Update 425


"New Years Day" and "Mercy"

On January 2, 2010, Bill Grams and Norbert Link will give split sermons, titled, respectively, “New Years Day” and “Mercy.”

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.

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Nearly 145 years ago the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed by Congress abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude.  It was a long time in coming, and most suppose it a thing of the past in the United States.

Yet, in this past year we have made great advances back into it!  How could this be?  How could such a forward looking and advanced society be heading back into what we once came out of?

The federal government, this past year, “printed” an unprecedented amount of money (that is not backed by any asset) for dubious reasons and is committed to implementing programs that cannot be funded by the current tax structure.  Even those with the most basic of math abilities can see that this does not add up.

The only solution that remains for those that have now been forced to live under plans not of their choosing, is to now spend more time, money and effort working for their “master.”  The question that then remains is, at what point in time do we actually quit being free and become slaves to a system that continues to demand more and more from everyone? At what point do we become “a person held in servitude” or “one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence”?

What should not be forgotten is that the majority of the people voted for and have chosen the leaders that we now have.  This is what “we,” as a democratic nation, have asked for.  “We” believe in this type of government and leadership, and this is what follows.

But, this is only a blip on the map of time, and certainly optimism and success will prevail! Wrong… and right! 

Presently we are and have been setting ourselves up for cataclysmic failure.  The economic slavery that we are coming under now is only a precursor to what is coming down the road.  The real concern is that the next time it will not be under the “light” hand of our present governmental administration, but it will be from the heavy hand of a foreign entity… the beast power spoken of in the Bible.

That beast power will form out of the coalescing countries of the European Union which will soon refine itself into a core of 10 nations (or groups of nations) and will foist itself upon the world and in particular the descendants of Jacob (compare our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America”). The EU is already exerting economic pressures on the US and will continue do so to a greater extent.  It will not stop there.  In fact, this will serve as a platform for its rise to a military preeminence and an instrument of religious persecution.  Through these devices, a more egregious slavery will come, an epoch alluded to as the time of Jacob’s trouble (compare our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord”).  It will be an event that is so terrible, that it is said “that none is like it” (Jeremiah 30:6-8).  

We have seen a process here of one type of slavery leading to another.  However, we started in the middle of the progression.  The real beginning was with another slavery — one to sin and the father of it, Satan. Paul states in Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death….”  It is sin that ensnares and captures us, and we become slaves to it and to the wiles of the devil.

It is this brand of slavery that has led the people of this nation to push aside God as their leader.  Those sold under sin have discarded Him and His ways and have opted once again to be led by man.  In 1 Samuel 8:7-17 there is a parallel that we can see in our ancestors.  In these verses God tells Samuel that it is Him that they have rejected.  Samuel then goes on to elaborate many of the problems that would ensue with switching their trust and reliance to a man.  And then note the last verse in this section:  “…. And you will be his [the leader’s] servants.” 

This course of action, being slaves to sin firstly and then slaves to the leader of their very own nation, continued to play out as they eventually became literal slaves to conquering peoples of surrounding nations. 

Does this ring a bell?  History is repeating itself!  And prophecy, which is history written in advance, bears this out.  Slavery can lead to slavery which can lead to slavery.

But the Good News is that God has made a path by which we can escape and avoid slavery.  Through the death of Christ we can be released from a lifetime of bondage (compare Hebrews 2:14-15) and not have to return to this “yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1), whether physical or spiritual.  The great news is that we NOW have this opportunity to be free of the shackles of a froward way of life.  But there is the necessity of having “…obedience leading to righteousness” as the rest of Romans 6:16 finishes up stating.  If we are willing to commit fully to pursuing God and the wonderful way of life that He has set before us (compare Deuteronomy 30:19), then we “may have life” and “have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  Therefore, LET US CHOOSE FREEDOM!

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A widely circulated clip on YouTube, which was also linked on December 28 by the Drudge Report, shows Senator Max Baucus apparently being drunk or intoxicated on the Senate Floor, when “debating” the new health care bill. This brings vividly to mind certain biblical prophecies about “drunkards” in high positions (compare Isaiah 28:1, 3, 7).

A man flying from Nigeria to Amsterdam and then to the U.S. on a Northwest Airlines flight Friday tried to ignite an explosive as the plane prepared to land in Detroit. As could be expected, governments, airlines and airport securities which were caught sleeping at the switch in the first place, have now introduced stringent “security” restrictive measures for passengers–several of which border on the ridiculous. (It was subsequently announced that some of these measures might or might not be carried out on every flight.) These (contemplated) measures seem to amply prove man’s inability to show proper balance and sound wisdom. We can see how the world trembles at an attempted terrorist attack. We can only imagine the panic which would have ensued if that attack would have been successful.

