What Is the True Gospel?
On October 16, 2010, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “What Is the True Gospel?”
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.
Consider the Firefly
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
In Proverbs 6:6 we are exhorted to “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise…” I would add that we could also consider the firefly!
Some years ago when my wife and I were on holiday in Corfu, a Greek island in the Mediterranean, we saw small fields at night lit up by these fireflies. They were fascinating, and they produce light via a chemical reaction.
Seeing all these fireflies — in the dark, lighting up these fields — can give us a glimpse of what God must see, from a spiritual standpoint, when He looks down on this earth. A dark, dark society with a few flashes of light here and there – God’s people standing out in an evil society. As has been said — if we can’t shine in this society, then we are in big trouble. So seeing these fireflies light up a field is, to me at least, a good way of remembering that it is a good analogy as to what God must see with spiritual eyes when He looks down from heaven (compare Psalm 33:13-14).
Matthew 5:14-16 tells us to be “the light of the world” and to let our “light shine.” What they are saying in essence is that we should be a walking, talking commercial for God’s way. Many people are influenced by what a Christian does or doesn’t do and very often judge Christianity by its adherents or followers. We should be light bearers (compare Philippians 2:12-15). Hopefully, we all fell into that category at the recent Feast of Tabernacles that we attended and where we were on show as a group of God’s people.
It is for good reason that Christians are compared to lights that stand out in a dark place. It’s not that we should make it a point to stand out or call attention to ourselves, but that the world has gone so far astray from God’s laws that anyone who begins doing what is right will automatically be noticed because of the contrast between the futile ways that society follows and the ways of true Christianity. It really is the difference between night and day. This world is filled with unhappiness, wars, crime, injustice, sickness and suffering and we should be good examples of the right way of life.
Christ left us an example for us to follow (1 Peter 1:21). He was the perfect example. And He told us to let our lights shine. Doing that is something that we are instructed to do and something that God is looking for as fruit in our lives. As He looks down from heaven and can see His sons and daughters, as they stand out in a crooked and perverse generation, we can visualise in some very small way how that must seem in the spiritual realm, as we ourselves can see those fireflies light up a dark field. They are conspicuous by their light, shining brightly in the darkness. It is quite a sight. We should be the same — we should stand out in this dark world.
Consider the firefly. These sorts of physical examples can be very helpful in seeing the bigger picture.
We begin with an article by Newsmax about Sarah Palin, which is riddled with biblical errors. We continue with an accurate article by Newsmax revealing Iran’s true colors, report on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit in Lebanon, and quote other news articles showing that there is no peace in the world–nor seemingly true freedom in a country which is called the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Experts warn of a violent and devastating earthquake in California which could strike at any time and which is now perceived to become much bigger and widespread than previously assumed, and we show that the USA and the dollar are being excluded from Turkish-Chinese business transactions, while the relationship between the USA and China is troubled.
Turning to Europe, an interesting deal is being made between France and Great Britain involving nuclear warheads and Germany has become one of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. We conclude with articles showing that Europe’s battle with Islam is continuing, and while mainstream politicians don’t seem to understand or are unwilling to publicly admit how the people really feel, right-wing propagandists seem to have their finger on the pulse.
This Week in the News
Sarah Palin Warns of World War III and Armageddon
Newsmax reported on October 11:
“Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in an exclusive interview… discusses her staunch opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare plans and socialistic policies, and reveals new details about a possible presidential run in 2012…
“‘We have to realize that, at the end of the day,’ Palin warns in the interview, ‘a nuclear weapon in that country’s [Iran’s] hands is not just Israel’s problem or America’s problem — it is the world’s problem. It could lead to an Armageddon. It could lead to that World War III that could decimate so much of this planet.’ Palin’s reference to Armageddon, described in the Bible’s book of Revelation, refers to a final battle between the forces of good and evil over the existence of the state of Israel.”
The errors contained in the article are tremendous. Armageddon is not the final battle between the forces of good and evil–in fact, it does not describe any battle at all. Rather, it is the place where the armies of the world will assemble to march against the returning Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, where the “battle” between good and evil will take place. Furthermore, this battle will not be caused by a disagreement over the existence of Israel and therefore, Sarah Palin’s reference to Armageddon in the context of Iran is misplaced as well.
