for fear of Putin literally turning their lights out…
“Putin’s a bully; a vile, snivelling, mean, ruthless, heartless, humourless, narcissistic bully… Mike Tyson once so perfectly put it: ‘Everyone’s got a plan [including a bully] until they get punched in the face.’ But who’s going to punch Putin in the face?
“Normally, we could rely on the United States of America to do it, just as they punched Adolf Hitler and the Japanese so hard in the face to help us win the Second World War. However, President Biden is showing about as much will to square up to Putin as a timid tadpole confronted by a great white shark. This is hardly surprising given his cowardly overnight desertion of the Afghan people last summer which continues to cause abject misery and despair in a country thrown back to the Taliban wolves, and which sent Putin the firm message that America no longer had the stomach for a fight. It’s depressingly obvious that the ageing and increasingly decrepit-sounding Biden hasn’t got a clue what to do about this situation… he even smirked and chuckled as reporters bombarded him with questions, as if there was somehow something amusing about it all.
“Nothing about this crisis is anything but incredibly serious and worrying, carrying with it the very real potential to spiral into something utterly catastrophic if it encourages China to follow Russia’s lead and seize Taiwan. As Biden stumbled and mumbled, I saw a leader of the free world racked with confusion and bereft of any real desire to engage with Putin in any kind of language that he will either understand or heed…
“From the moment Russia seized Crimea in 2014, and the world did nothing about it, Putin was emboldened to pursue his long-held dream of restoring the Soviet Union to its former size and power. He’s a gangster, a murderer, a cruel, wicked man for whom human life carries no sanctity or importance. And if he is allowed to invade and conquer Ukraine, he’ll keep on invading other countries he believes should be back in his despotic control. The world has empowered this monster with its deplorably complacent inaction and slavish desire to continue enriching him through global reliance on Russia’s vast energy resources…
“When the Nazis imperilled our liberty, Churchill [said:]… ‘One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it… If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!’ Right now, we’re running away from the urgent danger this Ukraine invasion represents. Putin is the new Hitler, a power-crazed, unhinged megalomaniac intent on reshaping Europe’s borders by invading sovereign democracies with impunity. And like Hitler, he spews vicious apocalyptic threats to scare off any resistance…
“It has been 70 years since a totalitarian regime tried to do what Russia is doing now, and Hitler would have got away with it if Churchill hadn’t stood up to him so courageously and magnificently, and if the Americans hadn’t flexed their massive military muscles when it really mattered. We’re at that point again…
“In February 2020, then presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted: ‘Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.’ He was referring to a 2011 meeting at which Biden claimed he told Putin he had no soul… But the truth is that he’s thrilled Biden is president, believing him to be a weak, dithering strawman who’s big on talk, small on walk. The time for words is over, President Biden. It’s time you lived up to them and went properly toe-to-toe with the soulless tyrant who is currently making a mockery of your empty threats. It’s time to… punch Putin in the face — and knock him out.”
But Biden won’t knock anyone out. He is far too weak for that…
Subsequently, the New York Post published the following editorial from Piers Morgan on February 28:
“When Saddam Hussein invaded Iraq’s neighboring state of Kuwait in 1990, America led a NATO military intervention, Desert Storm, that sent him and his forces packing in just 43 days. President George H.W. Bush explained his decision by saying: ‘The terrible crimes and tortures committed by Saddam’s henchmen against the innocent people of Kuwait are an affront to mankind and a challenge to the freedom of all… no nation will be permitted to brutally assault its neighbor.’
“Bush then quoted two members of the US forces tasked with liberating Kuwait. ‘Listen to one of our great officers out there, Marine Lieutenant General Walter Boomer. He said: “There are things worth fighting for. A world in which brutality and lawlessness are allowed to go unchecked isn’t the kind of world we’re going to want to live in.” And listen to Jackie Jones, an Army lieutenant, when she says, “If we let him get away with this, who knows what’s going to be next?”’…
“If the US lets Putin use his nuke threats to scare them off, Russia will continue its nation-seizing rampage like the Nazis did in 1938/9, and other foes like China and North Korea may feel emboldened to start doing the same. It will be like waving a white flag of surrender.”
Peace Talks Fail; EU Membership Far Way Off
Newsmax wrote on February 28:
“An embattled Ukraine moved to solidify its bond with the West Monday by signing an application to join the European Union, while the first round of Ukraine-Russia talks aimed at ending the fighting concluded with no immediate agreements….
“At this stage, Ukraine is many years away from reaching the standards for achieving EU membership, and the 27-nation bloc is expansion-weary and unlikely to take on new members any time soon. Also, any addition to the EU must be approved unanimously, and some member states have complicated approval procedures.
“Overall, the consensus has been that Ukraine’s deep-seated corruption could make it hard for the country to win EU acceptance. Still, in an interview with Euronews on Sunday, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said, ‘We want them in the European Union.’”
Breitbart added on March 2:
“The Parliament of the European Union welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s application to join the bloc in a resolution on Tuesday – a first step in a long and difficult official joining process that Ukraine may not technically qualify for… The European Parliament is one of the less powerful bodies of the bloc…. However, it has only at press time agreed to help Ukraine become a candidate, not a member…”
The European Council is to have an informal meeting on March 10 during which the matter might be discussed.
Cease Fire Agreement?
