|Editorial||Being as Little Children|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||What does the Bible say about Ethiopia?|
|Forum||God Shows the Way|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
On June 18, 2011, Eric Rank will give a sermon from Colorado, titled, respectively, “Standards.”
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.
Being as Little Children
by Kalon Mitchell
In Matthew 18:3, Christ gave His disciples the following very poignant admonitions: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Some great points are given here.
Firstly, we are to be become converted. Conversion describes a total change in how we think and act. It refers to a rejection of the ways of this world and a transformation by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). It requires constant effort and constant learning. Paul had to correct the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 because they were not growing spiritually. They behaved, as it were, like mere carnal men, full of envy and strife.
Secondly, we are to become as little children. But we are also told that we are to be growing (compare also 2 Peter 3:18). We start as “newborn babes [who] desire the pure milk of the word, that they may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Babes in Christ are to be growing in maturity and Godly wisdom. So how does being as little children fit into this?
Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible has this to say: “Children are, to a great extent, destitute of ambition, pride, and haughtiness. They are characteristically humble and teachable. By requiring his disciples to be like them, [Christ] did not intend to express any opinion about the native moral character of children, but simply that in these respects they must become like them. They must lay aside their ambitious views and their pride, and be willing to occupy their proper station–a very lowly one.”
This is not to say that we are to become as children in respect to foolishness, as Proverbs 22:15 tells us that foolishness, which is bound up in the heart of a child, must be driven far from it. Rather, we are to take on the attitude of being faithful and trusting in God, of accepting correction in humility, and of wanting to learn and being teachable and receptive to God’s words. As we read Christ’s statement in Luke 18:17: “… whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
While we are to have a teachable and humble attitude like little children, we must also realize that we are to be working towards perfection in all things (compare Ephesians 3:13-19).
Thirdly, we are told that we need to enter the kingdom of heaven. We are not already in the kingdom of heaven, nor are we to go to heaven to enter it there. Rather, the kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God—the kingdom of our Father who is in heaven—which Christ will restore on this earth when He returns; and when God’s children will enter His kingdom, they will rule with Christ on this earth for a thousand years.
So are we “as” little children? Where are we in faith, understanding, truth and knowledge? Paul again gives a strong warning and rebuke in Hebrews 5:12-14, when he writes: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are full of age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Where are we in being able to discern good and evil? The times are evil and the time of Christ’s return is drawing closer. Let us all work towards a good, solid and mature understanding (1Corinthians 14:20), and when we, by reason of use, continue to “exercise our senses to discern good and evil,” and to practice the good and reject the evil, then we will continue to be like little children and be allowed to enter the soon coming Kingdom of God.
We begin with reporting on America’s ongoing economic troubles which are, admittedly, not solvable within the next few years. We continue with placing special emphasis on our health crisis, diseases and sicknesses, which are many times caused by ourselves. This includes eating fish and animals which God has forbidden us to eat; eating poisonous seafood; and eating the flesh of usually healthy livestock which became unhealthy due to the consumption of dangerous antibiotics.
We are reporting on the fear that NATO might fall apart, bringing to light Europe’s need to create its own powerful united army, navy and air force; quoting articles about the situation in Libya, Lebanon and Turkey (biblical Edom); speaking of developments in Italy and Greece; addressing the ensuing war of words over the border controversy between Denmark and Germany; highlighting very dangerous developments in Germany; and conclude with the announcement that Germany’s Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and his family plan to leave their fatherland… at least for a while…
This Week in the News
USA In Worse Shape Than Greece…
CNBC wrote on June 13:
“When adding in all of the money owed to cover future liabilities in entitlement programs the US is actually in worse financial shape than Greece and other debt-laden European countries, Pimco’s Bill Gross told CNBC Monday. Much of the public focus is on the nation’s public debt, which is $14.3 trillion. But that doesn’t include money guaranteed for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which comes to close to $50 trillion, according to government figures. The government also is on the hook for other debts such as the programs related to the bailout of the financial system following the crisis of 2008 and 2009, government figures show.
“Taken together, Gross puts the total at ‘nearly $100 trillion,’ that while perhaps a bit on the high side, places the country in a highly unenviable fiscal position that he said won’t find a solution overnight… Pimco, based in Newport Beach, Calif., manages more than $1.2 trillion in assets and runs the largest bond fund in the world… Should the debt problem in Greece explode into a full-blown crisis—an International Monetary Fund bailout has prevented a full-scale meltdown so far—Gross predicted that German debt, not that of the US, would be the safe-haven of choice for global investors.”
USA Today reported on June 13:
“President Obama asked voters for patience with the economy and jobs today, saying its problems were ‘years in the making’ and ‘it will take years to get back to where we need to be.’”
Sadly, we don’t have years to wait and to waste. The future of our country looks grim, and its downfall will happen much sooner than most think or anticipate.
Eating the Wrong Fish?
Oceana reported on May 25:
“… while 84 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, only two percent is currently inspected and less than 0.001 percent specifically for fraud. In fact, recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time for fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod, disguising species that are less desirable, cheaper or more readily available.