In other news, we are focusing on the disappointment which has set in worldwide regarding President Obama’s politics and perceived lack of leadership. German papers in particular claim that President Obama missed golden opportunities for improvement in many areas, even though it is being maintained that the criticism, especially on the “left,” is “exaggerated”; and they claim that the relationship between the USA and France, as well as Germany, has not improved substantially. They conclude that due to the failure of leadership of the USA, for instance on the hotly discussed issue of “climate change,” Europe under Germany must lead.

Calls in this country as well as in Europe are being heard to deal “tough” with Iran, and a U.S. military strike is no longer ruled out.

We are addressing Russia’s war-like ambitions of maintaining its status of a nuclear power and its willingness to come militarily to the “rescue” of “threatened” countries; and we conclude with reports on a closer relationship between Japan, India and China, and strained relationships between these nations and the USA and Britain.

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Let the Blame Game Begin…

Newsmax wrote on December 30:

“President Obama has acknowledged that the United States had early signals that a terrorist attack was being plotted in Yemen and failed to take adequate steps to prevent it. According to a page one story in the New York Times, two federal officials told the paper that U.S. intelligence was aware that a Nigerian Muslim was preparing an attack, yet officials did nothing to give warning of such an attack…”

It was predictable that Republicans would seize on the opportunity, accusing the Obama administration of weakness on security measures. However, as the Financial Times warned on December 29, such criticism might very well backfire:

“Republicans have seized on the Christmas day attempted terrorist attack as evidence that Democrats are weak on national security issues, as they seek to bolster their credentials ahead of next year’s congressional elections. As the Obama administration’s investigation into how a 23-year-old Nigerian was able to carry explosives on to a US-bound aircraft gathers pace, a slew of Republicans have criticised everything from the timing of the president’s first public comments to his plans to close the Guantánamo Bay prison camp…

“Barack Obama… answered such critics on Tuesday with a surprisingly blunt admission that ‘human and systemic failures’ were to blame… Republicans had been emboldened by the administration’s faltering response to the attempted attack. Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, on Sunday said ‘the system worked’ but later performed a U-turn, saying that it did not work and ‘no one is happy with that’, comments that were reinforced by Mr Obama on Tuesday…

“Americans traditionally perceive Republicans to be strong on national security issues. But the party’s tactics in this case could backfire. ‘If this line of attack continues, it is going to reveal problems not just with the Obama administration but with the homeland security system, a system that was put in place by President [George W.] Bush,’ said Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University.

“‘If Republicans want hearings into what happened, it could very well raise questions about Bush-era failures and that would be politically dangerous.’ Some Democrats are already pointing to Republican obstructionism on national security matters. More than 100 Republicans in the House voted against the Department of Homeland Security’s 2010 appropriation bill funding airport security measures, including explosives detection systems.”

New “Security” Measures for Airline Passengers

The Associated Press reported on December 26:

“Some airlines were telling passengers on Saturday that new government security regulations prohibit them from leaving their seats beginning an hour before landing (including going to a restroom). The regulations are a response to a suspected terrorism incident on Christmas Day. Air Canada said… that during the final hour of flight passengers must remain seated. They won’t be allowed access to carryon baggage or to have any items on their laps.

“Flight attendants on some domestic flights are informing passengers of similar rules. Passengers on a flight from New York to Tampa Saturday morning were also told they must remain in their seats and couldn’t have items in their laps, including laptops and pillows…

“Air Canada said it was limiting passengers to one carryon bag in response to a request from the U.S. and Canadian governments. The airline advised U.S.-bound passengers to restrict their carryon item to ‘the absolute minimum’ or to not carry any bag on board at all. ‘Carriage of any carryon item will result in lengthy security delays for the customer,’ the airline said.”

Disruptive Air Travel

The Telegraph wrote on December 27:

“Tens of thousands of people flying to the US for the New Year break have been forced to endure delays of up to three hours after strict new security rules were imposed overnight in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack in Detroit.

“… the most stringent restrictions came as aircraft entered US airspace, with passengers confined to their seats for the last hour of their flight, banned from having access to books, newspapers or even blankets or pillows. Passengers were warned to expect the restrictions to remain in place ‘indefinitely’.

“With pilots ordered to switch off ‘moving maps’ throughout the flight in an effort to conceal the exact locations of their aircraft from potential terrorists, passengers on some Virgin flights on Boxing Day were warned to buy books as in-flight films and other entertainment systems were also being disabled for the entire journey…

“Meanwhile travellers arriving at British airports from the US told a similar story of delays and restrictions… In Paris passengers were told to check all hand baggage into the hold with anything essential for the flight placed into clear plastic bags usually reserved for liquids.

“Meanwhile several Asian airlines disabled cabin telephones or internet connections on flights to the US… Information was kept deliberately vague prompting confusion among passengers about what was allowed… While check-in and security queues were unaffected at British airports, there were long delays in departure areas as airlines were forced to impose a second set of checks at flight gates.

“All passengers were subjected to body searches and baggage checks as they boarded flights, holding departures up by an average of one hour. At Heathrow some departures were delayed by up to three hours while at Manchester New York flights were two hours late. With most flights to the US at least 90 per cent full over the holiday period, the numbers affected could reach almost 30,000 per day this week. Some of the delayed passengers arriving from the United States missed their connecting flights.”

Discouraged Business Fliers?

The Associated Press wrote on December 28:

“New security restrictions… will make air travel more burdensome and could discourage some business fliers, key customers for the airlines… business travelers may think twice before flying if stepped-up security means spending hours at the airport. That’s troubling to the airlines, because business travelers tend to fly frequently and pay higher fares.

“Alarmed by the prospect of losing their best customers, airlines are already asking federal officials to make any new procedures palatable to passengers… Travelers on incoming international flights said that during the final hour, attendants removed blankets, banned opening overhead bins, and told passengers to stay in their seats with their hands in plain sight…

“Jack Riepe, a spokesman for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives… said corporate travel managers want the government to explain how Friday’s suspect reached Detroit even though he was on a watch list maintained by counterterrorism experts. A government official said the suspect’s father raised concerns about him to U.S. officials several weeks ago, but the father’s information about his son’s possible ties to fundamentalist Islamic groups was too vague to act upon.”

So we’d rather (re-)act now by imposing ridiculous restrictions on all air travelers, threatening the very survival of some airline companies. We are seemingly reaching more and more the point of the biblical warning that there will not be any more soundness in the land (or in the air), compare Isaiah 1:6. But perhaps, there is still a little bit left today, considering the next two articles.

Don’t Overreact!

Deutsche Welle reported on December 28:

“Wolfgang Bosbach, the chairman of the parliamentary Internal Affairs Committee told the Berliner Zeitung daily on Monday that the recent attempt to blow up a Northwest/KLM flight from Amsterdam to Detroit should not result in the introduction of new security procedures at German airports… Bosbach said, however, that European Union plans to relax certain restrictions, such as on bringing liquids onto aircraft, should probably be put on hold…

“A key opposition figure, the Green Party’s Hans-Christian Stroebele, echoed Bosbach’s assessment. He said that last week’s attempted attack was made possible by a failure to correctly assess existing intelligence, not a lack of security… The head of a German police union, Rainer Wendt, also said it would be a mistake to adopt new, more intrusive search methods like the much-debated full-body or ‘nude’ scanner.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on December 29:

“German media commentators say the new measures smack of hysteria, and will do nothing to improve security because they can easily be circumvented by a determined terrorist. For example, if toilets are out of bounds in the last hour, an attacker could still assemble a bomb there earlier in the flight. The solution, German editorials say, is to improve security checks at airports rather than treating all passengers as potential terrorists once they’re on board.”

President Obama’s Missed Opportunities

The Financial Times wrote on December 27:

“Many Americans – conservatives, liberals and centrists – are dismayed by Barack Obama’s first year. Republicans call Mr Obama a tax and spend liberal. Progressives say he surrendered to corporate interests, and his foreign policy is a continuation of George W. Bush by other means. Independents feel let down because Mr Obama said he would bridge the partisan divide and unite the country. Except for uniting left and right in disappointment, he failed…

“Foreign policy saw the biggest gap between expectations and any real likelihood of success. Foreigners and Americans naively thought the world would submit to Mr Obama’s charm. It did not. Yes, he brought US diplomacy back from the dead – but diplomacy is a means to an end, not an end in itself… Afghanistan underlines the point… Mr Obama took too long to make up his mind, and muddled the message by talking of an early withdrawal…

“Just as those earlier hopes were exaggerated, so now is much of the criticism. The sense of betrayal on the left, in particular, is just bewildering. Progressives want the troops brought home, the security state dismantled, capitalism defanged, the profit motive dethroned, the banks nationalised, private health insurance abolished, and energy policy turned over to Greenpeace. Anything less is just another sell-out. Who on earth did these people think they were electing?

“Republican complaints have a bit more justification. Having cast himself as a fiscal moderate, the president laid out a first budget that permanently raises the ratio of US public spending to gross domestic product, without disclosing the tax increases that will be needed to pay for it. In announcing that programme, Mr Obama did reveal himself more clearly than before as a centre-left Democrat. To be fair, though, in the campaign he never claimed otherwise. The point is, there was wishful thinking to his right, as well as to his left.

“Independents have much the most reason to be disappointed. They see – and are right to – a broken political system. Congress is polarised to its roots. The country’s wide political centre is largely unrepresented on Capitol Hill. Committed Democrats and Republicans can hardly bear to be in the same room, let alone talk to each other. Mr Obama promised to strive for consensus…

“In his first year, he rarely even tried. He simply chose not to exercise this kind of leadership. To be sure, moderate Republicans (an endangered breed) offered no encouragement, content to oppose for opposition’s sake. But Mr Obama made no stand against this. Instead he went with the flow, deferring to the implacably partisan Democratic majorities. This disengagement, this reluctance to lead, is the real disappointment of Mr Obama’s first year.”

The lack of U.S. leadership is becoming increasingly apparent around the world–a power vacuum which will be filled soon, as the following articles postulate.

Sarkozy Cool on Relationship With Obama

The Financial Times wrote on December 27:

“Nicolas Sarkozy, the most pro-American president of France for half a century, has gone cold on Barack Obama, the most popular American leader in France in generations. A year ago Mr Sarkozy was engaged in a tussle among European leaders anxious to be the first to secure a meeting with the freshly elected Mr Obama. Mr Sarkozy described Mr Obama as ‘my friend’ after meeting him just once as a senator.

“But the French president has since clashed with his US counterpart on a series of issues, raising the question of whether Mr Sarkozy is reverting to the more Gaullist, anti-American posture of his predecessor, Jacques Chirac…

“Like his predecessor, Mr Sarkozy plays up differences with the US for domestic purposes. But there is a crucial difference. Whereas Mr Chirac’s stance towards the US was determined by suspicion of US power, current French frustration is aimed at Washington’s hesitancy or even weakness.”

This article and the following ones show that the relationship between the USA and Europe is not improving, and that due to the lack of U.S. leadership, Europe is determined to fill the vacuum.

Germany and USA Continue Disagreements on Substance

Deutsche Welle reported on December 28:

“The good personal chemistry between president [Obama] and chancellor [Merkel] and Obama’s immense international popularity has smoothed over some quite profound differences on major topics…

“Berlin has all but ruled out deploying troops to the more dangerous southern part of [Afghanistan] and in fact is very reluctant to significantly increase its military contingent at all. Despite Obama’s hope for a stronger German role in Afghanistan, the new center-right government’s position is largely unchanged from that of [Germany’s] grand coalition during the presidency of George W. Bush…

“While Germany and the US agree on the broad goal of mitigating the effects of the worst recession since the 1930s and reforming the global financial system, Berlin and Washington are not on the same page when it comes to how this can be accomplished. The German government contends that the goal of stimulating the economy has to be balanced against fiscal responsibility. For the US administration however, restarting the economy clearly trumps concerns about fiscal stability…

“The new US administration by acknowledging the problem and by vowing to take an active role in combating climate change reversed the stance of Bush presidency – at least in theory. But as observers in Germany have had to learn against the backdrop of the failed negotiations at the Copenhagen climate conference, even an American president who supports European efforts to curb global warming cannot by himself convince a reluctant Congress to sign on to an international climate change treaty…

“When push comes to shove, when words need to be translated into action the current leaderships in the US and Germany have not behaved very differently to those under the previous administrations. That is true not just on Afghanistan, the financial crisis and climate change, but also on other issues such as how to deal with the Guantanamo prisoners.”

The relationship between the USA and Europe will steadily deteriorate, according to the clear prophecies of the Bible.

“Europe (under Germany) Must Lead”

On December 28, 2009, Der Spiegel published a revealing interview with German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen. As the magazine wrote, Mr. Röttgen talked about “the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit, why neither China nor the US can take the lead in the fight against global warming and Germany’s role in the new world order.” We are bringing you the following excerpts from his statements:

“First and foremost, the result [in Copenhagen] is a great disappointment… There is no disguising the fact that the outcome does not meet our criteria for success, and it is miles away from what we consider to be urgently necessary…

“Emerging economies, led by China, were not willing to commit themselves to CO2 reduction targets as a part of their foreign policy or to join the common political will. With the United States, the problems were domestic in nature. The political conditions are lacking there for the country to be part of a global framework. Both countries… seem to consider national politics to be more important…

“A chapter has been closed in Copenhagen, the well-intended attempt at harmony. Now the wrestling will begin for positions of power, but no fixed structure has yet taken hold. At the moment we are experiencing a lack of structure, a lack of results and an inability to act, triggered mainly by the United States which, in the case of climate protection, as in capital markets, is no longer capable of leading. This has created a power vacuum. And when there is a power vacuum, there are others who would like to step in…

“The US as leader is part of the political concept of the West. But the US hasn’t led — instead it reached a deal with China that there wouldn’t be any leadership… I see an erosion of their leadership role. Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao have agreed to the lowest common denominator: China doesn’t want to lead, and the US cannot lead. The major blockade at the summit grew out of an unfortunate combination of weak leadership on the part of the Americans and Chinese power to impede progress…

“Europe is not the loser because it presented itself as a unified bloc at the summit, with clear goals and a solid strategy. That was one of the few really positive experiences in Copenhagen and vitally important to our role in this new world order. We have shown what Europe’s role could be… I do not believe there is a conscious American-Chinese alliance. It is more a case of two forms of weakness coming together… The government in Beijing, of course, takes advantage of the fact that the US and Europe do not have a common position…

“Germany alone cannot determine anything in global politics — the only thing that counts there is European unity. And we worked to unite the Europeans in Copenhagen… It is German policy to take a leading role in environmental technology…”

Of course, the concept that carbon dioxide is responsible for climate change is by no means undisputed, as the next article shows. However, from a biblical perspective, the discussion on climate change and its political consequences may contribute to the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, clearly revealing that the influence of the USA on virtually every aspect of life will continue to diminish worldwide, while the United States of Europe under German leadership will become the most powerful bloc in the world–including on economic, political and military issues.

Will the Earth Become Cooler Rather than Warmer?

Newsmax wrote on December 28:

“A university professor challenges the widely held notion that carbon dioxide is responsible for climate change — and says the Earth will continue to cool for the next half-century. Rather than carbon dioxide, cosmic rays and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — already implicated in depleting the Earth’s ozone layer — are to blame for changes in the global climate, according to a paper by Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Waterloo in Canada…

“Lu’s peer-reviewed paper, published in the prestigious journal Physics Reports, states: ‘My findings do not agree with the climate models that conventionally thought that greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, are the major culprits for the global warming seen in the late 20th century. Instead, the observed data show that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays most likely caused both the Antarctic ozone hole and global warming. These findings are totally unexpected and striking, as I was focused on studying the mechanism for the formation of the ozone hole, rather than global warming.’

“The total amount of CFCs decreased around 2000, Lu said, and ‘correspondingly, the global surface temperature has also dropped. In striking contrast, the CO2 level has kept rising since 1850 and now is at its largest growth rate.’ Lu found that while there was global warming from 1950 to 2000, there has been global cooling since 2002, and his research indicates that the cooling trend will continue for the next 50 years.”

War in Middle East Continues–With No End in Sight

Deutsche Welle reported on December 27:

“The year began in the Middle East with war and ended without peace. New leaders arrived with optimistic plans for a resolution to the Israel-Palestinian crisis but little was achieved by the year’s end…

“Any hopes of a lasting peace coming from the Gaza war would be dashed, the international community would increasingly isolate Israel, a UN report by South Africa’s Richard Goldstone would accuse both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and threaten to bring both sides before the International Criminal Court…

“Between Obama’s inauguration and his speech in Cairo, Israel had taken a radical swing to the right. Many observers believed that the election victory for Benjamin Netanyahu of the hard-line Likud party was a direct reaction to the rise of Hamas, the continued threat of rocket attacks from Gaza and the increasing anti-Israel rhetoric from a belligerent, nuclear ambitious Iran…

“Before peace talks could resume, President Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Israel should endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [and] stop all Israeli construction in the occupied West Bank… Netanyahu’s ban on construction fell far short of the full freeze demanded by the Palestinians…

“The apparent inability of the Obama administration to get Israel to agree to its first condition for resuming peace talks angered the Arab world and heaped more pressure on a US president who had promised much when he first came to office… The Arab world is… very disappointed with Obama because the Arabs really thought that this president would be able to put pressure on Israel, not only on the settlement issue but in the wider context of finding a solution to the Middle East conflict…”

“USA Should Attack Iran”

The New York Times wrote on December 23:

“If Iran acquired a nuclear arsenal, the risks would simply be too great that it could become a neighborhood bully or provide terrorists with the ultimate weapon, an atomic bomb. As for knocking out its nuclear plants, admittedly, aerial bombing might not work. Some Iranian facilities are buried too deeply to destroy from the air. There may also be sites that American intelligence is unaware of. And military action could backfire in various ways, including by undermining Iran’s political opposition, accelerating the bomb program or provoking retaliation against American forces and allies in the region.

“But history suggests that military strikes could work… Iran’s atomic sites might need to be bombed more than once to persuade Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. As for the risk of military strikes undermining Iran’s opposition, history suggests that the effect would be temporary… Yes, Iran could retaliate by aiding America’s opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does that anyway…

“Incentives and sanctions will not work, but air strikes could degrade and deter Iran’s bomb program at relatively little cost or risk, and therefore are worth a try. They should be precision attacks, aimed only at nuclear facilities, to remind Iran of the many other valuable sites that could be bombed if it were foolish enough to retaliate.

“The final question is, who should launch the air strikes? Israel has shown an eagerness to do so if Iran does not stop enriching uranium, and some hawks in Washington favor letting Israel do the dirty work to avoid fueling anti-Americanism in the Islamic world. But there are three compelling reasons that the United States itself should carry out the bombings.

“First, the Pentagon’s weapons are better than Israel’s at destroying buried facilities. Second, unlike Israel’s relatively small air force, the United States military can discourage Iranian retaliation by threatening to expand the bombing campaign… Finally, because the American military has global reach, air strikes against Iran would be a strong warning to other would-be proliferators…

“We have reached the point where air strikes are the only plausible option with any prospect of preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponing military action merely provides Iran a window to expand, disperse and harden its nuclear facilities against attack. The sooner the United States takes action, the better.”

Europe Warns and Condemns Iran’s Leadership

Deutsche Welle reported on December 28:

“In a strong statement to the press on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the actions of Iran’s state security services ‘unacceptable.’… At least eight people were killed in street clashes in Tehran when police and Basij militia members confronted protest marchers who were attempting to gather at a number of central squares. Sunday’s protests took place on Ashura, a Shiite Islamic holy day devoted to honoring martyrs, often through street marches… According to opposition sources, security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to try to get the marchers to disperse.

“German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle criticized Iran’s tactics as ‘brutal,’ and said that the international community ‘would be watching, not looking away.’ A spokesman for the French foreign ministry, Bernard Valero, said his country again expressed ‘deep concern,’ and ‘condemns the arbitrary arrests and violence carried out against ordinary protesters.’… The Italian foreign ministry, meanwhile, warned the Islamic republic that ‘safeguarding human lives is a fundamental value which must be defended everywhere and in every circumstance.'”

It is becoming more and more plausible that we will soon see an outright war in the Middle East, involving a military attack on Iran. This attack might be led by Israel with or without American support; and it will also be interesting to see how powerful players such as Europe and Russia will react to such military action. The Bible shows that ultimately, Europe will turn against the USA and Israel; and that it will intervene militarily in the Middle East in an effort to bring peace to that region.

How Russia Justifies Its Nuclear Policies

The Russian pro-government paper, Pravda, wrote the following on December 24:

“Russia now announced its right to use nuclear weapons not only in case of aggression against itself, but also as a ‘response to a threat of using (or usage) against itself and (or) its allies of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, as well as a response to the aggression with regular weapons in the situations critical for the Russian Federation.’

“The similar document signed by the United States does not have this provision. The US does not consider itself entitled to use nuclear weapons as a response to a ‘threat’… Russia does not have resources for aggression. Even Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based defense analyst said… ‘The weaker the army, the more important nuclear weapons are. We don’t have anything left besides our nuclear weapons. We have no guarantees that the West would not interfere with our wars, like it happened with Georgia, therefore, we do need nuclear restraining…’

“Nuclear weapons remain the main, and maybe, the only defense for Russia. It would be silly to walk around the area filled with stray dogs without an electroshock or at least a good stick.”

Russia Justifies Its Military Occupation of Georgia

The Pravda wrote on December 23:

“As though it was any of their business, six US senators have taken it upon themselves to warn France against the planned sale of a warship to Russia… The senators were ‘worried’ and underlined a Russian Navy commander’s recent statement that the ship would have allowed Russian forces battling Georgia’s military in August 2008 to land troops ashore in 40 minutes, against the 26 hours it took them to do so in last year’s war.

“Well that’s good, perhaps more lives would have been saved. But these saber rattling, arrogant Americans are still bound and determined to protect the criminal behavior of their puppet in Georgia. Of course their words make them nothing less than hypocrites of the worst kind, and accessories to the war crimes of Georgia and Saakashvili.

“The truth is not in them, they either knowingly or ignorantly promote the lie that the war was Russia’s fault and of course Russia has no right to save the lives of citizens. Again, how dare they!… Senator Lugar and other neo-con Senators called on President Obama to increase military supplies to Georgia. I am sure if this were 1939, they would also call on the President to increase military supplies to Nazi Germany.”

Interestingly, the Pravda conveniently forgets to mention the friendship pact between Russia’s war criminal, Josef Stalin, and Germany’s war criminal, Adolf Hitler. There will not be a war between Russia and the United States, prior to Christ’s return. But a worldwide war WILL occur very soon. However, the respective allies and enemies will be quite different from what many may expect. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Japan Moves Closer to India, While Moving Further Away from the USA

India’s national newspaper, The Hindu, wrote the following on December 26:

“Apart from improving their coordination on security issues, India and Japan will also consolidate their economic ties… Japanese investment in India [has] exceeded its investment in China for the first time in 2008-09… Without India, Japan cannot grow in [the] future.”

Times on Line added on December 26:

“Yukio Hatoyama, the new Japanese Prime Minister, has stunned a nation already mired in huge public debt by unveiling the country’s biggest ever postwar budget: a 92.3 trillion yen (£630 billion) spending spree… The new budget will require additional debt issuance of Y44.3 trillion…

“Four months on from [his election] victory and Mr Hatoyama has spent more than any of his predecessors and has yet to make any serious impact on the wider effort of repairing Japan’s shattered economy… Mr Hatoyama has also been hurt personally by the arrest of a former aide this week amid a money scandal that bore all the hallmarks of the politics of ‘old Japan’… Prosecutors in Tokyo accused Keiji Katsuba, 59, of falsifying funding reports beginning in 2000 and listing dead people as donors.

“Political analysts said that the episode would not be crippling to Mr Hatoyama… but it adds to pressures that already include a weakened domestic economy and strained relations with the United States…”

The Bible clearly shows that in these last days, many nations in the Far East, including Japan, India, China and Russia, will align and cooperate, even militarily, and an outright war will see a military confrontation between these nations and the emerging United States of Europe.

Britain Powerless?

AFP wrote on December 30:

“Shaikh, a 53-year-old father-of-three whom supporters say was mentally ill, was executed on Tuesday [in China] for drug smuggling despite extensive British ministerial lobbying that continued almost up until his death. But in a letter to the Guardian newspaper, his cousins Amina and Ridwan Shaikh lamented the lack of real British influence in the case.

“‘This is an example of Britain’s powerlessness in the world. Their strategy of being shoulder to shoulder with the US in the “war on terror” has not given them the status they so desperately desire,’ they said… ‘Britain’s economic dependence far outweighs these “individual cases.”‘

“Shaikh was arrested in September 2007 in Urumqi in far western China with four kilograms (nine pounds) of heroin, but campaigners say a criminal gang duped him into carrying the drugs. He was the first national from a European Union country to be executed in China in 50 years… China’s ambassador Fu Ying was hauled into the Foreign Office hours after the execution on Tuesday to be told of Britain’s anger, in what was described as a ‘difficult’ meeting…

“Britain has vast trade and economic ties with China, and has long underlined the need to engage closely with the emerging global powerhouse despite criticism notably of China’s human rights record… But ties have long been complicated, and tensions were highlighted at this month’s Copenhagen climate summit where environment minister Ed Miliband said China had led a group of countries that ‘hijacked’ the negotiations.

“In a commentary on the Shaikh case the Times said that Britain’s ‘diplomatic failure’ was forcing a rethink of strategy towards China. ‘After the Copenhagen debacle this month and the execution of the first citizen of a European country by China since 1951, Britain is now reassessing how to handle China diplomatically,’ it said.”

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When Christ returns to set up the Kingdom of God, will He return visibly and bodily?

This seems to be a relatively simple matter to determine from the Bible, but there are myriads of different ideas that exist about this question. Let us look at some basic Scriptures.

In Matthew 24:26-30, Jesus Himself said:

“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

This passage clearly states that the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, will be seen by “all the tribes of the earth” at His return. Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries state that they will “gaze – that is with wide open eyes as at something remarkable.” Indeed, it will be remarkable–a truly unique situation–when Christ returns to this earth just in time to save man from self-annihilation (compare Matthew 24:21-22), and He will be seen by “all the tribes of the earth” at that time.

We read in Acts 1:9-11: “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'”

One commentator made these observations: “Notice that this says ‘the same manner,’ not the same body. What was the ‘manner’ of his ascent? As verse 9 shows, he disappeared from view, his departure being observed only by his disciples. The world in general was not aware of what happened. The same would be true of Christ’s return.”

However, the flaws in these arguments or understanding are that while the world may not have been aware of this event at the time of Christ’s ascension, the world, being on the brink of cosmocide at the very end of this age, will be facing a time when Christ has to return to save us from ourselves. He will be seen as the course of action described in the book of Revelation takes place. He won’t be doing this invisibly!

In addition, since Christ ascended visibly as He did, it therefore follows that He will return in like manner, that is, visibly, so that He can be seen by “all the tribes of the earth.” Exactly how this will be done is open to conjecture, but as Scripture says that it will happen, we believe what the Word of God says.

This same commentator went on to say that “If Christ were to appear visibly in the heavens, it is obvious that not ‘every eye’ would see Him. If He appeared over Australia, for example, He would not be visible in Europe, Africa and the Americas, would He?”

The Bible says that He WILL appear visibly. It is possible that Christ will circle the earth so that all tribes can see Him. Christ declared: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27; compare also Luke 17:24). It is also possible that television cameras and other electronic equipment will show and broadcast His appearance all over the world–as the peoples and nations will see the dead bodies of the two witnesses for three-and-a-half days, apparently via electronic transmissions of some kind (compare Revelation 11:9).

We need to understand, however, that even though Christ will return visibly–not secretly–He will not appear with the same physical BODY which He had before His death. Christ is now a SPIRIT being, and He has a SPIRITUAL body. But He can, of course, manifest Himself AS a physical being, even with bones and flesh. For a full discussion of this sometimes misunderstood concept, see our Q&A on the question, “Do you teach a resurrection of the physical body?”

The angels said that Jesus will return in the same manner as He left. Let us note that Jesus, after His crucifixion, appeared visibly to His apostles and others on many occasions, and that He ascended to heaven “visibly.” Jesus appeared to:

— Mary Magdalene shortly after His resurrection (Mark 16:9; John 20:14-17);

— the women who held Him by the feet (Matthew 28:9);

— the two disciples “as they walked and went into the country” on their way to Emmaus (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-31);

— Cephas or Peter and then to the twelve (1 Corinthians 15:5);

— the original apostles (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-20, 24-28);

— the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-25);

— over 500 brethren (1 Corinthians 15:6);

— the eleven disciples, giving them the commission to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18);

— the disciples at the time of His ascension (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:4-9).

Please also note that after Christ’s resurrection, He “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being SEEN by them DURING FORTY DAYS and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

This is a considerable body of Scriptural evidence proving that Jesus, after His crucifixion and resurrection, showed Himself visibly to hundreds of people, manifesting Himself as a human being. He will manifest Himself visibly at His Second Coming, in great glory and power! It should be noted that we must take Scripture for what it says; not what we think it says or how we think something may happen.

In Revelation 1:7, there is further proof: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” We read that EVERY eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. This is referring to the Jewish race and mankind in general whose sins necessitated Christ’s death on our behalf.

In Zechariah 14:4, we read: “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.” This is talking about the Day of the Lord when Christ returns visibly to this earth. He said that He would return to this earth to set up the Kingdom of God; that He will rule from Jerusalem; and that the saints will rule and reign with Him on the earth (Revelation 5:10).

Many strange ideas exist about Christ’s return–including the belief that Christ would be returning as a physical Man–being born again from a woman. Some believe that Christ will rule with the saints from heaven. Others believe that Christ has already returned to this earth!

The rapture is another wrong theory that we covered briefly in Update 54, where it was stated: “The bible is very consistent in describing Christ’s Second Coming as one and the same event. When He visibly returns, He will gather His elect – not before then (Matthew 24:27-31).” A thorough discussion of the wrong concept of the “rapture” can be found in our Q&A on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and in our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” on pages 52 to 54.

If we believe what the Scriptures clearly reveal, we understand that Jesus Christ will visibly return to this earth. His Second Coming will be witnessed by everyone on earth alive at that time.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our new booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Galatians–How To Understand It,” was sent to our Graphic Designer, Shelly Bruno, for finalization.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on StandingWatch and YouTube. It is titled, “Payoffs for Senate’s Health Care Bill.” 

The program discusses that politics went into high gear this week when 60 necessary votes for the U.S. Senate’s health care bill were secured after granting special concessions and payoffs to certain states. Some senators defended these tactics, saying that “payoffs are nothing unusual”; and that this is “the nature of a democracy” and “part of the normal legislative process.” But what exactly were these payoffs, and how does God look at this kind of political maneuvering?

A new German sermon, titled, “Du Sollst Nicht Luegen, Teil 3” (“You Shall Not Lie, Part 3),” was posted on the Web.

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To Be Happy

by Manuela Mitchell

We have heard the saying, “Life is what you make of it”; but what if life has the means of introducing misery and trials which can change our desires and motivations? When I am sick, or battling through a never-ending trial, is it possible to enjoy life even then? I have experienced on numerous occasions that it is… it must!  Something positive always results from the negative, in every single case; because as I battle through hard times, God is on my side and He will allow me to overcome, if I let Him.

I have survived Type 1 Diabetes for 22 years and have grown to live with controlling the disease, most of the time. There is no known cure, but daily treatment requires glucose monitoring through blood sample, injections of insulin, a healthy diet and exercise. Every day is not the same as blood sugars fluctuate with normal activity, illnesses, stresses, time changes, hormonal imbalances, and foods that I eat. Recently, being pregnant, Diabetes has taken a new routine. Treating it before was simple compared to the daily task of today and the next few months. Where there is great need for correcting high blood sugars while pregnant, for risk of harming the baby, having low blood sugars is worse since that of course could result in the loss of both. 

I have recently been dangerously low several times, to the point where I was non-coherent. My husband has been able to reverse the affect with glucose tablets, orange juice and anything else that he could get into me. It took about an hour before I “came to,” but the entire day was shot since I felt horrible for the rest of it.

I consider these trials as opportunities for learning, because they just don’t happen from nowhere. With God’s hand (and those who help me) I have been able to withstand pressures of life. I know that the outcome is greater, even in the physical realm, for in approximately four months I will be able to see the little person who has been creating all this trouble. :). I am to be happy in every state of life, even if I can’t yet see the reward.

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

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