|Live Services||A Short History of Christmas Observance / Why Is Jerusalem Important?|
|Editorial||The Father Knows|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Who are the Hagrites today?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
A Short History of Christmas Observance / Why Is Jerusalem Important?
On December 24, 2022, Paul Niehoff will present the sermonette, titled, “A Short History of Christmas Observance,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Why Is Jerusalem Important?”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
The Father Knows
by Dave Harris
Do you ever have doubts about your prayers to the point you don’t know what to say?
Jesus made an amazing point for us when He taught about how we are to pray, and this is what He said, “‘…For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him’” (Matthew 6:8). He also taught: “‘Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things’” (Matthew 6:31-32).
God knows what we need, but we still must ask—that is, pray about it:
“‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened… If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’” (Matthew 7:7-8, 11).
Although the Father knows what we need before we ask, we also must believe that He will answer us when we pray. We must learn to rely upon the Father and that requires faith, as Hebrews 11, verse 6, reveals: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Do you want to have great faith? Believe God! Jesus stated, “‘Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them’” (Mark 11:24).
The most vital key for us when we pray is that we always seek God’s Will:
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Don’t be wishy-washy when you pray! Come before God with confidence, and present your requests in the way that Jesus did. When Jesus struggled with the fact that He was about to die to pay the price for mankind’s sins, He went so far as to ask the Father to release Him from what He knew He was about to suffer: “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will’” (Mark 14:36).
We can grow in faith by learning what the Will of the Father is: we can find that in His Word; we can learn the Will of the Father through the Church of God and the Ministry; and, we can come to deeply understand the Will of the Father by receiving His Holy Spirit.
No matter what we face in this life, we can pray about it—completely trusting that the Father knows exactly what we need!
We begin with reporting on further shocking and appalling revelations regarding the collaboration between the FBI and Twitter to suppress true stories, including the Hunter Biden laptop story, while the FBI was using ex-FBI general counsel Jim Baker for their purposes and paying Twitter over 3 Million Dollars “in exchange for devoting staff hours ‘processing requests from the FBI.’” Demands are getting louder to totally dismantle the FBI, which is being viewed by some as incurably corrupt. The FBI issued a “justification” for their conduct related to Twitter which is even more troublesome and frightening.
At the same time, hypocritical Europe threatens Elon Musk, claiming to be concerned about his restoration of free speech on Twitter. In this regard, “the long criminalization of speech in countries like France, Germany, and England” is being discussed.
We address the controversy regarding Title 42, pertaining to the “influx of migrants” “along the U.S. Mexico border”; and speak on the truly bi-partisan decision by Congress to abandon the Coronavirus vax mandate for the military, with the hope that all COVID vax mandates (including for healthcare workers and foreign visitors) will also be abandoned soon.
We continue with the recommendation of the falsely so-claimed “bi-partisan” House January 6 Committee to the Department of Justice to file criminal charges against Donald Trump. Many feel that this Committee, consisting of Trump-haters, has been a sham-and-a-farce “investigation” from the outset and throughout its existence and that it has been rightly described as a Kangaroo Court; and legal experts explain that the Committee’s “recommendation” has no legal relevance whatsoever. This Committee, which should have never existed in the first place, will be dissolved on January 3.
We report on the willingness of Democrats and Republicans to flagrantly violate the Law of God; the miserable condition of Germany’s army, mainly due to the incompetence of both major parties (the CDU and the SPD); the recommendation of Hungary to dissolve the European Parliament; Russia’s intent to enlarge its military by 30%; reactions to Ukrainian President Zelensky’s visit to Washington; riots in Jordan; and we conclude with the Vatican’s controversial dismissal of a popular pro-life American priest and some interesting comments by Pope Francis.
Regarding Washington’s desperate attempt to avoid a partial governmental shutdown, please view our new StandingWatch program, “The Omnibus Bill—An Insane Way to Run the Country.” riots in Jordan; and we conclude with the Vatican’s controversial dismissal of a popular pro-life American priest.
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
The FBI’s Inappropriate Conduct in the Twitter Scandal
The New York Post wrote on December 19:
“The FBI reimbursed Twitter to the tune of more than $3 million as it pushed the social media company to ban accounts and target so-called ‘foreign influence’ operations, the latest installment of the ‘Twitter Files’ revealed on Monday.
“In an email dated Feb. 10, 2021, an unidentified Twitter employee told then-deputy general counsel Jim Baker and then-general counsel Sean Edgett that ‘we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019! The email, published by independent journalist Michael Shellenberger, explained that Twitter’s Safety, Content & Law Enforcement (SCALE) division had instituted a ‘reimbursement program’ in exchange for devoting staff hours to ‘processing requests from the FBI.’
“The message added that Twitter had opted not to exercise its right of reimbursement prior to October 2019, though it did not say why… The reports by Shellenberger and fellow independent journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss, have revealed extensive collaboration and employee overlap between Twitter and the FBI, who Taibbi reported last week treated the social media company as a ‘subsidiary’ and repeatedly reported supposed ‘misinformation.’
“In the sixth installment of the Twitter Files, published Friday, Taibbi revealed that the bureau was so aggressive in sending Twitter ‘possible violative content’ to review that an employee described one set of materials as a ‘monumental undertaking’ that required several colleagues to pitch in and help.