“’We’ve tested well over 1,000 fish fillet samples over the past four years, from more than 50 cities across the country,’ said William Gergits, co-founder and managing member of Therion International, LLC, (Saratoga Springs, NY), a worldwide leader in DNA testing of seafood. ‘Results from our DNA lab show that about half the time (an average of 50 percent) the fish you are eating is not the species listed on the menu.’
“Despite growing concern about where our food comes from, consumers are frequently served the wrong fish – a completely different species than the one they paid for. With about 1,700 different species of seafood from all over the world now available in the U.S., it is unrealistic to expect consumers to be able to independently and accurately determine what fish is really being served.”
This development is also a terrible tragedy in light of the fact that God forbids us to eat certain seafood, as it is unhealthy per se and not fit for human consumption. In a nutshell, God has only created such fish for human consumption which has fins and scales.
Eating Poisoned Shellfish?
Reuters reported on June 10:
“Public health officials warned Alaskans to avoid eating shellfish they harvest from the southeastern tip of the state after high concentrations of a poison that can kill humans was found. State officials said scientists monitoring algae blooms near Ketchikan discovered some of the world’s highest-ever recorded levels of toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning — a potentially fatal ailment that can paralyze vital organs.
“The most poisonous shellfish discovered were baby mussels at a dock in Ketchikan with toxin levels of more than 30,000 micrograms per hundred grams of shellfish meat. This is well over the 80-microgram level considered toxic, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has warned. Those levels are so high that a single mussel could kill several people, scientists at the University of Alaska Southeast said in a statement on Thursday.
“In other types of shellfish, members of the multi-agency Alaska Harmful [Algae] Bloom monitoring program found toxin levels ranging from 1,100 to 5,000 micrograms per gram of shellfish meat, the department said… Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins are absorbed by certain shellfish from algae.”
Of course, the Bible prohibits the consumption of shellfish altogether. Even though shellfish might generally not be declared to be “poisonous” by our health “experts,” its consumption is unhealthy for humans in God’s eyes. God did not create shellfish for the purpose of human consumption.
Eating Dangerous Sprouts?
The Associated Press reported on June 10:
“Investigators have determined that German-grown vegetable sprouts are the cause of the E. coli outbreak… Reinhard Burger, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said even though no tests of the sprouts from an organic farm in Lower Saxony had come back positive for the E. coli strain behind the outbreak, an investigation into the pattern of the outbreak had produced enough evidence to draw the conclusion…
“The breakthrough in the investigation came after a task force from the three institutes linked separate clusters of patients who had fallen sick to 26 restaurants and cafeterias that had received produce from the organic farm. ‘They even studied the menus, the ingredients, looked at bills and took pictures of the different meals, which they then showed to those who had fallen ill,’ said Andreas Hensel, head of the Risk Assessment agency.
“Hensel said authorities were lifting the warning against eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce, and explicitly urged consumers to start eating those vegetables once again. ‘Lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers should be eaten again – it is all healthy produce,’ he said.
“Burger said it was possible that all of the tainted sprouts have either been consumed or thrown away by now, but still warned that the crisis is not yet over and people should not eat sprouts. While the farm in the northern German village of Bienenbuettel that has been blamed for the outbreak was shut down last Thursday and all of its produce recalled, the experts said they could not exclude the possibility that some tainted sprouts were still being used by restaurants or cafeterias and people could still get infected with E. coli.
“Also, since it has not yet been established why the sprouts were bad – whether the seeds had been contaminated or the farm’s water – the experts said it was possible that other nearby farms could also be affected… In recent days the numbers of people being reported ill have been dropping, but it was not clear whether the epidemic was waning or consumers were just successfully shunning tainted vegetables.”
Deutsche Welle added on June 13:
“The number of people who have died in the outbreak of the virulent E. coli strain in Germany has risen to 36, health officials confirmed Monday… Taiwan announced it was suspending imports of bean sprouts from Germany as a precaution against the bacteria… All but one of the 36 deaths from the EHEC strain have been in Germany, with the other being a woman in Sweden who had recently travelled to the country.”
Whether or not bean sprouts were the cause for the outbreak of this new disease, the Bible warns that more and more incurable sicknesses will plague this globe, leading to famine and more disease epidemics, and many of these sicknesses will be man-made, as the next article confirms.
Eating Livestock Fed With Antibiotics?
The New York Times wrote on June 13:
“Every year in the United States, 325,000 people are hospitalized because of food-borne illnesses and 5,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s right: food kills one person every two hours. Yet while the terrorist attacks of 2001 led us to transform the way we approach national security, the deaths of almost twice as many people annually have still not generated basic food-safety initiatives. We have an industrial farming system that is a marvel for producing cheap food…
“Perhaps the most disgraceful aspect of our agricultural system… is the way antibiotics are recklessly stuffed into healthy animals to make them grow faster. The Food and Drug Administration reported recently that 80 percent of antibiotics in the United States go to livestock, not humans. And 90 percent of the livestock antibiotics are administered in their food or water, typically to healthy animals to keep them from getting sick when they are confined in squalid and crowded conditions… This cavalier use of low-level antibiotics creates a perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The upshot is that ailments can become pretty much untreatable.
