To the Ephesians, Part 5
On July 3, 2010, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “To the Ephesians, Part 5.”
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.
Often when playing golf with others, I hear them exclaim, “That’s not where I was aiming,” as their ball goes flying off the fairway into some danger. The problem is that the ball went EXACTLY where they were aiming, just not where they were intending. Their feet, body, club, hands, etc. were all set up in such a way that the shot never had a chance of ending up where they wanted it to, but did end up literally where it was aligned.
When we look at where we are in life, are we where we want to be with our job, family, relationships, church, God, etc.? No? Are we at a point along the line that we were aiming? Yes! As we go through life, sometimes we find ourselves somewhere where we never wanted to be. If we are honest in our assessment of all the choices we have made, then we are EXACTLY at a point along these lines.
When driving a golf ball, if the hit is only a few degrees off of the intended mark, this can spell trouble. The longer the drive, the further off course it can be. The longer we continue to head in a wrong direction, even if it is unintentional, the farther we get from our original goal.
One of the interesting aspects of golf though, is that there are several chances to get it up on the green and into the hole. If a mistake is made and the golfer has gone askew off the target, there is an opportunity to reassess the situation and get back on track with the next shot.
We can do the same as we endeavor to walk down the Path. If we look up today and find ourselves off the road we had been traveling, even slightly, we have been afforded the opportunity to also make adjustments and zero in on our Ultimate Goal. The sooner we do this and the more accurately we hone in, the better off we are going to be, and the more likely we will not only hit where we were aiming, but where we intended also.
We report on the devastating economic situation in the USA and around the world and quote warning voices that we might be “in the early stages of a third depression,” and that we ought to prepare for a “post US-dollar world.” The US Congress is about to enact sweeping financial legislation, which might have a serious negative effect on the US economy, and the US Supreme Court ruled that all Americans have a fundamental right to bear arms. While some applaud the decision as having confirmed constitutional rights, others warn of the inherent dangers of further violence in this country. At the same time, a proposed wide-ranging cybersecurity bill might severely limit constitutional rights of private citizens.
Over 850 Jewish rabbis issued a statement opposing the appointment of Jewish Elena Kagan as a new member of the U.S. Supreme Court, as they feel that she “turns traditional Judaism on its head.” Der Spiegel analyzes what may be behind President Obama’s appointment of David Petraeus as new commander in Afghanistan and concludes that the surprising appointment “holds unmistakable risks for Obama.”
Focusing on the G-20 meeting in Toronto, Canada, we report on the incredible waste of money spent on security and the inconsequential “decisions” which were reached at the summit. While the disagreement between the USA and Europe–and Germany in particular–is “set to continue,” President Obama’s performance at the summit has been characterized as “a setback on the global stage.”
We are reporting on Germany’s rocky election of their new President and the adverse consequences for the current German government, and point out that Turkey has begun to retaliate against Israel, and that we can expect further concerted action against the Jewish state.
We are addressing religious confusion, including those who misinterpret the identity of the woman riding the beast in Revelation 17, and we show the scientific confusion of those who make the false claim that “the human foetus [fetus] cannot feel pain before 24 weeks,” concluding that “anaesthetics for the foetus are not needed when it is terminated.” In addition to this claim being outrageous, as the scientific evidence is such that babies in the mother’s womb do feel pain, at least between the eighth and twelfth week, and that a nine-week old baby resists being “terminated,” this horrible proposition also totally ignores the fact that abortion is murder.
We conclude with a report on the ongoing crisis of the Catholic Church and controversial action by the country of Belgium against the church.
This Week in the News
“The Third Depression”
The New York Times wrote on June 27:
“Recessions are common; depressions are rare. As far as I can tell, there were only two eras in economic history that were widely described as ‘depressions’ at the time: the years of deflation and instability that followed the Panic of 1873 and the years of mass unemployment that followed the financial crisis of 1929-31…
“We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression… the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will… be immense. And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending…
“After all, unemployment — especially long-term unemployment — remains at levels that would have been considered catastrophic not long ago, and shows no sign of coming down rapidly. And both the United States and Europe are well on their way toward Japan-style deflationary traps.
“In the face of this grim picture, you might have expected policy makers to realize that they haven’t yet done enough to promote recovery. But no… It’s almost as if the financial markets understand what policy makers seemingly don’t: that while long-term fiscal responsibility is important, slashing spending in the midst of a depression, which deepens that depression and paves the way for deflation, is actually self-defeating…
“And who will pay the price… ? The answer is, tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again.”
You might want to watch (again) our StandingWatch program from over two years ago (April 11, 2008), titled, “Coming… The Great Depression?…”
Prepare for a “Post-U.S. Dollar World”
Kitco/The Global Investor wrote on June 25:
“… the US benefits from its reserve-currency status, allowing it to accumulate unsustainable debts for an unusually long period without the immediate repercussions of inflation or higher borrowing costs. But this false sense of security may be setting us up for a truly monumental crash. There is fresh evidence that time is running out for the dollar-centric global monetary order. In fact, central banks outside the US are already making swift and discrete preparation for a post-dollar era.