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 3:
“The Ukrainian and Russian negotiators at talks in Belarus say the two sides have agreed provisions for a number of humanitarian issues. The understanding involves a temporary cease-fire to allow the evacuation of citizens and the delivery of aid to areas where fierce fighting has been taking place. The Ukrainian negotiator said that the second round of cease-fire talks had not yielded the results Kyiv hoped for, but the sides had agreed to speak again. … Podolyak said cease-fires will only take place in designated humanitarian corridor areas. “
Bild Online added on March 3:
“However, the establishment of escape corridors is not a sign of hope, but a sign that Putin now wants all of Ukraine! The two most important points of the Ukrainians – an immediate ceasefire, followed by a permanent ceasefire – were rejected by Putin’s negotiators.
“The Ukrainian side also says that all men between the ages of 18 and 60 would stay behind to defend their cities. The resumed motive of Russia for the escape corridor is that when people have left the cities, Putin’s troops could launch the final attack – without being accused of hitting uninvolved civilians with their rockets.”
It Will Get Worse
Mirror wrote on March 3:
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is going ‘according to plan’ and the violence will ‘get worse’, … Putin warned today. The Russian President made the alarming comments to Emmanuel Macron, his French counterpart, during a phone call on Thursday afternoon. After hanging up the phone at the end of the exchange, which lasted for an hour and a half, Mr Macron said “the worst is yet to come”.
No Fighter Jets and No-Fly Zone
Breitbart wrote on March 3:
“Despite widely-reported claims that 70 fighter jets were being provided to Ukraine by EU member-states… these plans seem to have fallen through, with Europe’s Josep Borrell Fontelles… being reported to have back-tracked on previous comments regarding the provision of fighter aircraft.”
This “change of mind” came after NATO objected, saying that this would mean getting actively involved in the war between Russia and Ukraine. NATO and “Western allies” also rejected the idea of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as this would be “tantamount to a declaration of war.”
Israel’s Bennet Conspicuously Muted
The Associated Press wrote on February 24:
“Vladimir Putin told the world in the lead-up to Thursday’s attacks on Ukraine that his operation aims to ‘denazify’ Ukraine, a country with a Jewish president who lost relatives in the Holocaust and who heads a Western-backed, democratically elected government… historians see their use as disinformation and a cynical ploy to further the Russian leader’s aims. Israel has proceeded cautiously, seeking not to jeopardize its security ties with the Kremlin, despite what it considers the sacred memory of the 6 million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust….
“Israel has butted heads with certain countries, like Poland, over the memory of the Holocaust. But Israel has appeared more reticent to challenge Putin and his narrative… because of its current security interests. Israel relies on coordination with Russia to allow it to strike targets in Syria, which it says are often weapons caches destined for Israel’s enemies…
“Israel was conspicuously muted in its criticism of Russia in the lead-up to the attacks on Ukraine. Commentator Raviv Drucker wrote in the daily Haaretz that Israel was “on the wrong side of history” with its response… Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stopped short of issuing a public condemnation of Russia’s attack.”
The Times of Israel wrote on February 27:
“Russia on Friday summoned Israel’s Ambassador to Moscow Alexander Ben Zvi to clarify Israel’s position regarding the Ukraine invasion… Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov asked Ben Zvi why Israel was expressing support for the ‘Nazis’ in Ukraine… Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has avoided condemning Russia or even mentioning the country by name… However, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a far more clear condemnation Thursday… “
Israel to Condemn Russia
Israel 365 wrote on February 28:
“Russia has consistently voted to condemn Israel at the United Nations including on 14 separate occasions in 2021. Now the Kremlin is about to see how it feels as Israel prepares to participate in a UN vote condemning the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Jerusalem will co-sponsor and vote in favor of a resolution at the UN condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…”
Bild Online wrote on February 25:
“For years, the West watched as Putin grew in power. For years nothing was done about his crimes. Now the West is watching how a democratic country in the middle of Europe is being destroyed and many Europeans don’t care… With tears in my eyes and anger in my stomach, I now have to watch my friends fight for their lives, how the Obolon district of Kiev, where I grew up, is now fighting, and at the same time the world is doing nothing.
“As someone who was born Ukraine, I accuse!
“I accuse the SPD of still not separating from Putin’s friend former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder…
“I accuse the left, who for years, despite the criminal wars and the destruction of democracy in Russia, played down the despot Putin and always blamed NATO. They are hypocrites and only talk about human rights when it suits them politically.
“I accuse the federal government and the EU of still not having decided on tough sanctions against Putin. What are you waiting for? What red line does Putin have to cross?
“…a humanitarian catastrophe looms as food becomes scarce, while women and children are forced to sleep in metro stations, while children’s homes must seek shelter for their residents.
“Finally, I accuse the West. In just a few years, Putin’s regime will be forgiven for this criminal war. Ultimately, as always, economic interests and greed for profit will triumph over human rights and freedom. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King once said: ‘In the end, it will not be the words of our enemies that we will remember, but the silences of our friends.’”
Determined to Murder Zelensky?
Axios wrote on February 25:
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told EU leaders ‘this might be the last time you see me alive’ during a video conference on Thursday night… Shortly before the call, Zelensky gave a televised address saying he was Russia’s ‘number one’ target for capture or assassination, and his family members were the ‘number two’ target. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who participated in the video conference, call told the TT news agency that when the EU leaders said goodbye to Zelensky they knew they might not see him again…
“Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the Ukrainian military to perform a coup against Zelensky and then negotiate with Russia.”
When Zelensky spoke in Munich during the conference, he received a standing ovation from all in attendance. Now the same people are standing idly by and are perhaps watching what might very well be his murder. Biden asked Zelensky to evacuate Kyiv and offered him refuge in the USA. Zelensky declined, saying, “I need ammunition and not a ride.”
Zelensky to be Assassinated
Daily Mail reported on February 28:
“More than 400 Russian mercenaries have been flown in from Africa to assassinate Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, it was revealed last night. A private militia known as the Wagner Group allegedly has orders from Vladimir Putin to take out Zelensky – and 23 other government figures – to allow Moscow to take over its eastern European neighbour…”
Apparently, one attempt on his life was thwarted.
A National Hero
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 26:
“An actor, a political satirist, underestimated even by his supporters, decides to switch careers and stand for the highest office in the country. It’s almost inconceivable. And yet, this man has something many politicians lack — something that enables him to rise above himself and shine, especially in times of crisis: He is an outstanding communicator. Many of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s sentences will be remembered for years to come, and will eventually find their way into the history books.
“On June 12, 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the former Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan, who had by then been US president for seven years, declaimed the words that are repeatedly quoted whenever people refer to the period that ended the Cold War: ‘Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate… Tear down this wall.’
“Nearly 45 years later, a man with a similar entertainment background speaks to his countrymen in video messages as the national leader, addressing them as ‘Free people! Free country!’ Zelenskyy says things like: ‘We Ukrainians are a peaceful nation. But if we remain silent today, we will be gone tomorrow!’ He is fiercely critical of the lack of support from abroad, saying, ‘We need an anti-war coalition. We are defending our country alone. The most powerful forces from all over the world are looking on.’…
“Observers regard the speech he made just after the Russian invasion began as the best of his life. Emotional, fearless, and resolute, he told the Russian troops: ‘If you attack, you will see our faces, not our backs!’…
“Following the Russian president’s confused, hour-long speech in which he recognized the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine as independent republics, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy reassured his compatriots: ‘Don’t panic! We are strong and ready for anything. We will defeat everyone, because we are Ukraine!’, and in doing so forestalled mass panic.
“When the Russian president speaks of baseless claims of ‘genocide’ in eastern Ukraine, and rants about ‘denazification’ as a pretext for war, it must seem like pure mockery, especially for Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian head of state — who grew up in a Russian-speaking family — is Jewish. His grandfather, who was in the Red Army, lost three of his brothers in the Holocaust…”
The New York Post wrote on February 27:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin is ‘furious’ that his invasion of Ukraine hasn’t been ‘easy’ after Russian troops have been unable to take even one major city in three days of fighting… The Russians are in shock of the fierce resistance they have encountered…”
Putin Threatens Sweden and Finland
Newsmax wrote on February 25:
“Russian officials have now threatened ‘serious military-political repercussions’ for [non-NATO members] Finland and Sweden if they make a move to join NATO.”
Putin’s new Threats
The New York Post wrote on February 27:
“President Vladimir Putin on Sunday ordered Russian nuclear deterrent forces to be placed on high alert, due to what he described as ‘aggressive statements’ by Western adversaries. The instruction means Putin has ordered Russia’s nuclear weapons prepared for heightened readiness to launch, raising the possibility the Russia-Ukraine war could escalate to a nuclear war….
“Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Sunday warned that Putin could use ‘the most unsavory means,’ including banned chemical or biological weapons, against Ukraine.”
“The move is also a reaction to the West announcing hard-hitting financial sanctions against Russian businesses and key individuals, including Putin himself, the president said in televised comments.”
We are dealing with an unpredictable madman who is willing to do everything. He is obviously possessed.
China won’t Condemn Russia
Fox News reported on March 2:
“China on Wednesday said it would not consider sanctioning Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine and said it will continue with ‘normal trade cooperation.’ And China abstained during a United Nations General Assembly vote Wednesday on a nonbinding resolution calling on Russia to halt its war on Ukraine and withdraw its military forces. Just five nations opposed the resolution – Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria – which passed with 141 aye votes…
“A resolution put forward by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council condemning Russia’s illegal invasion failed to pass Friday after Russia vetoed the measure and China abstained from voting…”
Newsmax added on March 2:
“Senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing Biden administration officials and a European official. The Times said a Western intelligence report indicates senior Chinese officials had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans or intentions to invade Ukraine…”
Not much of a surprise there!
Religious Freedom in Ukraine Will Be Destroyed by Putin
Religion News Service (RNS) wrote on February 24:
“The physical landscape of Ukraine isn’t the only battle space Russian invaders hope to dominate. For the past decade, the two countries have fought another battle — not over territory but the religious orientation of Ukraine. And if Russia occupies the country, religious freedom will be one of the many casualties.
“Ukraine is an ancient nation, dating back to at least the 10th century, with an eastern Christian identity at its root. Founded at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Ukraine is the second-largest European country, second only to Russia. While many faiths operate freely in Ukraine, such as Roman Catholics, evangelicals, Muslims and Jews, the country’s population of 43 million is overwhelmingly Christian and predominantly identifies with Orthodoxy…
“Putin’s efforts to restore Russian prestige have included elevating the Russian Orthodox Church…
“Christians on both sides are fighting: ‘Tanks are rolling down from Russia, Russian Orthodox priests are blessing the tanks,’ while ‘Ukrainian Orthodox priests are blessing the Ukrainian soldiers to fight against Russia.’
“… Putin’s demands are also connected with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its independence from Moscow. De facto what Putin wants is the full capitulation of Ukraine. The capitulation sought is both physical and spiritual. Indeed, Russian control of Ukraine would be a humanitarian disaster and a human rights catastrophe. And the implications for religious freedom in Ukraine would be dire. The U.S. government has ranked Russia as one of the worst in the world for religious freedom at home… Moscow would likely not countenance an independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine, possibly forcing it back into the family of the Russian Orthodox Church. Russia’s regressive treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and proselytizing groups would likely be forced on the entire country.
“Concerns about Ukraine’s Jewish community also exist. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum condemned Putin’s ‘exploitation’ of the Holocaust as a pretext for war. ‘The Museum stands with the Ukrainian people, including the thousands of Holocaust survivors still living in the country,’ said a statement released Thursday. The Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz said, ‘War is the continuation of politics by other means.’ War was probably the only outcome Putin wanted. The implications for Ukrainian religious freedom and other human rights, however, hang in the balance…”
Sanctions against Putin No Good
The New York Post wrote on February 25:
“‘Following a telephone conversation President Biden held with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and in alignment with the decision by our European allies, the United States will join them in sanctioning President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov and members of the Russian national security team,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday…
“Slapping sanctions on individuals entails preventing them from travel to and from certain jurisdictions. [It is unclear whether the new sanctions include a travel ban for Putin and Lavrov. While Europe says no, the USA seems to imply yes, but the statements in that regard are anything but clear]. It also bans companies from engaging in any sort of transaction with those persons… Putin’s assets, which are believed to be most vast than any human in the world, are hidden from view. Putin doesn’t need to hold his assets in traditional institutions like banks or brokerage firms because the entire Russian economy — with its significant oil and natural gas stockpiles as well as its rich array of natural resources – is under his control.
“The president’s inner circle is comprised of oligarchs who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The vast net worth of these cronies, who hide their wealth in offshore tax havens, suggests that Putin is far more richer than he is letting on… Putin’s net worth rivals those of the richest people in the world.”
US Sanctions’ Glaring Omission
The Associated Press wrote on February 27:
“There is a glaring carve-out in President Joe Biden’s sanctions against Russia: Oil and natural gas from that country will continue to flow freely to the rest of the world and money will keep flowing into Russia…
“‘Energy exports are the whole game,’ said Columbia University historian Adam Tooze… ‘I don’t think Russia is blind to what is going on and it must indicate to them that the West does not really have the stomach for a painful fight over Ukraine.’…
“This dependence on Russia could limit the potential devastation of sanctions… Should there be a loss of oil and natural gas from Russia, the U.S. appears unable to quickly increase production of oil and natural gas, while OPEC-plus countries have yet to publicly commit to substantially more production.”
The USA had been gas- and oil-independent. But the Biden Administration changed all of that.
Germany’s “Change of Heart”?
Deutsche Welle reported on February 27:
“On Saturday, the German government announced its decision to provide 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 surface-to-air missiles from German military stocks to Ukraine as soon as possible. Additionally, Estonia and the Netherlands received permission from the German government to transfer German-made weapons to Ukraine, whereas previously such permission had been denied. The moves reverse Germany’s long-standing principle of not sending or selling weapons to conflict areas…
“In announcing the policy reversal on Saturday, Scholz said that the ‘Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It threatens our entire post-war order. In this situation, it is our duty to support Ukraine to the best of our ability in its defense against Vladimir Putin’s invading army.’…
“Scholz said the German government would allocate €100 billion for extra German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, in the 2022 budget. ‘From now on, more than 2% of our GDP will be invested in our defense,’ Scholz said. Germany has previously been criticized for devoting less than the 2% mark on defense spending called for by NATO agreements…
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Germany’s change of heart. On Twitter, he wrote, ‘Keep up the good work, Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Anti-war coalition in action!’ Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, told Germany’s DPA news agency: ‘We are glad that Germany has finally made this 180-degree turnaround.’ Melnyk also told German newspaper Die Welt that Ukraine expects ‘this is only Germany’s first step.’… Melnyk said he hopes that as the Russian invasion rumbles on, the German government will provide additional defensive weapons so Ukraine can protect itself.”
Germany did send and sell weapons to other conflict areas before. Scholz’s statements are just false and hypocritical.
Bolster the German Army
The Local wrote on February 25:
“The German government on Thursday pledged to boost military spending…
“Finance Minister Christian Lindner said it was time for a ‘turning point’ in German defence investment… ‘I worry that we have neglected the armed forces so much in the past that it can’t completely fulfil its duties,’ he told public television.
“… the chief of the German land army, Alfons Mais,… said it was high time to bolster the army…
“Germany’s dark past has nurtured a strong pacifist tradition… Russia’s invasion may well force changes in priorities, with the Bundestag’s armed forces commissioner Eva Hoegl saying the army may have to switch from focusing on foreign missions to ‘domestic and allied (NATO) defence.’”
