Willing to Yield
On Saturday, April 4, 2009, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Willing to Yield.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
On Tuesday evening, after sunset, April 7, 2009, is Passover, followed by the Night to Be Much Observed on Wednesday evening, April 8, after sunset.
On Thursday, April 9, 2009, is the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Rene Messier will be giving the sermon in the morning from Oregon, and Norbert Link will give the sermon in the afternoon from California.
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 9:00 am and 1:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 11:00 am and 3:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
For those of our scattered baptized brethren who need to partake of the Passover at home, we are giving pertinent information in this Update, under Feasts.
Just Around the Corner
Towards the end of their time in captivity, as the Israelites endured their slavery in Egypt, they had no idea that their physical deliverance or “salvation” was around the corner. In fact, their dwelling in the land got “darker before the dawn” as they went through some of the plagues with the Egyptians.
But in reality God was very near and was implementing His plan to deliver the Israelites from bondage.
The events of the end-time will play out in much the same way for the physical descendants of Israel. We know that circumstances will become more dire in the few years preceding the return of Christ. We know that this will be a sign that His return is near and that their physical deliverance or “salvation” is around the corner.
It seems that at this time of the year, Passover particularly, our personal lives parallel these historical and future occurrences. Great trial and tribulation come upon us… or at least great in our mind and our lives. They come because God is working in and with us. He is leading us to our spiritual Salvation and is doing what is necessary to get us there.
Just as God led the Israelites out of sin in the past, He will do so again in the future. But this time, God will offer Israel not just physical, but also spiritual Salvation. And as we go through these days, we should also focus on the certainty that God will guide us–spiritual Israel–out of our troubles as well. We can learn the lessons that God is trying to teach us and look forward to leaving them behind as we realize that our Salvation is just around the corner.
This Week in the News
The Week in Review
The Bible has prophesied thousands of years ago that in these last days, the United States of America will be utterly defeated in war and that it will be totally destroyed. It is remarkable that more and more voices in the political field are being heard these days warning that this distinct possibility exists NOW. For one example, please read our lead article excerpting statements from Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The Bible has also prophesied that America would lose its willingness to fight in war and to represent its own interests. The incredible interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates regarding North Korea exemplifies the utter helplessness and paralysis of America in the face of a potentially volatile situation. (Mr. Gates made equally problematic comments regarding Israel and Iran.)
In addition, President Obama’s strategy in Pakistan and Afghanistan does not seem to show any improvement to the failed policies of the Bush Administration. Mr. Obama’s popularity is definitely diminishing both in this country and abroad. As we have stated from the outset, Mr. Obama is not the “savior” the media has made him out to be, and this country will wake up to this fact with bitter disappointment. However, as one article shows, it has become dangerous to criticize Mr. Obama’s policies, as many supporters respond to such criticism with damnable charges of being a racist.
President Obama traveled to Europe to join the G20 gatherings. But Germany and France have shown their disagreement with Britain and the USA and are blaming the Anglo-Saxons for the worldwide recession. And while all the G20 summit leaders claimed success, they “papered over divisions between Europe and the USA” and “offered little new on monetary policy action” (Financial Times, April 2). In the end, the French and the Germans got basically everything they asked for, and the USA just gave in. In other news, it was reported that Italy and Israel are moving to the far right, and Iran continues with its war-mongering activities in the Middle East.
For more information about what is prophesied for the USA, Britain, continental Europe and the Middle East, please read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
We end with a piece of good news: There is an increasing number of Germans who begin to express doubts about the ungodly concept of Darwin’s Evolution Theory. One interesting project in the making is a Bible-themed fun park in Germany, including a replica of Noah’s Ark. Scientists and even mainstream Christianity have opposed this endeavor–shame on them–but it is hoped that in spite of this ungodly opposition, it may still materialize. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–A Fairy Tale for Adults.”
Total Destruction of America
On March 29, Newsmax.com published an intriguing and eye-opening article by Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, titled, “A Single Nuke Could Destroy America.” In the article, it was pointed out:
“A sword of Damocles hangs over our heads. It is a real threat that has been all but ignored. On Feb. 3, Iran launched a ‘communications satellite’ into orbit. At this very moment, North Korea is threatening to do the same. The ability to launch an alleged communications satellite belies a far more frightening truth. A rocket that can carry a satellite into orbit also can drop a nuclear warhead over any location on the planet in less than 45 minutes.