“To begin, the People’s Bank of China has just this week decided to permit a wider trading range between the yuan and the dollar. This is the first step toward ending the infernal yuan-dollar peg… Just days before China’s announcement, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev rattled his monetary sabre by telling the press of his intention to lead the world toward a new monetary order based on a broad basket of currencies. Giving strength to his claim, the Central Bank of Russia announced that it would be adding Canadian and Australian dollars to its reserves for the first time…
“Speaking of Europe, the major powers there are moving toward a post-dollar world by rejecting President Obama’s calls to jump on America’s debt grenade… dollar strength is largely seen as a function of euro weakness… Europe has higher priorities than being America’s fall guy. Led by an ever-bolder Germany, the European states are wisely choosing not to throw themselves on our funeral pyre, but to wisely clean house in anticipation of China’s rise.
“In another ominous sign for the dollar, the Financial Times reported Wednesday that after two decades as net sellers of gold, foreign central banks have now become net buyers… more than half of central bank officials… didn’t think the dollar would be the world’s reserve in 2035. Among the predicted replacements were Asian currencies and the euro, but – by far – the favorite was gold. This is supported by Monday’s revelation by the Saudi central bank that it had covertly doubled its gold reserves, just about a year after China made a similar admission… this is compelling evidence that foreign governments are… quietly preparing for the dollar’s almost-inevitable devaluation…
“The newspapers are now riddled with hints that foreign governments have lost faith in Washington and the dollar reserve system…”
Dollar Should Be Replaced…
CNN reported on June 29:
“The dollar is an unreliable international currency and should be replaced by a more stable system, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said in a report released Tuesday. The use of the dollar for international trade came under increasing scrutiny when the U.S. economy fell into recession.
“‘The dollar has proved not to be a stable store of value, which is a requisite for a stable reserve currency,’ the report said… The World Economic and Social Survey 2010 is supporting a proposal long advocated by the International Monetary Fund to create a standardized international system for liquidity transfer.”
“Biggest Reform of US Financial Regulations”
What may at first glance be a supportable U.S. bill related to US and international banks might have serious repercussions for the US economy.
BBC News wrote on June 25:
“The US Congress has all but finalised the biggest reform of US financial regulation since the Great Depression… Agreement was reached to impose strict limits on banks’ ability to take risky speculative bets on markets…
“Make no mistake, some on Wall Street feel they’ve dodged a bullet. However much their revenues will be hurt by the new laws’ provisions, things could have been much worse. Fuelled by deep public rage at banks that nearly destroyed the US economy, lawmakers seriously considered much more drastic action than this.
“The Brown Kaufman amendment in the Senate would have limited the size and leverage of banks. Needless to say the giants of Wall Street were appalled at that prospect. And who helped kill that amendment? The Obama administration itself. So it’s worth bearing in mind that up to a point he has actually also been Wall Street’s protector…
“Agreement was also reached on higher capital requirements for banks. This means banks will either need to do less risky lending, or they will have to raise more money from shareholders to hold in reserve against loan losses, or both. However, congressmen conceded a five-year transition period for banks to meet the new capital rules, and they exempted smaller banks – with less than $15bn in assets – from the rules altogether…
“But banks will still be banned from dealing in credit default swaps unless they do so through the safety of a financial exchange. This measure will severely curtail one of the most profitable activities of the big international banks when they do business in the US.”
Supreme Court Affirms Gun Rights
In a five-to-four decision, the Supreme Court ruled that all Americans have a fundamental right to bear arms. That four judges ruled against this conclusion shows that the rationale adopted by the majority is not as compelling as one might think. Also, to a large extent, the majority’s opinion is quite evasive and in-conclusive. However, in the opinion of some, in a time of upheaval, this controversial decision could prove to be counter-productive and contribute to further violence in our nation.
The Washington Post wrote on June 28:
“The Supreme Court ruled for the first time Monday that the Second Amendment provides all Americans a fundamental right to bear arms, a long-sought victory for gun rights advocates who have chafed at federal, state and local efforts to restrict gun ownership.
“The court was considering a restrictive handgun law in Chicago and one of its suburbs that was similar to the District law that it ruled against in 2008. The 5 to 4 decision does not strike any other gun control measures currently in place, but it provides a legal basis for challenges across the country where gun owners think that government has been too restrictive…
“The victory might be more symbolic than substantive, at least initially. Few cities have laws as restrictive as those in Chicago and Washington. Alito [Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority] said government can restrict gun ownership in certain instances but did not elaborate on what those would be. That will be determined in future litigation…
“The guns case was the logical sequel to the court’s 5 to 4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. That decision established for the first time that the Second Amendment’s ‘right to keep and bear arms’ referred to an individual right, not one related to military service. But the decision that there is a right to keep a gun in one’s home did not extend beyond the federal government and its enclaves such as Washington. Gun rights activists immediately filed suit against the handgun restrictions in Chicago and the suburb of Oak Park…
“The court’s decision means that the enigmatically worded Second Amendment — ‘A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed’ — identifies an individual right to gun ownership, like the freedom of speech, that cannot be unduly restricted by Congress, state laws or city ordinances.
“Also voting in the majority were [in addition to Alto] Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Justice Stephen G. Breyer objected to the majority decision… Joining him with dissenting votes were John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. Stevens wrote his own dissent and did not join Breyer’s.”