However, it is true that a war in the Middle East could lead to an intervention by European troops with the attempt to bring peace to the region–which could be the catalyst for the beginning stages of the Great Tribulation. Please read the following articles on Iran and our Q&A on the Great Tribulation in this issue of the Update, as well as the booklets quoted in the Q&A.
Iran Admits Real Purpose for Nuclear Program
Newsmax reported on October 5 what should have been obvious to any thinking and discerning person:
“For the first time since the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program was exposed in 2002, the Iranian government is dropping the pretense that it is developing nuclear technology purely for peaceful purposes. Iran has developed nuclear war plans to deter U.S. and Israeli aggression and retaliate against it, a top adviser to Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced in a strategic analysis.
“Defense Ministry analyst Alireza Saeidabadi’s detailed analysis, published last week on a website that Iran’s intelligence ministry runs, examines several scenarios in which Iran could become embroiled in a shooting war with the United States or Israel. One of the scenarios Iranian military planners must consider is a strategic nuclear U.S. strike on Iran, he writes. If that occurred, Iranian planning documents call for attacks against U.S. interests ‘on the world stage,’ his analysis says… in the event Israel uses unconventional weapons against Iran, ‘then Iran should employ a nuclear strategy’… ‘if the United States launches an unconventional attack, Iran needs to respond with a nuclear strategy,’ the Iranian defense ministry analyst contends.
“The meaning is clear to former Revolutionary Guards officer Reza Kahlili. ‘He means that Iran should be prepared with the capability of nuclear weapons to respond’ if an enemy were to launch a nuclear strike against Iran, says Kahlili… ‘The use of nuclear technology for peaceful means is just a front,’ Kahlili told Newsmax. ‘They are prepared to go to war and will not give up the bomb project, which they feel is very close to being able to arm their ballistic missiles with nuclear war heads.’”
Ahmadinejad in Lebanon
The New York Times wrote on October 13:
“President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran arrived here Wednesday morning to an ecstatic welcome by supporters of Hezbollah, the militant Shiite movement that is backed by Iran. Thousands of cheering supporters thronged the road that leads from Beirut’s airport to the city, waving Iranian flags and chanting greetings in Farsi as Mr. Ahmadinejad’s convoy slowly passed…
“American officials voiced their disapproval last week of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit, which underscores Tehran’s powerful role in Lebanon. After his arrival, Mr. Ahmadinejad appeared at a news conference with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman to announce a number of bilateral agreements on energy, trade and other issues. Iran, which has long provided arms and training to Hezbollah, has also offered to help equip the Lebanese Army, which has in recent years received support and training from the United States.”
Reuters added on October 13:
“President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday used his visit to Lebanon on Wednesday to assure the government that Iran would stand by Beirut in confronting what he called hostilities from neighboring Israel.”
The Associated Press wrote on October 13:
“… the Iranian leader’s splashy arrival only exacerbates fears among many Lebanese – particularly Sunnis and Christians – that Hezbollah and Iran are trying to impose their will on the country and possibly pull Lebanon into a conflict with Israel. Ahmadinejad said he was a friend of all Lebanese, while emphasizing the need to fight Israel.”
It added on October 14:
“On Thursday, Ahmadinejad is scheduled to make a trip to Lebanon’s Shiite heartland in the south and the Israeli border, which will emphasize Iran’s support for Hezbollah’s fight with Israel… Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev slammed the trip Thursday, saying ‘Iran’s domination of Lebanon through its proxy Hezbollah has destroyed any chance for peace, has turned Lebanon into an Iranian satellite and made Lebanon a hub for regional terror and instability.’
“Ahmadinejad’s visit has underscored the eroding position of pro-Western factions in Lebanon. More broadly, it has suggested that the competition over influence in Lebanon may be tipping toward Iran and its ally Syria, away from the United States and its Arab allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia.”
Iran’s PressTV wrote on October 14:
“[At] a dinner banquet held in [Ahmadinejad’s honor] by Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday… Berri… said Iran and Lebanon have a common stance on key regional and international developments and added the two countries could serve as a model of brotherly relations.
“He also insisted on the significance of disarming Israel… The speaker voiced Lebanon’s support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities.”
Iran Leads OPEC
Iran’s leading role among Arab nations should not be underestimated. Note this remarkable announcement in PressTV, dated October 14:
“For the first time in 36 years, Iran will assume the rotating presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of next year. Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi has been elected president of the 12 oil cartel following a vote on Thursday…
“Iran, OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, was unanimously elected during the 157th session of OPEC ministerial meeting that kicked off in Vienna on October 14. OPEC comprises of Algeria, Angola, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Venezuela. The cartel, which provides 35 percent of global oil demand, also reached an agreement on its oil production target.”
Peace, Peace… and There Is No Peace
Der Spiegel wrote on October 8:
“One year after the Nobel prize jury made its controversial decision to award President Obama the prize for world peace, a larger jury is still waiting for the president to live up to those lofty expectations…
“The one year anniversary of Obama’s prize comes as fighting is escalating in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq continues to smolder and Obama struggles to keep fledgling Middle East peace talks from collapsing. Drones are firing missiles in unprecedented numbers and confrontations with Iran and North Korea are hotter than ever.
“In addition, wars rage in Somalia, Africa, Asia and South America, fueled by religion, tribal hatreds, poverty and piracy.”
No human leader will bring peace to this planet. The Bible says that when people believe that peace is just around the corner, sudden destruction will overtake them.
… Nor Is There Freedom, It Seems…
On October 7, The smokinggun.com reported on an unbelievable court ruling–not in Communist China, but in the USA, the country of the “free”:
“A Mississippi judge yesterday jailed a lawyer who refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in his courtroom. Attorney Danny Lampley, 49, was taken into custody Wednesday morning after Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn cited him for criminal contempt of court for failing to recite the 31-word pledge at the outset of the morning’s proceedings at the Lee County courthouse.
“An October 6 order signed by Talmadge notes that Lampley was being charged for his ‘failure to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance as ordered.’ Lampley, the judge added, ‘shall purge himself of said criminal contempt…by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in open court.’”
This is outrageous conduct, but it proves that unconverted people in “authority” are prone to misuse their office. A video presently circulating on the Internet shows an American police officer verbally abusing a German tourist for driving too fast, threatening him with jail time and the prospect of being violated by homosexual inmates. Such conduct is unbecoming to anyone in authority and brings shame to this country. It serves as a reminder that true Christians, as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, have to reflect that status at all times and in the best way possible in order to not bring shame on the name of God and His Kingdom.
The Big One Could Strike at Any Time
The Los Angeles Times wrote on October 10:
“Recent reports suggest that the major rupture predicted for the southern San Andreas fault could be longer and stronger than the last big quake, shaking [340 miles] from Monterey County down to the Salton Sea. The ‘Big One’ that has been forecast for the San Andreas fault could end up being bigger than earthquake experts previously thought.
“Recent research showing that a section of the fault is long overdue for a major earthquake has some scientists saying the southern portion of the fault is capable of a magnitude 8.1 earthquake… That’s significantly stronger and longer than the southern San Andreas’ last major rupture, in 1857. Such a temblor would cause much more damage because with a larger stretch of the fault rupturing, a larger area would be exposed to the quake and the shaking would last longer…
“The southern San Andreas hasn’t had a large quake for more than a century. The sleeping giant has been building stress for so long that it could snap at any moment, experts said…”
The Bible prophesies that many earthquakes will hit this planet prior to Christ’s return, and it is very likely that the “Big One” will destroy California–as other earthquakes will lay waste major cities and areas in the USA.
Turkey and China Exclude USA
The Wall Street Journal wrote on October 9:
“Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and China Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday their two countries would from now on trade using their own currencies, effectively excluding the U.S. dollar. The announcement, at a joint news conference in Ankara, came on the final stop of Mr. Wen’s European tour. Mr. Erdogan announced eight trade agreements between the two countries, whose leaders also pledged to triple trade between China and Turkey to $50 billion within five years, and to $100 billion by 2020.”
The trend to exclude the USA and the dollar from all major transactions will continue. Please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
China at Odds with the USA
The New York Times wrote on October 11:
“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, in Vietnam on Monday for the first time since the two militaries suspended talks with each other last winter, calling for the two countries to prevent ‘mistrust, miscalculations and mistakes.’
“His message seemed directed mainly at officers like Lt. Cmdr. Tony Cao of the Chinese Navy. Days before Mr. Gates arrived in Asia, Commander Cao was aboard a frigate in the Yellow Sea, conducting China’s first war games with the Australian Navy, exercises to which, he noted pointedly, the Americans were not invited. Nor are they likely to be, he told Australian journalists in slightly bent English, until ‘the United States stops selling the weapons to Taiwan and stopping spying us with the air or the surface.’
“The Pentagon is worried that its increasingly tense relationship with the Chinese military owes itself in part to the rising leaders of Commander Cao’s generation, who, much more than the country’s military elders, view the United States as the enemy… The younger officers have known only an anti-American ideology, which casts the United States as bent on thwarting China’s rise…
“The stakes have increased as China’s armed forces, once a fairly ragtag group, have become more capable and have taken on bigger tasks. The navy, the centerpiece of China’s military expansion, has added dozens of surface ships and submarines, and is widely reported to be building its first aircraft carrier. Last month’s Yellow Sea maneuvers with the Australian Navy are but the most recent in a series of Chinese military excursions to places as diverse as New Zealand, Britain and Spain…
“From the Chinese military’s view, this year has offered ample evidence of American ill will. The Chinese effectively suspended official military relations early this year after President Obama met with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan religious leader, and approved a $6.7 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which China regards as its territory.
“Since then, the Chinese military has bristled as the State Department has offered to mediate disputes between China and its neighbors over ownership of Pacific islands and valuable seabed mineral rights. And when the American Navy conducted war games with South Korea last month in the Yellow Sea, less than 400 miles from Beijing, younger Chinese officers detected an encroaching threat.”
Agreement on Nuclear Warheads Being Negotiated Between France and the UK
The Financial Times wrote on October 7:
“An agreement being negotiated by the UK and France would see British nuclear warheads serviced by French scientists and break with half a century in which neither country has collaborated on its independent deterrent… A deal to share the secrets of their nuclear programmes would boost powerfully defence collaboration between the countries and save money at a time when their defence budgets are under stress…
“A US-UK treaty forbids Britain from sharing its nuclear secrets with another country because the UK deterrent, built on the Trident D5 missile, is in large part based on US technology. François Heisbourg, a French defence analyst, said sharing warhead research would assume ‘that the British break their very special relationship with America in that field’. This would require considerable ‘confidence on the US part’.”
The real news is that France will have access to British nuclear warheads. While in all likelihood France will be part of the inner core of the revived Roman Empire, Great Britain will not be. In fact, Britain will be at odds with the coming United States of Europe.
An Opportunity for Strong European Leaders…
Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 13:
“With the EU mired in crisis — from demonstrations in French streets to Irish bank bailouts — strong leadership from European capitals is more important than ever. Unfortunately, the EU suffers from a leadership void… Historically, the greatest advances in European integration… have been spurred by crises. The euro zone crisis similarly presents an opportunity — if leaders are willing to seize it…
“A united EU is a stronger and more capable global actor than individual European nations. The collective force of EU soft power on important global governance issues… is substantial. The world benefits from an EU that speaks with a unified voice, and that is capable of following through on its commitments… the EU is a crucial beacon.”
The End for Merkel?
Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 13:
“Has the end of Angela Merkel’s chancellorship heaved into view? After miserable poll numbers that show her coalition government losing support among German voters, the heavyweight conservative newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [FAZ] is now speculating on forces that could topple the chancellor after next March, when the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg holds state elections…
“Merkel was re-elected in 2009 and might not face new elections until 2014, if the political tides run in her favor. But the FAZ reported Wednesday that a movement within her bloc for a new leader may already be afoot. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, 38, is the current defense minister and a rising star in the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s CDU. The generally well-sourced FAZ wrote that he is ‘at the center of the speculation’ about a possible successor to Merkel as chancellor. Guttenberg is not just young but also well-groomed and popular among female voters…
“Guttenberg has proved to be a flexible, ambitious politician. He comes from an old, upper-crust southern German family. Whether chatter in conservative circles about his future has to do with a ‘real power struggle (within the CDU/CSU) or merely what-if speculation’ is, according to the FAZ, not clear.”
Germany New Non-Permanent Member on Security Council
Deutsche Welle reported on October 12:
“Germany has won election to one of two non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council assigned to Western nations. Portugal was awarded the other seat, after Canada withdrew its bid after two inconclusive rounds of voting. All three nations had for years campaigned to represent the regional area called Western Europe and other Groups (WEOG).
“Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called the UN’s selection a ‘significant vote of confidence’ and pledged to ‘do everything possible to justify the confidence shown to us by the United Nations.’ Westerwelle, in New York to support Germany’s bid to join the council, told reporters: ‘The world knows that it can count on Germany. We are now faced with the responsibility to establish peace, security and development around the globe.’
“The German victory is expected to boost the country’s new campaign to become a permanent member on the council. Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Berlin that the government was delighted with the results. ‘Germany will work hard during its term to push ahead on reforms of the UN Security Council,’ she said. ‘That is the expectation that a lot of people in the world have.’…
“The Security Council is the main global body charged with keeping international peace. It has 15 members: the five permanent members Russia, China, the US, Britain and France, who have the right to veto any council resolution, and ten non-permanent members. Each of these rotating countries stays on the council for two years.
“The other three non-permanent seats at stake this year had already been decided by virtue of being uncontested: India will take over from Japan for the Asian region, Colombia takes Mexico’s seat for Latin America and South Africa takes the place of Uganda for Africa.”
The new two-term for Germany begins on January 1, 2011. It is clearly prophesied that Germany will play a major role in world affairs. At the same time, Germany’s and Europe’s battle with Islam will continue and deepen. The following articles give us a flavor as to what can be expected to accelerate. While German and European mainstream politicians may give lip services to Islamic “integration,” the people think differently–and they show and will continue to show their real feelings.
“Islam Belongs in Germany”
The discussion of Islam’s role in Germany does not cease. The German press debated the accuracy of President Wulff’s statement that Islam belongs in Germany and that he is the President of Muslims.
Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 8:
“The recent statement by German President Christian Wulff that ‘Islam belongs in Germany’ has provoked something of a conservative backlash. The German press is divided on whether the presence of Muslims in Germany is self-evident or cause for concern.
“When German President Christian Wulff said that ‘Islam also belongs in Germany’ during his speech to mark the 20th anniversary of German reunification on Sunday, he was initially showered with praise for recognizing the reality that around 4 million Muslims now live in Germany. Yet just a few days later, it is clear than many on the conservative side of German politics and society are still deeply uncomfortable with such a statement.
“The ongoing unease in some quarters about the country’s Muslim population was revealed by a poll published by the influential mass circulation newspaper Bild on Tuesday which showed that 66 percent of those polled disagreed with Wulff’s assertion and only 24 percent agreed with it…
“Wulff’s speech should also be seen in the context of the heated debate in Germany in recent weeks following the publication of a controversial book by Thilo Sarrazin, then a member of Germany’s Central Bank, in which he accused Muslims of sponging off welfare, refusing to integrate and not attaining high enough levels of education…
“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘… In the end, our relationship with Islam will not be decided by the domestic immigration debates. If we surrender Afghanistan to the Islamist butchers, allow the Iranians to have nuclear weapons and accept Turkey’s anti-Israel path, then the well-meaning integration attempts won’t prevent the acceleration of political Islam here too.'”
German Outcry Over Islamic Rules in Rental Contracts
Deutsche Welle reported on October 12:
“Berlin’s inner-city Ernst-Reuter Square is a prime business location, housing the offices of companies from around the world. But the nine-storey office building at No. 2 stands half empty with a huge billboard near the entrance offering office space. This is at least in part because of a number of restrictions placed on commercial tenants of the building.
“‘Companies seeking to rent office space here are not allowed to operate business that involves selling pork’, said Simone Krziwanek, a lawyer representing a small communications firm on the groundfloor of the building. What is also banned, she said, are businesses offering ‘interest-paying financial products, as well as sex shops, gambling halls and liquor stores’…
“The building was once the Berlin headquarters of the American computer giant International Business Machines, IBM. It now belongs to an Arab property investor, who is said to be based in London…
“On Monday, Germany’s mass-circulation newspaper Bild published details of the controversial rental contracts, describing their clauses as ‘Sharia laws and multi-cultural madness which is now also undermining German business.’…
“Perhaps surprisingly, the German Catholic Church on Monday indirectly expressed support for the Arab investor. ‘Businesses not in line with Catholic ethics, like the arms trade or pornography, are also not allowed to rent office space on church property,’ said Stefan Foerner of the Berlin archbishopric. Among those banned were also shops selling condoms, he added.”
The “support” of the Catholic Church is more likely a vehicle to cement their own interests…
German Courts Apply Sharia Law
The Local reported on October 9:
“A leading law professor has contradicted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that Sharia law was not practiced in Germany, saying a variety of Sharia-based rulings were being made all the time. ‘We have been practising Islamic law for years, and that is a good thing,” Hilmar Krüger, professor for foreign private law at Cologne University, told Der Spiegel magazine. Family and inheritance rulings were often made according to Sharia law, he said, listing a range of examples.
“Women who are in polygamous marriages legal in their countries of origin can make claims of their husbands in Germany regardless of the fact that their marriages would not be lawful here. They can claim maintenance from their husbands and a share of an eventual inheritance, said Krüger… A judge in Cologne ruled that an Iranian man should repay his wife’s dowry of 600 gold coins to her after their divorce – referring to the Sharia which is followed in Iran.”
Far Right Attitudes in Germany
Der Spiegel wrote on October 13:
“A new study has revealed that far-right attitudes are deeply rooted in German society. One-third of Germans would send foreigners home if there weren’t enough jobs, while one-sixth think Jews have too much influence.
“‘Germany is in serious danger of being overrun by foreigners.’ It’s a sentence one would expect to find on an election poster for Germany’s far-right NPD party. As it happens, it’s a view that is held by over one-third of the German population…
“Additionally, more than 30 percent think that ‘foreigners come to take advantage of the welfare state’ and that when jobs are scarce foreigners should be sent ‘back to their own country.’ More than one-tenth would like a ‘Führer’ — the survey deliberately used the German word for ‘leader’ that is associated with Adolf Hitler — who would govern the country ‘with a firm hand’ for the benefit of all.”
The Local added on October 13:
“Anti-Islam views were particularly strong in the… poll… Just over 58 percent said that ‘religious practice for Muslims in Germany should be seriously limited,’ and that number rose to 75.7 percent for people from former East Germany…
“’This development is most likely linked to the effects of the economic crisis,’ the study said… The study results come as the debate over immigration and integration reaches a fever pitch in Germany. Since June, Thilo Sarrazin has made a number of anti-immigrant statements aimed mainly at Turks and Arabs, coinciding with the publication of his controversial book Deutschland schafft sich ab – Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen, or ‘Abolishing Germany – How we’re putting our country at jeopardy.’
“While many politicians have condemned Sarrazin’s position, polls have shown that public support of his views is growing. In early September a poll conducted by Emnid for daily Bild revealed that 18 percent would vote for a party headed by Sarrazin, who was forced to resign from his Bundesbank position over his hot-button views. But since then, several conservative politicians have been emboldened to make similar remarks, the latest being Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, who over the weekend suggested a ban on immigration for Turks and Arabs because of their ‘difficulties’ with integration.”
Right-Wing Party in Austria Celebrates Massive Gains
The Austrian Independent wrote on October 11:
“The Social Democrats (SPÖ) lost their absolute majority in the Vienna city parliament for the second time since World War Two while the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) celebrates massive gains… Twenty-seven per cent is the second-best result the right-wing party ever achieved in Vienna…
“[The FPÖ’s Heinz-Christian] Strache said last night he was willing to take responsibility in Vienna. The right-winger, who took over as federal party leader in 2005, remained tight-lipped on whether he will leave the federal parliament… Asked whether the FPÖ will be able to reach ever higher shares in future ballots, he said: ‘This is not yet the end.’
“The FPÖ’s strong performance in the Vienna election comes just weeks after its Styrian branch improved by 6.3 per cent to 10.9 per cent in the provincial election. The right-wing party also improved in the provincial election of Burgenland in May where it won nine per cent, up from the 5.8 per cent it claimed in 2005.
“Despite recently presented plans to focus on a more modest course, the FPÖ’s Vienna branch opted for a far-right campaign in Vienna. It accused the SPÖ of doing more for immigrants unwilling to integrate than for ‘hard-working Austrians’. The FPÖ also claimed it ‘protects free women, while the SPÖ protects (Muslim) men enforcing their women to wear head-scarves.'”
Wilders Warns Against European Islamisation
The Local reported on October 3:
“Far-right Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders warned against the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe and criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech in Berlin on Saturday that sparked public protests… In his speech at the Hotel Berlin, Wilders claimed Germany’s national identity, democracy and prosperity were threatened by Islamic political ideology. ‘A Germany full of mosques and full of veiled women is no longer the Germany of Schiller and Heine, Bach and Mendelssohn,’ he said.
“The 47-year-old politician also took aim at Chancellor Merkel and Germany’s established parties, accusing them of accepting the “Islamisation” of Germany. Wilders was invited to speak in Berlin by ousted former conservative politician René Stadtkewitz, who recently announced he was forming a new ‘Freedom’ party in Germany.
“In an interview with the Sonntag Aktuell newspaper, Green party parliamentary group leader Jürgen Trittin said Wilders’ visit was an ‘affront to Berlin’s cosmopolitan tradition,’ in a city that is home to hundreds of thousands of Muslims. ‘We must stop all attempts by smug right-wing populists and Islamophobic bigots to marginalise and vilify these fellow citizens,’ he said.
“Wilders’ anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV) won record support in the June election in the Netherlands, giving it the third highest vote and an unprecedented bargaining position. At a special party congress in the Dutch city of Arnhem on Saturday, members of the Dutch Christian Democrats (CDA) agreed to a power deal with the Liberal party (VVD), which would rely on support from Wilders’ PVV.”
Presently, Wilder is on trial for incitement charges against Islam. It is rumored that the prosecution will either ask for a verdict on Friday or dismiss the case. This reminds us unpleasantly of the trial against Adolph Hitler when he received a rather mild sentence for actual violence committed during the Hofbraeu House [Bierkeller] putsch. The trial and subsequent sentence did not hurt Hitler, but rather helped him in his political career.
You say that the Great Tribulation will last approximately 3 1/2 years, followed by the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord. You also say that the Day of the Lord will last approximately one year and that at the end of the Day of the Lord, Jesus Christ will return. Others say that the Great Tribulation will last for seven years. Does this mean that once the Great Tribulation begins, there will be at least 4 1/2 years [or even 8 years] until Christ returns (3 1/2 years [or seven years] duration of the Great Tribulation plus 1 year duration of the Day of the Lord)?
No, it does not mean that at all.
First, let us establish how long the Great Tribulation is supposed to last. In a previous Q&A on this issue, we wrote the following:
“When the Great Tribulation ends, Christ will return. In fact, He will return to shorten the time in order to prevent all human beings from being destroyed (compare Matthew 24:22)… Some claim that the Great Tribulation will last for seven years. However, there is absolutely no Biblical evidence for that teaching. The Bible dogmatically postulates throughout that the Great Tribulation will not last longer than approximately 3 1/2 years… We read in Daniel 7:25: ‘He [an endtime religious leader, the ‘man of sin,’ also called the ‘false prophet’ in Scripture] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand FOR A TIME AND TIMES AND HALF A TIME.’
“During the Great Tribulation, a religious power under the lead of the ‘false prophet,’ in collaboration with a military power under the lead of the ‘beast,’ will persecute the saints. They will do so for ‘a time and times and half a time.’ The commentary of ‘Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge’ (TSK) explains that this phrase means ‘three years and a half, or reckoning thirty days to a month, 1,260 days.’
“The Nelson Study Bible agrees, stating (in their annotation to Revelation 11:3) that ‘a time and times and half a time’ is ‘a period of three and a half years…’ The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (JFB) states that the period of ‘one year, two years, and half a year’ equals ‘1260 days’ or ‘forty-two months,’ adding that the phrase is to be understood quite literally as three and a half years of persecution…
“A further reference to Satan’s attempt to persecute the saints during the Great Tribulation can be found in Revelation 12. Some members of God’s true Church will be protected from Satan’s attacks in a place of safety here on earth (compare Revelation 3:10). Others, however, will have to endure Satan’s persecution–and Satan will use his ‘instruments’–the beast and the false prophet–to bring about such persecution… The passage in Revelation 12:13-17 reads:
“‘Now when the dragon [Satan the devil, Revelation 12:9] saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly [this describes supernatural protection and involvement, compare Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11-12; Isaiah 63:9] into the wilderness to her place… where she is nourished FOR A TIME AND TIMES AND HALF A TIME, from the presence of the serpent…
“All Biblical references to the duration of the Great Tribulation speak of 3 1/2 years. The concept that the Great Tribulation would last for seven years is not Biblical. In fact, there is not one single Biblical passage suggesting that the Great Tribulation would last longer than 3 1/2 years–as mentioned, it is even possible that the time of the Great Tribulation will be cut short.”
