The Fundamentals of Forgiveness
On March 5, 2011, Eric Rank will give the sermon, titled, “The Fundamentals of Forgiveness.”
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.
“With All of Your Heart”
by Dave Harris
Without question we tend to spend too much of our time on those things that prove to be unimportant. It just kind of happens! But how much of our efforts are focused on the priorities of our lives—especially, the one that is preeminent?
Jesus unequivocally taught that His followers must establish and then keep as their first priority an abiding love for Him. That love finds definition in what He stated: “‘If you love Me, keep My commandments’” (John 14:15).
More specifically, Jesus gave this over-arching answer to what is most important—what is the greatest commandment for us to keep:
“‘“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment’” (Mark 12:30).
Solomon wrote of this, and he warned of the alternative that people so often and so easily embrace:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
Do we know better than God? As preposterous as this question is, it seems that we answer “yes” when we don’t obey God. Issues such as: prayer; Bible study; fasting; Sabbath attendance and fellowship; in loving one another and resolving hurt feelings; in faithfully tithing; in taking sound guidance through sermons, writings and personal counsel; and, in being faithful to the truth of God—all of these and more are matters in which we must not compromise!
When we do wake up and realize that our life’s course no longer mirrors God’s, then it is time to seek God:
“‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning’” (Joel 2:12; also, verses 13-14).
Is God really and truly first in your life, and do you believe that “with all of your heart”?
We begin with a report by Der Spiegel about the “failed” European politics, so far, in their dealings with the Arab world; and continue with speculations of an American and European military intervention (sort of) in Libya, while there seems to be no clear opposition leader whom Europe or the USA would support.
We address the surprising resignation of Germany’s Defense Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg and the possible consequences for the German political landscape; and we report on an “offensive” speech by Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan, while visiting Germany, which has even further reduced the chances that Germany would ever support Turkey’s full membership in the EU.
We report about a terrorist attack on U.S. military personnel at the Frankfurt airport, and that there is fear of “another Hitler someday.”
We publish an horrific report by The Associated Press about incredible “scientific” experiments on prisoners and disabled persons, reminding us of the Nazi atrocities in World War II. However, these abominable experiments were conducted in the USA by U.S. government doctors, mostly from the 1940s to the 1960s, and the U.S. media chose to refuse reporting on these crimes. It is being suggested by the A.P. that such atrocities have been ongoing, outside the USA, but with tacit American approval, or by just ignoring the inconvenient facts or activities pertaining to the sale of federally regulated medical products, which were produced on foreign soil.
We conclude with common misconceptions regarding events prophesied in Ezekiel 38, and with a report on anti-Christian sentiments in British courts.
This Week in the News
“Europe Has Failed the Arab World”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 28:
“For weeks, a blossoming democratic movement in North Africa has been toppling one dictator after the other — first in Tunisia, then in Egypt, now possibly in Libya. During this whole period, the reaction of Europe’s governments can best be described as paralyzed. While Gadhafi’s regime was ordering its forces to fire upon its own people, the reactions of the political elites — whether in Brussels, Berlin, Paris or Rome — were unsure, divided and without a plan.
“They asked themselves whether they should send in troops or impose sanctions. They worried about a massive influx of refugees and whether it was appropriate to get involved in what could turn out to be a long civil war…
“Granted, the French, Germans and British succeeded in safely bringing thousands of their citizens back home who had been stranded in the chaos of civil war. But, for days, the Europeans could not agree on a proposal to freeze the bank accounts of the Gadhafi clan. It was only last Friday, after more and more military units had deserted the despot, that the EU finally agreed to impose some rather timid sanctions…
“On Sunday, Italian Foreign Minister Frattini announced that a friendship treaty that Italy and Libya had signed in 2008 was ‘de facto suspended.’ The treaty includes a non-aggression clause…
“The upheaval on the other side of the Mediterranean has caught the Europeans unprepared. For decades, they have fawned over the despots of North Africa because they promised both oil and protection against African refugees and Islamist terrorists… In Germany, production slowdowns in Libya have caused gas prices to climb to €1.57 per liter ($8.17 per gallon), up from €1.49 per liter in January, and prices are expected to continue to rise. If the pro-democracy unrest should also spill over into oil-rich Saudi Arabia, experts predict that oil prices could reach new all-time highs, which would have disastrous effects on growth and employment in Europe…
“What we are now witnessing is a historic turning point bringing with it opportunities and risks no less significant than those that attended the collapse of communism two decades ago… when it comes to European ties to countries in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, national interests are more important than European ones…
“On Monday, EU member states finally signed off on concrete sanctions against Libya, including an arms embargo and a travel ban on leading officials of the Gadhafi regime. They will also freeze the regime’s assets, a step that the Swiss already backed some time ago…
“All the embarrassing bickering in Europe is a setback for Ashton, who should, as the EU’s foreign policy chief, in theory be Europe’s main diplomatic voice. But, more than anything, the British diplomat has merely been an observer of all the wrangling among the EU’s foreign ministers…
“The EU is not only deeply divided in foreign-policy matters. The wrangling is at least as fierce when it comes to the issue of how the refugees from North Africa should be dealt with…
“Although it’s very possible that the Gadhafi government is on its last legs, it cannot be ruled out that Libya could be on the verge of a civil war that could last months. For this reason, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has demanded that, if necessary, the international community must also be willing to intervene militarily on a massive scale…
“However, such efforts could quickly turn Western involvement into war. In Germany, at least, political parties are unanimous in their opposition to this scenario. Given Germany’s involvement in Afghanistan, which is already unpopular domestically, there is little desire to get caught up in a second military conflict. Still, it will be extremely difficult to maintain this stance if the conflict spreads or if Gadhafi employs poison gas, as some former loyalists now fear. The question is whether Europe would be able to sit back and watch while genocide is committed on its border. The EU doesn’t yet have an answer.”
That EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy and EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton are European misfits, was clear from the start. But the Bible prophesies that a strong European leader will arise in Europe, and that the European core nations will give him their votes, so he can speak with one voice. He will not be reluctant to resort to military means, and then things will change dramatically on the world scene. As the next articles show, America recognizes that it cannot rely on divided Europe. But will America become the world leader again, which it once was? The Bible predicts that it will not, and that Europe will indeed become THE leading political and military power in the world.
Military Action Against Libya?
The New York Times wrote on February 28:
“The Defense Department has begun repositioning Navy warships to support possible action against Libya… Military planners are working on a wide range of options, said to include everything from imposing a ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya to halt warplanes from attacking civilians to evacuation of wounded and innocents…
“While any American military action would be described as humanitarian assistance, it no doubt would indirectly apply even more pressure to a regime already fighting rebels from its own military who are supporting a popular revolt against the authoritarian rule. Pentagon officials said the United States certainly would seek an international consensus for action… the scope and pacing of planning underway is a substantial increase from just a week ago, when officials in Washington said that the most likely military action would come from regional states, such as Italy or France.
“Officials said that the Obama administration had realized that only the American military could lead across a full range of options to halt the violence… The American military has a large force of warships and combat and cargo aircraft available across Europe.”
Airstrikes, but No Ground Troops?
The EUObserver wrote on March 1:
“Fighter jets, aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean, a no-fly zone over Libya and arming the rebels are all options being weighed up by the US and its EU allies, as a defiant Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is continuing to cling onto power and is ordering airstrikes on towns and arms depots.
“Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday… British Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK is ‘taking the lead’ in isolating the ‘illegitimate’ Gaddafi regime, including by military means… In France, Prime Minister Francois Fillon confirmed that ‘all options are on the table,’ including a no-fly zone. A military option is being ‘evaluated by the French government,’ he said…
“The US and a number of European countries, including Britain and Germany, have already flown military aircraft into the Libyan desert to help with evacuation efforts…
“As Russia and China seem unwilling to back the idea of a no-fly zone in the UN Security Council, the US and its European allies may go for a Nato decision instead… British military air base in Cyprus could be used to enforce the no-fly zone, as well as Italy’s base in Sicily.
“Foreign intervention – as long as no troops are deployed within the country – seems a valid option for former Gaddafi regime members who have defected to the opposition as well. ‘… If we found that no solution was reached on Gaddafi’s part or his aides to put an end to these massacres, then all our fellows here in Darna, Al Baida, Ghuba and Benghazi are firm and certain that air strikes must be launched, provided that no jetfighter will land on Libyan territories,’ former Libyan interior minister Abdel Fattah Younes, who stepped down last week, told Al Jazeera on Monday.”
No Stomach for Military Intervention?
Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 3:
“The West has no stomach for military intervention in Libya, but also no clear ideas about ending the crisis before it becomes a full-fledged civil war…
“As violence in Libya continues with no end in sight, the debate about a possible military intervention by the West has heated up. But the international community is cautious about getting dragged into the conflict… Western diplomats told the Associated Press that some NATO members were drawing up contingency plans for a no-fly zone, should the international community decide on such a step.
“Getting a no-fly zone approved by the UN Security Council would be tough, given that Russia — a veto-holding permanent member — has already opposed such a move. On Wednesday, too, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates also called for an end to ‘loose talk’ about military intervention, saying that a no-fly zone would also entail a military attack on Libya.
“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘Those who hoped that the political upheaval in Libya would follow a similar straightforward pattern as in Tunisia and Egypt now face being proved wrong. Gadhafi has regained his composure militarily and is using his remaining power to start a campaign of revenge against the revolutionaries…’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… the UN is an organization that represents the world as it is, not the world as it should be. In the struggle to find compromises, democrats have to deal with autocrats, raw material producers with consumers, and freedom-lovers with sponsors of terror…’
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Colonel Gadhafi strikes back. With an attack on the oil and port city of Brega, the Libyan dictator has shown that he means [to carry out] his vicious threats against the insurgents… The present situation does not… require endless debates in citizens’ committees. Rather, it needs readiness for military action. … Time is on Gadhafi’s side.’”
The Wall Street Journal added this comment on March 3:
“The rebels are calling for foreign airstrikes as they fend off the offensive by forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi, but senior U.S. defense officials are lowering expectations of an international military intervention in the country… The U.S. and allies have discussed the prospect of imposing a no-fly zone over the North African country to prevent Col. Gadhafi from using air forces to strike at protesters. But Mr. Gates made clear Wednesday that the U.S. military would have to launch pre-emptive strikes to destroy Libya’s air defenses if President Barack Obama ordered the imposition of a no-fly zone.”
On the other hand, Reuters reported the following on March 3:
“French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said France and Britain would support the idea of setting up a no-fly zone over Libya if Gaddafi’s forces continued to attack civilians.”
No Support for Gadhafi’s Opponents?
Haaretz wrote on March 1:
“U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Tuesday that the United States will maintain political and economic pressure on Muammar Gadhafi until he steps down as Libyan leader… Rice also said it was premature to talk about providing material support to Libyan rebels who are fighting to oust Gaddafi, saying no clear-cut unified opposition has yet to coalesce.”
German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg Resigns
BBC News reported on March 1:
“German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has stepped down after he was found to have copied large parts of his 2006 university doctorate thesis. Mr Guttenberg, considered until recently a possible candidate for chancellor, has already been stripped of his PhD… The plagiarism scandal led to him being nicknamed Baron Cut-and-Paste, Zu Copyberg and Zu Googleberg by the German media. But Ms Merkel had continued to stand by him…
“Mr Guttenberg told reporters in Berlin that he was relinquishing all his political offices and he thanked the chancellor for her support, trust and understanding… According to Konrad Jarausch, a political scientist at the Free University in Berlin: ‘It’s bad for Merkel and she stuck with him far too long.’…
“By Tuesday the newspaper Die Welt reported that the number of academics who had signed the letter objecting to his continued role in the government had climbed to 51,500. One of the most blistering comments came from law professor Oliver Lepsius, who succeeded his doctoral supervisor at Bayreuth. ‘We have been taken by a fraud. His brazenness in deceiving honourable university personnel was unique,’ he wrote.”
The Local wrote on March 1:
“Guttenberg’s departure will deprive the chancellor of his star power as her conservatives face six state elections this year. ‘This is a big loss for Angela Merkel,’ political scientist Gero Neugebauer told news agency AFP. ‘She is losing an important election campaigner … Nobody else can excite the same level of interest and excitement.’”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on March 1:
“Guttenberg leaves behind a Defense Ministry in the middle of its furthest-reaching reforms in years. In recent months, Germany eliminated mandatory conscription in favor of a purely professional army but has recently struggled in the attempt to recruit enough new soldiers to fill the gap. There had likewise been talk that Merkel herself was dissatisfied with the progress of the reform.”
In this context, The Local added on March 1:
“According to military documents from early February, the number of volunteers interested in enlisting in April is currently just 10 percent of the target… The statistics have raised fears in the Bundeswehr that the end of conscription could endanger the readiness of German forces… The ministry plans to start an enlistment campaign this month to get the numbers up.”
Guttenberg’s Successor Sworn In
Deutsche Welle reported on March 3:
“German President Christian Wulff on Thursday officially swore in new ministers of defense and interior after the resignation of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg created a shake-up in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet earlier in the week. Wulff accepted Thomas de Maziere as successor to Guttenberg as defense minister, while Hans-Peter Friedrich assumed de Maziere’s previous post as interior minister… [He] laid out the challenges de Maziere will face in his new position. ‘You are the commander of our armed forces and are responsible for our soldiers who are currently deployed abroad,’ the president said. ‘You will also have many other important tasks, including carrying out the reform of the military.’