Die Welt wrote on February 26:
“In view of Russia’s military aggression, there is a first call for a return to conscription in Germany, which has been suspended since 2011…”
EU Stands up to Russia
Express wrote on February 27:
“European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced unprecedented EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus this afternoon. She announced an immediate shut down of EU airspace to all Russian planes [including private jets] and confirmed that the EU will finance weaponry for another country [under attack] for the first time ever. This will see the EU purchase and finance weapons to Ukraine… The bloc is also moving to ban ‘the Kremlin’s media machine in the EU’. This means that the state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, ‘will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war’…
“The move follows the joint decision yesterday from the US, UK, EU and Canada to block Swift access for some Russian banks [for international payments]… Ms von der Leyen said: ‘The European Union and its partners are working to cripple Putin’s ability to finance his war machine.’”
Scholz had stubbornly refused to agree to block Russian banks to Swift access. Finally, he relented and “agreed.” Another “change of heart” or just bowing to pressure?
Die Welt had written on February 26:
“Chancellor Olaf Scholz has encountered resistance within his own party with his no to Russia’s exclusion from the Swift banking communications network… At the EU summit on Thursday, Germany rejected such a move. Italy, Austria, Hungary and Cyprus have also been counted among the opponents so far. However, Italy, Austria and Cyprus have now given up resistance…”
Subsequently, Politico wrote on February 26:
“The decision was an abrupt change in course, coming after Berlin clung to its initial position for weeks despite the rising Russian menace and pressure from EU and NATO allies. On Saturday, Berlin finally bowed to that pressure, and to the reality that Russia is encircling Ukrainian cities and threatening to topple the government in Kyiv…. Yet Berlin’s changing stance does not necessarily mean all requests for arms shipments will be approved, as each case is decided individually… Before Saturday’s turnaround, senior Ukrainian officials had been complaining bitterly for weeks about Germany’s refusal to allow arms shipments to bolster Ukraine’s defenses. That stance bewildered some European officials…”
New German “Expansive” Course
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 27:
“It was a powerful speech on Ukraine that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered in the Bundestag. It was clear that it’s the end of ifs and buts, as well as the politics of hesitant little steps… Germany’s coalition government has taken a clear stance against Russia the aggressor. Finally, NATO allies, in particular the Baltic states, know where they stand with Germany…
“Frankly: It’s about time. For too long, Germany has only engaged in political maneuvering and discussions. However… reconciliation between Germany and Russia remains a historically important building block of German politics, as Scholz stressed…
“But let’s not fool ourselves. This new era in Germany will be expensive, possibly even painful… Russia is set to be isolated from the world economy. High energy prices, supply bottlenecks and a partial collapse in the trade of raw materials may well be the immediate consequences.
“Germans will have to prepare themselves. The government must quickly show how the country is supposed to deal with this and what the consequences will be… It is right that Germany is finally supporting shutting Russian banks out of… SWIFT… But here too the consequences need to be clearly communicated. It’s quite possible that the flow of Russian gas to Germany will stop, because without SWIFT it won’t be possible to pay for it. Retaliation, as popular and as correct as it may be, comes at a price..
“For the Ukrainian people, holding their ground against the Russian aggressor, this complete change in German politics is meaningful… For far too long it has been entirely unclear where Germany stood. Now everyone knows. At last.”
Thousands Fleeing Russian and Ukraine
Express wrote on February 27:
“Thousands [of Russians] are said to be trying to reach the United States to claim political asylum and avoid being forced to fight in the war with Ukraine… The Russian government has already called up conscripts and reservists aged between 18 and 60… many Russians have openly opposed the war, with many saying the battle is ‘not wanted’ by the people of Russia. Thousands of people joined demonstrations across Russia last week to protest against the invasion of Ukraine… The [Russian] government crackdown on protesters has been swift and ruthless, with more than 1500 people arrested on Thursday night alone…
“Legal routes to the US for Russians have dwindled in recent years. The pandemic limited travel between the countries and took a toll on consular services, making it difficult for Russians to get a visa… This has left Russian people who want to reach the US little choice but to take the route from Mexico…
“Record numbers of Russian citizens have already been crossing into the US from Mexico to claim political asylum in recent months… in response to Putin’s increasingly brutal crackdown on opposition…
“Increasing numbers of Ukrainians have also been fleeing to America in recent months via the same route, taking long and expensive journeys in search of safety while the threat of Russia has grown larger.”
Thomson/Reuters wrote on February 27:
“The European Union needs to prepare for millions of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the bloc…”
Ruble in Trouble; Anti-Putin Demonstrations in Russia
The Sun wrote on February 28:
“A RUN on Russian banks has begun as Western sanctions send the ruble into freefall, sparking hopes of civil unrest against Vladimir Putin. Pictures show long queues outside cash machines in St Petersburg as locals race against time to withdraw their life savings before it’s all wiped out. It comes as Russia’s central bank says it will not open the Moscow Stock Exchange today…
“Russia’s central bank hiked interest rates from 9.5 percent to over 20 percent in a bid to stop a run on the country’s currency, the ruble… the value of the ruble continues to tumble against the dollar and euro on the Moscow Stock Exchange on Monday… Russia’s economy shrank by 30 per cent overnight to an all-time low.
“Russia is believed to be spending as much as £15billion a day to fund the invasion of Ukraine, experts believe…
“More than 2,000 people were arrested at peaceful anti-war protests in Russia on Sunday while more than 5,500 people have been detained at other protests since the invasion began on Thursday… Russian celebrities, dignitaries and officials also joined calls for the attack to be halted last night. More than 150 municipal deputies… from various Russian cities wrote in an open letter: ‘We, the deputies elected by the people, unreservedly condemn the attack of the Russian army on Ukraine. This is an unparalleled atrocity for which there is and cannot be justification.’”
Serious Underreporting of Side Effects
LifeSiteNews wrote on February 25:
“A large German health insurer has raised concerns over what its data shows to be an excessive underreporting by government authorities of adverse events after experimental COVID-19 gene-based vaccine injections…. Explaining that their sample includes 10,937,716 insured clients, with available data covering only the first 7½ months of 2021, their company had already logged 216,695 cases of adverse reactions for COVID-19 gene-based injections.
“Extending this rate for the full year, and then applying it to the full population of Germany (around 83 million), one can estimate that likely 2.5 million to 3 million individuals in the nation were treated by medical professionals for such adverse events.”
LifeSiteNews reported on March 1:
“Fully 66% of Israelis surveyed say they had adverse reactions to a COVID-19 booster jab… The adverse events ranged from mild to serious. Altogether, 66% of interviewees reported at least one adverse reaction. Nearly half of these reported having difficulties performing daily activities as a result… A March analysis also revealed dramatic rates of vaccine-related deaths in the country.”
Biden as Unpopular as Ever
Breitbart wrote on February 27:
“A strong majority of adults in the United States believe President Joe Biden is mentally unfit to serve as commander in chief, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. The poll, which was released only days before the president is slated to give the State of the Union address, showed a majority believe Biden is unfit to serve as president while also revealing the lowest job approval rating (37 percent)…”
Kamala Harris Mocked
The New York Post wrote on March 1:
“Kamala Harris just took dumbing down to a whole new level. During an appearance on the syndicated ‘Morning Hustle’ radio program, Harris was asked by co-host Headkrack to explain the conflict ‘in layman’s terms for people who don’t understand what’s going on and how can this directly affect the people of the United States?’
“Speaking slowly, Harris began, ‘So, Ukraine is a country in Europe.’ ‘It exists next to another country called Russia,’ she continued. ‘Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine. So, basically, that’s wrong, and it goes against everything that we stand for.’…
“Washington Examiner executive editor Seth Mandel described Harris’ statement as ‘terrifying.’ ‘She just has a real inability to talk normally to [people],” Mandel noted… ‘Apparently Vice President Kamala Harris believes the average American layperson is aged 4,’ seethed The Federalist publisher Ben Domenech. ‘You will hear higher levels of explanation of international affairs in Peppa Pig.’…
“This is not the first time Harris’ grasp of foreign policy had been called into question. While meeting with reporters at the Munich Security Conference in Germany last month, the [vice president] was criticized for stating that Europe had enjoyed ‘peace and security’ since the end of World War II, apparently forgetting Soviet incursions into Hungary and Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, the Balkan civil wars of the 1990s and Russia’s campaigns in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine under President Vladimir Putin.”
When we consider the current leadership of the USA, it is indeed a frightening scenario.
Biden’s Supreme Court Pick
Breitbart wrote on February 25:
“President Joe Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill retiring Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the Supreme Court, but conservative groups are warning of Jackson’s ‘radical, left-wing activism’…
“National pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony’s List (SBA List) noted her pro-abortion bona fides. ‘Joe Biden is fulfilling his promise to only appoint justices who support the Roe v. Wade regime of abortion on demand up to birth – a policy so extreme only a handful of countries in the world hold it, including North Korea and China. Ketanji Brown Jackson is backed by many of America’s most radical pro-abortion groups… She is on record opposing the free speech rights of pro-life advocates pleading to save lives outside abortion centers and supporting the false claim that abortion is ‘health care.’ We have no doubt she will work with the most pro-abortion administration in history to enshrine abortion on demand nationwide in the law… The overwhelming majority of Americans reject the Democrats’ extreme agenda that includes late-term abortions when unborn children can feel pain, dismemberment abortions, lethal discrimination abortions, and more.’
“Similarly, CatholicVote is sounding the alarm on Jackson’s propensity to oppose free religious expression, defying the First Amendment. ‘Judge Jackson is the choice of the radical Left. By all indications, she will be a rubber stamp for Left-wing judicial activism that will continue to punish and penalize Catholic beliefs in the public square… Judge Jackson has been nominated because she is expected to use the Court to reward the far Left with support for policies that a majority of the country opposes. When judges become legislators, among those that stand to lose the most are Catholic hospitals, schools, charities and families.’
“Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project had a similar sentiment, saying ‘Not a huge surprise — Biden just picked the most extreme left-wing SCOTUS nominee in our nation’s history… She’ll become the most predictable vote on the court — pro abortion, pro gender ideology, everything.’”
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.
How important are relationships with God and with each other? – Part 5
We have so far looked at the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ; man’s relationship with fellow man and how to deal with others, together with reviewing relationships within the human family. In this Q&A, we are going to look at our vitally important personal relationship which we must have with God.
Our personal relationship with God.
So many today feel that they have a relationship with God while still trampling over His laws. But Christ tells us that we worship God in vain if we lay aside the commandments of God in order to teach and follow the commandments of men (Mark 7:6-8).
In addition, “once saved, always saved” is a false doctrine that we have covered at length previously, and we have to be obedient to the Way that God has called His people to live, that of obedience to His law—not walking all over it, thinking that it doesn’t matter. It does.
In his booklet “A World Held Captive,” Mr Herbert W Armstrong, late human leader of the now defunct Worldwide Church of God, observed as follows:
“MAN was created to have a personal relationship with God — to be begotten as children of God, finally born into the GOD FAMILY (page 6).”
“God created MAN in God’s own image — form and shape. Man was mortal like animals, but differing as to form and shape, and in MIND. To human brain was added human spirit, empowering human brain with intellect, thus making possible a relationship between man and God” (page 14).
The Bible shows that God had a relationship with a few in the Old Testament. Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:22) and Abel, Enoch and Noah are all mentioned in Hebrews 11:4-7. Later, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Rahab, Deborah, Job, Ruth, Esther, Samson, Elijah, Elisha, David, Samuel, Solomon, Isaiah, Daniel and a number of others are all shown to be in contact with God and He with them.
In the New Testament, the twelve apostles had a close personal relationship with Jesus. Of course, Judas betrayed Christ and was later replaced by Matthias. We could also mention other remarkable men such as John the Baptist, as well as other remarkable women like Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; Mary, the sister of Lazarus; and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Paul, too, had a close relationship with Christ after his conversion, and so did James, the half-brother of Christ, and many others.
The names above are not a complete list but are among those shown to have been close to God.
In 2 Corinthians 6, we read that Paul was telling the Christians at that time (and by extension, God’s people today) not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (verse 14) and that we are not to be involved with idols: “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.’”
We are given clear instruction that our relationship is to be with the great God Himself and not with the ways of this world, when we become begotten sons and daughters of God through that relationship with Him.
In Revelation 3:20-22, we read Christ’s words: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
We must realise that it takes time to build a relationship with God; we don’t click our fingers and there it is. We have to make time for continuing prayer. Throughout the day we can be in contact with the great Creator God of the universe and He can be on hand to help even in the most minor of details if we involve Him as we should.
Here are just a few of many verses we can reflect on in respect to our relationship with God. First of all, we must realise that Jesus said that “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44:65). We have to be called to His Way of Life to have a close personal relationship with God.
Moses says in Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD your God, He it is that does go with you; He will not fail you, nor forsake you.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible observes: “…he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee; not fail to fulfil his promises to them, not leave them till he had given them complete victory over their enemies, put them into the possession of their land, and settled them in it. This promise, though made to literal Israel, belongs to the spiritual Israel of God, and is made good to every true believer in the Lord; see Hebrews 13:5: ‘Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
We are never alone when we are close to God, but that doesn’t mean that we will never have any difficulties. When this happens, we read in Psalm 34:17-19 what God will do for us: “The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
We read further: “But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
It is incredible to realise that the One who created us all describes His people who are close to Him in this way: “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him’” (Malachi 3:16-17).
We can be encouraged with this promise: “‘For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,’ Says the LORD. ‘But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word’” (Isaiah 66:2). With this sort of attitude, our relationship with our Creator will be very close, fruitful and peaceful. Christ assured us: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
God’s people are instructed to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). What a wonderful promise that is for this time now, and the future is to be amazing. Peter adds the following:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care on Him; for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
We have to have a child/parent relationship with our great Creator God, and we can see the dividends that this brings now. In the future, when Christ rules this earth, everyone will learn of God’s ways, and those who respond will also be able to have a good and close relationship with God (See Isaiah 11:9-10).
This personal relationship with God starts at the time when we realize our need for Him and do as the apostle Peter instructed in Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
Right from the outset of life on earth, Adam and Eve were offered the opportunity of having a personal relationship with God, as we read in Genesis 3:2-3: “And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’” As the serpent tried to derail our original parents from going God’s Way, Eve related what God had told them, but some doubts may have already crept in, because she added something what God had not told them. God had only said that they were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; but Eve went further and said that they were not even to touch it—something God had not said. Adam and Eve had direct communication with their Creator but still fell for the lies of Satan. Our adversary is so powerful that if we are not close to God and stay close, our relationship will falter: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
The world at large has no idea about the plan of God. We have been given a future that man, without God, can only dream about. This requires however, that we overcome sin, so that we can inherit eternal life. While eternal life is a gift, God is not going to bestow it on us if we live in rebellion against His Law. We read in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This personal relationship with God is vital and is an integral part of our Christian Way of Life which reaps so many benefits now – and for eternity.
There are quite a few metaphors that Scripture uses to describe our relationship with God and which show how important it is. For instance, we are clay in our Potter’s hands—the “WORK” of His hands (Jeremiah 18:1-6; Isaiah 64:8); we are the branches of the Vine and of the Vinedresser (John 15:1-8); we are the sheep of our Shepherd (John 10:1-18); and we are God’s friends when we do what He commands us (John 15:13-15).
In addition, let us conclude this installment with a few excerpts from our Q&A (which you should read in its entirety), titled, “What are some of the spiritual analogies applying to our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ?”
“When dealing with the Father’s and Christ’s relationship with His Church, we find that the Bible pictures the same through several analogies. One of these analogies is the concept of a marriage agreement—we read that both in the Old and in the New Testament, the ‘congregation in the wilderness’—Old Testament Israel—and the Body of Christ—New Testament Israel or the Church of God—are pictured as entering a marriage agreement with the LORD or YHWH, who was none other than Jesus Christ. In other words, the old covenant and the new covenant are compared with marriage agreements. We read that Christ—the bridegroom—will marry His Church—the bride.
“At the same time, we read that we are Christ’s brothers and sisters, and that God is our Father—as He is also the Father of Jesus Christ. When we receive God’s Holy Spirit, we are called begotten children of God, and we will become born-again children at the time of our change to immortal spirit beings in God’s Family. The new covenant also includes for us a promise of inheritance. We are called co-heirs with Christ. All these meaningful analogies contain very important spiritual principles and teachings for us…
“It is important to realize, in this context, that these are spiritual analogies… the main emphasis is on the spiritual ‘consummation’—an analogy drawn from the physical marriage concept…
“The marriage analogy expresses the thought that we must be OBEDIENT to our Husband—Jesus Christ. So we see that the marriage analogy complements the analogy of God being our Father and we being His children. God is not our physical Father, and we are not His physical children, but He is our spiritual Father, and we are His spiritual children. And as the spiritual bride or wife is to be subject to Christ in everything, so we, as spiritual children of God, are to be subject to the Father in everything. And as Christ loves His bride, so the Father loves His children. In fact, we read that the Father loves us with the same love with which He loves Christ, and that Christ loves His bride with the same love with which the Father loves Him (John 17:23; 15:9).
“The marriage analogy is complemented with the analogy of inheritance… Christ will consummate the marriage with us and share His inheritance with us, if we stay faithful. Another analogy describes vividly what will happen to us if we don’t remain faithful. It is the analogy of us being children of God—begotten children at the time of the receipt of the Holy Spirit—and born again children at the time of our change to spirit beings. But if we—as begotten children—become unfaithful, the analogy of physical abortion pictures our ultimate spiritual fate, preventing us from ever being born into God’s Family… As there is the possibility of a physical miscarriage or abortion, so there is the possibility of a spiritual miscarriage or abortion. God, our Father, will never abort us, unless we force Him to do so, by refusing to grow and to obey Him. When God aborts a spiritual child, it is because His child has rejected Him…
“Of course, there are further analogies in the Bible, especially referring to those who are being called to salvation in this day and age. The Bible calls them firstfruits—Jesus Christ being the first of the firstfruits… Another analogy compares the body and the bride of Christ with a temple—a holy building in the Lord—being built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ being the chief cornerstone of the foundation of that temple.
“Considering all of the above-described analogies, we should take great comfort, but also great care that we, as Christ’s bride and His brothers and sisters, as well as God the Father’s children, concentrate on becoming worthy to stand before the Son of Man at His return, to be born into the Kingdom and Family of God, ‘consummating’ our marriage with Christ, and inheriting the promises.”
(To be continued)
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Biden’s State of the Union Speech—God Help Us!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
In discussing the State of the Union Address by President Biden on March 1, an editorial by the New York Post hit the nail on the head, concluding, “It was an unserious speech for deadly serious times. Lord help us.” This program discusses some of the most controversial statements by President Biden in his speech and shows why the downfall of the USA is inevitable. Indeed, may God have mercy on all of us.
A new Member Letter (March 2022) has been posted and mailed to our subscribers. Rene Messier focuses on the future which is in store for those who prove that they are obedient to God, and contrasts the struggles we face in this physical existence.
“April, April!—Sind Aprilscherze wirklich harmlos?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Approximate Title in English: “Are April Fool’s Tricks Really Harmless?”
“Die Taufe mit Feuer,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath in Germany by Jens Herrmann, is now posted. The title in English: “The Baptism With Fire.”
“Mass Murderer Putin—the Modern Hitler; Comments on News and Prophecy, February 26, 2022,” was presented by Norbert Link last Sabbath. Here is a summary:
While Ukraine under Volodymyr Zelensky is fighting for its survival against mad mass murderer Vladimir Putin, the world stands idly by—which is reminiscent of the world’s conduct in 1939. In fact, the similarities between Hitler and Putin are remarkable, and we should not think for a moment that Putin will be satisfied with conquering Ukraine. He may even attack NATO members to restore the old Soviet Republic. Zelensky has become a national hero, while Western leaders like Joe Biden, Olaf Scholz, Emmanuel Macron or Boris Johnson have failed miserably. Putin is totally unpredictable because the same spiritual force possesses him which controlled and used Hitler. America will have to remember its betrayal of Ukraine, because when the USA is being attacked in the future, no one will help it either.
“Envy—A Deadly Cancer,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Paul Niehoff, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Envy is a human characteristic which can very easily lead to bitterness and hatred. There are examples in the Bible where it leads to murder or attempted murder. It can be overcome by desiring good for others and being content with what you have.
“God’s Wrath,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Rene Messier, is now posted. Here is a summary:
This sermon discusses curses and plagues mankind is going to go through from now until the return of Christ, and how we can be prepared for the coming events of the near future.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom