Comments on News and Prophecy, March 19, 2022 / Why One Third Will Die
On March 19, 2022, Norbert Link will present, “Comments on News and Prophecy, March 19, 2022,” and Michael Link will present the sermon, titled, “Why One Third Will Die.”
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.
Soldiers for Christ
by Rene Messier (Canada)
We are described by the apostle Paul as good soldiers for Christ, stating in 2 Timothy 2:3: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” That means, we have a fight on our hands. This is not referring to fighting in a physical war, but rather to a spiritual fight against spiritual forces. Ephesians 6:12 tells us: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Paul uses the armory of a soldier at that time and compares it to what we need in order to overcome the spiritual battle we are in.
No Roman or Greek soldier at the time of Paul would go to war without checking out his equipment to ensure it was not compromised in any manner. He would check his helmet for any deficiencies, knowing how important a helmet was. The breastplate which protected all his vital organs would be examined for any cracks or deficiencies and also his shoes to ensure the leather was supple and not cracked in any way. His belt would be inspected to ensure it was in good shape to hold the scabbard in which his sword was kept when it was not used in battle, and his shield would be examined to ensure that it hadn’t been weakened by previous battles and could withstand another onslaught of arrows and sword blows from the enemy.
It was also most important that his sword would be polished for maximum efficiency, and that it was sharp and free of any defects since he would not want it to fail in the heat of battle. All his equipment was for defensive purposes and protection with the exception of his sword which was his only offensive weapon.
Paul compared the human soldier’s armory with the spiritual qualifications that a Christian must have, emphasizing that we need the whole armor of God.
In Ephesians 6:14, we read that our waist must be girded with truth. We know that the commandments of God are truth. Psalm 119:151 says: “You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.” We must have the commandments internalized in our hearts and minds when we want to obtain spiritual protection.
Ephesians 6:14 also tells us that we must put on the breastplate of righteousness. Romans 10:4 says that Christ is the end or goal of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. We must believe that Christ, living in us, will enable us to keep the law so that the righteous requirements of the law can be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4). It is not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ in us, which helps us to keep God’s laws and be obedient to them.
Ephesians 6:15 continues that we must have shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We must have the gospel of peace internally in our hearts, and we must be involved in the work of getting that gospel out to the world.
Ephesians 6:16 speaks of the shield of faith which we must possess. We have to have faith, which is the hope for things not seen. Our hope is in the resurrection which we have not seen yet, but we have the faith that God will resurrect us to enter the kingdom of God.
We also need the helmet of salvation, as Ephesians 6:17 states. Salvation is a free gift from God which we cannot earn but we can lose it if we do not endure to the end, but instead become negligent and ultimately commit the unpardonable sin.
As mentioned, the only offensive weapon of the Roman or Greek soldier at the time of Paul was the sword, and Ephesians 6:17 compares it, spiritually, to the word of God which is the Bible. We have to have the word of God firmly entrenched in our hearts to be able to fight this spiritual battle we are in, and we are in it to win.
So, the big question is: How does our spiritual armor look, and will it carry us through to the end?
by Norbert Link
Recently, we received several comments—some of them quite hateful– disagreeing with our articles and StandingWatch messages pertaining to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, calling Ukraine a “satanic state” and exonerating Putin, while seeing in him a righteous tool in God’s hands to punish evil Ukrainians. Others wrote that we do not like Russians. Some even tried to defend Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia and Poland, claiming that these two nations were not innocent. Others accused “wicked” Zelenskyy [also spelled Zelensky] of being pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality and pro-transgenderism, while Putin was more righteous than he, and blamed the wicked USA for Putin’s war.
Frankly, we were not that much surprised about comments like these, knowing full well the pro-Russian and anti-American propaganda in large parts of the world.
We need to understand that this is Satan’s world. He and his demons are the rulers over ALL nations and kingdoms. Sometimes they literally possess certain leaders. God allows Satan to rule, and He does not intervene, unless potential developments would prevent His plan to be carried out. Even though it says that God will use a future king of Assyria—the beast—to punish ungodly nations, such as the USA, the UK, Canada and other English-speaking countries, it is still Satan who raises up that king and gives him his power and authority. He and his demons will possess the beast (a future European leader of German or Austrian descent) and the false prophet, who will persecute and massacre true Christians. God does not hold these demonically possessed leaders guiltless, but rather, they will be thrown in a lake of fire at the return of Jesus Christ.
We in the Church of the Eternal God do not take sides or endorse political leaders or advocate war in any manner. We are simply reporting world events in the light of biblical prophecy. When this means that we must report the fact that Putin is possessed, then we will do so, whether pro-Putin and anti-American readers or viewers like it or not. The fact that Putin might be against homosexuals does not negate the fact of his possession—Hitler, who was likewise possessed, was against homosexuals too, but that did not make him a tool in God’s hands. We also hasten to add that neither Hitler nor Putin claimed that their invasion of foreign lands was because of homosexual conduct of their citizens.
We are not against “the Russians” (otherwise, we would not have published a booklet in the Russian language on marriage and family), but we are pointing out the evil deeds of Putin and those who support him. We do the same in respect to other leaders and their supporters if they fulfill biblical prophecies through their actions.
What we see right now are developments which will ultimately lead to a unification of Russians and Ukrainians and others to conquer and destroy Europe, and invade the Middle East. Again, even though it says that God will use the modern “Medes” to do these things, after HE has raised up the modern Chaldeans (“the most terrible of the nations”–the last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire), it is still Satan who actually does all of it, but God allows it and sees to it that His prophesied purposes are fulfilled. In fact, the kings of the East, together with the beast and their armies, will be destroyed by Christ at His return.
God accepts everyone from every nation or ethnic background who turns to Him, fears Him and works righteousness. But those who support this evil world and its leaders are doomed.
For more information, please view our StandingWatch programs, “Putin—the Devil’s Tool”; “Putin’s War against Ukraine… How It Happened!”; and “What Does the Bible Say about Russia’s Future?” .
Also, please view our most recent StandingWatch program, “The Ukraine War and America’s Unreliability and Decline.”
In this edition, we speak on further similarities between Putin and Hitler, as well as NATO’s, America’s and Europe’s unwillingness to really stand up to Putin, while it is feared that Putin will not stop at Ukraine and while Zelenskyy becomes more and more frustrated with NATO and the EU. We also address the unreliability and decline of the USA; the close relationship between Russia and China; and the rise of hypocritical Europe. In addition, we report on a terrible famine in Ukraine, caused by Stalin, and frightful modern-day similarities.
We conclude with further mask mandates in the USA and Biden’s refusal to accept responsibility for inflation.
This Week in the News
How Reliable are US War Guarantees?
On March 11, Newsmax published the following article by Patrick J. Buchanan:
“Putin’s ambition, his goal, his dream, appear transparent – to bring home to the bosom of Mother Russia the diaspora Russians left behind in the lost 14 republics when the USSR splintered and came apart. Those housing significant Russian minorities are Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Baltic republics of Latvia and Estonia…
“Would we really go to war with Russia if Russia invaded our NATO ally Estonia to bring home Russian peoples left behind at the end of the Cold War? If Russia seeks to create a land corridor through Lithuania and Poland to its separated province of Kaliningrad on the Baltic, would we declare war on a nuclear-armed Russia to prevent it?
“The Biden administration, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the lead, has said again and again these last two weeks that the US will defend ‘every inch’ of NATO territory. Will we?…
“In World War II,… Americans did not go to war with Germany for Great Britain, when it declared war on Hitler’s Germany and then was defeated in France. We went to war with Germany only when Hitler declared war on us, four days after Pearl Harbor in December 1941…
“On national media, one also hears enthusiasm for bringing Finland and Sweden into NATO. But Finland is the size of Germany and has an 833-mile border with Russia, which would be NATO’s largest. Is it really credible that the US would declare war or go to war with Russia to secure Finland’s border?”
It is highly doubtful that the US or NATO would declare war on Russia if Putin were to invade a NATO member state. And Putin knows this. But what if Putin WERE to march towards Berlin, and Germany would be left in the cold? That is why the EU, under German leadership, is desperate in creating a EU army, and statements by Ursula von der Leyen, that NATO has the strongest army in the world, appear ludicrous and ridiculous in the present climate when NATO is unwilling to use its army.
USA Unreliable Ally
Israel 365 wrote on March 14:
“When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Israel last month, her expected statement that the ‘US support for Israel’s security and regional stability remains ironclad’ seems to have been nothing more than a canned formality as far as Jerusalem is concerned. Knesset Member and former Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) is the latest voice from the Israeli establishment admitting that Washington can no longer be relied upon in case of war with Iran…
“Israel isn’t the only one who no longer sees Washington as a reliable ally… journalists throughout the Arab world no longer see the US as a reliable ally.”
America’s Decline and Europe’s Rise
Fox News wrote on March 13:
“CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said Sunday that America was losing its hold on the world’s stage, emphasizing that the signs were ‘everywhere.’ ‘One of the defining features of the new era is that it is post-American. By that I mean that the Pax Americana of the past three decades is over,’ the ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’ host said. Zakaria pointed to UAE and Saudi Arabia’s officials’ unwillingness to accept a phone call from President Biden as evidence of American decline. …
“Zakaria pointed to the Biden administration’s inability to lead a joint response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as further evidence of American decline. ‘Consider as well that Israel initially in the Security Council vote and India have refused to describe Putin’s actions as an invasion and that all four countries have made it clear they will continue to do business with Russia,’ Zakaria said…
“‘The greatest strategic opportunity lies with Europe, which could use this challenge to stop being the passive international actor it has been for decades. We now see signs that the Europeans are ready to end the era of free security by raising defense spending and securing NATO’s eastern border,’ he said. ‘If Europe becomes a strategic player on the world stage, that could be the biggest geopolitical shift to emerge from this war. A United States joined by a focused and unified Europe would be a super alliance…’”
America’s decline is undeniable. A European Army will emerge, but it will not be in alliance with the USA, but in opposition to it.
Putin Won’t Stop at Ukraine
Express wrote on March 11:
“Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun tells Express.co.uk that Putin won’t stop at Ukraine… She said: ‘In 1994 we gave up our nuclear weapons – in exchange we got assurances from the UK and the US that our security will be guaranteed. That was a written promise from the UK and the US – right now they are breaking that promise. Imagine Russia does invade Ukraine fully and take control of the country – that would put Russia on the eastern border of the EU and Poland. Putin has already said he doesn’t like Poland, the Baltic countries, Hungary in the EU. He doesn’t like Finland’s neutrality or Sweden’s neutrality. Moldova is next door. Does anyone really believe he will stop with Ukraine? He will go further…’
“Ms Sovsun was referring to The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which saw Ukraine give up its nuclear weapons while Russia promised not to attack the country. The treaty dictated that countries such as the UK and US should ‘provide assistance to Belarus, Kazakhstan or Ukraine if they should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used’.
“Express.co.uk also spoke to Finnish ambassador to the UK, Jukka Siukosaari, who… responded to a threat from Russian foreign affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova who said that Finland and Sweden could face ‘military consequences’ if they try to join NATO.”
In the past, many would have dismissed such threats as typical idle Russian propaganda. But with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a different picture emerges.
Poland Could Be Next
Express wrote on March 13:
“VLADIMIR PUTIN will advance west towards further European capitals if he succeeds in his invasion of Ukraine, the country’s former prime minister [Volodymyr Groysman] has warned. This comes as nine people are reported dead after a Russian strike on a military base near the Ukrainian border with Poland- a NATO member and EU state. Ukrainian authorities said that up to 30 missiles were launched at the facility at Yavoriv, injuring 57 people.
“[He said:] ‘If Ukraine falls, it will mean that Putin’s troops will be on the border of the EU and Nato, and then in a year – or maybe sooner, maybe later – he will intervene in the Baltic states and Poland, for instance… So what’s going to happen then? [Some] European leaders will still be able to say, “Look, the war might become even bigger, so let’s wait [so] it doesn’t become a large-scale war, because it’s still only about Lithuania and Estonia and Poland, but it’s not about France or Great Britain or Germany.”’”
“Mr Groysman spoke of Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky’s, insistence that the West commit to a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine. This is something the West has been unwilling to put into practice, with US President Joe Biden warning it would mean a kickstart to World War 3. But World War 3, Mr Groysman continued, may have already begun.”
If God were to allow it, Putin would most certainly attempt to conquer other European countries. And Russia will… later.
Military.com wrote on March 10:
“For some European countries watching Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, there are fears that they could be next. Western officials say the most vulnerable could be those who aren’t members of NATO or the European Union, and thus alone and unprotected — including Ukraine’s neighbor Moldova and Russia’s neighbor Georgia, both of them formerly part of the Soviet Union — along with the Balkan states of Bosnia and Kosovo.
“But analysts warn that even NATO members could be at risk, such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Russia’s doorstep, as well as Montenegro, either from Moscow’s direct military intervention or attempts at political destabilization.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘has said right from the start that this is not only about Ukraine,’’ said Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund’s Warsaw office…. ‘he was also talking about the eastern flank of NATO and the rest of Eastern Europe.’… EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said that ‘Russia is not going to stop in Ukraine.’”
Estonia called for the immediate establishment of a No-Fly-Zone over Ukraine.
How Russia May Try to Conquer the West
The Sun wrote on March 16:
“RUSSIAN state TV has aired a discussion on seizing the Baltic states as Nato bolsters Eastern European allies with thousands more troops. A former senior officer laid out a chilling scenario for Putin’s army capturing Nato countries Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as grabbing parts of neutral Sweden….
“After gaining their independence when the Soviet Union collapsed, all three Baltic states joined Nato and continue to fear… Putin has designs on destabilising and invading, as he’s done in Ukraine. Just such a scenario was outlined on Russian state TV channel Rossiya 1 by Colonel Igor Korotchenko, formerly of the Russian General Staff and air force and currently a reserve officer… Using maps in English with Nato troop deployments marked, he outlines in sinister detail the invasion scenario. At the beginning ‘a massive Russian radio-electronic strike is inflicted’ as ‘all Nato radars go blind and see nothing’….
“‘At this time, on the Swedish island Gotland, Russian military planes land, delivering S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, and Bastion coastal anti-ship systems,’ he said…. Korotchenko goes on to explain [that] the Russians would push out from the enclave of Kaliningrad towards the Suwalki corridor to block access to reinforcements from Poland. ‘The astonished West and Nato will know that Russia declares a no-fly zone of 400km,’ he said… Korotchenko went on ‘that those few special forces troops of Canada, UK, Germany and the USA… will be ‘surrounded’ by… Russian airborne forces and then ‘lay down their arms’.
“The scenario ends with the new Baltic states’ governments pledging allegiance to Moscow while Sweden agrees to perpetual neutrality and a 99 lease on Gotland. The programme went out on Russian television at the end of last year but was posted by Ukrainian government advisor Anton Gerashchenko. It has echoes of a televised address given by dictator Alexander Lukashenko in which he appeared to have revealed Moldova could be the next country to be invaded by Russia.”
In an accompanying box, the Sun wrote:
“It comes as…
“Footage appears to show the horrific moment Russian soldiers shoot dead a civilian as he holds up his hands… Russia has… called for Alaska to become part of its territory again. Volodymyr Zelensky has admitted Ukraine may never join Nato… A nine-year-old girl has lost her arm after Russian forces machine-gunned her family when they tried to flee Kyiv.”
Russia’s “Christian” Empire Spirit
Israel Today wrote on March 9:
“Putin sees Christianity as the spiritual glue that will unify and strengthen his empire. Since becoming President of Russia, Putin has cast himself as the true defender of Christians throughout the world… In a March 2014 speech given at the Kremlin just after Russia annexed Crimea, Putin pointed to Russia’s spiritual authority over Ukraine and Belarus… On July 12, 2021 Putin again proclaimed that Moscow alone must rule over Kyiv… Putin declared to the Kremlin on February 21, 2022 that ‘Ukraine is an inalienable part of our own history, culture and spiritual space.’ This phrase has deep resonance for those who are steeped in over a thousand years of Russian religious history. Herein lies a key to his imperialistically-based invasion of Ukraine which began on February 23, 2022…
“In the days of Hitler, the West was asleep at the wheel. Chamberlain’s indecisive stutter greeted the Nazi belligerent annexation of Czech Sudetenland, where more than three million people (including many ethnic Germans) lived. Most of Europe applauded the Munich Agreement, believing that this was the best chance to prevent a major war on the European Continent… Europe’s enabling of Hitler actually opened the door to a full-blown WWII.
“Is the West ready and willing to stop Putin by responding militarily and check-mating Russia’s expansion westward… before it becomes unstoppable? We seem to be living in days which have strong parallels to those just after WWII, days when the Berlin Wall still stood unblinking, when Russia still stretched its gnarled hand across Eastern Europe. But rather than recognizing the immediacy of the threat, many in the West are responding with agonizing slowness… But would such a timid Western response have been sufficient to stop Hitler in his tracks back in the day? And what about the agonies that Ukrainians are facing…
“Some are stating that, as long as Russia does not cross into NATO-affiliated countries, there is no need to respond militarily to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Had this sort of response been the reaction to Hitler’s blitzkriegs, WWII would have been decisively lost. Should the West wait until Poland or the Baltic Countries or Hungary are overrun?”
The “Christianity” which Putin sees as the glue to unify his empire is most certainly not the Christianity of the Bible. The “spiritual” or better demonic aspect in Putin’s conduct is largely overlooked.
Putin Will Drag NATO into the War one Way or Another
Fox News wrote on March 12:
“U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., says he supports imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, despite the risks involved with the U.S. shooting down Russian aircraft and escalating the conflict…. But Mast, an Army veteran, said the risk is necessary, given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unpredictability. ‘As much as none of us want to be in the Ukraine, if we do nothing, ultimately, everybody will be forced to be in the Ukraine as a result,’ Mast, who lost both his legs in Afghanistan, told Fox News.
“Mast said Putin may ultimately drag NATO and the U.S. into military conflict, even without a no-fly zone. ‘None of us should be under this illusion that Putin is a rational actor or operates in a proportional way,’ Mast told Fox News. ‘This guy invaded the sovereignty of…Ukraine. Just because we don’t do something doesn’t mean that Putin doesn’t still react to NATO or to the European Union or any other countries throughout Europe in some other kind of way’…
“Soon after Mast’s interview with Fox News, the Kremlin accused the U.S. of waging ‘economic war’ against Russia, and warned America to expect a response… Additionally, the Florida Republican doesn’t expect the war to end through diplomacy.”
Mast’s warnings have merit. Note the next article.
Putin’s Mad Conduct
The Daily Mail wrote on March 12, 2022:
“Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov warned the US ‘that pumping weapons from a number of countries it orchestrates isn’t just a dangerous move, it’s an action that makes those convoys legitimate targets’… Volodymyr Zelensky has slammed the West for its inaction, saying today he ‘doesn’t see any bravery from NATO’ as he pleaded for more involvement from allies in peace negotiations and more anti-missile systems, saying he is willing to pay. The wartime leader also said Putin’s forces can only take Kyiv if they ‘raze the city to the ground’…
“… after a 75-minute call with Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz [Putin raged] that Ukraine was guilty of ‘extrajudicial reprisals against dissidents, taking civilians hostage, using them as human shields, [and] putting heavy armaments in civilian areas near hospitals, schools, kindergartens.’ Scholz and Macron implored Putin to end the war and stop the brutal siege of Mariupol but a French official said he did not show any willingness for calling off his inhumane invasion. “
Putin’s claims, conduct and behavior are clearly reminiscent of Hitler’s. The Sun described Putin’s attacks on March 11 as “Devil’s Work,” the same term Hitler used when he invaded Poland.
Putin’s Mental Disorder
Express wrote on March 13:
“VLADIMIR PUTIN is suffering from a condition related to dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or steroid use, international intelligence sources have claimed… Analyses have focused on how Putin, 69, appears in recent photos and footage, in conjunction with his behaviour towards diplomats and politicians…
“[Former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, said:] ‘Those around him see a marked change in the cogency and clarity of what he says and how he perceives the world around him…. People with dementia are very, very good at covering up their dementia. But eventually, it reaches a point where they can’t. And if you look at what he’s doing, Vladimir Putin is mentally unstable.”
This condition might contribute to his mental illness. But the real reason is demonic possession.
Worse than Hitler?
Fox News wrote on March 12:
“A guest on MSNBC [former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and Stanford University Professor Michael McFaul] was torched by critics making a comparison between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler, providing a more favorable view of the Nazi dictator… ‘One of the Russian journalists said, “You know, there’s one difference between Hitler when he was coming in and Putin. Hitler didn’t kill ethnic Germans. He didn’t kill German-speaking people,”’ McFaul said…
“‘I think people need to remember that we’re talking about cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol and Kyiv, there are large populations there, you know, up to a third and sometimes as much to a half that are Russian speakers and are ethnic Russians. And yet Putin doesn’t seem to care about that. He slaughters the very people he said he has come to liberate,’ McFaul said….
“‘Hitler “didn’t kill German-speaking people” is an insanely false claim since many of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust spoke German,’ Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy reacted, adding, ‘Pro-Tip: You don’t have to try to play weird word games to try to make Putin seem worse than Hitler — Putin is plenty bad on the objective facts.’…
“‘Okay, I’m going to express this calmly. It’s wrong to suggest that German Jews, whose families had lived in Germanic lands for centuries, weren’t ethnic Germans. Also Hitler killed German communists, German Roma, German trade unionists, German handicapped, German queers, etc,’ The Nation columnist Jeet Heer corrected McFaul…
“McFaul was even called out by the Auschwitz Memorial, which replied, ‘On a factual note: Hitler did kill ethnic Germans & German-speaking people: those who opposed the Nazi regime, those who resisted, those who did not fit into the “Weltanschauung”. He ordered the murder of people with different disabilities & finally the murder of German Jewry.’”
McFaul’s comments were just plain stupid and factually terribly incorrect. McFaul walked back his comments and made matters worse, saying: “I slipped late last night and violated an unwritten taboo– never compare Hitler with anyone. I agree. He was incomparably evil. I won’t do it again.”
Hitler was NOT incomparably evil. Others are likewise. Given the chance, Putin will prove that and own this description. The coming “beast” will be much worse.
Trump Surprised by Putin
The New York Post wrote on March 16:
“Former President Donald Trump said in an interview Tuesday that he was ‘surprised’ Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded neighboring Ukraine, having thought the threat of an attack was a negotiating ploy. ‘“I’m surprised — I’m surprised. I thought he was negotiating when he sent his troops to the border. I thought he was negotiating,’ Trump told the Washington Examiner. ‘I thought it was a tough way to negotiate, but a smart way to negotiate… And then he went in — and I think he’s changed. I think he’s changed. It’s a very sad thing for the world. He’s very much changed,’ Trump said of the Russian leader.
“The former president, who has repeatedly insisted that Russia would not have launched its invasion if he were still in the White House, defended himself against criticism from lawmakers, including some Republicans, for praising Putin just before the invasion as ‘savvy’ and a ‘genius.’… ‘I’ve been very critical of Putin from the standpoint of the pipeline, from the standpoint of raising billions and billions of dollars in NATO to protect, primarily, Europe against Russia,’ Trump said. ‘Nobody else did that.’”
How Trump could have thought that Putin was “bluffing” is hard to decipher. To ramble about it is even worse.
Hollywood Reporter wrote on March 17:
“Arnold Schwarzenggger released an emotional video Thursday addressed to the people of Russia… in an attempt to punch through Russian state propaganda… Schwarzenegger details how the fighting was instigated by Russia in February, explaining that the invasion has been declared illegal by 141 countries, that many civilian buildings (such as a maternity hospital) have been bombed, that there’s now a massive refugee crisis and that thousands of Russians have died.
“‘The world has turned against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine,’ he said. ‘The destruction that Russian bombs are raining down on innocent civilians has so outraged the world that the strongest global economic sanctions ever taken have been imposed on your country… This is not the war to defend Russia like your grandfather or your great-grandfather fought. This is an illegal war!’
“In a rarity for the Austria-born actor, Schwarzenegger also candidly invoked his father’s dark history as a Nazi sergeant when addressing the Russian government’s false claims that its troops are engaged in the ‘de-nazification’ of Ukraine. ‘[My father] was injured at Leningrad, and the Nazi army he was part of did vicious harm to the great city and to its brave people,’ he said. ‘When my father arrived in Leningrad, he was all pumped up on the lies of his government. When he left Leningrad, he was broken — physically and mentally. He lived the rest of his life in pain — pain from a broken back, pain from the shrapnel that always reminded him of those terrible years and pain from the guilt that he felt. To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast: You already know much of the truth that I’m speaking. You’ve seen it in your own eyes. I don’t want you to be broken like my father.’…
“In addition, the actor also addressed Putin himself: ‘To those in power in the Kremlin, let me just ask you: Why would you sacrifice these young men for your own ambition? … To President Putin, I say: You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.’
“Schwarzenegger closed with a message to Russian protesters who have risked imprisonment to take to the streets to voice opposition to the war in Ukraine. ‘The world has seen your bravery,’ he said. ‘We know that you’ve suffered the consequences of your courage. You have been arrested, you’ve been jailed, and you’ve been beaten. You are my new heroes…’”
Israel’s Duplicit Conduct
The Jerusalem Post wrote on March 11:
“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he recommends Ukraine take the offer made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war – which includes many Ukrainian sacrifices… According to the official, Zelensky and his people did not like the advice.
“‘Bennett told us to surrender,’ said the official. ‘We have no intention of doing so. We know Putin’s offer is only the beginning.’… The official also said that Israel asked Ukraine not to request more military and defense aid because such a request could harm the mediation efforts….
“Ukrainian officials believe that Bennett’s involvement in diplomatic efforts comes from his not wanting to take a clear stance regarding the Russian invasion from fear that it will harm Israel’s ties with Russia.”
Bennet’s conduct in the Russian-Ukrainian affair was dubious from the outset.
The Algemeiner wrote on March 12:
“A top Ukrainian adviser and an Israeli official on Saturday pushed back against a media report suggesting Israel tried to nudge Ukraine into caving to Russian demands during talks.”
Putin Reads Hitler’s “Playbook”
Express wrote on March 11:
“Alex Konanykhin left Russia in 1992 and seven years later became the first Russian citizen to be granted political asylum in the United States from post-Soviet Russia. Last week, the businessman announced via social media he is offering a reward of $1 million for the arrest of Putin… his motives for doing this were because he does not want to be ‘confused for most Russians who either actively supported or are silently complicit in Putin’s war against Ukraine’. Mr Konanykhin’s social media post received millions of likes and huge media attention. He said reaction to his post shows Putin ‘is going to be a close second to Hitler in history in the number of people who would cheer his demise’…
“Mr Konanykhin… believes there are ‘eerie similarities’ between the actions of Putin and those of Hitler. He said: ‘Putin is imitating Hitler to such a degree as if he got Hitler’s playbook out of the archives, and is simply going through it page by page.’”
A clear reference to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
China and Russia
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 14:
“From the beginning of the war in Ukraine, it was clear that China would not condemn Russia’s invasion… Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi… blamed a ‘Cold War mentality’ as the real reason for the war in Ukraine… China’s talk of a Cold War mentality and Russia’s justifications that its actions are intended to defend itself from NATO are hypocritical…
“In Russia’s worldview, it is impossible to conceive that sovereign states such as Ukraine would make use of their sovereignty and decide of their own free will in favor of democracy and closer ties with the European Union. The fact that Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, has its own ideas about its future is also unacceptable to Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a Chinese province.”
Military.com wrote on March 11:
“China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, and Xi has vowed to pursue ‘reunification.’ While U.S. officials say Xi would prefer to accomplish that through coercive measures short of all-out war, they add he is prepared to use military force if need be… Weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin and Xi signed a pact that declared there were ‘no limits’ or ‘’forbidden’ areas of cooperation’ between Russia and China.”
FINALLY, Pope Francis Speaks Out… Somewhat
Newsmax wrote on March 13:
“Pope Francis issued his toughest condemnation yet of the invasion of Ukraine, saying on Sunday the ‘unacceptable armed aggression’ must stop… Francis also said that the killing of children and unarmed civilians was ‘barbaric’ and with ‘no valid strategic reason.’… ‘In the name of God I ask you: stop this massacre!,’ the pope said, adding that Ukrainian cities risked ‘being reduced to cemeteries.’
“The pope has not used the word ‘Russia’ in his condemnations of the war… But his choice of words… appear aimed at contesting Moscow’s justifications for the invasion… Last Sunday Francis [said] it could not be considered ‘just a military operation’ but a war that had unleashed ‘rivers of blood and tears.’”
Worldwide Food Supplies in Danger
CNN wrote on March 12:
“The biggest problem is wheat… Supplies from Russia and Ukraine, which together account for almost 30% of global wheat trade, are now at risk. Global wheat prices hit an all-time high earlier this week. Another major problem is access to fertilizer. Essential for farmers to hit their production targets for crops, it’s never been more expensive, as exports from Russia grind to a halt. Output in Europe has also plunged thanks to the surging price of natural gas, a key ingredient in nitrogen-based fertilizers like urea…
“Egypt just banned the export of wheat, flour, lentils and beans amid growing concerns over food reserves in the Arab world’s most populous state. Indonesia has also tightened export restrictions on palm oil, which is a component in cooking oil as well as in cosmetics and some packaged goods like chocolate. It’s the world’s top producer of the product…
“Even before Russia launched a war in Ukraine, the global food system was strained. Snarled supply chains and unpredictable weather patterns… had already pushed food prices to their highest level in about a decade. Affordability was also an issue after the pandemic left millions out of work.
“The number of people on the edge of famine has jumped to 44 million from 27 million in 2019… Russia and Ukraine serve as the breadbasket for countries in the Middle East, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa that depend on imports… The brewing crisis goes beyond wheat and oils. Russia, along with its ally Belarus, is also a major exporter of the fertilizers needed to plant a wide range of crops. But right now, everyone is shunning their stock…”
Ukrainians Recall Famine under Ruthless Dictator Stalin
The Washington Post wrote on March 12:
“Houses filled with the dead were common in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933. Those who collected the corpses knew where to stop if they saw ravens nearby. And sometimes the emaciated living were carted away with the deceased. Desperate, starving people, deprived of their livelihood by ruthless edicts of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, were forced to eat grass, tree bark, flowers, rats, dogs and, in the end, their children, historians have recorded. People died in the streets, on sidewalks, in train stations, in farm fields and on country roads. About 4 million of them perished in the great famine, known as the Holodomor, or death by hunger.
“Today, as Ukraine battles Russian invaders and the dead again lie in the streets of places, including Mariupol, that have been cut off from supplies, memory of the famine and its links to the Kremlin remain strong… Thirteen percent of the Ukrainian population perished… as Stalin enforced ‘collectivization’ through the seizure of private property, livestock and equipment by the state, and brutally punished peasants for failure to meet quotas by taking the last of their food. Fearful of simmering Ukrainian nationalism, Stalin applied economic ‘sanctions’ to regions that could not fulfill government requisitions.
“Just as now, people jammed into trains to try to leave the country… Stalin decided to close the Ukrainian border and make it difficult for people to escape or go from village to village inside Ukraine. He sent in special requisition brigades to scour the homes of the starving for hidden goods…
“The result was a catastrophe… Combined with the complete absence of food they also produced, in the Ukrainian countryside, a very rare form of madness… Many survivors witnessed either cannibalism or, far more often, necrophagy, the consumption of corpses of people who had died of starvation…
“And as Russian President Vladimir Putin lies to his people today about the invasion of Ukraine, the lie Stalin told about the famine lives on, too… In 2015, Sputnik News, a Kremlin propaganda website, published an article in English called ‘Holodomor Hoax.’ The famine, it said, was ‘one of the 20th century’s most famous myths and vitriolic pieces of anti-Soviet propaganda.’”
The article contained numerous explicit examples of cannibalism… These terrible events are prophesied to be repeated, at a much larger scale, in the very last days. To be clear, we have no doubt that Stalin was demonically possessed as well.
No Fast EU Membership for Ukraine
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 11, 2022:
“The heads of all 27 EU states pledged to strengthen their ties with Kyiv and ‘support Ukraine in pursuing its European path’ following a two-day summit in Versailles, France. In a joint statement, the EU leaders also said that ‘Ukraine belongs to the European family.’ However, they rejected the plea by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to quickly accept Ukraine into the EU… The accession process normally takes years or even decades, with the candidate nation required to meet a number of EU-set criteria. The host of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron, said the bloc would not make exceptions for Ukraine…
“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was also against the idea, pointing instead to the association agreement that the EU made with Kyiv in 2017 as a way to deepen ties… Meanwhile, Scholz said the EU sanctions had already had ‘dramatic consequences’ for the Russian economy, while arguing that stopping Russian oil and gas imports was not tenable for several EU members.”
Die Welt described the summit in France as a “summit of shame” and stated that Scholz did not cut a good figure. Zelensky’s disappointment with NATO and with the EU, especially Germany, should be noted.
EU Must Be Crazy—Sanctioning Poland!
Grip.ie wrote on March 13:
“Poland – one of the EU’s poorest countries – has accepted 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees in two weeks since the Russian invasion began… As Poland reels from this influx of new arrivals, struggling financially to accommodate them, the European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to put economic sanctions on both Hungary and Poland. 478 MEPs voted in favour, and only 155 voted against….
“The parliament declared that it was now ‘high time’ for the European Commission to ‘react to the ongoing violations of the rule of law in some EU member states, which pose a danger to the European Union’s financial interests.’… The EU will deprive Poland and Hungary of billions of euros in funds, claiming that they have seized political control over the media and judiciary. Poland and Hungary have denied the accusations, accusing the EU in return of blackmailing their countries, and saying some EU resolutions are incompatible with their constitutions and they are merely attempting to implement judicial reforms.”
All of this shows the total hypocrisy of the EU.
A Day of Shame for Germany and the EU
The Sun wrote on March 17:
“FRANCE, Germany and Italy side-stepped an arms embargo to sell weapons to Vladimir Putin that are being used to slaughter Ukrainians. On a day of shame for the EU, it emerged that member states sold hundreds of millions of pounds of military kit to Russia between 2015 and 2020.”
AFP wrote on March 17:
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on Germany to help destroy a new ‘Wall’ Russia was erecting in Europe, as he appealed directly to Chancellor Olaf Scholz to bolster his tentative response to the invasion. In a speech combining an appeal for fresh aid for his besieged country with criticism of Berlin’s long accommodating stance toward Moscow, Zelensky recalled Germany’s own triumph over its Cold War division. ‘It’s not a Berlin Wall — it is a Wall in central Europe between freedom and bondage and this Wall is growing bigger with every bomb’ dropped on Ukraine, Zelensky told MPs, echoing an appeal to history deployed before the US Congress Wednesday.
“Appearing on a screen in his now trademark khaki T-shirt with dark circles under his eyes, Zelensky was welcomed by MPs in the Bundestag lower house with a standing ovation. In a grave tone, he directly addressed Scholz, who faced fresh attacks from the conservative opposition for a halting stance in the crisis. ‘Dear Mr Scholz, tear down this Wall,’ he implored, evoking US President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 appeal to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. ‘Give Germany the leadership role that you in Germany deserve.’… ‘We turned to you,’ he said. ‘We told you that Nord Stream (gas pipeline cooperation between Russia and Germany) was a kind of preparation for the war. And the answer we got was purely economic — it is economy, economy, economy, but that was the mortar for the new Wall.’…
“Christian Democrat Norbert Roettgen, who is calling for a total Russian energy embargo, led a chorus of conservative criticism of the government after Zelensky’s speech, saying Scholz should have addressed parliament immediately afterwards. He tweeted that the ‘historic moment’ had been followed by ‘total silence — that was undignified… a moment of collective shame’. His party colleague, Roderich Kiesewetter, called it ‘baffling’ that parliament continued with plans to debate a national vaccine mandate rather than on Germany’s Ukraine policy.”
Bild Online called it a “day of shame” for the German Parliament.
Iran’s Missile Strike near US Embassy in Iraq
Fox News wrote on March 12:
“A series of missiles were fired Sunday from Iran in the direction of the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq… The missiles numbered as many as 12… None of the missiles made contact with the consulate… The strike represented an escalation in hostilities between Iran and the U.S…. The missile strike came several days after Iran said it would respond to an Israeli strike near Damascus, Syria, that resulted in the deaths of two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard…
“The Sunday strike also came as negotiations in Vienna, on the potential revival of the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, hit a ‘pause’ because of Russia’s demands regarding economic sanctions it faces because of its invasion of Ukraine…”
Wherever one looks, the USA is in deep trouble.
Another Month of Mask Nonsense
Newsmax wrote on March 11:
“The Biden administration’s one-month extension of mask mandates at airplane, train, and transit hubs has left many Americans wondering why they still must cover their faces to travel when they’re free to go maskless in virtually any other indoor space.
“The 30-day extension, which will keep the mask requirement in place until at least April 18, comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it’s working on new guidelines that will ultimately lead to the lifting of the rule, squashing the hopes of Republican lawmakers who hoped to see the mandates be allowed to expire on March 18.”
The extension of these regulations by the Biden administration is annoying and, in fact, just plain stupid.
More Nonsense from the TSA on Masks
The New York Post wrote on March 15:
“The federal rule that requires air travelers to wear face masks, which the Transportation Security Administration first imposed more than a year ago, was scheduled to expire this Friday. But the TSA extended the requirement for at least another month, for reasons even harder to understand than the original rationale for the mask mandate.
“That is saying a lot, because the scientific justification for the TSA’s rule has always been weak, given that the conditions on airplanes are not conducive to COVID-19 transmission. The ventilation systems on commercial aircraft, which mix outdoor air with air recycled through HEPA filters and limit airflow between rows, help explain why there were few outbreaks associated with commercial flights even before vaccines were available. ‘The risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is low,’ an October 2020 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted…
“Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly reiterated that point during a Senate hearing in December. ‘I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,’ he said. ‘It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.’ American Airlines CEO Doug Parker agreed. ‘An aircraft is the safest place you can be,’ he said. ‘It’s true of all of our aircraft — they all have the same HEPA filters and airflow.’
“On Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped recommending general indoor masking in parts of the country it rates ‘low’ or ‘medium’ risk, which as of last week covered more than 98% of the US population. According to the CDC, then, it is safe to dispense with masks in stores, churches, schools, bars and restaurants — environments where the risk of virus transmission is much higher than it is on airplanes…”
Who said that mask mandates and lockdowns and other restrictions made any sense whatsoever?
EU Continues Ineffective Covid Regulations
Life Site wrote on March 15:
“The Council of the European Union (EU) on Friday agreed to extend the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate until at least June 2023, re-igniting concerns that the discriminatory measures imposed ostensibly to curtail the spread of the coronavirus could persist indefinitely… In the statement, the Council asserted that the EU’s COVID jab passport, which has been used to segregate society between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, barring those who haven’t gotten the jab from many parts of society, ‘played an important role in facilitating the free movement of people during the pandemic.’
“The decision to extend the regulation for the COVID pass comes despite the fact that the experimental drugs have not been shown to stop transmissions of the virus. The segregation of society by vaccine status using COVID jab passport schemes has drawn sharp criticism by many, including the authors of a comprehensive paper released last month.
“Written by researchers with expertise in public health, epidemiology, bioethics, statistics, pediatrics and law from Johns Hopkins University, Oxford, Harvard, the University of Washington, and other institutions, the paper argued that ‘current population-wide mandatory vaccine policies are scientifically questionable, ethically problematic, and misguided.’…”
Amen to that.
Biden: It Wasn’t Me!
Breitbart wrote on March 11:
“President Joe Biden complained Friday he was ‘sick’ of Americans blaming him for inflation instead of the coronavirus pandemic or Russian President Vladimir Putin… The President made his remarks at a Democrat policy retreat to Democrats in Philadelphia in a rambling speech about issues facing his presidency…
“The President is suffering from terrible ratings on the economy due to his failure to address inflation. Sixty-three percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the issue of inflation and rising prices,… including 54 percent who strongly disapprove.
“During his speech, Biden falsely blamed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for causing gas prices to rise in 2022, starting in January… But even former Democrat officials have outlined that Biden’s reckless spending agenda, as well as the Federal Reserves’ policies, overstimulated the economy and led to growing inflation.
“Former Treasury Secretary for Barack Obama Larry Summers told the Harvard Gazette in an interview that government intervention in the economy is partially responsible for inflation, suggesting it was an overreaction to the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We had an economy where income was running short by $50 billion a month because of the pandemic, and we injected $150 billion to $200 billion a month into that economy,’ he wrote. [In fact, Larry Summers called the $1.9T spending bill which passed in March 2021 “”the least responsible economic policy in 40 years.”]
“‘This is Biden’s inflation and he needs to own it,’ wrote former Barack Obama administration czar Steve Rattner on social media after the White House tried to blame Putin for inflation. Inflation sharply spiked in March 2021, after Biden’s first $1.9 trillion spending bill passed.”
There is no doubt that Biden’s ill-conceived policies are responsible for the rising inflation and the economic mess which this country is in. But it takes a strong leader to admit grievous mistakes and change for the better. Biden is not such a strong leader.
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 7
In the previous Q&A in this series, we began to look at some great relationships in the pages of the Bible.
Relationships – Great Relationships in the Bible (continued).
In this final instalment, we will continue to review some more interesting relationships.
Job and His Friends
Job is described in Job 1:1-3 as the greatest of all the people in the East, and he had seven sons, three daughters and many possessions. However, Satan was allowed to tempt him, but not to take his life (Job 2:6). In his hour of need, he was visited by his three friends:
“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:11-13).
At the beginning, their concern, compassion and attitude were sincere and commendable. But as the story unfolds, his friends became condemnatory and accused Job incorrectly of all kinds of sins, because they did not understand—and neither did Job—why Job was suffering, concluding that Job must have greatly sinned to deserve such punishment. God wanted to show Job that he had to overcome his self-righteousness, but the three friends could not see that, while condemning Job of sins he was not guilty of (Job 32:3). God became angry with Job’s three friends and was willing to punish them severely, because they “have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has” (Job 42:7). While Job had repented “in dust and ashes” for the wrong things he had said against God, his three friends did not show the same kind of remorse. So, God asked Job to pray for them so that He would not deal with them “according to [their] folly” (verse 8). The remarkable conclusion is that Job WAS willing to pray for his three friends, even though they had shown themselves as accusers without mercy and compassion.
In the end, it all worked out. The former relationship when his friends made the time out of genuine concern to be with Job when he was in great distress, was restored.
Paul and Timothy
Timothy was a relatively young Evangelist, but Paul had full confidence in him. In 2 Timothy 1:1-2, we read: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
McLaren’s Expositions observes: “PAUL’S heart had been drawn to Timothy long before this letter was written, as far back as the beginning of his second missionary journey, and Timothy had cherished the enthusiastic devotion of a young man for his great leader. He seems to have been the best beloved of the circle which the magnetism of Paul’s character bound to him.”
There is no doubt that the two had a close relationship and friendship, and in verses 3-7, Paul writes about Timothy’s faith and heritage. Paul had laid hands on Timothy and reminded him to stir up the gift of God which he had received.
We read in Acts 19:22 that Timothy and Erastus had ministered to Paul, and Timothy was with Paul, as we read in Philemon 1. Paul refers to him as “our brother and minister of God, and our fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ,” and he was confident that Timothy would be able to “establish” and “encourage” the brethren concerning [their] faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Paul also referred affectionately to Timothy as “my true son in the faith” (1Timothy 1:2).
Abraham and God
“My friend”—that is how God referred to the patriarch Abraham (Isaiah 41:8: James 2:23; compare also 2 Chronicles 20:7 where Abraham is referred to as God’s friend “forever”). What a remarkable relationship where a limited, physical, mortal human being is thought of by the all-powerful, immortal, all-knowing, supreme God as His dearly loved friend. This friendship developed, and when God tested him by commanding him to slay his son Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham was willing to obey. God wanted to see whether Abraham loved Him more than anything or anyone else, and Abraham trusted God so much that he understood that God would never ask something of him which would betray their friendship. Abraham could have thought of many reasons why he should not kill Isaac, but he proceeded as God had commanded him. He proved his faith by his works. And we know how well that situation worked out! God had not really intended for Abraham to kill his son, but Abraham did not know this. But he knew that God had promised him that he would become a father of many nations, through Isaac, and that God cannot lie.
And so, we read about Abraham’s motives and thoughts in Hebrews 11:17-19:
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”
David and God
David’s relationship with God was personal from the time that he was a very young man until the day he spoke his last words when he was dying. In Acts 13:22 we read: “And when He had removed [Saul], He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” This was because of his attitude toward God. In Psalm 63:1-2 we read: “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.”
In 1 Kings 2:1-3, we read: “Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: ‘I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…’”
David had many faults and committed many sins, but once he recognized his mistakes and sins, he repented deeply. God, knowing his heart, appreciated this character trait tremendously. David loved God and His law (Psalm 119:10, 16, 35, 47, 97). His focus was on God and that is why he had such a strong and personal relationship with God.
John and Jesus
John 13:23 gives us an indication of the close relationship John had with Jesus: “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” The Benson Commentary observes: “This was John, the memory of whose sweet disposition, and other amiable qualities, is perpetuated in the peculiar love which Jesus bare to him. He always avoids with great care the expressly naming himself.”
Even Peter requested of John to ask Jesus who would betray Him, rather than asking Him personally (John 13:24).
We note Jesus’ words on the cross in John 19:26-27: “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” He was the disciple who is noted as being at the crucifixion, and he was told by Jesus to look after His mother. That certainly indicates a very close personal relationship, and the trust and confidence which Jesus had in John that he would fulfil that responsibility. It is remarkable that Jesus did not ask any of His other disciples, nor any of His half-brothers, to care for Mary. John had without any doubt a very special relationship with Christ. Even after His resurrection, Peter recognized this relationship. Christ had told Him three times that he was to feed and tend His sheep. He also told him that he would glorify God through his death as a martyr. It was at that moment that we read in John 21:20-23:
“Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’ Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?’”
Apparently at that moment of jealousy, Peter, very well aware of the special relationship between Christ and John, wanted to know about John’s fate. But Christ told him bluntly: That is none of your business. You do what I told you to do. John lived on, writing the gospel according to John, three letters, and the book of Revelation. Then he died, to be resurrected within the next second of his consciousness to be with his beloved Friend, being like Him, seeing Him as He is (1 John 3:2).
Jesus and Mankind
Real friends are loyal to each other when the going is easy and also when it is tough. They support and sacrifice for each other and their relationship is usually very strong and close. The ultimate degree of friendship was described by Jesus when He stated: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus gave His life for us and if we want to be His friend, we must be willing to go all the way in proving our loyalty to Him: “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14).
What is unrealised by the world at large is 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; compare John 6:65). Those called now can have, and must have, that close personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, and those not called at this time will have their opportunity at a later time.
Christ calls us His friends and encourages us not to be afraid of men, but to have reverence and respect for God (Luke 12:4-5), assuring us of His great love and concern for us (verses 6 and 7). He told us—His friends–everything we need to know in order to inherit salvation (John 15:15). He called Lazarus His friend, whom He loved and resurrected (John 11:5, 11).
Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” The same is true today. God the Father wants those whom He chooses at this time, to have a close personal relationship with Him and His Son. But this relationship can only be obtained and maintained if we refuse to be friends of the world and its evil way of life (James 4:4).
The Bible is replete with information about relationships, as we have seen in this series. Even the genealogies that we read about in the pages of God’s Word are all indicative of inevitable relationships.
The most important relationship of all is the one that we have with God, as this will determine our future as well as being the right and godly way to live in this present evil world.
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“The Ukraine War and America’s Unreliability and Decline,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link, Here is a summary:
How reliable is America? Do America’s allies really look at the USA as a dependable partner? Or do they think America’s leadership role is gone and they must find an alternative? And will that alternative be friendly towards the USA?
“Werden Sie wegen Putin abfallen?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Will You Fall Away Because of Putin?”
“I Don’t Feel Like It,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
It is a natural human tendency to take the easy route when faced with challenges. Staying motivated to keep God’s commandments and love the Truth requires overcoming impulses to neglect our commitment to God.
“When Trouble Comes,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
How can we be, as Jesus said, “counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man”?
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
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