Less and Less Democracy in the USA…
TechWorld wrote on June 25:
“A US Senate committee has approved a wide-ranging cybersecurity bill that some critics have suggested would give the US president the authority to shut down parts of the Internet during a cyberattack. Senator Joe Lieberman and other bill sponsors have refuted the charges… The bill next moves to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.
“The bill, introduced earlier this month, would establish a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications… The bill also would allow the US president to take emergency actions to protect critical parts of the Internet, including ordering owners of critical infrastructure to implement emergency response plans, during a cyber-emergency. The president would need congressional approval to extend a national cyber-emergency beyond 120 days… The legislation would give the US Department of Homeland Security authority that it does not now have to respond to cyber-attacks… Other sponsors of the bill are Senators Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat.
“One critic said Thursday that the bill will hurt the nation’s security, not help it. Security products operate in a competitive market that works best without heavy government intervention, said Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute…
“On Wednesday, 24 privacy and civil liberties groups sent a letter raising concerns about the legislation to the sponsors. The bill gives the new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications ‘significant authority’ over critical infrastructure, but doesn’t define what critical infrastructure is covered, the letter said.
“Without a definition of critical infrastructure there are concerns that ‘it includes elements of the Internet that Americans rely on every day to engage in free speech and to access information,’ said the letter, signed by the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups. ‘Changes are needed to ensure that cybersecurity measures do not unnecessarily infringe on free speech, privacy, and other civil liberties interests,’ the letter added.”
Elena Kagan “Not Kosher”?
CNS wrote on June 25:
“Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is ‘not kosher’–meaning she is not fit to serve on the court–according to more than 850 Orthodox members of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. That’s the term the rabbis used about Kagan in a press release issued Thursday…
“Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for the alliance, told CNSNews.com on Thursday that ‘a great deal has been made about the fact that she would be the second Jewish woman on the court, and we want to signal to people across the country that we take no pride in this… We feel that Elena Kagan turns traditional Judaism on its head–from a concept of a nation of priests and holy people, she is turning it into, “Let’s homosexualize every segment of society. And by the way, partial-birth babies have no right to be delivered.”‘
“In a statement issued Thursday, the rabbinical alliance called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to refuse to confirm Kagan to succeed the outgoing Justice John Paul Stevens. ‘It is clear from Ms. Kagan’s record on issues such as abortion-on-demand, partial-birth-abortion, the radical homosexual and lesbian agenda, the “supremacy” of the anti-family panoply over religious liberties of biblical adherents, et. al., that she will function as a flame-throwing radical, hastening society’s already steep decline into Sodom and Gomorrah,” the rabbis said in the statement.
“Levin told CNSNews.com that his fellow rabbis–and hundreds of thousands of Orthodox and traditional Jews–are puzzled at the president’s choice of Kagan.”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 28:
“With the dismissal of his commander in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, and the appointment of David Petraeus as his successor, US President Barack Obama has tied the success of his presidency to progress in the war in Afghanistan…
“Petraeus was probably the most unlikely candidate for the position, because, in complying with Obama’s request, he is not only taking a step down in the hierarchy to run the war from Kabul. Petraeus has political talents, and some say that [he] could even run against Obama as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012. If he had any such intentions, taking a step that aligns him more closely with Obama would not have been expedient. For the president, it was a successful coup that hardly anyone had expected. The Washington Post offered sardonic praise for the president…
“Is this the break Obama has been waiting for, a ‘stroke of brilliance, an unassailable move, politically and strategically,’ as Fred Kaplan writes in the online magazine Slate? Or has Obama just become even more embroiled in a war that could already be unwinnable? In appointing Petraeus to [succeed] McChrystal, Obama has chosen the strongest proponent of the troop surge strategy. But if the war continues to drag on, he will come to be seen as a war president and, when he runs for reelection, could have trouble gaining the support of voters who already hold it against him that the Afghanistan campaign has already lasted longer than World War II…
“The war in Afghanistan is not just controversial among Americans. There are growing doubts among Obama’s allies over whether they should continue to support the war in central Asia by sending their own troops…
“With his decisive move, Obama undoubtedly scored an important victory at home. Petraeus is America’s most popular general and uncontroversial across the political spectrum. Even Obama’s Republican adversary John McCain praised the president’s decision… Newsweek wrote: ‘By replacing a general who was universally criticized with a general who almost can’t be criticized, President Obama pulled a political masterstroke’…
“Afghanistan is a long way from peace. In June alone, coalition troops had lost 80 soldiers by last Friday, making it the bloodiest month in a war that has been raging for almost nine years. In the Rolling Stone article, a close advisor to McChrystal is quoted as saying that the mission there is ‘not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win.’
“There is also mounting concern among other senior US military leaders over whether America has enough patience for a mission… especially with the prospect of growing American losses in the coming months… In the controversial Rolling Stones article by author Michael Hastings, soldiers, in particular, openly complain about their situation, mostly about being ordered not to shoot, even in menacing situations, so as to protect innocent civilians… But Petraeus supports the strategy, which is why his appointment also holds unmistakable risks for Obama. The president and his commander have signed a pact…”
The war in Afghanistan has been and will continue to be a disaster for the USA. More lives will be lost, and no success is in sight. The war was lost before it started.
Why Are We in Afghanistan?
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 1:
“NATO has sent tens of thousands of troops to Afghanistan and spent tens of billions of euros. But why?…
“Obama felt trapped by his political position, by his generals and by abstract theories of contemporary foreign policy. He would not want to be perceived as weak on national security. His would not want to be distracted from his focus on health care reform. And he himself had long justified the withdrawal from Iraq on the grounds that Afghanistan was the ‘good war,’ vital to US national security — one which could have been won had resources not been diverted to Iraq…
“General Stanley McChrystal… with the implicit consent of Centcom commander General David Petraeus, had publicly declared in the autumn of 2009 that he needed 40,000 more troops… Ultimately, the president succumbed… Just as 8th century Mahayana Buddhists invented world after world, filling them with their distinctive demons and bodhisattvas, our think tanks and governments have also developed their own metaphysical structures…
“These theories can be made to seem absurd and indeed future generations may wonder, as we do about 8th century mysticism, why the beliefs of so many powerful and intelligent people were shaped by such eccentric systems… Take, for example, the master-concept behind Obama’s surge, namely that in order to prevent Afghanistan posing a terrorist threat it was necessary to launch full-spectrum counter-insurgency operations… 20 years from now, we may struggle to explain why we once felt Afghanistan required the deployment of 100,000 troops or the spending $100 billion each year — why it required far more resources and attention than its more powerful and populous neighbors Iran or Pakistan…
“European countries feel trapped by their relationship with NATO and the United States. Holbrooke and Obama feel trapped by the position of American generals. And everyone — politicians, generals, diplomats and journalist — feels trapped by our grand theories and beset by the guilt of having already lost over a thousand NATO lives, spent a hundred billion dollars and made a number of promises to Afghans and the West which we are unlikely to be able to keep.
“So powerful are these cultural assumptions, these historical and economic forces and these psychological tendencies, that even if every world leader privately concluded the operation was unlikely to succeed, it is almost impossible to imagine the US or its allies halting the counter-insurgency in Afghanistan in the years to come. Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa may have been in a similar position during the Third Crusade. Former US President Lyndon B. Johnson certainly was in 1963. Europe is simply in Afghanistan because America is there. America is there just because it is. And all our policy debates are scholastic dialectics to justify this singular but not entirely comprehensible fact.”
And even though the Afghan war will continue to be a disaster, it will go on, simply because man’s heart is set on war–not peace.
The G-20 Summit–What a Waste of Money
The New York Times reported on June 26:
“Few Canadians expected that hosting world leaders at back-to-back summit meetings here this weekend would be cheap or convenient… But it is the cost of providing security that has elicited gasps. The latest government estimate is $897 million for the three days of summitry. That comes to about $12 million per hour, nearly what the government spends per year in the war in Afghanistan…
“Ever since the infamous Battle in Seattle, the World Trade Organization summit meeting there in 1999 in which violent street protests led to 600 arrests and $3 million in property damage, security has been a prime concern for international summit meetings and the costs have soared.
“But critics point out that Canada has spent several times the amount other recent summit meeting hosts have spent on security. The security costs for the Group of 20 meeting last year in Pittsburgh, for example, was estimated to be a total of $95 million, according to a study by Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer. The previous record was the 2008 Group of 20 meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, which cost $345 million for security, the report said.”
Within a few years, those measures will no longer be necessary. No more fear of violent attacks–and no more need of G-20 meetings which don’t produce any solutions anyhow. If you wonder why we can say this, please read our free booklets, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God” and “Human Suffering–Why… and How Much Longer?”
USA vs. Europe
Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 26:
“The US has heavily criticized German austerity measures in recent days. Now, Germany’s finance minister [Wolfgang Schäuble] has fired back, warning against becoming addicted to deficit spending and noting that history has made the country extremely wary of national debt and inflation…
“Merkel’s finance minister also pointed out that ‘while US policymakers like to focus on short-term corrective measures, we take the longer view and are, therefore, more preoccupied with the implications of excessive deficits and the dangers of high inflation.’ Schäuble remarked that, while US economic history has taught the country to be wary of deflation, Germany’s history has resulted in widespread fear of deficits and inflation.
“Schäuble’s remarks were just the latest in a trans-Atlantic back-and-forth that has continued all week. US President Barack Obama’s letter to G-20 leaders, in which he wrote, ‘I am concerned about weak private sector demand and continued heavy reliance on exports by some countries with already large external surpluses,’ kicked off the debate late last week. Most interpreted the line as a warning directed at Berlin.
“Merkel has since been energetic in her defense of Berlin’s focus on debt and deficit reduction, telling German public broadcaster ARD on Thursday that ‘I don’t think we should relent’… Berlin has received support in recent days from European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet… European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also backed up the German chancellor…”
What Came Out of the G-20 Summit?
Not much, if anything. Deutsche Welle reported on June 28:
“Considering the financial cost of the meeting, the results were weak… The summit was preceded by the rolling thunder of discord; America versus Germany, spending versus austerity… In the final analysis, the players find themselves on virgin political soil. No one can come up with the ultimate solution, because every country is faced with different conditions. Thus, the debate has no winners and no losers – and that was the big surprise that came out of Toronto.
“But the financial crisis pushed other important topics – like climate change, say, or the fight against poverty and hunger – right off the agenda. At this point, even the wealthy nations themselves are admitting that they haven’t kept their promises to poorer countries… It is miserable to see how much money wealthy countries are willing and able to throw around in order to keep their own heads above water. And that was the big disappointment that came out of Toronto…
“In any case, the real litmus test for the G20 still lies ahead, since many of the important decisions for a new world financial order were pushed back to the coming summit in South Korea…”
Obama’s Setback on the Global Stage
Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 28:
“The G-20 summit in Toronto ended with yet more vague promises. The rich nations pledged to slash their budget deficits, without making any real commitments. The result is a setback for President Obama, who failed to find support for new stimulus programs in Europe… The expectations for the Toronto meeting had been low — and they were not exceeded…
“At first glance, the promises of the G-20 nations, which were meeting in this format for the fourth time, sounded impressive. National deficits will be ‘at least’ halved by 2013, according to the summit’s closing statement. But the agreement has no teeth, given that it does not foresee any binding mechanisms to make sure that the commitment is kept…
“The G-20 is now threatening to become a club of members that blame each other for their problems. Even before the summit, the Europeans had reacted with annoyance to Washington’s lectures… The dispute, it seems, is set to continue… In the US, the unemployment rate has so far refused to budge from 10 percent — a level that is unusually high for the US. The number of long-term unemployed is growing. Obama wants to create jobs, no matter what the cost, and he has little time to reflect on his setback on the global stage.”
The New German President
Deutsche Welle reported on June 30:
“Germany has a new president, and it’s the man everyone expected, Christian Wulff. However, the manner in which Wulff won was anything but convincing, and points to frictions within Germany’s ruling coalition… In the first two rounds, Wulff had failed to reach the required threshold of 623. This came as a shock; Merkel’s ruling center-right coalition had an absolute majority within the 1,244-seat voting assembly, so their candidate Wulff was guaranteed an immediate victory if their politicians toed the party line. Some, however, did not, despite appeals from senior party members.”
On June 30, Der Spiegel Online published an article, titled, “Merkel’s Disaster–Botched Presidential Election Strains Germany’s Government.” The article continued:
“The rebellion in the first two rounds of the presidential election on Wednesday amounts to the biggest setback of Angela Merkel’s career. The chancellor’s candidate came through in the third round, but the political damage will linger… It is a fiasco for her and her government… It is a rebellion that Merkel and her ranks only managed to contain in the last moment. Had they not been successful, Berlin’s political scene would have quickly become unrecognizable… She benefited from the fact that everyone knew the third round was a matter of political life and death for her government. Anyone who voted against Wulff was voting for the end of Merkel’s chancellorship…
“It cannot be hidden that Angela Merkel, on this Wednesday, suffered the biggest debacle of her political career… Merkel completely misjudged the mood in the country when she picked career politician Wulff. She made the mistake of being guided purely by self-interest and the interests of her party. Her motto was: first the party, then the nation… The political damage for the chancellor is enormous…
“The double blows of the first two votes will loom over the government’s work in the future. The coalition parties are already casting blame at each other for the debacle. Who is responsible for the failures of the first two rounds? The atmosphere of distrust will worsen, and doubts about the leadership abilities of Merkel and FDP leader Guido Westerwelle will continue to increase dramatically… Few would be surprised if Merkel’s coalition government were to end soon. Maybe not this year, but perhaps next year with a number of state elections looming.”
What a Debacle…
On July 1, Der Spiegel Online reported on the reaction of the German media to the election debacle of the new German President:
“Germany’s governing coalition is desperately trying to limit the damage inflicted by the disastrous presidential election on Wednesday. Commentators place the blame… squarely on the shoulders of Chancellor Merkel and some wonder if her days are numbered… Wednesday’s presidential election turned into a debacle for Chancellor Angela Merkel…
“The embarassing nine-hour marathon session in the Federal Assembly, made up of Bundestag members and an equal number of delegates from Germany’s 16 states, has, say many, further weakened the standing of the chancellor and called into question her leadership abilities… The fact that so many members of her coalition broke ranks on Wednesday is a significant blow for Merkel…
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘This wasn’t just an election day, it was a day of reckoning for Merkel. It was the day that members of the coalitions settled scores with the chancellor. … Angela Merkel wasn’t standing for election but she was the loser on the day. She used the country’s highest office for her power games and got entangled by her own reputed shrewdness.
“‘Merkel’s motive in choosing Wulff has increased the loss of trust in her government. She sought to silence a potential opponent within the party and sought to misuse the highest office in the country. She has been seen through. This Federal Assembly became Merkel’s writing on the wall… Next year’s state elections in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt could become her Waterloo.’
“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘Christian Wulff himself is not really to blame for the misery of his presidential campaign. It is the chancellor and her political allies who share most of the responsibility. They didn’t listen to the signals coming from the nomination of Gauck. This omission was just one example of a political style of sticking within the inner circle… The fact that so many people saw the election marathon as a way to teach Merkel a lesson is her own fault.’
“The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘… Merkel and her weak deputy chancellor Guido Westerwelle have to recognize that after their coalition’s poor start and the defeat in North Rhine-Westphalia, their government has now reached a new low point. One could almost feel sorry for Wulff. During the dramatic election he had to pay the price for the many grievances Merkel’s opponents have with her. This speaks volumes about the dwindling and fragile support Merkel has in her own party… Merkel and Westerwelle… are now fighting for their political survival’…
“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘Wulff is a president from society’s center. A Christian Democrat, but not an arch conservative, rather one with liberal attitudes… Divorced, remarried, a father again later in life, he knows the problems of the patchwork family. But can he bring impetus to the presidency?… Can he give orientation in times of global crisis, in questions of war and peace? And can the new president become a moral authority in society. It is difficult to imagine any of this. The skepticism about Christian Wulff remains, particularly after yesterday’s false start.'”
Turkey vs. Israel
BBC reported on June 28:
“Turkey has barred an Israeli military flight from Turkish airspace, in apparent retaliation for Israel’s raid on an aid convoy bound for Gaza… The banned flight was carrying Israeli officers to Poland to tour Auschwitz. The plane was denied permission to cross Turkish airspace and was therefore forced to fly an alternative route…
“Turkey, one of the first countries to recognise the state of Israel, signed two military co-operation agreements in 1996, on joint military training and arms sales. Since then Israeli aircraft have used Turkish airspace for exercises, and there have been several joint military ventures. Israeli firms won contracts to modernise Turkish aircraft and tanks and Turkey agreed to buy 10 Israeli Heron pilotless aircraft. By some estimates military contracts have made up more than half of the total trade between the two countries over the past 14 years.
“Ties deteriorated sharply after the Israeli operation against Gaza in 2008. The government of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than its predecessors. Israeli aircraft were barred from joint exercises with other US allies in Turkey last year. Turkey announced that all military co-operation would be reviewed following the flotilla raid… this particular flight was banned purely because it had been the first such request from Israel and had nothing to do with the nature of the flight. Civilian flights are unaffected.
“Reports first surfaced in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot that an Israeli military cargo plane, carrying more than 100 officers on their way to Auschwitz, was barred from Turkish airspace. At the G20 summit in Toronto, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was asked by a reporter if the ban was related to the flotilla raid. Mr Erdogan confirmed that ‘we started the ban after these events’, according to a report by Turkish news agency Anatolia.”
Religious Confusion Galore
WorldNetDaily published an incredibly inaccurate article pertaining to biblical prophecy. We are publishing excerpts from this article to show the magnitude of confusion in religious circles, and we are WARNING our readership at the same time not to fall for it or even elements contained therein. We repeat, the following excerpts are UNBIBLICAL, MISLEADING AND PLAIN WRONG. If you want to learn the truth, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy,” and “Is That in the Bible–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”
Here is what WorldNetDaily dared to “report,” publishing an article by self-proclaimed prophet Joel Richardson:
“One of the greatest prophetic mysteries of the Bible is the identity of a woman referred to as ‘the Great Prostitute’ found in Revelation 17 and 18. The woman is also referred to as ‘Mystery Babylon.’ She is initially portrayed as riding a seven-headed beast, but later this very same beast turns on her, ‘devours her and burns her with fire’… The seventh and final head to follow the Roman Empire was the Islamic Empire that consisted of the various Islamic dynasties culminating in the Islamic Ottoman Empire… today, the anti-Semitic beast empire of the earth is the Islamic Empire.
“As the spiritual and economic capital of the reigning anti-Semitic beast empire of our day, Saudi Arabia/Mecca may be identified as the Great Prostitute of Revelation 17 and 18… As I have traveled the nation, after teaching on this subject, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has rejected the idea outright. Saudi Arabia fulfills every last Scriptural description of the Prostitute to a T…”
As stated, this is utter nonsense. The Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia, have NOTHING to do with Mystery Babylon, as described in Revelation 17 and 18. But Richardson’s misleading statements seem to sway some, if not many. We have news for Richardson’s nonsense: We ARE rejecting it outright, as must everyone who understands biblical prophecy, which Richardson and WND do not.
Abortion is Murder
On June 25, the Telegraph published a highly controversial and factually inaccurate article on abortion; but even if factually correct, the article would have still missed the most important issue that abortion is murder under any circumstances.
The article’s headline reads as follows: “Foetus ‘cannot feel pain before 24 weeks.'”
It continued: “The human foetus cannot feel pain before 24 weeks, according to an official review of scientific evidence, contradicting one argument that anti-abortion campaigners have used for reducing the termination limit. Nerve endings in the brain are not sufficiently formed to enable pain to be felt before 24 weeks, according to the report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists [sic], which had been commissioned by the Department of Health. The report said: ‘It can be concluded that the foetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior to this gestation.’
“Professor Allan Templeton, president of the Royal College, who chaired the review, told The Times that research put forward by anti-abortion campaigners that the human foetus did feel pain at or before 24 weeks was based on evidence from premature babies. This did not apply to the foetus in the womb, he said. A second finding is that the foetus is naturally sedated and unconscious in the womb, leading the panel to advise that anaesthetics for the foetus are not needed when it is terminated.”
We must say that these “findings” are absolutely false and clearly contradicted by the FACTS. We discuss these facts in our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”, on page 14. The scientific evidence is such that the babies in the womb of the mother feel pain between the eighth and twelfth week. A nine-week old baby resists being murdered by the doctor!!!
Rome’s Morals Less Shocking Than Today?
It is amazing that the same paper, The Telegraph, published the following article on the same day, June 25, apparently unable to see any connections between Rome’s murder of its babies and our murders today of our (aborted) babies:
“Dozens of unwanted babies born during Roman times were murdered and buried on the site of a Roman brothel in Buckinghamshire, archaeologists suspect. An extensive study of a mass burial at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley suggests that the 97 children all died at 40 weeks gestation, or very soon after birth. The archaeologists believe that locals may have been killing and burying unwanted babies on the site in Hambleden, Buckinghamshire.
“Unwanted pregnancies were common in Roman brothels due to little contraception and Romans also considered infanticide less shocking than it is today.”
Hospitals Under Attack
CNN reported on July 1:
“A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV… after visiting the medical center for dental work… The issue stems from a failure to clean dental instruments properly… Dr. Gina Michael, the association chief of staff at the hospital, told the affiliate that some dental technicians broke protocol by handwashing tools before putting them in cleaning machines…
“This is not the first time this year a hospital has been in hot water for not following proper procedures. In June, Palomar Hospital in San Diego, California, has sent certified letters to 3,400 patients who underwent colonoscopy and other similar procedures, informing the patients that there may be a potential of infection from items used and reused in the procedures.”
Belgium vs. Catholic Church
BBC News reported on June 27:
“Pope Benedict has joined mounting Vatican criticism of raids by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse, calling them ‘deplorable’. In a message to Belgian bishops, the pope expressed solidarity ‘in this moment of sadness’.
“Several buildings were searched in raids targeting a retired archbishop and the graves of two prelates. Belgium’s justice minister has responded to the criticism robustly, saying normal procedures were followed… Mr De Clerck said the Vatican’s reaction had been excessive as it was based on false information…
“Police in Leuven, central Belgium, on Thursday seized nearly 500 files and a computer from the offices of a Church commission investigating allegations of sex abuse. They also searched the Church’s headquarters and the Brussels archdiocese in Mechelen, north of the Belgian capital. Belgium’s bishops, who were holding a meeting at the time of the raids, were kept incommunicado for nine hours while the searches were conducted.
“On Saturday Vatican officials compared the raids and investigation into allegations of child sex abuse with the treatment of the Church under communist rule. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State… alleged that the Belgian bishops were left all day without food or drink, although this was later strongly denied by the Belgian justice minister.
“The Vatican has summoned the Belgian ambassador to the Holy See to voice its anger at the incident. The Catholic Church in Belgium has apologised for its silence on abuse cases in the past. The church was rocked in April when the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned and admitted to sexual abuse before and after becoming a bishop.”
Actions like these by the Belgium government will help, rather than hurt, the popularity of the Roman Catholic Church.
Was the harlot Rahab, mentioned in the book of Joshua, the same person who is mentioned in Matthew 1:5, as being an ancestor of Jesus Christ?
The answer is yes. She was that very same person. And this is significant, as we will see.
To begin with, we should mention that Christ’s genealogy, as set forth in Matthew 1:1-17, is different, to an extent, from the genealogy as set forth in Luke 3:23-38. The reason is that the genealogy in Matthew “is traced through Joseph, Jesus’ legal (though not natural) father, and it establishes His claim and right to the throne of David (1:6). The genealogy in Luke 3:23-38 is evidently that of Mary…” (compare Ryrie Study Bible).
There can be no doubt that the woman Rahab, who is described in the book of Joshua as protecting and rescuing the Israelite spies in the city of Jericho, was a harlot (see our Q&A on this topic).
In that above-mentioned Q&A, we are also saying that “Rahab later married Salmon and brought forth Boaz. Boaz married Ruth and brought forth Obed. Obed, in turn, brought forth Jesse, the father of David (compare Matthew 1:5-6). David became the forefather of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and of Mary herself… “
We also said:
“The only women specifically mentioned by name in the genealogy of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 1, besides Rahab, are Mary, the wife of Joseph (verse 16), who was a righteous woman; Tamar, the daughter in law of Judah (verse 3), who played the HARLOT with him since he had broken his promise to give her one of his sons in marriage (compare Genesis 38:1-30); and Ruth, a non-Israelite from the tribe of Moab (verse 5). One more woman is mentioned, without naming her directly, in verse 6, where we read: ‘David the king begot Solomon by her [who had been the wife] of Uriah.’ This refers to Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, whom David had killed, after Bathsheba became pregnant as a result of David’s adulterous affair with her.
“All of these women are listed in the genealogy of Jesus, the stepson and foster child of Joseph. They are listed because they deserved to be listed–not because of their weaknesses and sins, but because of their subsequent repentance and faith. Rahab is no exception. She clearly was a harlot and she was known as such, but she acted upon faith, repented and changed her lifestyle, and she is today memorialized in God’s Word as one of the ancestors of Jesus’ stepfather Joseph. In addition, she was an ancestor of Mary, the mother of Jesus–which means that Jesus Christ was a direct descendant of Rahab! (Compare Luke 3:32 with Matthew 1:5, showing that Boaz, an ancestor of King David, was the son of Salmon and Rahab). Most importantly, however, is the fact that she will be in the first resurrection (Hebrews 11:31, 39-40).”
This conclusion is, as far as we can see, supported overwhelmingly by the most respected commentaries.
The New Bible Commentary:Revised states regarding Matthew 1:5: “Rahab had been a harlot and was a foreigner (Jos. 2).”
The Nelson Study Bible agrees, saying that Rahab, mentioned in Matthew 1:5, was “the Canaanite harlot of Jericho (Josh. 2).”
The commentary by Dummelow states: “Contrary to Jewish custom… Matthew introduces into his genealogy four women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Of these, two (Rahab and Ruth) were Gentiles, and three were guilty of gross sins… Jewish Christians instead of regarding Gentile converts with contempt, should be proud of them, as their ancestors were of Rahab and Ruth, who, on becoming proselytes, were accounted mothers in Israel…”
The Life Application Bible writes to Christ’s genealogy in Matthew 1: “Some were heroes of faith–like Abraham, Isaac, Ruth, and David. Some had shady reputations–like Rahab and Tamar. Many were very ordinary–like Hezron, Ram, Nahshon, and Akim. And others were evil–like Manasseh and Abijah. God’s work in history is not limited by human failures or sins, and he works through ordinary people…”
The Jamieson Fausset and Brown commentary states:
“Four women are here introduced; two of them Gentiles by birth – Rachab and Ruth; and three of them with a blot at their names in the Old Testament – Thamar, Rachab, and Bath-sheba. This feature in the present genealogy – herein differing from that given by Luke – comes well from him who styles himself in his list of the Twelve, what none of the other lists do, ‘Matthew the publican’; as if thereby to hold forth, at the very outset, the unsearchable riches of that grace which could not only fetch in ‘them that are afar off,’ but teach down even to ‘publicans and harlots,’ and raise them to ‘sit with the princes of his people.’… It will be observed that Rachab is here represented as the great-grandmother of David (see Ruth 4:20-22; 1 Chronicles 2:11-15) – a thing not beyond possibility indeed…”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible adds:
“There are four women, and but four, named in this genealogy; two of them were originally strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, Rachab a Canaanitess, and a harlot besides, and Ruth the Moabitess; for in Jesus Christ there is neither Greek, nor Jew; those that are strangers and foreigners are welcome, in Christ, to the citizenship of the saints. The other two were adulteresses, Tamar and Bathsheba…”
The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge supports the conclusion as well that the harlot Rahab was indeed the same person as the one listed in Matthew 1.
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible reads:
“That Salmon begat Boaz, is affirmed in [Ruth 4:21] but it is not there said, nor any where else in the Old Testament, as here, that he begat him of Rahab, that is, of Rahab the harlot. This the Evangelist had from tradition, or from the Jewish records. That the Messiah was to spring from Boaz is asserted by the Jewish writers… and they also own that Rahab was married to a prince in Israel, which some say… was Joshua: they pretend that she was ten years of age when the Israelites came out of Egypt; that she played the harlot all the forty years they were in the wilderness, and was married to Joshua upon the destruction of Jericho.
“To excuse this marriage with a Canaanitish woman, they tell us, she was not of the seven nations with whom marriage was forbid; and moreover, that she became a proselyte when the spies were received by her: they own that some very great persons of their nation sprung from her, as Jeremiah, Maaseiah, Hanameel, Shallum, Baruch, Ezekiel, Neriah, Seraiah, and Huldah the prophetess. The truth of the matter is, she became the wife of Salmon, or Salma, as he is called [1 Chronicles 2:11]. And in the Targum on Ruth 4:20 [it] is said [that Salmon was] of Bethlehem; he was the son of Nahshon or Naasson, a famous prince in Judah, and the head and captain of the tribe [Numbers 1:7, 12]. And from Rahab sprung the Messiah, another instance of a Gentile in the genealogy of Christ…”
Rahab became indeed the wife of Salmon, and they brought forth Boaz, the later husband of Ruth.
The New International Version translates Matthew 1:5-6: “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David…”
The Living Bible states: “Salmon was the father of Boaz (Rahab was his mother)…”
The Jerusalem Bible states: “Salmon fathered Boaz, whose mother was Rahab…”
Therefore, there should not be any doubt that the harlot Rahab was indeed an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “America–Wake Up or Perish!” Problems without solutions… war in Afghanistan; leaking oil in the Gulf of about 2.5 million gallons a day; almost 10 percent unemployment nationwide; sales of new homes drop to lowest level in four decades; rising government indebtedness; and dismantling of America’s family values and democratic system… the list is endless. WHY? Why is it that virtually no politician, no newscaster and no religious commentator is pointing at the only solution for our nation?
Norbert Link’s video-recorded sermon, “To the Ephesians, Part 4,” was posted on the Web.
In response to our ongoing Internet advertising campaign, we have sent out in the USA about 100 copies of our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”
A new German sermon was posted on the Web, titled, “Die Oelbergprophezeiung” [“The Olivet Prophecy.”]
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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Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom