|Live Services||It is Written / Why Change?|
|Editorial||Where Is Truth? It Is Fallen in the Street|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||How do you understand the covenants of the Bible? (Part 7)|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
It is Written / Why Change?
On June 25, 2022, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “It is Written,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Why Change?”.
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.
Where Is Truth? It Is Fallen in the Street
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
In 1949, George Orwell published a book, entitled “1984”, picturing what he thought the conditions in a future world would be like. The lead character in it was employed in the “Ministry of Truth” to revise past issues of newspapers in the cases where politicians’ promises were not fulfilled. His revisions were to change the promises to what really happened, destroy the old copies and file the new copies as their replacements.
This was also carried out by others in the “Ministry of Truth” on books and other historical documents so that all past references as to what was expected to happen would be changed to what did happen. So, historical researchers would “find” that all predictions actually happened as they were predicted to. In other words, they were destroying Truth to make politicians look good.
At that time, 1984 as suggested by George Orwell, the governments would be highly oppressive and employ “Thought Police” to arrest and “Disappear” citizens who disagreed with the government’s narrative—at times even going so far as to remove all records of that person’s existence, as if they had never lived. Orwell also coined the term “Big Brother Is Watching”. Of course, that was purely fiction and did not happen in 1984.
However, looking at today’s situation, some of the things George Orwell wrote about are happening. This present situation is mentioned in Isaiah 59:14-15. It is a prophecy that will occur just before the return of Jesus Christ, although it may have happened in other times as well. The verses state, “Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” The term prey is sometimes translated as ridiculed, but more often as plundered. It could even mean in today’s terminology, make oneself a target. All of these meanings are occurring in today’s world.
When we look at the situation today, justice is often dependent on political favour. Truth is certainly not evident in many places. And where do we find righteousness? The fulfilment of these two verses has been made plain during the current pandemic. The meaning of words has been changed for political reasons. Pandemic used to be a situation with extreme numbers of deaths and illnesses. This was changed within the last twenty years to only require a high number of cases without an extreme number of deaths.
Also, the definitions of vaccines and herd immunity have been changed to suit the current narrative.
As for becoming a target, doctors and nurses can lose their medical licenses if they treat patients with effective and safe medications that the government forbids for political or economic reasons. This even extends to requiring the professional to have a psychiatric examination before regaining their license—something no professional wants on their resume.
Regarding the legal area, some schools teach a distorted history and can groom young children towards trans-sexuality. The parents who object vocally at school meetings have been labelled “Domestic Terrorists” by a government agency. A Supreme Court nominee was unable to give a definition of what a woman is when asked. From a technical legal standpoint, she might even have been correct to an extent, when considering current law in some states, when anyone can legally call themselves the opposite gender from their birth sex. For example, a man has the legal right in some places to call himself a lesbian and anyone who objects can be prosecuted because of using hate speech. It is indeed a sick world, totally departing from God’s standards.
While people in this day and age are not usually “disappeared” as George Orwell wrote, they can be “disappeared” or cancelled from social and other internet websites for disagreeing with the government narrative and speaking what is true. Truth has indeed departed and people readily become targets for not agreeing with evil in today’s world.
So, what does God require of us as He is a God of Truth which we read in Deuteronomy 32:4? “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” So, those items mentioned as missing in Isaiah 59:14-15, justice, righteousness and Truth, characterise God.
As for us, God requires Truth to be a part of our character, a part of our Way of Life, and not just in our words, but also in our thoughts—our innermost being, if we want to live with Christ for eternity. As we read in Psalm 15:1-2: “LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart.”
We live in a very corrupt and evil world ruled by Satan, and while we have to live in it, we must not be a part of it. As we read in Revelation 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.’” While this chapter begins by mentioning Babylon in Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:3 expands this to include all nations, the whole world, as “all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
So, we need to recognize that this world is evil, and to please God, we must not partake of any of this evil, but live a life of Truth and be valiant for it.
by Norbert Link
We begin with articles addressing the perceived consequences of the Ukraine war; speak on Emmanuel Macron’s disastrous defeat; and address the prospects of a full-fledged war between Israel and Iran, as well as the collapse of the Israeli government.
We report on a major earthquake in Afghanistan and on ongoing speculation that Pope Francis might resign soon; and quote several articles pointing out the sick state of affairs in the United States, including the analysis that we are ALREADY in a recession now [please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “We Are in a Recession Now!”] the push on our children to embrace sexual activities prohibited by God; the proposed prohibition of conversion therapies for confused minors; transgender athletes, drag queens; the devastating effects of lockdowns; and covid vaccinations for infants.
We conclude with developments in Germany contemplating to reintroduce the ineffective and potentially harmful wearing of masks indoors in public places.
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
Some Thoughts About the War in Ukraine
The Ron Paul Institute wrote the following on June 20:
“Putin is to be condemned for launching this war– as is virtually any leader who launches any war. Putin can be termed a war criminal… secondary condemnation belongs to the US (NATO) in deliberately provoking a war with Russia by implacably pushing its hostile military organization, despite Moscow’s repeated notifications about crossing red lines, right up to the gates of Russia…
“Russia is winning the war, Ukraine has lost the war… American sanctions against Russia have turned out to be far more devastating to Europe than to Russia… There are already deep cracks in the European façade of so-called ‘NATO unity.’ Western Europe will increasingly rue the day that it blindly followed the American Pied Piper to war… NATO may in fact ultimately emerge weakened… Europe will sooner or later return to the purchase of inexpensive Russian energy… Europe already perceives the US as a declining power… a Europe that perceives the US already in decline has a little incentive to join the bandwagon against China…
“We now see how massive US sanctions against Russia, including confiscation of Russian funds in western banks, is causing most of the world to reconsider the wisdom of banking entirely on the US dollar into the future…
“One of the most disturbing features of this US-Russian struggle in Ukraine has been the utter corruption of independent media. Indeed Washington has won the information and propaganda war hands down, orchestrating all Western media to sing from the same hymnbook in characterizing the Ukraine war… Nor, of course, is the Russian press to be trusted either… serious analysts must dig deep these days to gain some objective understanding of what is actually taking place in Ukraine…
“China and Russia have now been decisively pushed ever more closely together… That the US can split… Russian and Chinese cooperation is a fantasy. Russia has scientific brilliance, abundant energy, rich rare minerals and metals… China has the capital, the markets, and the manpower to contribute to what becomes a natural partnership across Eurasia.
“Sadly for Washington, nearly every single one of its expectations about this war are turning out to be incorrect…”
We have omitted much of the questionable rhetoric in the article, but what we published above is quite interesting. Please view our recent message, “Biden’s Ministry of Truth and Consequences of the Ukraine War.”
Anadolu Agency reported on June 17:
“Russia is not concerned that Ukraine could get the status of a European Union candidate ‘because the EU is not a military organization,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday… On future relations with Ukraine, he said Moscow remains willing to build relations with anyone, but ‘only our army and navy can be the guarantors of our security.’”
Putin Back on the World Stage
CNN wrote on June 22:
“When Russian President Vladimir Putin dials into the virtual BRICS summit hosted by Beijing on Thursday, it will be his first time attending a forum with the heads of major economies since launching an invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
“For Putin, this could offer a welcome picture: his face beamed onscreen alongside other leaders whose countries make up this acronymous grouping: China’s Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa — a signal that Russia, though battered by sanctions and remonstrations for the invasion, is not alone.
“It’s a message that may resonate even more clearly as China and Russia, weeks before the invasion, declared their own relationship to have ’no limits,’ and as each of the BRICS leaders have avoided condemning Russia outright… and run foul of Western friends…. the decision by the group to press ahead with its 14th annual summit does reflect a view held by BRICS countries on the global order and, by extension, the situation in Ukraine, that departs from that of the West, experts say…
“The BRICS summit is followed days later by the meeting of a bloc of the world’s leading advanced economies, the Group of Seven, which have been united in their voice against Russian aggression, and kicked Moscow out of their bloc following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.”
The formation of some of the future participants of the “kings of the East” is in the making…
UK Army Commander: Prepare to Fight in Europe in WW III
The Daily Mail wrote on June 18:
“Britain’s top army general has told his troops to prepare to fight and beat Putin’s armies in a European land war… General Sir Patrick Sanders, who assumed overall command of the British Army this week, warned soldiers ‘we are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again’ as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rocks global stability… ‘I am the first Chief of the General Staff since 1941 to take command of the Army in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power…
“It comes as Putin menaces NATO countries and this week taunted former Soviet states in Europe by declaring: ‘They are part of historic Russia’…”
A war on European soil will be fought in the future, involving a United States of Europe and Russia, but Britain will not be a part of that fight.
Disastrous Defeat for Macron
Breitbart wrote on June 20:
“… the French public has refused to grant President Emmanuel Macron a parliamentary majority as Marine Le Pen’s populists on the right and an ecological alliance on the left surged at the ballot box to strip the once self-described ‘Jupitarean’ leader of his ability to govern France firmly.
“Just under two months after securing a second term as President of France, Emmanuel Macron and his Ensemble! coalition have suffered a disastrous result in the final round of voting in the parliamentary elections on Sunday, securing just 245 seats, far short of the 289 necessary to maintain a governing majority…
“The night’s true victor… was perhaps Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN), which saw a surprising result of 89 candidates elected to the National Assembly, the most in the history of the party…
“Though Mr Macron… had promised in 2017 that his presidency would unify France by doing ‘everything in the five years to come so there is no more reason to vote for the extremes,’ he has apparently failed on this front, with the socialist NUPES coalition headed by far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon winning 131 seats, making the hard left the largest opposition voting bloc in the parliament, should the group of socialists, communists, and greens maintain a unified front… something which could prove difficult for Mélenchon…
“The beleaguered president will most likely need to turn to the centre-right Les Republicans, meaning Macron may need to shift to the right to pass legislation [But for now, the Republicans have ruled out a partnership.] … The loss of his parliamentary majority may also see Macron diminished on the world stage… it remains to be seen how effective Macron will be at casting himself as the premier leader in Europe.
“Upon the retirement of Angela Merkel in Germany and the subsequent elevation of Social Democrat (SPD) Olaf Scholz as chancellor — who is the head of a somewhat precarious ‘traffic light’ coalition government including the Greens and the centrist-liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) — the mantle of head honcho in the European Union appeared to be within grasp for Macron. Yet, Sunday’s results may throw such a vision in doubt….”
DNYUZ wrote on June 20:
“France woke up on Monday wondering whether President Emmanuel Macron would be able to govern effectively… fueling fears of political gridlock. ‘Ungovernable!’ read the front page of Le Parisian, a daily newspaper.”
With a greatly weakened Emmanuel Macron and an indecisive and mostly inconsequential German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who follows, rather than leads, the world, without knowing it, is waiting for the beast to arrive in Europe.
Full-Fledged War Between Israel and Iran on the Horizon
The Wall Street Journal wrote on June 20:
“Israel is intensifying its campaign to thwart Iran’s nuclear, missile and drone programs with a series of covert operations targeting a broader range of key targets… The new moves are the latest evolution of a strategy that has been dubbed the Octopus Doctrine by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett…
“After failed Iranian attempts in recent years to target Israeli civilians around the world, including in Africa, Asia and South America, Israel has been warning its civilians not to travel to Turkey, especially Istanbul, due to an immediate threat posed to them by Iranian units looking to harm Israelis… Israeli concerns reached a fever pitch on Friday night when Israeli officials in the Hebrew media advised Israeli tourists in Istanbul to stay in their rooms and not answer the door to strangers amid a warning that Iran had given the go-ahead for a deadly attack in Turkey… Mr. Bennett made it clear that Israel would do everything to foil those terrorist attacks…
“Israel has carried out more than 400 airstrikes against Iran and its allies in Syria since 2017. Most recently, Russia and Syria accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike earlier this month that shut down the international airport in Damascus. Israel and Iran have each used mines to hit their rival’s ships in waters across the Middle East. Israel says it has shot down advanced drones sent from Iran.
“Iran, in turn, has accused Israel of carrying out a massive airstrike on one of its drone facilities and retaliated for the strike by firing missiles at a compound in northern Iraq that Tehran said had been used by Mossad agents to organize the attack. Israel has used drones and sabotage—including cyberattacks—to target Iran’s nuclear and missile programs…
“The evolution of the Israeli policy comes as U.S.-led efforts to broker a new deal to contain Iran’s nuclear capabilities with Iran appear to be on the brink of collapse. Iran has removed surveillance cameras from various nuclear-related sites across the country and expanded its advanced centrifuge work…”
JTA wrote on June 21:
“Israeli security forces evacuated Israeli citizens from their Istanbul hotel last week, allegedly ahead of an Iranian hit-squad that was intent on kidnapping or killing them.”
In addition, according to Israel 365 of June 17: “Israel’s actions in Jerusalem will lead to a ‘religious war… [that] will reach the US, Europe, and the entire world’… These are threats coming from PA Chairman Abbas’ official spokesmen and advisors.”
Israel Today added on June 17:
“Despite all the warm words in Jerusalem, there’s no sign that this EU hostility is about to ease… It promotes the Palestinian narrative that seeks to delegitimize Israel through lies about its ‘illegal’ settlements and alleged Israel Defense Forces’ aggression; it funds NGOs devoted to harming and destroying Israel; in an aggressive move in 2015 against Israeli ‘occupation’ of the disputed territories, it started to label products from the ‘West Bank.’… von der Leyen announced the transfer to the Palestinian Authority of some 214 million euros (about $224 million). This money had previously been frozen because of the incitement against Israel in Palestinian schoolbooks. Now it’s been unfrozen, even though the incitement remains…
“The Europeans are playing the double game so familiar in the West—pledging support for the Jewish people while empowering Israel’s mortal enemies…. This twin-track has long been the strategy of both Britain and America…”
Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Will Israel Attack Iran?”. Please also note our recent StandingWatch program, titled, “Time to Build the Third Temple in the Face of Violence?”
Coalition in Israel Collapses
The Times of Israel wrote on June 20:
“After months of dysfunction, Israel’s 24th Knesset is set to come to an end, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced Monday that they would submit a bill next week to voluntarily dissolve the Knesset. The dramatic joint statement by the two architects of the so-called change government, which put an end to 12 straight years of the Benjamin Netanyahu premiership, said that all efforts to save the government had been ‘exhausted,’ due to numerous rebellions by wayward MKs…
“Following the Knesset’s dissolution, Lapid is slated to become caretaker prime minister until a new government is sworn in, as per the original coalition agreement. Bennett is expected to become alternate prime minister, a post Lapid currently holds, and will also be responsible for the ‘Iran file,’ Hebrew media reports said.
“Given legal and holiday constraints, new elections are expected at the end of October, possibly the 25th…”
Newsmax wrote on June 22:
“Israel moved closer on Wednesday to its fifth election in less than four years after lawmakers gave an initial nod to dissolve parliament, with a comeback by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already dominating the campaign… The Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve in a preliminary reading of a bill expected to be finalized next week.”
Israel Today wrote on June 22:
“… elections could still be avoided if opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu succeeds in forming a government before the Knesset is dissolved. Can he do it? Netanyahu currently controls 55 Knesset seats. He needs 61, a bare minimum majority in Israel’s 120-seat parliament… The other party in the opposition, the Joint List, an anti-Zionist Arab party, can be immediately ruled out as a potential partner…”
Israeli observers say that Netanyahu’s chances to form a coalition government before the final vote of the Knesset next week to dissolve parliament and set the dates for new elections are very slim…
Better Relations Between Saudi Arabia and Turkey
Reuters wrote on June 22:
“Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Turkey for the first time in years on Wednesday for talks with President Tayyip Erdogan aimed at fully normalising ties that were ruptured after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi… Erdogan said last week he and Prince Mohammed would discuss ‘to what much higher level’ they can take ties during talks in Ankara…
“In a statement following the talks, the two countries emphasized determination on ushering in a new period of cooperation in bilateral relations… The two countries also discussed improving cooperation in trade and sectors such as defence, energy and tourism among others…”
The Bible prophesies the formation of a confederacy between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other nations against Israel (Psalm 83:1-8).
“Deadliest Earthquake in Afghanistan in Two Decades”
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 22:
“1,000 people died after a magnitude 6 earthquake hit the mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan. The death toll is likely to rise as search efforts continue… The magnitude 6 quake struck around 44 kilometers (27 miles) from the city of Khost, located near the border with Pakistan…
“The disaster comes as Afghanistan battles a humanitarian and economic crisis that has worsened since the Taliban seized power last year. Many international aid agencies left Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover and the chaotic withdrawal of US and NATO forces from the country…
“In 2015, more than 200 people were killed in northeastern Afghanistan and neighboring northern Pakistan as a major earthquake hit. Around 1,000 people were killed in a 6.1-magnitude quake in 2002, four years after another devastating 6.1 earthquake and subsequent tremors in Afghanistan’s remote northeast killed at least 4,500 people.”
There will be “great earthquakes in various places” (Luke 21:11).
Rumors Regarding Sick Francis’s Resignation Persist
The Daily Mail wrote on June 20:“Pope Francis has fuelled speculation that he could resign after postponing a trip to Africa and announcing an unusual meeting of cardinals. Hobbled by pain in his knee and forced to use a wheelchair in recent weeks, the 85-year-old pontiff postponed a July trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan last week. He also announced an unusual decision to hold a consistory to name new cardinals during a Vatican vacation month and arranged meetings to ensure his reforms stay intact. The extraordinary consistory will be held on August 27, a slow summer month at the Catholic headquarters, to create 21 new cardinals – 16 of whom will be under the age of 80, thereby eligible to elect his successor in a future conclave….
“On August 28, Francis will then pay a visit to L’Aquila and the tomb of Celestine V – the first pope to have resigned from the papacy, in the 13th century….The moves have triggered intense speculation about his plans for the future, including the most radical – that he was planning to step down. The resignation of a pope was once almost unthinkable until Benedict XVI renounced his reign in 2013, citing his declining physical and mental health…. in May, as reported by various Italian media, Francis joked about his knee during a closed-door meeting with bishops: ‘Rather than operate, I’ll resign.’
“But Vatican insiders do not yet think Francis is on the verge of handing over the papal keys… A trip to Canada at the end of July is still on the pontiff’s schedule, and the pope continues to receive injections in his knee and physical therapy, according to the Vatican.
“As a child, Francis had one of his lungs partially removed. Today, besides his knee issue, he suffers recurring sciatic nerve pain.”
When he became pope, Francis declared that his papacy would be short.
Pope No Plan to Resign?
Newsmax wrote on June 23:
“Pope Francis on Wednesday told a group of Brazilian bishops that he had no plans to step down despite recent rumors that he will resign. In a Portuguese translation of the Vatican newsletter, Archbishop Roque Paloschi said Francis told the bishops that, ‘I want to live my mission as long as God allows me and that’s it.’
“Paloschi added that ‘resignation does not cross his mind.’”
His wording, though, “as long God allows me,” is telling.
America’s Belief in God
GALLUP wrote on June 17:
“The vast majority of U.S. adults believe in God, but the 81% who do so is down six percentage points from 2017 and is the lowest in Gallup’s trend. Between 1944 and 2011, more than 90% of Americans believed in God. Gallup’s May 2-22 Values and Beliefs poll finds 17% of Americans saying they do not believe in God…
“Fewer Americans today than five years ago believe in God, and the percentage is down even more from the 1950s and 1960s when almost all Americans did. Still, the vast majority of Americans believe in God, whether that means they believe a higher power hears prayers and can intervene or not. And while belief in God has declined in recent years, Gallup has documented steeper drops in church attendance, church membership and confidence in organized religion, suggesting that the practice of religious faith may be changing more than basic faith in God.”
But the real question is, do those who believe in God believe in the true God of the Bible? Otherwise, “in vain” do they worship God, teaching for doctrines the commandments and philosophies and ideas of men.
In Favor of Killing Babies?
The Daily Mail wrote on June 17:
“[In a speech to religious conservatives in Nashville, Tennessee, Donald Trump] claimed that Democrats were in favor of killing babies… and said the education system was so distorted that teachers could not teach the Bible but were allowed to teach Kindergarten children they could pick their gender… And he repeated his… claims that his defeat to Joe Biden was the result of widespread fraud…
“’Our children are captives to unhinged Marxist educators who are pushing inappropriate sexual, racial and political material on our children from the youngest possible age,’ he said… ‘The current education system is so upside down that school prayer is banned. But drag shows are absolutely allowed… The biggest applause line came when he teased a possible 2024 run, something he has floated repeatedly without yet announcing… He added that he would consider pardons for people arrested in connection with the January 6 attack...”
Supreme Court Expands Gun Rights
The Associated Press wrote on June 23:
“In a major expansion of gun rights, the Supreme Court said Thursday [in a 6-3 decision] that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense…
“Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the Constitution protects ‘an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.’ The decision struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to carry one in public. The justices said that requirement violates the Second Amendment right to ‘keep and bear arms.’… “
The New York Post added on June 23:
“In a separate opinion concurring with Thomas, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Thursday’s ruling does not preclude state and local restrictions on gun ownership by felons and the mentally ill — or laws banning the carrying of firearms in ‘sensitive locations’ like schools and government buildings.”
Trespassing in the US Capitol
Breitbart wrote on June 17:
“The U.S. Capitol Police arrested a group of nine staffers from CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for allegedly trespassing in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday night, according to Fox News…
“Fox News’s Jesse Watters reported that the Colbert staffers were let into the House office building by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Jake Auchincloss (D-MA). There have been calls for Schiff to resign from his post on the January 6 Committee over this breach of security. In addition, many want to see Colbert’s staffers arrested and charged with the same crimes as those who entered the Capitol on January 6.”
It is ironic that Adam Schiff is a member of the sham-and-farce-committee trying to establish Trump’s responsibility for the January 6 “insurrection.”
We Are in a Recession Now
Newsmax wrote on June 18:
“The United States may not be in an official recession yet, according to the federal government, but the nation is ‘in a recession now,’ and tens of millions of American families already believe the worst is already happening because prices are going up higher than their incomes, and their savings are being rapidly depleted, Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, told Newsmax. ‘We’re in a big mess, and we’re going to be already over the cliff on the economy,’ Forbes said…
“‘Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve believes that the only way to control inflation is by crushing demand… ‘When they talk about a soft landing or trying to slow the economy down, that means making people poor… Consumer debt is going up, and credit card debt is going up… Mortgage payments are going to be very bad when those adjustable mortgage rates are readjusted later this year… And when heating oil prices come in this winter, when you’re paying twice as much as you were before and you have to heat your home, that’s going to be a disaster…’
“Meanwhile, the government is releasing lower inflation numbers based on the ‘so-called consumer price index,’ said Forbes, so one must take the numbers with a ‘grain of salt.’ ‘What people feel is, How much are they paying for food? How much are they paying for fuel? What are they paying on their mortgage rates? What are they paying for college and the basic things that they have to do on a day-to-day basis?’
“On that level, Steve Moore, another economist, said, ‘You know the official rate is maybe 8.5%. [But] people feel it’s more like 20%, so the cost of living is going up rapidly, and what’s bad about inflation? Among other things, it’s a hidden tax and the [government’s] reckless overspending…’ This also means that even when people get pay raises, they’re still behind, according to Forbes.”
Please view our recent StandingWatch program, titled, “Civil War, Violence and Misery in the USA.”
Biden’s Gas Relief as Likely as a “Purple Cow Jumping Over the Moon”
The New York Post wrote on June 22:
“President Biden repeated his charge that high gas prices are Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s fault… Gas remains almost $5 a gallon nationwide and analysts predict $6 a gallon is coming [In California, for example, the average gas price a gallon has already exceeded $6.]. A Rasmussen poll found that just 11% of voters blame Putin for gas prices; almost five times as many blame Biden.
“Another Rasmussen poll found that only 27% of likely voters approve of Biden economic policies and 74% believe the economy has ‘gotten worse’ during his presidency.
“Biden portrayed himself Wednesday as a consumer savior for proposing to suspend the 18-cent-agallon federal gasoline tax for 90 days. He said the US government could afford to suspend gas taxes (which finance highway repair) because the federal deficit declined last year. He didn’t mention that the deficit is $1 trillion this year and will surge in the coming years…
“The White House PR team should have added a drawing of a purple cow jumping over the moon. It is just as likely as Biden delivering $1-a-gallon relief. A White House economic adviser summarized the administration’s struggle on gas prices: ‘They’re fighting about narrative rather than fighting about substance … Nobody thinks there’s going to be a compelling solution.’
“While the president delivered his awkward pitch, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell demolished one of Biden’s chief talking points during testimony Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) asked him: ‘Would you say that the war in Ukraine is the primary driver of inflation in America?’ Powell replied, ‘No. Inflation was high, certainly before the war in Ukraine broke out.’”
“Joe Biden’s Political Future in Europe”
Adam Dick wrote the following in the Ron Paul Institute of June 23:
“President Joe Biden’s popularity among American voters has been in descent since he took the oath of office in January of 2021. Indeed, by May 25 of this year, Biden’s approval rating, as related by Paul Bedard in a Washington Examiner editorial, had fallen below that of every president back through Harry Truman at that point in their presidencies. And Biden’s approval rating has continued to drop since then…
“One option for the career politician who may not want to step away from the political power just yet is to look for opportunity in Europe. Less than 4 in 10 Americans polled say they support Biden, and a majority disapprove. In at least some countries in Europe, in contrast, polling suggests majority support for Biden.
“Spring polling numbers from Pew Research Center indicate confidence in Biden was at 53 percent in France, 56 percent in both Spain and Great Britain, and a whopping 64 percent in Germany… Europe may be a land of political opportunity for Biden after so many people in his home country electorate and even in his own party have soured on the prospect of him seeking reelection as US president… Maybe Biden could even hold a high government office in Ukraine…”
It is beyond belief that Biden should have such approval rates in parts of Europe, especially Germany. It can only be explained by total ignorance and utter distortion of the facts by the mass media in those countries. The same could be said about President Clinton’s and President Obama’s incredible popularity in Germany.
Germany’s Energy Crisis
Breitbart wrote on June 23:
“The energy crisis appears to only be going from bad to worse in Germany, with the country announcing that it was triggering the second level of its three-tier gas emergency plan, with the last and final level being available to the state allowing authorities to begin rationing supply. It comes shortly after Moscow dramatically reduced the amount of gas it is supplying to the central European state, which has become heavily addicted to Russian energy exports in part as a result of the country’s obsession with its climate change agenda.
“According to a report by Die Welt, Germany’s Economics and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck announced the move to the second level of emergency powers on Thursday, with the country now aiming to fill its gas storage tanks before winter hits. ‘We are in a gas crisis. Gas is now a scarce commodity. The prices are already high and we have to be prepared for further increases,’ the publication reports Habeck as saying…. The minister then proceeded to call on ordinary Germans to cut their own energy usage…”
New Rules for Transgender Athletes
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 19:
“World swimming’s governing body FINA adopted new rules for [male-to-female] transgender athletes… only permitting swimmers who transitioned before age 12 to compete in women’s competitions…
“Female-to-male transgender athletes (transgender men) are eligible to compete in men’s swimming competitions, as their physical makeup at birth puts them at a disadvantage, if anything… FINA also intends to create an ‘open category’ to allow transgender athletes to compete in a separate class at elite level…
“The new rules drew mixed reactions. British swimmer Sharron Davies said that she was proud of FINA… On the other hand, advocacy group Athlete Ally called the new eligibility criteria ‘discriminatory, harmful, unscientific.’”
It is sad that in this God-defying world, these kinds of issues even exist and will have to be discussed and regulated.
Pelosi, Harris and the Drag Queens
IFN wrote on June 16:
“… the Left has been using drag queens to advance the LGBT agenda and groom our children. For example, Fisher-Price has just introduced a set of RuPaul drag queen figurines marketed to children as young as one. To celebrate Pride month this year a gay bar in Dallas, Texas, hosted a ‘family friendly’ drag show targeted at children… at the event children threw dollar bills at scantily-clad drag queens and went on stage with them. And now two prominent Democratic leaders—U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris—are proudly hanging out with drag queens to show support for the radical LGBT agenda.
“In an episode of the RuPaul Drag Race show which aired on June 10, 2022 on Paramount +, Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes a guest appearance and gives strong support to the drag queens. In the episode Pelosi states: ‘It is my honor to be here to say to all of you how proud we all are of you. Thank you for the joy and beauty you bring to the world. Your freedom of expression of yourselves in drag is what America is all about. I say that all the time to my friends in drag.’…
“Vice President Kamala Harris, however, would not let Speaker Pelosi steal the show in giving support to drag queens… Harris and her husband appeared at the Capitol Pride event in Washington, DC, and both went on stage with the drag queen winner of season thirteen’s RuPaul’s Drag Race… After the event Harris posted on Instagram a picture of herself hugging the drag queen with the words ‘Love is love. Happy Pride!’”
“That is what America is all about!” Maybe it’s true…and so, the downfall of America is irreversible. Please view our new sermon, “Rumors, Fake News and the Truth” .
No Conversion Therapy for Confused Minors
Breitbart wrote on June 18:
“The Biden administration promised this week to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for minors who claim they are members of the opposite sex… Now, in sync with pro-transgender activists and clinical organizations, President Joe Biden’s White House is using an overly broad definition of ‘conversion therapy,’ seemingly in the hopes of silencing ‘gender identity’ critics — all while promoting puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones, and even surgeries for sex-questioning youth…
“Florida Medicaid found that there is ‘low or very low quality’ evidence that so-called ‘puberty blocker’ drugs protect the mental health of minors who want to live as members of the opposite sex. Another study completed by the Heritage Foundation suggests making puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones easier for minors to access has increased youth suicide rates…
“But why is the federal government so eager [to] push gender ideology onto younger generations, while also preventing counselors and religious leaders from exploring alternatives?… there is a great deal of money to be made from ‘gender transitions.’ A report released in December 2020 found that the U.S. sex reassignment surgery market size was valued at $267 million in 2019 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14.4 percent from 2020 to 2027.”
It’s the same with the push for vaccines. Big Pharma makes a fortune. See below.
Covid Vaccinations for Infants
Breitbart wrote on June 19:
“The Biden administration’s long-predicted coronavirus vaccine program tailored exclusively for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers began Saturday on the back of requests from the pharmaceutical industry.
“The shots will expand the nation’s vaccination push down to children as young as six months with an estimated 18 million possible recipients to be targeted.
“President Joe Biden hailed what he called the ‘monumental step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus,’ adding ‘for parents all over the country, this is a day of relief and celebration.’ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously recommended approval of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for use among the child target group.
“A recent survey asked parents with children under the age of five if they plan to get their youngest children vaccinated. A majority, 52 percent, said they are either not getting their children vaccinated or are ‘not sure.’ Of the 52 percent, specifically, 34 percent said they will ‘not’ get their children vaccinated, and 17 percent said they are not sure. Forty-eight percent however, said they plan to do so.
“The government has already been gearing up for the vaccine expansion, with millions of doses ordered for distribution to doctors, hospitals and community health clinics around the country.”
Another example of greed and insanity in our times. Note the next article.
Did Russia Fake Its Covid Vaccine Trial?
The Daily Mail wrote on June 21:
“Russia appears to have faked trial results of its flagship Covid vaccine, according to an analysis. A team of researchers in Australia and Singapore, who pored over the original study, have uncovered what they believe is proof the Kremlin fabricated efficacy data. Russian scientists claimed the jab produced nearly identical results across five different age groups when the trial was published last year. It sparked claims among some experts the results were ‘too good to be true’, given the tiny numbers of infections that occurred in each cohort.
“Now researchers have run the trial through a simulation model 50,000 times to test the likelihood of the results being genuine. They found the chance of replicating the same efficacy across all five age groups again was just 0.02 per cent…. Hundreds of millions of people are thought to have been vaccinated with Sputnik worldwide. Around 70 countries had placed orders worth up to £7billion before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine….”
The question is, however, how reliable and SAFE are the vaccines which have been approved by Western nations?
Lockdowns Led to Global Mental Health Crisis
Daily Mail wrote on June 21:
“Covid lockdowns have created a ‘global crisis for mental health’, the World Health Organization has admitted. An international report by the UN agency found two years of restrictions have led to ‘significant mental health consequences’, especially for young people. The WHO now estimates more than a billion people around the world are living with a mental health disorder as a result, a quarter more than pre-Covid. It said there had been an even bigger rise among children…
“Curbs imposed to control Covid led to feelings of ‘social isolation, disconnectedness and uncertainty about the future’, the report added. The admission comes despite the WHO hailing China’s lockdowns at the start of the pandemic and warning that lifting measures too early in Britain may cause a ‘deadly resurgence’ in 2020.
“Schools were closed nationally at least twice over the course of the pandemic, with students also forced to learn from home because of individual closures. More than 100 countries also shut down schools during the peak of the first wave… The most common types include anxiety, depression and developmental disorders like autism.”
The Foolishness of Man!
Germany Considering Mask Mandates for the Winter
LifeSiteNews wrote on June 18:
“The German government is considering a proposal that would require citizens to wear masks indoors every winter in anticipation of annual COVID waves. According to German newspaper Die Welt, the proposal would require mask wearing in all public spaces, including restaurants, bars and retail stores, throughout the entire winter season of October to March. It is unclear if the proposal would extend to schools or other settings with young children.
“The justification being given for the annually renewing mandate is the idea that COVID, like the flu, experiences an uptick in cases during the cold weather, and the widely disputed idea that mandating the wearing of masks could limit the spread of the highly survivable virus… at least 47 studies have indicated that masks are ineffective at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. An additional 32 studies… suggest that mask wearing can actually negatively impact one’s health… Many are concerned that masking has caused needless and even irreparable harm.’”
It’s mere lunacy…
Austria Scraps Unsuccessful COVID Vaccine Mandate
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 23:
“Austria is scrapping an already-suspended COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Health Minister Johannes Rauch said on Thursday. [He said:] ‘… today that means the abolition of compulsory vaccination… No one is getting vaccinated because of the compulsory vaccination…’
“Originally, the plan was to threaten those who refused vaccination with a fine of up to €3,600 ($3,780), as of March 15. But by the beginning of March there were few signs that people were responding to the possible financial penalties, and the law was suspended… In February, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen signed into law a mandate for all eligible adults over 18 in the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The move sparked fierce protests…
“Last month, Austria announced it would be dropping its mask wearing mandate though the health ministry said it may return later in the year.”
These mandates were stupid ideas from the outset.
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 do you understand the covenants of the Bible? (Part 7)
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia says this about the covenants of the Bible:
“The Hebrew Bible makes reference to a number of covenants (Hebrew: בְּרִיתוֹת) with God (YHWH). These include the Noahic Covenant (in Genesis), which is between God and all living creatures, as well as a number of more specific covenants with Abraham, the whole Israelite people, the Israelite priesthood, and the Davidic lineage of kings. In form and terminology, these covenants echo the kinds of treaty agreements in the surrounding ancient world.
“The Book of Jeremiah, 31:30-33, say that Yahweh will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah… Students of the Bible hold wildly differing opinions as to how many major covenants exist (or did exist) between God and humanity, with numbers ranging from one to at least twelve… Some scholars classify only two…”
As we have explained in our free booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound”, as well as in this series of Q&As, the concept that there are only one or two covenants must be rejected. There were clearly multiple covenants between God and man in the Old Testament, in addition to the New Covenant which is described in the Old and in the New Testaments as well.
For example, we read about a covenant with day and night; a covenant with David and another covenant with Levi; a marriage covenant; and a covenant with Noah. We saw that God made several covenants with Abram or Abraham, in addition to covenants with Isaac and Jacob. He also made several covenants with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai and in Moab.
The fact that God speaks about “My covenant” in the singular in the Hebrew Bible has led to the wrong conclusion that there is only one covenant. However, when analyzing the covenants which God made, they are quite different in scope and nature, and some apply to us today, while others do not. For example, the covenant of circumcision is no longer in effect; and neither is the original covenant which God made with Israel at Mount Sinai (or which He made after Israel sinned in building a golden calf, or which He made with the new generation of Israel in Moab). On the other hand, His covenant with Abraham, and His covenant with Isaac, and His covenant with Jacob have great importance for us today insofar as they refer to the blessing through the Messiah, including the promise of eternal life and rule over the earth (thereby including aspects of the New Covenant), but are of limited significance for true Christians when addressing the physical blessings of the House of Israel (but they are of significant importance for the descendants of the House of Israel today).
The same can be said about His covenant with David—that he would always have a descendant sitting on his throne, ruling over at least one tribe of Israel. Insofar as his physical descendants are concerned, they are of limited significance for true Christians today (but they are of tremendous importance for the descendants of the house of David today), but as Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, will occupy David’s throne when He returns, God’s covenant with David is of incredible importance for all Christians [and the entire world] in this day and age.
When addressing the covenant which God made with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai, it only included physical blessings. Israel broke this covenant when building the golden calf, and as a consequence, Moses broke the tablets of the Ten Commandments, on which the covenant was based. So, the covenant was renewed, but Israel kept breaking it as well. The same is true for the covenant which God made with Israel in Moab. Even though God expected that the people would at least keep their commitment in a physical way—He knew of course that they were unable to do so in spiritual terms—they did not even abide by their promise to keep the covenants and the laws on which the covenants were based, in their physical application. That is why God pronounced that He would offer them and was willing to make a New Covenant with them, based on better promises, which would include forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to keep the spiritual laws of the Ten Commandments on which the New Covenant would be based, in a spiritual way. As true Christians, we are today spiritual Israelites, so we can live under the conditions of the New Covenant which will be fully established when Christ returns. (In passing, as we explained, God made another covenant with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai, pertaining to the weekly and annual Sabbaths. This covenant is still in full force and effect today and also includes true Christians—spiritual Israelites).
Jeremiah tells us in chapter 31 (see below) that people who are parties to the New Covenant have obtained, and can obtain, forgiveness of sin—something the previous covenants did not offer—and they can have spiritual understanding of God through the Holy Spirit given to them—again, something that was not offered to such an extent in previous covenants. Notice this additional prophecy regarding the New Covenant in Jeremiah 32:38–40: “They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” By the fear of God, one departs from evil (Proverbs 16:6). God’s Spirit will be living in those people, so that they will not practice the way of disobedience any longer.
As God draws a parallel in Jeremiah 31 between the covenant He made with the people of Israel in the day when He led them out of the land of Egypt, and the New Covenant which He promises to make with them after Christ’s return, many speak therefore of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. However, we must point out and will explain that the term “Old Covenant” is nowhere expressly used in the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible. And even in the New Testament, the term is only used on a very few occasions, depending on what translation from the Greek is being used, and in this regard, the context is commonly overlooked.
Still, as God made so many covenants with man, why does He not speak in the Hebrew Bible about covenants in the plural, but only refers to “My covenant” in the singular?
When addressing God’s covenants with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we stated the following in our first installment of this series:
“Even though God made covenants with Abraham, and then, because of the obedience of Abraham, He made a covenant with Isaac, and another one with Jacob (Leviticus 26:42), the Bible may sometimes speak about God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as the subject matter and the promises involved were the same. (The promises which God gave Abraham were the same as the promises which He gave Isaac and Jacob.) Still, God made individual covenants with Abraham and with Isaac and with Jacob, as the parties to the covenants were not identical.”
So, it is important to review the context and especially the subject matter to determine WHAT covenant God makes reference to. This is especially critical when analyzing the “Old” and the “New” Covenant.
For instance, we read in Jeremiah 31:31-33:
“‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,’ says the LORD. ‘But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’”
First, we should note that even though two covenants are mentioned the terms “Old Covenant” and “New Covenant” are not specifically used in this passage.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible gives the following explanation:
“‘Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers’… Meaning not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; but the ancestors of the Jews [Israelites] that came out of Egypt, as appears by what follows… That the Sinai covenant is intended is clear by the following circumstances:
“‘…in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt’; that is, immediately after their being brought out of Egypt, the covenant was made with them; see Exodus 19:1; at which time of their bringing out, the Lord took them by the hand, as being unable to deliver themselves, and to go out of themselves; which is expressive, as of their weakness, so of his power and goodness, kindness and tenderness to them; and is an aggravation of their ingratitude to him in breaking the covenant, made with them at such a time by the Lord, who was so kind and indulgent to them; and which is still more fully expressed in the following clause:
“‘…which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord’; they promised fair, but did not perform; their hearts were not right with God, nor were they steadfast in his covenant; though it was such a solemn transaction, and had the nature of a matrimonial contract; it was the day of their espousal; they were betrothed to the Lord, and he acted the part of a husband to them in nourishing and cherishing them in providing food and raiment for them; manna that continued with them, and clothes that waxed not old; and in protecting them from their enemies, and bringing them to a good settlement in the land of Canaan…”
So, from the context, the covenant God has reference to in Jeremiah 31, which was broken, was in fact the initial one made at Sinai, but it had to be renewed at Sinai (or a second covenant had to be made), since it was broken, and it was renewed again in Moab, as technically, the new generation had not as yet entered into the covenant relationship.
This passage of Jeremiah 31 is quoted in the New Testament in the Book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 8:1-13, we read:
“(1) Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, (2) a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. (3) For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. (4) For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; (5) who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’ (6) But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (8) Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—(9) not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. (10) For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (11) None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (12) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ (13) In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
Notice carefully: Nowhere do we read about the “old covenant.” Even the word “covenant” in verse 7 (in the phrase, “that first covenant”) was added by the translator and is not in the Geek (it simply says, “for if that first had been faultless”), but since verse 9 does speak about “the covenant” which God made when he brought Israel out of Egypt, it is clear that a covenant is being referred to (Note, however, verse 13, where the word “covenant” has also been added. The original Greek says: “In the saying, new, He has made old the first…”). But what exactly is the reference? The whole context speaks about the sacrificial system, human priests and the earthly tabernacle, which are being contrasted with Christ’s Sacrifice, His ministry and the heavenly Tabernacle. Paul is addressing here the fact that due to Christ’s Sacrifice, animal sacrifices are no longer required and have become obsolete.
Regardless, when God speaks about the covenant in the context of the letter to the Hebrews, quoting from Jeremiah, He uses the word “covenant” as an all-inclusive summary term, while really addressing the covenants He made with Israel at Mount Sinai and even in Moab, which were all interconnected and included the same subject matter and the same physical blessings (but NOT the Sabbaths covenant which was separate and distinct.) But when He says that the “first” was made “old”, He is not referring to the entirety of the law on which the covenant was based, but only to certain portions of it (the rituals and sacrifices).
To use the word “covenant” as a summary term for several covenants is not a unique phenomenon in the Bible; Scripture speaks many times of the Law or of Sin, as summary terms, including and referring to many laws or sinful actions.
It is also interesting to review Ephesians 2:12 where Paul says that in former days, Gentiles were strangers from the covenants of promise—clearly referring to more than just one covenant.
The Jamison-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary states: “The plural implies the several renewals of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with the whole people at Sinai.” Matthew Poole’s Commentary adds: “…those covenants in which the great promise of Christ and salvation by him was made. The covenants were several, as that with Abraham, and that by Moses, and differ in some accidents, but the promise in them was one and the same, which was the substance of each.” Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says: “The covenants of promise were those various arrangements which God made with his people, by which he promised them future blessings, and especially by which he promised that the Messiah should come. To be in possession of them was regarded as a high honor and privilege; and Paul refers to it here to show that, though the Ephesians had been by nature without these, yet they had now been brought to enjoy all the benefits of them.”
A similar explanation applies to Romans 9:4, where the plural form of covenants is mentioned as well, stating that “the covenants” pertain to the Israelites. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible comments: “The various compacts or promises which had been made from time to time with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with the nation; the pledges of the divine protection.” Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says: “Not the two tables of stone, but the several compacts made by God with Abraham and his descendants.” The Benson Commentary writes: “He says covenants, in the plural, also, because God’s covenant with his people was often and variously repeated.” Similar the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary: “‘the covenants of promise’ to which the Gentiles before Christ were ‘strangers’ (Eph 2:12); meaning the one covenant with Abraham in its successive renewals.”
Galatians 4:24 also speaks of covenants in the plural, but as we explain in our free booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Galatians,” the reference here is not to the “old” or “first” covenant made at the Mount of Sinai, and the New Covenant. We state the following:
“Most commentaries will tell you that Paul is addressing here the Old and the New Covenant, and conclude that the Old Covenant with all its laws has been abolished. However, Paul is not speaking here about the Old Covenant. Rather, he is describing in his allegory (verse 24) two ways of life—a ‘covenant’ with death and a ‘covenant’ with life. When we are in Christ, we are no longer under the penalty of the law. We are no longer in ‘bondage’ (verse 24) to death. We read in Isaiah 28:15, 18 that carnal people made a covenant with death, thinking they could escape death even though they lived wrongly. But we can only escape death through our acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice. Hagar’s son Ishmael was born according to the flesh. However, Sarah’s son Isaac was born according to promise, symbolizing, in this allegory, the gift of the Holy Spirit which would ultimately be in Isaac. Paul could not have talked here about the Old Covenant, because at the time of Hagar, the Old Covenant under Moses was not even made…
“Paul is describing in his allegory our spiritual battle, which goes on in our mind. God’s Spirit in us wars against our flesh. Our flesh ‘persecutes’ the Spirit of God and must therefore be cast out (compare James 4:4–5, 8; Romans 6:1–4; 8:5–9; and Colossians 2:11–13). Paul also points out, in verse 31, that we are no longer children of the bondwoman—children of bondage to death—if we let Christ live in us. It is Christ who sets us free from sin and death… Paul is not talking in verse 1 [of chapter 5] about the Old Covenant or even the sign or covenant of circumcision (Acts 7:8), because the Galatians had never been part of the Old Covenant, nor were they part of the covenant of circumcision—so they could not AGAIN be entangled with the ‘yoke of bondage.’ Rather, Paul continues his theme of addressing two ways of life. He explains that we must walk by the Spirit, which sets us free, not by the flesh, which brings us into bondage.
“… As we have to cast out the fleshly desires and our human nature, Abraham had to cast out the bondwoman and her son (Galatians 4:30). And why? Because the son of the bondwoman, who was born according to the flesh, persecuted the son of the freewoman, who was born according to the Spirit (verse 29). And Paul continues to allegorize by saying that this is also the case today (same verse)… God’s Spirit in us wars with our flesh. Paul said that he did not do what he wanted to do, but that he gave in at times to his flesh, following its desires (Romans 7:13–25). As our flesh ‘persecutes’ our Spirit-begotten minds, so we must cast out the flesh and its desires, including temptations which might originate with Satan or this world.”
Another confusion arises when in the New Testament, translators use the word “covenant” and the word “testament.” Only the context can determine which is the correct rendering, as in the Greek, the word for covenant is the same as the word for testament. The connection between covenant and testament is the concept of inheritance which we discuss more fully in the first part of our series, when quoting from our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound.”
In 2 Corinthians 3:14, we read in the New King James Bible that the minds of the Israelites, under Moses, were blinded, which was symbolized by the veil which Moses put over his face, and that the same veil remains uplifted “in the reading of the Old Testament.” Here, the translation of “testament” rather than “covenant” seems correct. Most older Bibles (English and German) use here [in 2 Corinthians 3:14] the word “Testament” even though newer Bibles use the word “covenant”. It makes sense to talk about reading of the Old Testament (compare Luke 24:44-45; see also Acts 15:21), but it would make little sense to speak about reading of the “old covenant”—also, because this term is never used anywhere else. Either way, the context in verse 15 indicates that only a portion of the Scriptures is meant. It says that when “Moses is read”, the “veil lies on their heart.” The reference to the veil on Moses’ face is to the two great massive stones on which the Book of Moses was written (verse 7). We discuss this in our booklet, “The Ten Commandments”, chapter 14.
Hebrews 9:15 speaks about Christ as the “Mediator of the new covenant… for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant.” The Authorized Version uses here the rendition “testament” in both cases. So does the old Luther Bible, whereas the newer Luther renditions use the word “covenant.” We see again that the choice of words is up to the translator and his interpretation. Actually, both renditions make sense here. The people sinned by breaking God’s covenant (the summary term for all the covenants He made with His people), and they also transgressed all the laws written in the Old Testament. Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant and also of everything written in the New Testament Scriptures which we can only understand when the mind and the Spirit of Christ are in us. And as our Mediator, He helps us to keep the law, and He appears in front of God the Father as our High Priest who understands the weaknesses of our flesh.
To conclude, we are quoting again from our free booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound”:
“The New Covenant is based on God’s law, just as all the other covenants were based on God’s law, and the New Covenant is not identical with God’s law, just as none of the other covenants were identical with God’s law. However, the New Covenant is not based on laws that God has decreed are no longer valid. The New Covenant is not based, for example, on the sacrificial system, the Levitical priesthood, and other rituals and washings. But it is important that we understand why those particular laws are no longer valid. Not, because the ‘Old Covenant’ was abolished, and with it all Old Testament laws. The concept that the ‘Old Covenant’ ended, and with it all the laws of the Old Testament, is WRONG, as a covenant is not identical with the law, but it is BASED on the law…
“… certain Old Testament laws are no longer binding because God tells us in the New Testament that they are no longer binding. Therefore, the covenants which God made with ancient Israel at Mount Sinai and in Moab are vanishing, because they were based, along with other laws, on ritual statutes and sacrificial regulations which are no longer valid today—and, of course, because Israel kept breaking the covenants…
“When analyzing His covenant with the Levitical priesthood, we find that He kept that contract alive, but He modified it, as the provisions or laws regarding the collection of tithes were changed. That right was transferred from the Levites to Christ. The remainder of the contract between God and the Levites, including the Levitical right to bring, and to eat from, the sacrifices, stayed in effect. As you will recall, it will be the Levites who will administer the sacrifices, which will be reestablished in Jerusalem for the Jews prior to Christ’s return (Daniel 12:11; 8:11-12), and at the beginning of the Millennium for unconverted people (Ezekiel 44:15, 29–30).
“When analyzing the covenants that God made with the ancient nation of Israel at Mount Sinai and in Moab, God did away with those covenants [except for the Sabbaths covenant with Israel, which remains in force and effect], as too many laws on which those covenants had been based, had become obsolete. Also, God wanted to make a new covenant that would include additional promises that were never a part of the previous covenants with the nation of Israel. So, God abolished the previous covenants with the nation of Israel because certain laws on which the covenants were based were changed or abolished.”
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“We Are in a Recession Now!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
We are experiencing terrible economic times, and we are told that things will get worse. The “solutions” offered by our government, if any, are failing miserably. Is there hope to see an end to this total misery and disaster?
“Will Israel Attack Iran?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
The possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran exists. Why do we say this? And what would be the consequences for Israel?
“Wird Israel den Iran angreifen?” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program presented by Norbert Link. This program covers the same topic in German as described above in English.
“HABEN WIR EINE UNSTERBLICHE SEELE?”, a new German booklet translated from our English version, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”, has been sent to Germany for printing.
“Warum der Prediger Salomo missverstanden wird” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Why the Book of Ecclesiastes Is Misunderstood.”
“Die Grundfesten Gottes,” the sermon presented last Sabbath in Germany by Thilo Hanstein, is now posted. Title in English: “The Foundations of God.”
“Himmel und Hölle für immer?”, the sermonette presented last Sabbath in Germany by Tahir Coban, is now posted. Title in English: “Heaven and Hell forever?”
“The Silver Suitcase,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Brian Gale, is now posted. Here is a summary:
This message shows how a mistake that was made can be turned into a very good learning experience in not taking the truth for granted.
“Rumors, Fake News and the Truth,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
All of us are potential victims of fake news, false reports and rumors. We are confronted with them everywhere—including and especially in regard to the teachings of the Bible, but we also find them in the worldly mass media and the propaganda of the lying press. Why do so many believe rumors and false reports so quickly? And how can we distinguish between what is true and what is false?
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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