“Wulff officially relieved Guttenberg of his responsibilities as defense minister, wishing him ‘new success.’ ‘I thank you for your exceedingly engaged service to our country and give you the utmost respect,’ Wulff said. Guttenberg has also resigned from his post in the German parliament.”
Turkey in the Outfield…
Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 28:
“Thousands of Turkish immigrants gave Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a rock star welcome in Germany on Sunday in a show of national pride that remains fervent, even after decades spent in Germany. He told them they remain part of Turkey, and urged them to integrate into German society — but not to assimilate…
“They have come from all over Germany to see him live, some 10,000 people. They say things like: ‘The Germans will never accept us, but we have Erdogan’… One woman says: ‘Erdogan… is our savior.’ Some 3 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany, most of them descendants of Turks invited by the government in the 1950s and 1960s as ‘guest workers’ to make up for a shortage of manpower after World War II…
“In a newspaper interview published ahead of his speech, Erdogan urged Merkel to drop her opposition to Turkey’s accession to the EU. ‘Never have such political obstacles been put in the path of an accession country,’ he said… And then he repeats the sentence that caused such a stir at a speech he held in Cologne three years ago. He warns Turks against assimilating themselves. ‘Yes, integrate yourselves into German society but don’t assimilate yourselves. No one has the right to deprive us of our culture and our identity.’
“Erdogan knows that this statement amounts to a provocation in Germany… And he has brought along a gift for his compatriots — a kind of light-weight dual citizenship. The so-called ‘Blue Card,’ which gives Turks with German citizenship certain rights in Turkey, is to be upgraded. Holders of the card will, in the future, have the same rights as Turkish citizens in dealings with authorities and banks…
“It was a speech that did nothing to reinforce any feeling of belonging to Germany — Erdogan steadfastly appealed to the Turkish national pride of people who have been at home in Germany for four generations.”
Erdogan also told his audience that Germans of Turkish descent, living in Germany, should learn German, as Chancellor Merkel had said, but only after they have learned Turkish—a statement which has prompted a furious reaction from German politicians and the German people.
The EUObserver added on February 28:
“Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused German society of ‘xenophobia’ and the German government of ‘discrimination’ ahead of a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel… on Saturday, in an interview with the regional daily, the Rheinische Post, the Turkish premier came close to accusing Ms Merkel’s political party of racism… Mr Erdogan’s remarks come in the context of a worsening political climate for migrants in Germany.
“Last October, Ms Merkel said that multiculturalism had ‘utterly failed’… In September a top central bank official, Thilo Sarrazin, resigned after saying that Arabs and Turks were stupid and exploited the welfare state.
“Mr Erdogan’s comments also come after an awkward visit by French leader Nicolas Sarkozy to Ankara on Friday. Mr Sarkozy… told [the] press at a meeting with Turkish President Abduallah Gul that Turkey would ‘destabilise’ the EU if it joined.”
The Reaction of the German Press
The following are excerpts from comments in the German press about Prime Minister Erdogan’s speech, as adapted from Der Spiegel Online, dated March 1:
“The tabloid Bild writes: ‘Erdogan is a demagogue, a nationalist. And he hammered his message, which is as simple as it is fatal, into the heads of 10,000 people: You are and will remain Turkish — never forget that. By saying that, though, he is torpedoing efforts to integrate close to 3 million people with Turkish roots in Germany that cost German taxpayers millions of euros each year. Efforts to ensure that their children learn German right from the beginning so that they later have opportunities to get a job or a traineeship. But Erdogan doesn’t care about that. He’s in the middle of an election back home and any means to campaign is fine by him. That is shabby and irresponsible!’
“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘In order to knit together the Turkish community, Erdogan painted a picture of the spectre of a steadily growing xenophobia. And he knows exactly what kind of effect such rhetoric has. The higher the wall of Turkophobia in Germany is perceived to be, the less prepared the Turks will be to integrate — a step many don’t want to take anyway…’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘Erdogan’s appearance creates the impression that Turks living [in] Germany are in danger of becoming a persecuted minority. He again spoke of the threat of forced assimilation and Islamophobia that can be compared to anti-Semitism. Does Erdogan even know what he is talking about? As little as the rally had to do with the realities of German integration policies, it did show a man who divides the world into a good and bad that [he] is unable to even differentiate between at home. The methods and ways that Erdogan’s party deals with Christians in Turkey approximate what he is trying to accuse Germany of doing…’”
Overall, Erdogan’s speech was met in Germany with indignation. Muslim Turkey will never be allowed to become an integral part of “Christian” Europe. The Bible indicates that Turkey will not belong to the core nations of Europe.
Terror Attack in Germany
The Local reported on March 3:
“Arid Uka, the 21-year-old Kosovar who has admitted to killing two US airmen in Frankfurt, was a loner only recently turning to radical Islamist ideology, according to investigators. German federal prosecutors continue to piece together a profile of the man responsible for what is increasingly believed to have been a terrorist attack on US military personnel at Frankfurt Airport on Thursday…
“Armed with a Belgian Fabrique Nationale semi-automatic pistol and a large quantity of ammunition, the ethnic Albanian attacked a bus used to transport US military personnel outside the airport terminal. He shot dead one US airman in front of the bus before also killing the driver. Two other servicemen were seriously injured. He then fled into the terminal building before being subdued and arrested. The man admitted early on during his interrogation that he wanted to kill US soldiers. Working at the airport’s international postal centre, Uka knew his way around the facility, and likely observed the US military bus service beforehand.
“…he had recently started calling himself a jihadist named ‘Abu Reyyan’ on the social networking website Facebook. Under his Islamist handle he spread jihadist hymns on YouTube online, professed hatred of Jews and Shiite Muslims and took part in violent computer games. Within just four or five weeks, Uka is thought to have established contact to radical Islamist preachers including the Moroccan Sheik Abdellatif and German Muslim extremist Pierre Vogel. Though his family are devout Muslims, they are not considered to be Islamist radicals.”
Der Spiegel Online added on March 3:
“… the jihadists claim to have been in contact with acquaintances of Arid U… [who] has left his own cache of digital clues pointing to his adherence to radical Islamism. Two weeks prior to the shooting, he posted a link on his Facebook wall to a jihadist battle hymn… A fair number of his 125 Facebook friends would also seem to be sympathetic to radical Islamism… Some of the connections, however, are of particular interest to investigators, especially those with well-known figures in the Islamist scene. ‘He seems to have belonged to an unstructured militant-Salafist environment,’ said a source familiar with the investigation.
“Salafists are pious Muslims who place particular emphasis in emulating as far as possible the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the first generation of his followers. It is a movement that has been growing for years. While most Salafists are more political than they are militant, there is a segment with significant crossover with the jihadist-terror scene. Several of Arid U.’s contacts appear to come from this gray area…”
None of this will help to increase German sympathy for devout Muslims living in Germany.
“There Will Be Another Hitler Some Day”
On February 28, Der Spiegel Online conducted an interesting interview with Ewald von Kleist, 88, a former officer in the German Wehrmacht and the last surviving member of the July 20, 1944 plot against Hitler. We are bringing you the following excerpts from his comments:
“It’s true that, after Sept. 11, 2001, the United States declared war on global terrorism. But against which country? Why is this a war? And who is the enemy?… Al-Qaida is a chimera. There’s no organization, and there’s no country you can wage a war against. Instead, we’re waging war against an idea… Risking the lives of German soldiers is only justified when our vital interests are threatened. Exactly what those vital interests are has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Then, we have to determine whether we have the means to achieve our goals…
“Obama’s idea of a world without nuclear weapons is nonsense… We can all recall the images of Iranian children with green headbands running straight into Iraqi machine-gun fire. Their parents allowed this to happen because they believed their children were fulfilling the will of Allah… Some time ago, (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden said: ‘The difference between us is that you love life and we love death.’ I’m afraid he’s right…
“One of the last things Hitler said was: ‘We will slam the door shut behind us with a loud bang.’ He wasn’t able to do it at the time, but who can say whether an Iranian leader won’t feel the same way some day? Or look at Pakistan: What happens if there is regime change and the Islamists get their hands on nuclear bombs? There will be another Hitler some day…
“Goebbels once told me that, when it comes to propaganda, you just have to keep repeating the same thing over and over again until people can’t bear to hear it anymore — and then you say it again… he was very clever, diabolically clever.”
Ewald von Kleist is right—there WILL BE another Hitler someday. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
Ugly Past of U.S. Human Experiments
The Associated Press reported on February 27:
“Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital…
“Inevitably, [these experiments] will be compared to the well-known Tuskegee syphilis study. In that episode, U.S. health officials tracked 600 black men in Alabama who already had syphilis but didn’t give them adequate treatment even after penicillin became available…
“Some of these studies, mostly from the 1940s to the ’60s, apparently were never covered by news media… Many prominent researchers felt it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society — people like prisoners, mental patients, poor blacks. It was an attitude in some ways similar to that of Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews…
“It was at about this time that prosecution of Nazi doctors in 1947 led to the ‘Nuremberg Code,’ a set of international rules to protect human test subjects. Many U.S. doctors essentially ignored them, arguing that they applied to Nazi atrocities — not to American medicine. The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guinea pigs.
“… in the last 15 years, two international studies sparked outrage… U.S.-funded doctors failed to give the AIDS drug AZT to all the HIV-infected pregnant women in a study in Uganda even though it would have protected their newborns… The other study, by Pfizer Inc., gave an antibiotic named Trovan to children with meningitis in Nigeria… Critics blamed the experiment for the deaths of 11 children and the disabling of scores of others. Pfizer settled a lawsuit with Nigerian officials for $75 million but admitted no wrongdoing.
“Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general reported that between 40 and 65 percent of clinical studies of federally regulated medical products were done in other countries in 2008, and that proportion probably has grown. The report also noted that U.S. regulators inspected fewer than 1 percent of foreign clinical trial sites.”
Human nature being what it is, and Satan, the mass murderer and destroyer, being the real god of this present evil world and the ruler over ALL nations, no country and no people is exempted from conducting horrible atrocities against fellow human beings. Only a change of heart could bring about real change—but that change will only come with the return of Jesus Christ.
Common Biblical Misconceptions
Newsmax reported on March 1:
“Christian Broadcasting Network founder and ‘The 700 Club’ host Rev. Pat Robertson believes the present world will end someday — but not at the behest of nuclear-armed Iranian strongman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Although alarmed about Iran’s headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons, Robertson… can’t bring himself to believe that God would let Iran’s president trigger a nuclear holocaust.
“Asked whether unrest in the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear ambitions could be seen as a prelude to Armageddon, Robertson cited Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, who predicts in Ezekiel 38:5 that a coalition of other nations will rise up against Israel in a final battle ‘that’s made up of what looks like Russia, Turkey, Iran, the Sudan,’ and other nations. ‘So it’s all shaping up, and they are going to invade Israel in “the latter days,”’ Robertson tells Newsmax in the exclusive interview. “So that to me is one of the most key prophetic signposts that we have available to us. And it’s coming to pass.’”
However, Ezekiel 38 does refer to events which will occur AFTER Christ’s return—not before—and they speak of an invasion of Asiatic nations attempting to fight against the descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah, after Christ freed them from slavery and captivity and brought them back to the Promised Land. For more information, please read our Q&A on Ezekiel 38.
No Place in British Courts for Christianity
On March 1, 2011, the Telegraph reported the following:
“There is no place in British law for Christian beliefs, despite the country’s long history of religious observance and the traditions of the established Church, two High Court judges said yesterday… [They] made the remarks when ruling on the case of a Christian couple who were told that they could not be foster carers because of their view that homosexuality is wrong.
“The judges underlined that, in the case of fostering arrangements at least, the right of homosexuals to equality ‘should take precedence’ over the right of Christians to manifest their beliefs and moral values… the judges said Britain was a ‘largely secular’, multi-cultural country in which the laws of the realm ‘do not include Christianity’… The ruling… is the latest in a series of judgments in which Christians have been defeated in the courts for breaching equality laws by manifesting their beliefs on homosexuality.”
Truly, British society has turned the truth of the Bible upside down…
Would you please explain 1 Timothy 4:1-5? Doesn’t this passage do away with the distinction between clean and unclean animals?
Many try to use this passage to “prove” that we are allowed today to eat whatever man in his twisted mind has decided to devour—including the meat from pigs, dogs, monkeys, rats, cats, squirrels, as well as frogs, snails, ants, scorpions, snakes, lobster, shrimp, shellfish and oysters, just to name a few. However, this is most certainly not what the passage conveys.
1 Timothy 4:1-5 reads, in context:
“(Verse 1) Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (verse 2) speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (verse 3) forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (Verse 4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; (verse 5) for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
In our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound,” we make the following general comments regarding clean and unclean animals:
“…the laws of clean and unclean meat were already in existence at the time of Noah—they did not come into existence at the time of Moses. Noah was specifically told by God to take with him into the ark ‘seven each of every clean animal, a male and a female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and a female’ (Genesis 7:2. Compare also verse 8). Noah offered a burnt offering to God ‘of every clean animal and of every clean bird’ (Genesis 8:20).
“The covenant that God made later with Israel had no effect on the laws of clean and unclean animals—they were already in force long before that covenant was made. And nowhere does God teach us that we are now permitted to eat unclean animals. Notice the curse that God pronounces over those who, at the time of Christ’s return, eat swine’s flesh (Isaiah 66:17; 65:3–4).”
In our Q&A, discussing the consumption of unclean animals, we explain that Jesus Christ did not abolish the distinction between clean and unclean animals. Let us quote a few excerpts from this article:
“Some refer to Mark 7:18-19, stating that Christ made all animals clean and proper for consumption. However, the context of this passage is that the Pharisees criticized Christ’s disciples for eating food with ‘unwashed hands’ (verse 2); that is, without washing their hands first ‘in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders’ (verse 3). Christ said in verses 18-19: ‘… Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?’
“This passage does not teach, as some erroneously claim, that Christ made all foods clean. Rather, the word for ‘purifying’ is ‘katharizo,’ meaning ‘cleansing.’ It is used in James 4:8, where sinners are told to cleanse their hands. The Authorized Version translates Mark 7:19 as, ‘… and goes out into the draught, PURGING all meats.’
“Christ was addressing a situation where a little bit of dirt might have been attached to our hands or the CLEAN food. When we eat this, it does not defile us inwardly, as it is eliminated out of the body into the draught. The clean food will be ‘cleansed,’ in that little particles of dirt will be eliminated out of the body. To use the passage in Mark 7 and say that Christ made all unclean animals clean is a willful and deliberate distortion of Scripture.
“Others claim that Acts 10 teaches that God made all food clean. In that passage, Peter had a vision, seeing a great sheet of clean and unclean animals, and a voice asked him to eat. Peter refused and did not eat, although the voice told him that he should not call common what God had cleansed (verse 15). Subsequently, Peter went to the Gentiles, which were treated as common or unclean by the Jews, and baptized them. When confronted by the disciples, who were, at that time, exclusively of Jewish background and descent, Peter explained the meaning of the vision. It had nothing to do with declaring unclean animals as appropriate for human consumption. Rather, Peter said, in verse 28: ‘… God has shown me that I should not call any MAN common or unclean.’ And so, the disciples recognized the purpose of the vision–it was to show the New Testament Church that God had ‘granted to the GENTILES repentance to life’ (Acts 11:18).”
As mentioned, 1 Timothy 4:1-5 is another Scripture used by some in an attempt to “prove” that there is no longer any distinction between clean and unclean animals. But note that this is not what that passage says.
Rather, we learn that some false demonic-inspired preachers prohibit marriage (saying it is defiled or polluted and not as holy as celibacy), and other deceiving teachers say that one must abstain from FOOD which God has created to be received with thanksgiving (compare verse 3). But God never created unclean animals for food. As we have seen, the distinction between clean and unclean animals already existed under Noah, long before Moses; it still existed long after Christ’s death, when Peter refused to eat unclean meat; and it will still exist at the time of Christ’s return, as God will punish those who consume the flesh of pigs and other unclean animals, calling such a practice “abominable.”
In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul is not permitting the consumption of the meat of unclean animals, but he addresses those false preachers who teach against the consumption of meat of CLEAN animals, because of religious reasons. Paul is condemning the concept of that version of vegetarianism that is taught by people believing that they must not eat meat because they perceive it to be holy. (We might think of the belief in “holy” cows in certain parts of the world.) God says through Paul that every creature CREATED FOR FOOD (verse 3) is good and can be eaten, AS IT IS SANCTIFIED BY THE WORD OF GOD (verse 5). God’s Word, the Bible, never sanctified or set aside for consumption unclean animals, but it DOES sanctify or set aside for consumption the meat of every CLEAN animal. We are permitted to eat the flesh of clean animals with thanksgiving, for we believe God and His Word, and we know the truth (verse 3). And such consumption is good (verse 4) and also sanctified by prayer (verse 5), as we thank God (verse 4) and ask Him to bless the food and to set it aside for the nourishing of our bodies.
At least some commentaries are honest enough to admit that the Scripture in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 does not even address, let alone abolish the distinction between clean and unclean animals.
For instance, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible recognizes that the statement in verse 4, “For every creature of God is good,” can be grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted, when taken out of context; and so the following is stated:
“Nor does it mean that all that God has made is good ‘for every object to which it can be applied.’ It is good in its place; good for the purpose for which he made it. But it should not be inferred that a thing which is poisonous in its nature is good for food, ‘because’ it is a creation of God. It is good only in its place, and for the ends for which he intended it. Nor should it be inferred that what God has made is necessarily good ‘after’ it has been perverted by man.”
The creation of unclean animals, even though it is described as good in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, did not occur for the purpose of consumption through man. But a clean animal is “good” for consumption.
Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible adds:
“For every creature of God is good – That is: Every creature which God has made for man’s nourishment is good for that purpose, and to be thankfully received whenever necessary for the support of human life; and nothing of that sort is at any time to be refused.”
In addition, the People’s New Testament comments:
“Commanding to abstain from meats. The ascetic practices which began to grow up in the church a little later extended to foods. To eat the least palatable food which would sustain life was counted a virtue. These ascetics generally forbade animal food, and some lived only on bread and water. These practices are still found among certain orders of the Latin and Eastern churches.”
A similar explanation is given by Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:
“… to abstain from meats: not from some certain meats forbidden by the law of Moses… but from all meats at some certain season of the year, as at what they call the Quadragesima or Lent, and at some days in the week, as Wednesdays and Fridays; and this all under an hypocritical pretence of holiness, and temperance, and keeping under the body, and of mortification; when they are the greatest pamperers of their bodies, and indulge themselves in all manner of sensuality: the evil of this is exposed by the apostle…”
For instance, it is well-known that ultra-orthodox Catholics refrain from eating meat on Fridays—and especially on “Good Friday”–claiming that they do so in remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion. They prefer to eat fish on that day. But apart from the fact that Christ was not crucified on a Friday, but on a Wednesday [for proof, read our free booklet, “Jesus Christ—a Great Mystery”], the Bible does not prohibit us to eat the meat of a clean animal on the day of His crucifixion. For the real origin of Lent and the Catholic “custom” to eat fish on Friday, please read our Q&A, “Why do some Christians eat fish on ‘Good Friday’?”.
However, God still requires that we abstain from consuming the meat of UNCLEAN animals. For further study, please read our Q&A, listing clean and unclean animals; our Q&A, discussing the use of medicines, vitamins and mineral supplements derived from unclean animals, and the use of gelatin products, which might be derived from parts of unclean animals; and our Q&A, pertaining to the prohibition of eating certain parts of clean animals, such as food and fat.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
What Am I Learning?
by Phyllis Bourque
When I first began attending church services many years ago, the ladies would come up to me with warm greetings and make me feel so welcome. Conversations would often center around children, as I had a toddler and a newborn at that time. It was an exciting experience because God was opening my mind to the truth and I had a new sense of direction and purpose in my life!
These new acquaintances quickly became friends and conversations migrated to spiritual principles and practical application of God’s laws. Several would invariably share what lesson they had learned during the preceding week. I remember listening in quiet amazement to their various stories, being particularly fascinated by the remarkable correlation between simple everyday events and spiritual lessons. At the same time, I was quite disappointed in myself, as I wondered, “What am I learning?” I didn’t have an answer. Oh yes, I was learning to keep my children quiet during church, and I was learning about clean and unclean meats. I was learning what it meant to “keep” the Sabbath, and I was learning about the Holy Days and how they outline God’s master plan for mankind. But when it came to personal spiritual lessons, I had nothing to share with them.
Little did I realize then that the spiritual truths I was learning were actually the building blocks in a new relationship with the God that I thought I already knew. These truths would later prove to be the very foundation on which I could stand when Satan attempted to destroy my personal convictions and the very church in which I was so anchored.
I have long since learned to see the spiritual parallels in my everyday life and I thank God for showing me the significance of these daily growth opportunities. I need to thank God for what I am experiencing, whether or not I can identify the reason at that moment, because I know it is He who presents me with the lessons that I have to learn in order to become what He wants me to be.
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
REMINDER: Our annual conference will be held this year in California, beginning on March 18. Please pray for God’s inspiration and guidance for the successful preparation of the conference.
A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “Libya in Prophecy.” What is in store for Libya? How are we to evaluate the reaction—or lack thereof—of the Western powers, especially Europe and the USA? And why are some of the comments and suggestions in German papers truly amazing, in the light of biblical prophecy? What does the Bible say is soon going to happen in the Middle East?
A new German sermon was posted on the Web, covering Genesis 1:26 to 2:3, including the fact that man was created according to the image and likeness of God, and that the Sabbath is still in force and effect today. The title is: “Im Anfang…, Teil 3″ [“In the Beginning…, Part 3.”].
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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