“Far too many timid or uninformed sources maintain that a single launch of a missile poses no true threat to the United States, given our retaliatory power. A reality check is in order and must be discussed in response to such an absurd claim: In fact, one small nuclear weapon, delivered by an ICBM can destroy the United States by maximizing the effect of the resultant electromagnetic pulse upon detonation.
“An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a byproduct of detonating an atomic bomb above the Earth’s atmosphere. When a nuclear weapon is detonated in space, the gamma rays emitted trigger a massive electrical disturbance in the upper atmosphere. Moving at the speed of light, this overload will short out all electrical equipment, power grids and delicate electronics on the Earth’s surface. In fact, it would take only one to three weapons exploding above the continental United States to wipe out our entire grid and transportation network…
“One to three missiles tipped with nuclear weapons and armed to detonate at a high altitude… would create an EMP ‘overlay’ that triggers a continent-wide collapse of our entire electrical, transportation, and communications infrastructure.
“Within weeks after such an attack, tens of millions of Americans would perish. The impact has been likened to a nationwide Hurricane Katrina. Some studies estimate that 90 percent of all Americans might very well die in the year after such an attack as our transportation, food distribution, communications, public safety, law enforcement, and medical infrastructures collapse.”
America–The Helpless Sleeping Giant?
Fox News reported on March 29 about a ridiculous interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates about the situation with North Korea. While America is trying to present a nice front to show their worries about North Korean warlike tendencies–even sending warships in the region–Gates let the cat out of the bag when stating that America can and will do nothing to stop North Korea. The great sleeping giant–helpless and paralyzed? What a picture of confusing, disillusioning and contradictory messages.
The article stated:
“The United States can do nothing to stop North Korea from breaking international law in the next 10 days by firing a missile that is unlikely to be shot down by the U.S. or its allies, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday. Appearing on ‘FOX News Sunday,’ Gates said North Korea ‘probably will’ fire the missile, prompting host Chris Wallace to ask: ‘And there’s nothing we can do about it?’ ‘No,’ Gates answered, adding, ‘I would say we’re not prepared to do anything about it.’
“Last week, Admiral Timothy Keating, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, said the U.S. is ‘fully prepared’ to shoot down the missile. But Gates said such a response is unlikely. ‘I think if we had an aberrant missile, one that was headed for Hawaii, that looked like it was headed for Hawaii or something like that, we might consider it,’ Gates said. ‘But I don’t think we have any plans to do anything like that at this point.'”
Obama Is Repeating Bush Mistakes
In its March online edition, Foreign Policy wrote the following:
“President Barack Obama’s sobering speech on Afghanistan and Pakistan has been well, if cautiously, received by commentators so far… But amid all of the commentary on the depth and wisdom of the new proposed strategy, it is important to consider some facts and recent history from the ground that should elicit caution and concern for the would-be optimists.
“… the United States is not putting any troops on the ground in Pakistan. The U.S. military will continue to rely on drones, even though their use has led to politically damaging civilian casualties and very little in the way of top al Qaeda leader ‘kills.’ Obama spoke of the $1.5 billion proposed in aid each year over the next five years… That amount is certainly not more than Bush spent on Pakistan; it may even be less, as funding during the previous administration averaged $1.6 billion per year. Comments that Obama is now ‘fully resourcing’ the war in South Asia are completely ungrounded.
“But the biggest flaw in Obama’s strategy for Pakistan is not funding; it is the complete misportrayal of Pakistani politics. Obama denies a fundamental and inescapable choice that he will have to face: the trade-off between Pakistani ‘democracy’ and Pakistani government cooperation in fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda. Pakistani government action against al Qaeda and the Taliban is and will remain inherently unpopular with a significant proportion of the population. If this or any Pakistani government takes serious action against al Qaeda or the Taliban, it will be doing so in the face of significant domestic opposition. It would be difficult enough for a pro-American autocrat with robust financial and military backing to do what the United States is asking. It is a fantasy to think that a democratic government — one that is dependent on popular support — could ever move decisively against the militants. And certainly, $1.5 billion a year is not enough to motivate either type of regime toward much of anything…
“Likewise, when Obama turns from Pakistan to Afghanistan, he takes on the wrong problem. Obama describes Afghanistan — nearly eight years after the overthrow of the Taliban — as a largely failed state… The Taliban gains support as a direct result of the central government’s failure to provide a minimal level of physical security… Until Obama and his advisors come up with a strategy that will improve security conditions for everyday Afghans, the Taliban will continue to gain ground…
“To be sure, one of former President George W. Bush’s biggest post-September 11 mistakes was to pull U.S. forces out of Afghanistan before they were able to finish destroying al Qaeda. But Obama’s ‘new’ stabilization plan is not fundamentally different from Bush’s ‘democracy as panacea.’ Now, just as Bush had to do, Obama will be forced to decide whether he is really prepared to embrace a security strategy that relies on regional warlords rather than the central government. The Bush administration never resolved this question in its own policies, and the consequence was incoherence and ineffectiveness.
‘”Obama stands to suffer the same fate. Relying on local warlords is extremely problematic in terms of promoting national cohesion, human rights, and other issues of concern to the United States…
“Facing a daunting task, Obama wants to draw on the expertise of an international contact group that includes the United States’ ‘NATO allies and other partners, but also the Central Asian states, the Gulf nations and Iran; Russia, India and China.’ This idea is good only in principle. It is hard to see how such an internally conflicted assembly — including India, Pakistan, Gulf Arab states, and Iran — could accomplish very much…
“The bottom line: The Obama administration’s much-anticipated strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan offers little that is really new or that squarely addresses the long-standing contradictions and deficits in U.S. policy.”
“FROM MANIA TO MISTRUST– Europe’s Obama Euphoria Wanes”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 30:
“Europe was ecstatic when Barack Obama got elected, but the enthusiasm has dampened since he took office in January. On the eve of his first visit to Europe as president, some here are wondering how seriously he takes the Continent…
“When Obama arrives in London on Tuesday for the start of his one-week visit to Europe, he’ll come as a friend, but as one who is still in some ways a stranger. Europe backed his election campaign more enthusiastically than most other parts of the world. But the White House has been too preoccupied coping with domestic crises to devote much attention to this region in the first two months of Obama’s presidency.
“… it has become clear that the most contentious issues have been shelved… it’s plain to see that Obama’s team has yet to become accustomed to dealing with Europe. And a worry voiced during the campaign has returned: that Obama — who spent his childhood years in Indonesia and who has shown a lot of interest in Africa — knows little about Europe.
“Even the British, proud of their ‘special relationship’ with Washington, have been wondering why Gordon Brown was handed nothing more than a box of DVDs as a present during his recent visit. Brussels was pleased that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton devoted so much time to her recent trip there, but the fact that she chose to visit Asia first has been noted…”
Anger Against Obama Within the USA
The Associated Press reported on March 30:
“Many assembly line autoworkers reacted with skepticism and anger Monday to the Obama administration’s tough tactics, which stoked long-simmering feelings that the people who put the country on wheels get treated differently than the wizards of Wall Street… Many workers — not generally known for their affection toward executives — even sympathized with Rick Wagoner, who was forced to step down as chief executive of General Motors Corp. He was by turns called a ‘sacrificial lamb,’ ‘scapegoat’ and ‘fall guy.’
“‘We knew someone was going to have to take the proverbial ‘bullet,’ and it would have made it a lot easier to accept that had the CEOs of the banks also been required to give up their jobs,’ said Jim Graham, president of a union local in Lordstown, Ohio…
“Obama said the administration will offer GM ‘adequate working capital’ during the next 60 days to produce an acceptable reorganization plan. The government gave Chrysler LLC 30 days to overcome hurdles to a merger with Fiat SpA, the Italian automaker. Many workers say the government hasn’t dictated such terms to insurance giant AIG or the banks in which it’s taken an ownership stake. Obama’s actions come amid public outrage over bonuses paid to business leaders and American International Group executives.”
Is Anti-Obamaism Being Racist?
On March 30, Fox News published an interesting piece about a Hollywood actress who is labeled as a racist because she does not agree with President Obama’s policies. Sadly, these prejudicial accusations have become more common in the “land of the free,” which prides itself of granting the right of free expression to its citizens. The article pointed out:
“Angie Harmon (“Law and Order”) is not afraid to come out and say she doesn’t like how President Obama is handling the job — but she’s sick of having to defend herself from being deemed a racist.
“Here’s my problem with this, I’m just going to come out and say it. If I have anything to say against Obama it’s not because I’m a racist, it’s because I don’t like what he’s doing as President and anybody should be able to feel that way, but what I find now is that if you say anything against him you’re called a racist,’ Harmon [said]…’But it has nothing to do with it, I don’t care what color he is. I’m just not crazy about what he’s doing… If I’m going to disagree with my President, that doesn’t make me a racist… it is ridiculous.'”
Germany Stops Britain and Opposes USA
The Telegraph wrote on March 29:
“GORDON BROWN’S carefully laid plans for a G20 deal on worldwide tax cuts have been scuppered by an eve-of-summit ambush by European leaders. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, last night led the assault on the prime minister’s ‘global new deal’ for a $2 trillion-plus fiscal stimulus to end the recession. ‘I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money,’ she said.
“The Spanish finance minister, Pedro Solbes, also dismissed new cash being pledged at Thursday’s London summit…
“The attacks on Brown’s ambitions for the G20 to inject more money into the world economy come at the end of a week where the prime minister has travelled to three continents to build support for his proposals… The assault by European Union leaders also represents a defeat for President Barack Obama, who is desperate for other big economies to copy his $800 billion stimulus plan… Adding to the disarray, a draft of the agreement Brown hopes to secure was leaked to a German news magazine…
“George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, yesterday warned Brown against further tax cuts in the budget. ‘When it comes to your plans for a second fiscal stimulus, I say this Gordon Brown: enough is enough,’ he said in a speech. ‘We will not let you play roulette with the public finances yet again’…
“Merkel’s criticism drew an angry response from Labour MPs. Denis MacShane, the former Europe minister, said: ‘Who does Mrs Merkel think is going to buy Mercedes and BMWs if she . . . says putting demand into the economy is a bad thing?’ Another Labour MP said: ‘One has to ask who had something to gain from the leak of [Brown’s] communiqué. This feels like a dirty trick.'”
France Threatens Britain, Blames USA
On March 31, The Times reported the following:
“President Sarkozy yesterday threatened to wreck the London summit if France’s demands for tougher financial regulation are not met. France will not accept a G20 that produces a ‘false success with language that sounds good but contains no commitments’, his advisers said… The French threat dramatically raised the temperature hours before President Obama arrives in London today. If carried through, it would ruin a summit for which Mr Brown and Mr Obama have high ambitions, believing it vital to international recovery…
“Mr Sarkozy, who blames the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ for causing the economic crisis, told his ministers last week that he would leave Mr Brown’s summit ‘if it does not work out’… France wants a global financial regulator, an idea fiercely opposed by the United States and Britain. Mr Brown has described the notion as ridiculous.
“Germany and other nations are reported to be against a global regulator and sources said that President Sarkozy must know that the proposal would not make progress… British officials said it looked as if Mr Sarkozy was picking a fight he could present as a victory back home.”
France and Germany vs. GB and USA
Times On Line wrote on April 2:
“France and Germany delivered a late threat to derail Gordon Brown’s efforts to secure a global recovery deal last night by demanding new concessions from the United States on financial regulation.
“In a classic show of eve-of-summit brinkmanship, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy joined forces to give warning that they would refuse to sign any agreement that did not meet their ‘red lines’ on tax havens, hedge fund regulation, tracing ‘securitised’ assets sold around the world and capping bankers’ remuneration. They also wanted the ‘naming and shaming’ of tax havens that refused to go along with tougher regulatory rules, which is being opposed by the United States.
“In a reminder of former confrontations between America and the countries of Old Europe, Mr Sarkozy suggested that Europe would not take economic direction from the US. He appeared to suggest that America would have to compromise, adding pointedly: ‘The crisis didn’t spontaneously erupt in Europe, did it?’
“The firm stance of Mr Sarkozy and Ms Merkel and the language used in a joint press conference took negotiators by surprise as they prepared to work through the night on the communiqué to be released today. Although Mr Brown and President Obama appeared confident of an agreement throughout yesterday’s talks in London, it was clear last night that Mr Obama would have to make more concessions if differences were to be smoothed over…
“Mr Sarkozy… said last night that the German-Franco demands on regulation were ‘non-negotiable’… he indicated that France and Germany would be ready to discuss other issues only if they felt that their priority of tougher regulation was being adequately dealt with…
“The tone of the two leaders differed sharply from that adopted by Mr Brown and Mr Obama earlier in the day. Mr Brown spoke of leaders being ‘within a few hours’ of agreeing a global plan for economic recovery…”
“G20 Leaders Claim Summit Success”
The Financial Times reported on April 2:
“World leaders on Thursday heralded the G20 summit as the day the world ‘fought back against the recession’ as they put on a show of unity that lifted global markets and mapped out a new future for financial regulation
“Gordon Brown, host of the summit, said the meeting marked the emergence of a ‘new world order’, as he unveiled what leaders claimed was a $1,100bn package of measures to tackle the global downturn, including support for lower income countries and a $250bn plan to boost the international money supply.
“Close inspection showed some of the $1,100bn pledged included reannouncements and half-done deals. However, even before the summit ended, equity markets rose sharply around the world on hopes that the global economy was stabilising…
“The leaders papered over divisions between the US and Europe over whether the world could afford a new fiscal stimulus, with US president Barack Obama describing the summit’s measures as ‘bolder and more rapid than any international response that we’ve seen to a financial crisis in memory’ and predicted they would mark ‘a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery’.
“France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy, meanwhile, said the summit’s agreement on a new regulatory regime and crackdown on tax havens showed ‘a page has been turned’ on an era of post-war ‘Anglo Saxon’ capitalism.
“Although the summit ended with smiles, a row between China and France over the blacklisting of tax havens – including possibly Hong Kong and Macao – continued behind the scenes well into the day. US officials say that Barack Obama helped broker a compromise over offshore tax savings between Hu Jintao of China and Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who had threatened to walk away from the summit… In the end they agreed [to] a compromise in which the G20 would only ‘take note’ of the OECD’s list, rather than endorse it.
“The summit text included commitments to curb ‘risky’ bank pay and bonuses, but offered little new on monetary policy action or efforts to clean up bank balance sheets. Of the $500bn of money pledged to the IMF to bolster struggling economies, some had already been announced and $250bn was a pledge of future funds.”
“Merkel and Sarkozy Got Everything They Asked For”
Der Spiegel Online reported on April 2:
“On Wednesday, eyebrows were raised when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy went before the press to demand in no uncertain terms that the G-20 do more to strengthen regulation of global financial markets. On Thursday, the two leaders appeared to be getting everything they asked for…
“Merkel and Sarkozy had rejected earlier drafts of the statement for lacking bite when it came to financial oversight. Now, the G-20 has agreed to the creation of blacklists of tax havens in addition to measures to tighten rules pertaining to hedge funds and credit rating agencies. An oversight body will also be created. Chancellor Merkel praised the outcome of the summit for reaching a ‘very, very good, almost historic compromise.’ She said ‘we have agreed on the development of a clear financial architecture.'”
Italy Moves to the Far Right
The EUObserver wrote on March 27:
“The populist right-wing party of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday officially merges with the post-fascist Alleanza Nazionale at the founding congress of Il Popolo della Liberta, the powerful new rightist bloc that is not only set to dominate Italian politics for the foreseeable future, but will also wield considerable power in the European Parliament after the June elections…
“The Alleanza Nazionale was formed by Mr Fini out of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), the former neo-fascist party, together with a handful of conservative ex-Christian Democrats and Liberals. Despite once having called Italy’s fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, the greatest statesman of the 20th century, Mr Fini has since tried to distance himself from his far right past, making numerous trips to Israel and even criticising elements of the recent hardline security package that targets immigrants and minorities.”
Of course, even Adolf Hitler backed down from persecuting Jews openly, when he ran for power. He showed his true colors, however, when he WAS in power.
Iran’s Warmongering in the Middle East
Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 30:
“Iran is reportedly increasing its military aid to both Hezbollah and Hamas, according to Israeli intelligence sources…
“The findings of other intelligence agencies in the Middle East also indicate that Iran is sending weapons and explosives to Hezbollah in Lebanon and to the Palestinian radical group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip…
“Meanwhile, the Israelis have carried out aerial attacks in Sudan in an attempt to halt the delivery of weapons to Hamas — including rockets with a range of 70 kilometers, far enough to reach Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip…
“The level to which Iran is intervening politically in the region is made evident by the failure of attempts so far to achieve reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions. The moderate Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, which controls the West Bank, is locked in a bitter conflict with the radical Islamist group Hamas, which forced Fatah out of the Gaza Strip in June 2007… even the veteran Egyptian mediators had underestimated Iran’s influence.”
Israel Moves to the Right
The Financial Times wrote on March 30:
“Benjamin Netanyahu will be sworn in as Israel’s prime minister, marking a decisive shift to a more rightwing, hawkish government, just as the country is facing mounting international criticism.
“The Likud party leader, prime minister between 1996 and 1999, will preside over a broad but potentially fractious coalition. Mr Netanyahu’s alliance includes the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, the centre-left Labour party and the ultra-orthodox religious Shas group. His government may eventually comprise six parties with strongly diverging policies on issues from foreign policy to Israel’s religious-secular divide. The new prime minister faces discontent within his own party over the number of senior cabinet posts for his party affiliates…
“Mr Netanyahu has so far refused to back the idea of an independent Palestinian state – the cornerstone of all recent diplomatic efforts to end the 60-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Compounding the difficult international environment faced by the new government is the backlash over Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza Strip, which has sparked calls for a war crimes tribunal and strained relations with neighbouring Egypt. The Arab world, in particular, has been aghast at the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s foreign minister.
“Mr Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, is known for anti-Arab outbursts, and an election campaign this year that targeted Israel’s Palestinian minority. However, fears that Mr Netanyahu could become dependent on Mr Lieberman and other far-right groups have receded since last week, when he managed to bring the Labour party on board. The coalition agreement will allow Ehud Barak, the Labour leader and a former prime minister himself, to continue in his job as defence minister.
“It is unclear, however, to what degree Labour will be in a position to counterbalance the rightwing forces in the coalition. The party only controls five out of 30 cabinet posts and will have fewer deputies than either Likud or Yisrael Beiteinu. The decision to join a government dominated by rightwing and religious parties is likely to have antagonised many Labour voters, potentially reducing Mr Barak’s readiness to force an early election over policy disagreements.”
Israel Warns USA and Iran
The Jerusalem Post reported on April 1:
“The primary imperative for the United States and President Barack Obama is to put an end to Iran’s nuclear race, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said before his swearing-in Tuesday, adding that if the US failed to do so Israel might be forced to resort to a military strike on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear installations.
“‘The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,’ Netanyahu told The Atlantic. The Iranian drive for a nuclear weapon was a ‘hinge of history,’ he said, emphasizing that all of ‘Western civilization’ was responsible for preventing an Iranian bomb.
“‘You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,’ Netanyahu said of the Iranian regime. ‘When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.'”
“Israel Might Attack Iran”
Press TV wrote on April 1:
“Top US commander in the Middle East, General David Petraeus says Israel might choose to attack Iran as a move to halt its nuclear program. ‘The Israeli government may ultimately see itself so threatened by the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon that it would take preemptive military action to derail or delay it,’ Petraeus told the US Congress on Wednesday.
“The head of the US Central Command also accused Iran of failing ‘to provide the assurances and transparency necessary for international acceptance and verification’ of the peaceful nature of its program. Tehran’s ‘obstinacy and obfuscation have forced Iran’s neighbors and the international community to conclude the worst about the regime’s intention,’ Bloomberg quoted Petraeus as telling the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Ken Katzman, a Middle East military analyst for the non- partisan Congressional Research Service in Washington, said Petraeus’ remarks about a prospective Israeli attack against Iran ‘was extremely significant, particularly for what he did not say — that the United States would act to restrain Israel or talk it out of conducting such a strike.’
“Israel, which is believed to possess the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenals, accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear arms. Tehran however says its nuclear program is only aimed at meeting the country’s energy needs.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ Ill-Advised Comments
According to Haaretz.com in an article, dated April 2, “U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Financial Times on Wednesday that Israel is unlikely to launch military operations against Iranian nuclear installations this year in a bid to derail the Islamic regime’s drive to attain atomic weapons.”
Again, as was the case with his previous comments regarding North Korea, Robert Gates’ new comments must also be viewed as ill-advised and politically dangerous.
The article continued:
“Upon taking office this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a strategic threat to Israel, and that neutralizing that threat is a top priority of his new administration… Gates said he believed that Iran would not cross the nuclear threshold, or ‘red line’, this year. He estimated that it would take Tehran between one to three years to reach the point it possessed enough know-how to produce nuclear weapons.
“Gates’ assessment is at odds with that offered by Israel’s defense establishment. Last month, Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told lawmakers that Iran has ‘crossed the technological threshold’ for making a nuclear bomb. He told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Islamic Republic has developed surface-to-surface missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.”
Israel Opposes Annapolis
The Wall Street Journal wrote on April 2:
“Sounding a defiant tone on his first day as foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman said Israel wouldn’t abide by commitments it made to pursue Palestinian statehood at the U.S.-sponsored Annapolis peace summit in 2007.
“The comments suggested a potential early friction point between the newly sworn-in government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration, and stood in sharp contrast to a more conciliatory tone struck by Mr. Netanyahu at his swearing-in ceremony Tuesday night.
“‘There is one document that obligates us — and that’s not the Annapolis conference, it has no validity,’ Mr. Lieberman said at a news conference Wednesday. He said Israel would instead abide by the so-called ‘road map’ for peace developed in 2002, which delays discussion of Palestinian statehood until after Palestinians clamp down on terror and meet other conditions. ‘Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong,’ he added. ‘It’s the other way around; it will lead to more wars.’ Many in Mr. Netanyahu’s own party share Mr. Lieberman’s views, but Mr. Netanyahu has been trying to moderate his image…
“U.S. State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid avoided responding directly to Mr. Lieberman’s comments, instead telling reporters the White House is committed to the two-state solution and ‘moving forward’ from Annapolis, and is awaiting ‘the final position of the Israeli government.'”
Some Germans Are Questioning Evolution Theory
Netzeitung wrote on March 26:
“Many Evangelical Americans might consider Europe a godless place, but… questioning the theory of evolution and teaching Creationism is on the rise in Germany. Herald Janssen reckons that if people could only see a replica of Noah’s Ark, they might be swayed toward the Biblical story of creation. ‘It was as big as an oil-tanker,’ he says. ‘If you could see it, you’d start to think, “Wow, it might have fit all the animals in there.”‘
“Articulate and obviously well-read, Janssen… sits on the board of a Swiss non-profit group that wants to build a Bible-themed fun park in Germany… Creationism – the belief that Genesis and other books of the Bible explain life on Earth – is gaining strength in Germany.
“A recent survey at the University of Dortmund found that more than one-fifth of students who wanted to become teachers had misgivings about Darwin’s theory of evolution. Some 17 percent of students who’d studied basic biology doubted evolution, as did nearly eight percent who were studying a higher degree in biology…
“A real litmus test for the movement will be whether the Biblical theme park planned by the Swiss group Genesis Land gets off the ground. The original location near Heidelberg has been abandoned due to opposition from locals and mainstream Protestants. Genesis Land is now in talks with planning authorities in three other locations, though Herald Janssen won’t say where.
“They need about EUR 80 million to open the park and another EUR 120 million to complete it. So far, they have raised less than half a million, though Mr Janssen points out they are awaiting planning approval before they begin their proper fundraising drive. ‘Sure,’ he says. ‘We have a long way to go.'”
In John 18:19 the "high priest" Annas questioned Jesus and yet in verse 24 Jesus was sent by Annas to Caiaphas the "high priest." Is this not a contradiction?
No. In John 10:35 it states that “the Scripture cannot be broken,” and so we must look for another explanation.
In John 18:13 Jesus was described as being brought to Annas, who was the father-in-law of the high priest at that time–Caiaphas. According to Josephus, Annas had been deposed of the high priesthood in 15 CE by Valerius Gratus, and Caiaphas was the high priest from 18 to 36 CE. However, other sources, as quoted below, state that Annas was dismissed as high priest in AD 23.
There are those who have suggested re-arranging the order of events, as described in the book of John, but this is not supported by the majority of manuscripts. Rather, it is indeed correct that both Annas and Caiaphas are quite legitimately referred to as “high priest” in the Bible, and for important reasons.
The New Bible Commentary states:
“Jesus is bound and taken before Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas (Annas had been deposed from the High Priesthood by Valerius Gratus, Pilate’s predecessor as procurator, but continued to exercise control from the background). The account of this examination before Annas is not given in the synoptist narrative, and it was probably an informal inquiry at Annas’ house.”
In Matthew Henry’s Commentary, these comments are made:
“This Annas was father-in-law to Caiaphas the high priest; this kindred by marriage between them comes in as a reason either why Caiaphas ordered that this piece of respect should be done to Annas, to favour him with the first sight of the prisoner, or why Annas was willing to countenance Caiaphas in a matter his heart was so much upon. Note, acquaintance and alliance with wicked people are a great confirmation to many in their wicked ways… The power of Caiaphas intimated (v. 13). He was high priest that same year. The high priest’s commission was during life; but there were now such frequent changes, by the Simoniacal artifices of aspiring men with the government, that it was become almost an annual office, a presage of its final period approaching; while they were undermining one another.”
These comments show that the high priest’s commission was during life but were subject to “Simoniacal artifices”–which are defined as “the skill in the crime of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferment; the corrupt presentation of any one to an ecclesiastical benefice for money or reward.” When a minister in the Church of God today is ordained, that ordination is not to be taken lightly nor discarded at a later date. It is a lifetime appointment in the service of God and “no one having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” As this applies to our calling, it can also be correctly applied to the ministry. Of course, a person can disqualify himself–or can be dismissed–from a ministerial office for biblical and scriptural reasons.
And so, Annas, a former high priest, could also still have that title applied to him. Annas, his five sons, and his son-in-law Caiaphas, all held the Jewish High-Priesthood during the first century AD.
In Luke 3:2 it states that “Annas and Caiaphas being high priests…” And Acts 4:6 reads, “as well as Annas, the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.” Luke, who authored both of these verses, referred to both Annas and Caiaphas as “high priests,” for the reasons explained above.
As a similar example today, in the United States’ governmental elections in 2008, Mr. Obama was elected President while Mr. George W Bush was still in office. One man was still President while the other was President-elect. Mr. Bush is one of a number of ex-Presidents still alive at this time, and he is still being referred to as “President Bush” today, even though he is no longer fulfilling the functions of a President. The same is true for President Carter or President Clinton or President Ford or President Bush Sen.–and we even refer to those men who have died by now as Presidents, such as President Washington or President Lincoln or President Reagan.
The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge comments:
“Annas was dismissed from being high priest, A.D. 23 after filling that office for fifteen years; but, being a person of distinguished character, and having had no fewer than five sons who had successively enjoyed the dignity of the high-priesthood, and the present high priest Caiaphas being his son-in-law, he must have possessed much authority in the nation. It was at the palace of Caiaphas where the chief priests, elders, and scribes were assembled the whole of the night to see the issue of their stratagem.”
Caiaphas was actually in office as High Priest, but it appears that his father-in-law, Annas, being a former High Priest, either held the title for life, or was still viewed by the Jews as “high priest,” even though not in a functioning capacity. It therefore appears that the answer to this conundrum that has provoked so much controversy and discussion over many years is that Annas was still seen as a high priest even though his son-in-law Caiaphas now occupied that position.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Norbert Link’s new German sermon, titled, “Gottesbeweise–Gibt Es Sie Wirklich?” (“Are There Really Proofs for God’s Existence?”) dated April 1, 2009, was posted on Google Video.
The new booklet on the Prophecies of the Book of Zechariah has entered the second review cycle.
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