What is meant, then, by the statement that the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord will “follow” the Great Tribulation?
In a previous Q&A, we explained the meaning of this phrase, when we discussed the difference between the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord:
“…the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) is followed by the Heavenly Signs (Revelation 6:12-14; Joel 2:30-31; Matthew 24:29) and by the Day of the Lord (Revelation 6:17). The indication is, from Scripture, that the Day of the Lord begins one year before Christ’s return (compare, for example, Isaiah 34:8). But even as the Day of the Lord does not end with Christ’s return, but is ongoing, so the Great Tribulation (which begins approximately 2 1/2 years prior to the Day of the Lord) does not end, either, when the Day of the Lord starts. Rather, it continues until Satan, who causes the Great Tribulation to occur, is removed from his throne.
“Christ returns to cut the Great Tribulation short (Matthew 24:21-22). This means, the Great Tribulation is still ongoing — it overlaps for one year, in that sense, with the Day of the Lord. So, all in all, the Great Tribulation lasts approximately 3 1/2 years, but during the last year of the Great Tribulation, God starts to intervene — approximately one year before Christ’s actual return…”
In the above-quoted Q&A, we also pointed out that the Day of the Lord is the day of GOD’S wrath, while the Great Tribulation is the time of Satan’s wrath. Continuing:
“So, we see again that the Great Tribulation lasts, technically, approximately 3 1/2 years, but the last year of that time period overlaps with the beginning of the Day of the LORD — which describes the time when God intervenes in human affairs.”
The Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord “follow” the Great Tribulation in the sense that the Great Tribulation begins first, and after it has begun (but not ended), the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord will begin. We did not mean to imply, nor does the Bible teach, that the Great Tribulation ends before the Heavenly Signs begin, and that the Day of the Lord begins after the Great Tribulation and the Heavenly Signs have ended. Rather, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord BEGIN and therefore “follow” the Great Tribulation, once Satan has commenced to pour out his wrath on modern physical and spiritual Israelites.
For an in-depth study of the biblical concepts of the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord, please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord” and “Is that in the Bible–the Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
The Gift of Giving
by Louise Amorelli
During this most recent Feast of Tabernacles 2010, my husband and I had the exhilaration of experiencing the most joyous of God’s Holy Days. Since we are not able to meet with brethren during the year, due to our location, it is certainly a blessing for us to renew our bonds with brethren of like minds. We anxiously wait all year long for the Feast of Tabernacles to arrive….preparing, planning and meditating on how to make the next Feast, even better than the last!
One theme of the Feast, that always shines the most brilliant, is the giving of the brethren. It is such a breath of fresh air, from the ways of this world, how giving and generous the brethren are. Whether it be in the time and effort of our ministry, deacons and deaconesses for spiritual food and helps, or in the giving of thoughtfulness of slipping a card under a hotel room door, when someone is sick, or grabbing the check off the restaurant table before even knowing it was paid!!
I once read an article saying that giving is actually a gift, not only for the person receiving such, but also to those who are in the act of giving; that it is a natural law God sets in motion, which brings fullness of heart, that only giving can do. The article stated that giving creates a spirit that invokes more giving and brings inner peace; and that it then spreads to others to do the same! It concluded that everyone involved experiences the benefits of the outward flow it brings, and that it is truly a gift from God!!
This year, I will focus on that theme…and how I can give the gift of giving!!
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
A new member letter is being written, and our new booklet on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians will be entering shortly the second review cycle.
We are saddened to report that Lois Bargar died in the early evening hours of October 13. Lois was truly a trooper with many health problems which she bravely endured, and her husband and family are in our prayers.
On the first day following their return from the Feast, Nancy Grams was advised of the peaceful death of her 92 year-old father, Paul U. Sapp. Mr. Sapp, a long time deacon, died in the evening of September 29. Bill and Nancy Grams drove to Phoenix for graveside services, which were held on October 6.
We are glad to report the recent baptisms of three new members in Germany: Astrid Klaas; Christoph Sperzel and Monique Sperzel.
A new German sermon was recorded this week, discussing the book of Malachi. It is titled, “Maleachis Botschaft.”
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:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
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