“In some cases, Shellenberger noted, Twitter would probe cases presented by the bureau but come up empty, not finding evidence of a foreign influence campaign… ‘Time and again, FBI asks Twitter for evidence of foreign influence & Twitter responds that they aren’t finding anything worth reporting,’ Shellenberger writes. The FBI also made repeated requests for internal data from Twitter that the social media company refused to send over, citing privacy concerns.
“As recently as August 2022, Twitter continued to work with the FBI, which pressured the company to disclose more sensitive information. Baker and Edgett were fired after billionaire Elon Musk bought the social network in October.”
Has the USA become an autocratic dictatorship?
How the FBI and Twitter Suppressed the Hunter Biden Laptop Story
The Daily Mail wrote on December 20:
“Jim Baker, Twitter’s top lawyer and ex-FBI general counsel, personally intervened to say it [the Hunter Biden laptop story] should be banned. Baker told Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security, that the laptop story should be blocked – a day after getting a top secret briefing from his former FBI colleagues… Baker’s shameless attempts to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story – which has since been proven to be accurate – where also shared by Shellenberger.
“Monday’s Twitter Files release also showed that so many ex-FBI staffers had joined the social media network, there was now a private Slack channel set up just for them… the latest batch of Twitter files have sparked concerns about what else those former government operatives may have been up to.
“The most recent ‘Twitter Files’ also revealed how an FBI official-turned Twitter lawyer sent a letter thanking the Bureau for its help suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story…
“Baker became involved… because he had previously held top secret security clearance during his work for the FBI – during which he had been involved in one of the Bureau’s investigations into Donald Trump… Once Baker was given clearance [by the FBI]… the FBI fed him information intended to influence… Twitter executives into believing that the [Hunter Biden] laptop story was hacked… Hours after The Post published their laptop story the next day, it was almost immediately censored by Twitter and thus undermined in the public eye. The files showed that… Hunter Biden was earning millions in foreign business dealings…”
The conduct of the FBI has been appalling. It might also have been illegal. Notice the next article.
Dismantle the FBI
Ron Paul wrote in his weekly column, which was published by the Ron Paul Institute, on December 19:
“As we learn more and more from the ‘Twitter Files,’ it is becoming all too obvious that Federal agencies such as the FBI viewed the First Amendment of our Constitution as an annoyance and an impediment. In Friday’s release from the pre-Musk era, journalist Matt Taibbi makes an astute observation: Twitter was essentially an FBI subsidiary.
“The FBI, we now know, was obsessed with Twitter. We learned that agents sent Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth some 150 emails between 2020 and 2022. Those emails regularly featured demands from US government officials for the ‘private’ social media company to censor comments and ban commenters they did not like.
“The Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), a US government entity that included the FBI as well as other US intelligence agencies expressly forbidden from domestic activities, numbered 80 agents engaged regularly in telling Twitter which Tweets to censor and which accounts to ban. The Department of Homeland Security brought in outside government contractors and (government-funded) non-governmental organizations to separately pressure Twitter to suppress speech the US government did not like.
“US Federal government agencies literally handed Twitter lists of Americans it wanted to see silenced, and Twitter complied. Let that sink in.
“This should be a massive scandal… As Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley wrote over the weekend, a new Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll found that even though the mainstream media has ignored the ‘Twitter files,’ Americans have not. Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that Twitter was involved in politically-motivated censorship in advance of the 2020 election. Some 70 percent of those polled believe Congress must take action against this corporate/state censorship.
“As Professor Turley points out, although the First Amendment only applies to the US government, ‘it does apply to agents or surrogates of the government. Twitter now admits that such a relationship existed between its former officials and the government.’ So now we have proof that the FBI (along with US intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security) have been acting through ‘private’ social media companies to manipulate what Americans are allowed to say when they communicate with each other. Is there anything more un-American than that? Personally, I find it sickening.
“We do not need the FBI and CIA and other federal agencies viewing us as the enemy and attacking our Constitution… End the Federal Bureau of Investigation!”
A demand which should be considered. But it won’t happen. Apart from the Democratic opposition to such a move, even too many House and Senate Republicans are unwilling to entertain that possibility.
The FBI “Responds”
Newsmax wrote on December 21:
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation defended itself following a slew of accusations levied against it by journalists releasing Elon Musk’s Twitter files… In a Wednesday statement, the agency suggested reporters Matt Taibbi, Lee Fang, and Bari Weiss, as well as author Michael Shellenberger, were ‘conspiracy theorists’ in their threads exposing internal Twitter documents. ‘The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding, and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries,’ the statement read.
“The FBI further argued its tips from agents to Twitter employees provided ‘critical information’ to the social media platform to protect themselves and their customers… It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency,’ it added.”
The FBI’s “defense” is even more troublesome, as the underlined sentences prove.
Europe Threatens Musk
The Ron Paul Institute published the following article by Professor Turley on December 17:
“I was struck by the European Union (EU) rushing into the controversy to threaten, again, sanctions against Musk.. We have been discussing efforts by figures like Hillary Clinton to enlist European countries to force Twitter to restore censorship rules… Clinton and others are resorting to good old-fashioned state censorship, even asking other countries to censor the speech of American citizens. It is an easy case to make given the long criminalization of speech in countries like France, Germany, and England.
“The EU responded immediately by threatening Musk that restoring free speech could result in immediate sanctions or an entire ban. Now, EU commissioner Vera Jourova warned that the EU’s Digital Services Act was preparing to act to defend press freedom…
“Jourova’s self-righteous tirade was almost comical given the EU’s long-standing attacks on free speech and silence of prior media suspensions… Where was Jourova and the EU when Twitter was aggressively suspending media like the New York Post for publishing the true story of Hunter Biden’s laptop? How about the slew of conservative writers and experts barred for questioning official accounts on issues ranging from Covid to climate change?
“Not surprisingly, the EU is threatening to use the unprecedented anti-free speech law recently passed by the body… [This is] a roadmap for state censorship on the Internet. It is the Western embrace of Chinese style speech controls on the Internet…”
And it will only get much worse in Europe.
Title 42 Stays, Pending Further Order
Fox News wrote on December 19:
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked an order that would lift Title 42, the pandemic-era health policy that has been used to deter migrants more than 2.5 million times. The order Monday by Chief Justice John Roberts comes as cities along the U.S. Mexico border have been scrambling to prepare for an expected influx of migrants in anticipation of Title 42’s end. Earlier Monday, 19 states had asked the high court for an emergency stay that would keep Title 42 in place. In the one-page order, Chief Justice Roberts granted a stay pending further order…
“El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico on Sunday were preparing for a surge of as many as 5,000 new migrants a day in anticipation of Title 42’s expiration… Immigration advocates sued to stop the use of Title 42 to limit who can apply for asylum, saying that the policy goes against American and international obligations to people fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution…”
This controversy won’t end any time soon.
No More Vaccine Mandates for Members of U.S. Military
Breitbart wrote on December 16:
“Members of the U.S. military deserve ‘healthcare freedom,’ Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said on Thursday following the Senate approving the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which repeals the military vaccine mandate enforced under the Biden administration. The Senate on Thursday passed the NDAA — it saw overwhelming bipartisan support with a 83-11 vote — which repeals the military vaccine mandate…
“Lawmakers on the House side, while celebrating the end of the vaccine mandate on members of the military, are also warning that it does not go far enough... Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has… called for further action, demanding the end of ‘all COVID vax mandates’ remaining across the board:… ‘The military COVID vaccine mandate will end! Page 407 & 408 of NDAA text just released. Next steps: end all COVID vax mandates (healthcare workers and foreign visitors), and reinstate all members of military wrongfully terminated due to vax.’
“After passing both the House and Senate, the NDAA now heads to President Biden’s desk.”
The TSA will announce on or before January 8 whether to uphold or abolish the current vaccination mandate for tourists entering the USA.
The House Committee Urges DOJ to Charge Trump Criminally
The Associated Press wrote on December 19:
“The House Jan. 6 committee urged the Justice Department on Monday to bring criminal charges against Donald Trump for the violent 2021 Capitol insurrection, calling for accountability for the former president… the committee alleged violations of four criminal statutes by Trump, in both the run-up to the riot and during the insurrection itself…
“The panel… will dissolve on Jan. 3 with the new Republican-led House…
“House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California… decided not to participate after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected some of his appointments. That left an opening for two anti-Trump Republicans in the House — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — to join seven Democrats... The committee members said that full accountability can only be found in the criminal justice system. ‘No one should get a pass,’ said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.”
Schiff is one to talk. Note that the Wall Street Journal had published the following article on May 22, 2020:
“In the good old days if a member of Congress was caught in a major lie, knowingly misleading Congress and the American public, there were consequences. His own party would denounce him, the electorate would surely vote him out of office but perhaps he would resign in disgrace beforehand. But not today.
“Rep. Adam Schiff was playing to the base with a calculated lie, cheered on by fellow party members and supported by most of the media. He is a hero—to some. There are not, nor will there be, consequences for him. How times have changed. Any wonder the approval rating of Congress is at such an abysmally low rating?”
No Legal Relevance of a “Political Stunt”
Fox News wrote on December 19:
“The committee’s unprecedented criminal referral holds no official legal weight, and a final determination in whether to pursue the charges will be up to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department.
“The committee also referred several GOP House lawmakers Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Scott Perry, R-Pa., to the House Ethics Committee for not complying with subpoenas.
“A spokesperson for Jordan responded to the committee’s referral in statement to Fox News: ‘This is just another partisan and political stunt made by a Select Committee that knowingly altered evidence, blocked minority representation on a Committee for the first time in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives, and failed to respond to Mr. Jordan’s numerous letters and concerns surrounding the politicization and legitimacy of the Committee’s work.’”
Of course, this entire Committee consisting of Trump-haters has been a sham and a farce all along.
Newsmax wrote on December 19:
“… it’s unconstitutional for members of Congress to recommend prosecution for anyone, making the committee’s determination a ‘worthless piece of paper,’ Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said… not only should the DOJ reject the committee’s recommendation, but it should reprimand the committee for referring the former president to face charges, said Dershowitz.
“However, Dershowitz said he hopes for a reprimand, but he does not think that will happen, even if he does expect that the DOJ won’t take the recommendation seriously. ‘The Justice Department will say [to] Congress, Look we process, we investigate,’ said Dershowitz. ‘Don’t tell us who to investigate and who to prosecute. You had a kangaroo hearing. One-sided. You didn’t allow a cross-examination. You didn’t allow any adverse witnesses, so don’t expect us to take seriously any recommendations. You made a bad prosecution, so the American public should make no conclusions based on this one-sided recommendation and it should ignore it as well.’”
That is what the DOJ should say. We doubt that it will say that.
Pelosi’s Kangaroo Court
Newsmax wrote in a related article, on December 19:
“Former President Donald Trump’s campaign blasted the House Jan. 6 select committee on Monday for being a ‘Kangaroo court’ that ‘makes a mockery of democracy.’… When creating the committee in 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flouted House rules by not allowing the House Republican leadership to select their members. ‘Nancy Pelosi refused to accept two Republican members (Jim Banks and Jim Jordan) for the January 6th select committee,’ Trump’s statement read.
“Instead, Pelosi and her committee itself selected the Republicans, picking Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., both among Trump’s biggest GOP detractors… Cheney was so zealous in her efforts to ‘get Trump,’ the Washington Post reported, that at least 15 former and current committee staff members suppressed other key findings in the final report…
“In revelations made by the House Committee…, no evidence has been provided to the public that indicated Trump or his top aides orchestrated or encouraged the protests at the Capitol. But significant evidence, including text messages from top White House officials, Trump family members, and other close supporters, showed that the protests caught the president and his inner circle completely by surprise.”
All of this is truly shameful and unworthy of the USA—or any supposedly free democratic nation.
Democrats and Republicans in Opposition to the Law of God
Life Site News published on December 20 the following editorial by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America:
“A large scandal has been created, as well as discouragement, upon learning the news of the gala event hosted by President Donald J. Trump for openly homosexual supporters of the Republican Party. This endorsement of LGBT ideology is even more serious if one considers that, only two days previously, Joe Biden signed the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ which recognizes the legal validity of so-called homosexual marriages in the United States, in violation of the Natural Law and also the Law of God.
“The Democratic Party is totally anti-Christian and obstinately determined to implement the globalist agenda of the New World Order. On the other hand, the Republican Party is recklessly pursuing a minority of voters who are indulging in lifestyles that are contrary to the Commandments and to the common good. American Catholics find themselves today in the impossible situation of being represented by a political class that is revealing itself to be completely incapable of representing and expressing Catholic convictions in moral and religious matters. This causes voters to become disaffected, which is added to electoral fraud and scandals that are emerging about media censorship and the manipulation of electoral consensus.
“Up until now, certain aspects of the political platform of the Republican Party were able to be overlooked to some extent due to the much more serious threat embodied by the Democratic Party. But it is now evident that the action of the deep state has contaminated the entire political elite without distinction, even involving Donald Trump, who up until now seemed to be a source of hope for the future of the United States.
“A nation that offends the Law of God cannot hope to be blessed by the Lord, and those who support sinful lifestyles ought to think of the Judgment that awaits them rather than pleasing those who are corrupt in a calculated effort to win votes. This nonchalance in political action by Republicans is no less harmful than the open opposition to the perennial Magisterium of the Church on the part of Democrats.”
This world is thoroughly in the hands of Satan the Devil.
Germany’s Disastrous Military
Deutsche Welle wrote on December 19:
“The German military faced yet another PR disaster on Monday after reports emerged over the weekend that a training exercise involving one of its key weapons, the Puma tank, left not a single one operational. The conservative opposition was quick to jump on the news as supposed evidence of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s mismanagement of the Bundeswehr, particularly under the control of Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. ‘It’s a nightmare,’ Christian Democrat (CDU) parliamentary group leader Johann Wadephul told German public broadcaster ARD. ‘The Puma is supposed to be a main weapon system of the German army. And if the Puma is not operational, then the army is not operational.’…
“The new debacle comes on top of several alarming headlines in the German media recently about the state of the country’s military. These suggested the Bundeswehr only has enough ammunition for two days of intense fighting — a figure apparently leaked by unnamed sources in defense circles. If this is true (and such information cannot be confirmed, as it is a state secret), German ammunition supplies are well below the standards expected by NATO, which requires each member to have 30 days’ worth of ammunition. To make up that shortfall alone, defense experts say Germany needs to invest another €20 to €30 billion.
“The state of the Bundeswehr’s hardware has long been a topic of concern: There have been several stories in recent years about tanks and helicopters that needed repairing, rifles that fail in hot weather and soldiers having to train in the cold without thermal underwear.
“Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a ‘Zeitenwende’ (turning of the times) which was hailed as a sea-change in the country’s approach to foreign policy and military strategy.
“To prove he meant it, Scholz announced an increase in the annual defense budget, making it the largest in all of Europe, as well as a €100 billion ($112.7 billion) one-off ‘special fund’ to modernize the military. Nine months later, some are wondering where that mountain of money is… Rafael Loss, a defense analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)… says Germany lacks a sense of urgency in reacting to the geopolitical implications of Russia’s attack on Ukraine…
“NATO partners in northeastern Europe have already expressed concern that Germany is not a military partner to rely on in a crisis. At a conference in Berlin in late October, Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks asked his European colleagues, ‘We’re prepared to die, are you?’ Addressing the Germans specifically, he said, ‘A lot will depend on the military power of your country, and, I’m sorry, your military power is currently not there.’…
“Germany has signed a deal to buy 35 American-made F-35 fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of Tornados, at a cost of €200 million each. But it will take until 2027 before these are ready for use… Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended everything. The stories about Germany’s ammunition shortages emerged partly because questions were raised about maintaining supplies for the weapons Germany is sending to Ukraine. ‘We need roughly 15 times more ammunition to ensure a sustained supply of ammunition for the weapons provided to Ukraine, while rebuilding the German armed forces at the scope required,’ said [defense analyst] Loss.
“But there are also underlying long-term issues. In the past few decades, the Bundeswehr has sold off many of its Cold War-era storage bunkers — meaning that even if it did have the NATO-stipulated 30 days’ worth of ammunition, the military would be struggling to find anywhere to keep it.
“For that reason, defense analyst Loss thinks the criticism from the opposition conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) sounds hollow. ‘Things weren’t different for the last 16 years when the CDU was in power,’ he said. ‘It’s funny seeing the SPD and the CDU blaming each other for the sad state of the German armed forces, but I think both share roughly equal blame.’”
That is why the current political system in Germany with all its incompetent leaders will be replaced soon with a charismatic dictator—the “beast” of the Bible—with horrible consequences for the entire world.
Hungary for Dissolution of EU Parliament
Radio Free Europe wrote on December 21:
“Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose right-wing nationalist government has been targeted by corruption accusations and criticized for backsliding on the rule of law, on December 21 accused the European Union of ‘Hungarophobia’ and pointed the finger at the scandal-ridden European Parliament, calling for its dissolution…
“One of the European Parliament’s vice presidents earlier this month was charged in connection with allegations of bribery by soccer World Cup host Qatar. ‘The swamp should be drained,’ Orban said, using a phrase first coined by former U.S. President Donald Trump, a close Orban ally… ‘What the EU is doing today is a few rule-of-law people trying to impose their will on a few countries,’ Orban said.
“Orban is widely considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest EU ally and has repeatedly claimed that sanctions prompted by Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine have caused more damage to European economies than to Russia.”
The irony is, Europe WILL change in that ten nations or groups of nations will emerge, leading to a total autocracy and dictatorship.
Russia To Increase Military By More Than 30 %
France 24 wrote on December 21:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin supported a proposal by [the] Defence Minister to boost the Russian military by more than 30% on Wednesday… ‘It is necessary to increase the number of armed troops to 1.5 million servicemen, including 695,000 contract soldiers,’ Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian President Vladimir Putin…
“Shoigu also proposed raising the age range for mandatory Russian military service to 21-30, compared to 18-27 at the moment.”
The military buildup by Russia, China and other Far Eastern nations will lead to a powerful collaboration between those nations, called in the Bible the “kings of the East.”
Russia Fumes After Zelenskyy’s Visit
Deutsche Welle wrote on December 22:
“Moscow on Thursday denounced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington claiming that it showed Kyiv was ‘not ready for peace.’ Zelenskyy met with US President Joe Biden on Wednesday and addressed Congress in his first official trip outside of Ukraine since Russia launched the war in February.
“Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow regretted that neither Biden nor Zelenskyy said ‘even a few words that could be perceived as potential readiness to listen to Russia’s concerns.’
“Biden announced on Wednesday that the US would provide Kyiv with an additional security aid of $1.85 billion (€1.737 billion), including the Patriot air defense system. Peskov said that this signaled that the US was ‘continuing its line of de facto fighting an indirect war with Russia to the last Ukrainian,’ adding that the Patriot missile would not deter Russia from achieving its goals in Ukraine.
“In a statement issued by the Russian Embassy in the US on Thursday, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov’s [said]: ‘What was essentially announced […] was the need to continue the ‘proxy war’ against our country’…
“The Russian envoy said the US supplying weapons to Ukraine was ‘deeply disturbing.’ He added that Moscow stressed that ‘the provocative actions by the US are steadily leading to an escalation, the consequences of which cannot even be imagined.’”
Tucker Carlson Bashes Biden Over Zelensky’s Visit
Express wrote on December 22:
“Tucker Carlson (Fox News) … bashed Biden for refusing to ‘specify’ the details of what winning conditions would look like for the administration… [He asked:] ‘Push the Russian Army back to pre-invasion borders? That sounds reasonable, that’s what most Americans likely assume, those still paying attention…
“‘But that is not what Zelensky means, it is not what he is asking for, Zelensky is demanding regime change in Russia… What happens if he wins? What does the ensuing chaos look like? Who secures the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons? Strangely those questions didn’t come up today… The point was to fawn over the Ukrainian [leader] and hand him billions more dollars from our own crumbling economy.’”
Riots Break Out in Jordan
Israel Today wrote on December 21:
“In recent days, violent demonstrations in the Kingdom of Jordan have been expanding, leading to, among other things, fatalities in the security forces. Escalating fuel prices have triggered the current spate of violence… truck and taxi drivers went on strike and demonstrated in the streets of the kingdom. Many Jordanians joined them. They burned tires and blocked roads. The Jordanian government opened an emergency command center to monitor and deal with the crisis, and a decision was taken to expand the Jordanian army’s forces in the south of the kingdom to prevent further demonstrations…
“The riots climaxed Friday, when one of the patrols sent to suppress the protesters came under fire. Jordanian TV officially reported the death of Ma’an’s deputy police chief, Lt. Col. Dr. Abdel-Razzaq Al-Dalba… In response to violent incidents, the Jordanian government announced that it had taken steps to block some social media countrywide.”
At the same time, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he has been able to form a right-wing and extremely conservative government, which is bound to clash with Jordan and other Middle Eastern nations. JTA wrote on December 21:
“Netanyahu hasn’t officially signed any coalition deals yet with other parties (he has until 48 hours before the new government is seated Jan. 2 to do so), and some of his expected new partners are first demanding new legislation that has been delayed until after coalition talks.”
Vatican Defrocks Pro-Life Priest
Newsmax wrote on December 18:
“The Vatican has defrocked Father Frank Pavone — who has been described as ‘the most vocal Catholic priest in America for the pro-life movement’ — in a move that has shocked Church conservatives… [The] priest [was stripped] of his religious title and powers, returning him to the laity with no official status in the Church.
“The letter [of the Vatican] alleges that Pavone was guilty of ‘persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop’ and ‘blasphemous communications on social media.’ The letter doesn’t spell out what the disobedient acts Pavone had engaged in, or identify the ‘blasphemous communications,’ but supporters of Pavone were quick to come to his defense.
“‘The blasphemy is that this holy priest is canceled while an evil president promotes the denial of truth & the murder of the unborn at every turn,’ Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas wrote on his Twitter account Saturday. ‘Vatican officials promote immorality & denial of the deposit of faith & priests promote gender confusion devastating lives…,’ Bishop Strickland continued…
“Pavone has come under fire in the past over his statements in support of former President Donald Trump and actions he has taken as a leader in the pro-life movement…
“Pope [Francis’s] decision to laicize Pavone appears to be part of a wider effort to undermine the Church’s traditional stand to protect the unborn…”
Reuters wrote on December 18:
“The [Vatican’s] letter… says Pavone will not be allowed to appeal… After Trump lost to Joe Biden in 2020, Pavone was among Trump supporters who questioned the validity of the elections…
“In a one hour, 40 minute video on Sunday… he said: ‘I’m never going to leave the priesthood.’”
The ongoing conflict between liberals and conservatives within the Catholic Church may ultimately lead to an “explosion.”
The Elegant Demon in the Vatican
The Daily Mail wrote on December 22:
“The Pope told Vatican staff to beware the ‘elegant demon’ that lurks in self-righteous Catholics in his traditional Christmas speech. Francis used his annual Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia to again put the cardinals, bishops and priests who work in the Holy See on notice that they are particularly vulnerable to evil. Pope Francis has long used the annual speech as a chance to rebuke bureaucrats in an examination of conscience to help them repent before Christmas.
“Francis told attendees that by living in the heart of the Catholic Church, ‘we could easily fall into the temptation of thinking we are safe, better than others, no longer in need of conversion.’ ‘Yet we are in greater danger than all others, because we are beset by the ‘elegant demon’, who does not make a loud entrance, but comes with flowers in his hand,’ Francis told the churchmen…
“Francis appeared to also want to take broader aim in this year’s speech at arch-conservatives and traditionalists who have become his biggest critics. Francis blasted their way of living the faith, insisting that being Catholic doesn’t mean following a never-changing set of strict rules… Some have even gone so far as to accuse him of heresy for some of his gestures and preaching, including allowing ‘pagan’ statues in the Vatican.
“Francis dedicated the bulk of his speech this year to the need to be vigilant about the work of the devil… He told the Vatican bureaucrats it’s not enough to merely condemn evil or root it out, since it often comes back in different guises, stronger than before. Francis used the term ‘we’ repeatedly, suggesting he includes himself among those in the Vatican who must remain mindful of the devil in their midst… ‘That is how these elegant demons are: they enter smoothly, without our even being conscious of them.’…”
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.
Who are the Hagrites today?
Confusion exists as to who the Hagrites were, and where they could be found today. Some suggest that they are living in Syria today; others claim that they were Egyptians and are living in Egypt. Others even claim that the Hagrites are the ancestors of the modern Hungarians. And then there are those who say that the Hagrites are Ishmaelites or Saudi Arabians. What does the Bible say?
We find an interesting end-time prophecy, mentioning the Hagrites in Psalm 83:1-8, where we read the following:
“A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, And do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, And consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah…”
Some translations say “Hagarites” or “Hagarenes” for “Hagrites.”
We say on page 16 of our free booklet, “Germany in Prophecy” that they were “originally cattle breeding nomads in East Canaan.”
The above-quoted prophecy in Psalm 83 mentions the Ishmaelites as part of the anti-Israel confederacy. Ishmael, the ancestor of the Ishmaelites, is according to Jewish and Christian tradition the ancestor of the Arabic peoples. Jerome stated that in his time, they called the districts of Arabia by the names of the Ishmaelite tribes mentioned in the Bible.
In our Q&A, we wrote this:
“The last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire and the powerful military leader (the beast) will cause the Great Tribulation. Just prior to that time, they will begin, at first, to temporarily collaborate, to an extent, with Arab nations (including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan) and Turkey in their common goal of destroying ‘Israel’ (Psalm 83:1-8). This collaboration might not endure until the return of Christ…
“To interject, the collaborating nations mentioned in Psalm 83 are Ishmaelites—the kingdom of Saudi Arabia—as well as other Arabic tribes, such as the Hagrites, who will enter into an anti-Israeli confederacy with nations such as Edom (Turkey); Moab (parts of Jordan and perhaps Iraq); Ammon (Jordan); Amalek (perhaps today violent groups like the PLO); Philistia (Palestinians); Lot (Jordan); and, most noteworthy, Assyria or modern-day Germany. These are some of the nations which will ‘escape’ the hands of the beast. Daniel 11:41 says: ‘… these shall escape from his hands: Edom (Turkey), Moab (Jordan and Iraq), and the prominent people of Ammon (Jordan).’
“At the same time, we are also informed in Daniel 11:42 and 43 that ‘the land of Egypt shall not escape… also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.’
“How do we have to understand the phrase, ‘…shall follow at his heels’? Since Libya will be allied with Egypt at that time… and since Egypt will be overthrown by Assyria, it appears that Libyans and Ethiopians will also be overthrown and become captives of the Assyrians. In any event, they will all be subject to modern Assyria, either because of volition or compulsion.”
Of particular interest for this Q&A is the identity of the “Hagrites.” We are informed that the Hagrites were mentioned and described as Arab tribes by the Greek geographers Strabo and Ptolemy and by Pliny, the Roman.
We said this in our Q&A, “What does the Bible say about Saudi Arabia?”, in making further statements about the Hagrites and also their reference in Palm 83:
“Ishmael had twelve sons—among them Ishmael’s second-born son, Kedar (‘powerful’); Dumah (‘silence’; compare Isaiah 21:11; Joshua 15:52); Naphish (‘numerous’); Tema (‘sun burnt’); and Jetur. The Bible, when addressing the descendants of Ishmael, sometimes refers to Ishmael, sometimes to Ishmael’s second-born son Kedar (synonymously used in Scripture with Ishmael); sometimes to Ishmael’s mother Hagar; sometimes to any of the other above-quoted names of Ishmael’s sons; and sometimes simply to ‘Arabia’ (‘wilderness’) or ‘Arabians.’ Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible explains that ‘Arabia today consists mainly of Saudi Arabia. However, it also includes the two Yemens, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and the Sinai peninsula.’
“The Bible describes the relationship between Israel or Judah and Ishmael and his descendants mostly as a hostile one. We read in 1 Chronicles 5:19 that the sons of Reuben, the Gadites and half of the tribe of Manasseh made war with some of Ishmael’s descendants, i.e., the Hagrites, Jetur, and Naphish [as well as Nodab].
“1 Chronicles 5:10, 19-20 tells us that King Saul made war with the Hagrites, who are, as mentioned, the descendants of Hagar, the mother of Ishmael (The margin of the New King James Bible confirms that the Hagrites are descendants of Hagar.)…”
“We also read, in Psalm 83:6 that Ishmaelites—the kingdom of Saudi Arabia—as well as other Arabic tribes, such as the Hagrites, will enter into an anti-Israeli confederacy…”
That the Hagrites, mentioned in Psalm 83, seem to be descendants of Ishmael’s mother Hagar, the Egyptian maid servant of Sara, is also the opinion of many commentaries.
The Benson Commentary says:
“And the Ishmaelites — Some of the posterity of Ishmael, called by their father’s name, as others of them are supposed by many to be called Hagarenes, from their grandmother Hagar.”
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible adds:
“The Hagarenes were properly Arabs, so called from Hagar, the handmaid of Abraham, the mother of Ishmael. Genesis 16:1; Genesis 25:12. As connected with the Ishmaelites they would naturally join in this alliance.”
The commentary also says this, in speaking about 1 Chronicles 5:10:
“The ‘Hagarites’ or ‘Hagarenes’ are generally regarded as descendants of Hagar, and a distinct branch of the Ishmaelites… They appear to have been one of the most wealthy and widely-spread tribes of the Syrian Desert, being found on the side of the Euphrates in contact with the Assyrians, and also in the Hauran, in the neighborhood of Palestine, in contact with the Moabites and Israelites…”
Matthew Poole’s Commentary agrees: “Hagarenes, from their grandmother Hagar.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says:
“… the Hagarenes are the same with the Hagarites, 1 Chronicles 5:10, who dwelt to the east of the land of Israel, so called from Hagar, the handmaid of Abraham…’
The Pulpit Commentary writes:
“The ‘Hagarenes,’ or ‘Hagarites,’ are only mentioned here [in Psalm 83] and in 1 Chronicles 5:10, 19-22. They were probably a branch of the Ishmaelites, named after Hagar, Ishmael’s mother.”
The Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary says:
“Hagarites—or, ‘Hagarenes,’ originally synonymous with ‘Ishmaelites,’ but afterwards applied to a particular tribe of the Arabs (compare Ps 83:6).”
The Hagrites or Hagarites would then have been descendants of Hagar, the concubine of Abram and mother of Ishmael. If 1 Chronicles 5:19 lists Jetur, Naphish and Nodab as the leaders of the Hagrites, as some suggest, then they would have been the direct descendants of Ishmael, son of Hagar, as Jetur, Naphish and Nodab are listed as Ishmael’s sons in Genesis 25:12-15 and in 1 Chronicles 1:29-31.
Turning to future prophetic events, we do not read specifically how the Ishmaelites (including the Hagrites) will be defeated in war. But it is possible that the modern Assyrians will turn against them, after the break-up of their confederacy, described in Psalm 83.
We say this in our Q&A, “What does the Bible say about Saudi Arabia?”
“When God intervenes in world affairs, He will begin to pour out His wrath and fury over all nations, by bringing the sword over them (Jeremiah 25:15-17), including Arabia and Tema, one of Ishmael’s sons (Jeremiah 25:23). This will happen during the Day of the LORD of God’s wrath (Jeremiah 25:33), which will begin approximately one year prior to Christ’s return.
“We find a remarkable and somewhat detailed prophecy about the future of Saudi Arabia in Isaiah 21:13-17, stating: ‘The burden against Arabia. In the forest in Arabia you will lodge… For thus the LORD has said to me; “Within a year, according to the year of a hired man, all the glory of [Ishmael’s second-born son] Kedar will fail; and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished; for the LORD God of Israel has spoken it.’”
“This Scripture tells us that ‘Arabia’–Saudi Arabia today–will experience defeat in war, and the time span of one year is given, apparently referring to the Day of the LORD. We are not specifically told who exactly will defeat the Arabs in war, but we note that in Old Testament times, the Assyrians did so, and most commentaries apply the prophecy of Isaiah to that occurrence. They overlook, however, that the prophecy is primarily for our times today…, but the question is whether the prophecy is dual, in that Assyria will again be the enemy defeating the Arabs in war, after they first had entered into an alliance with Assyria against Israel.”
It appears then that the modern Hagrites are a very prosperous distinct branch or tribe of the Ishmaelites. Their prosperity might be a reason as to why the modern Assyrians under the beast or the king of the North may turn against it and defeat it in war, as he will also conquer Egypt, and “He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt” (Daniel 11:43).
Ishmael’s connection with Egypt should not be overlooked, as Hagar, the mother of Ishmael and grandmother of the Hagrites, was an Egyptian maid. Also, Ishmael married a woman “from the land of Egypt,” perhaps an Egyptian or someone living there (Genesis 21:21). This woman might be the mother of the Hagrites [making the Hagrites two-third Egyptian if that woman married to Ishmael was Egyptian], but that woman might not have been the mother of the Hagrites, as according to tradition, Ishmael had more than one wife.
As we point out on pages 4 and 5 of our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy,” even though Egypt will not be part of the anti-Israel confederation described in Psalm 83, it won’t help Israel and Judah either (Hosea 7:11-12). In fact, Egypt will at first fight with Assyria against Israel (Nahum 3:9), but then Assyria will conquer Egypt and some of Israel’s descendants will be captives in Egypt (Isaiah 27:13).
In any event, there is no evidence that the Hagrites are living today in Egypt or that the Bible views them as Egyptians.
Furthermore, there is no biblical evidence that the Hagrites are Syrians or that they are living today in Syria. Syria is the biblical Aram. As we point out in our before-mentioned booklet on pages 12 and 13, Syria and Damascus will ultimately be destroyed, perhaps through the beast or the king of the North.
The Hagarites are not modern-day Hungarians, either. Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible points this out correctly, when addressing 1 Chronicles 5:10:
“‘And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites…’ Not with the Hungarians, as the Targum, a people not then in being; but the Ishmaelites, so called because they descended from Hagar’s, Sarah’s maid; the same that are placed by Pliny and Ptolemy in Arabia, near the Batanaeans, or inhabitants of Bashan.”
From all the evidence, it appears that the Hagrites are today a very prosperous tribe or branch of the Ishmaelites in Saudi Arabia.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“The Omnibus Bill—An Insane Way to Run the Country,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
In this program, we address the omnibus bill as an example of the “insane way” of Congress to run the nation; recite a new and up-to-date version of an old Christmas poem; and end with a sincere blessing for all of our viewers.
A new Member Letter (December 2022) has been written and will be sent to our subscribers. Kalon Mitchell writes about the power of God which is available to us and our challenge to choose to use His help as we face the many trials of this life.
“Zugang zu Gott dem Vater (Gott der Vater ist der Höchste, Teil 3),” is the title for this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Access to God (God the Father Is the Highest, Part 3).”
“Wie geht es Ihnen?”, last week’s German sermonette presented by Dmitrij Niemann, is now posted. Title in English: “How Are You?”
“What Do You Owe?”, the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Do we as Christians owe anything? If so, who and what do we owe? What does the Bible say about owing?
“Reconciliation with God the Father,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
When Adam and Eve sinned, they were cut off from God the Father, the Highest in the God Family. In following Adam and Eve’s example, the whole world has been cut off from God. Atonement for our sins and reconciliation with and access to God the Father can only come through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
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
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