“… antibiotic resistance has multiple causes that are difficult to unravel. Doctors overprescribe them. Patients misuse them. But looking at numbers, by far the biggest element of overuse is agriculture. We would never think of trying to keep our children healthy by adding antibiotics to school water fountains, because we know this would breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria… Vegetarians may think that they’re immune, but they’re not. E. coli originates in animals but can spill into water used to irrigate vegetables, contaminating them…
“One of the most common antibiotic-resistant pathogens is MRSA, which now kills more Americans annually than AIDS… MRSA was found in 70 percent of hogs on one farm… MRSA was found in 45 percent of employees working at hog farms…
“We need… more public education (always wash your hands after touching raw meat, and don’t use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables). A great place to start reforms would be by banning the feeding of antibiotics to healthy livestock.”
The unsanitary conditions of many of today’s livestock farms, combined with human greed and the unhealthy breeding especially of animals not fit for human consumption—such as pigs—are a fast-growing cause for the spread of numerous incurable diseases.
Robert Gates Attacks Europe and NATO
The EUObserver wrote on June 10:
“Under pressure to cut its military spending, the US is losing patience with Europe’s unwillingness to pay for its own defence, outgoing US defence minister Robert Gates said Friday (10 June) in an unusually ‘blunt’ speech in Brussels, casting doubt over the very survival of Nato…
“Looking first at Afghanistan, he noted that the operation got bogged down in national caveats which hampered the range of actions European soldiers were allowed to do – a hint at Germany’s restrictions on its troops to use lethal force, which meant that they could not be deployed in combat against the Taliban. As for troop withdrawal, with the Netherlands suddenly pulling out after a government was forced to resign last year over the Afghan war, Gates said: ‘We cannot afford to have some troop-contributing nations to pull out their forces on their own timeline in a way that undermines the mission and increases risks to other allies…’
“When it comes to the more recent mission in Libya…Italy’s ambition to run the air campaign from a Naples-based headquarters in fact meant that ‘mainly US targeting specialists’ had to be deployed there ‘to do the job. The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country – yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the US, once more, to make up the difference.’
“… Gates questioned the very rationale of this alliance born out of America’s willingness to protect Western Europe against a potential Soviet invasion during the Cold War… Gates projected a ‘dim, if not dismal future for the transatlantic alliance’: that the US simply stops footing the bill… ‘Indeed, if current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed, future US political leaders… may not consider the return on America’s investment in Nato worth the cost,’ he warned.
“Responding to this doomsday scenario, Nato spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said during a press briefing on Friday that this was in line with repeated calls from Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen to improve military spending…”
While the USA is unable and therefore unwilling to support military operations in Europe for much longer, the Europeans are forced to create their own powerful army and weaponry. In fact, this won’t be too difficult. Germany alone is one of the biggest weapons exporters in the world, and all it would need to do is to keep its weapons at home, to be used by Europe. As the next article shows, Europe has already more soldiers than the USA, and if one were to combine all of Europe’s national weapons, tanks, ships, rockets and planes into a united force (not to speak of its nuclear arsenal), it would already greatly exceed the power of the US army, air force and navy. It is just a matter of will power, organization and cooperation, and as the “need” for a united military is more and more recognized, Germany’s talents for organization will greatly contribute to the creation of an incredibly mighty and powerful military force.
Europe in Need of a United Army…
The Economist wrote on June 10:
“Europe has more soldiers than America, but can deploy far fewer of them on overseas operations. This is partly the result of history: in the cold war European armies were built to hold the line in Europe, while awaiting reinforcement by American forces which, by definition, had to be designed for expeditionary warfare.
“Another is that ‘Europe’ is not a sovereign state, but a collection of small- and medium-sized countries. Its considerable defence spending is hopelessly fragmented among a multitude of armies, air forces and navies… Defence experts across Europe have known this for a long time and, here and there, countries have embarked on some important experiments.
“Poland, which takes over the presidency of the European Union next month, plans to make a renewed attempt to boost European defence co-operation. It is also pushing for a bigger EU autonomous military headquarters…”
The Financial Times wrote on June 9:
“Tony Blair has urged European Union members to move closer together and form common policies on areas such as energy, defence, immigration and crime.”
The Bible has prophesied a long time ago that in these last days, Europe would unite, including militarily—and that this would happen exactly at the same time when the USA would lose its dominant status in the world.
Libya’s Ongoing War
Reuters and DPA wrote on June 11:
“Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday his country had offered a ‘guarantee’ to Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi if he left Libya, but said Ankara had received no answer… Erdogan, whose country is a member of NATO, did not specify what kind of guarantee his country had offered to Gadhafi.
“Meanwhile, a letter purported to be from Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi suggests to the U.S. Congress that he is ready to negotiate a ceasefire in the three-month-old conflict… ‘Our nation must not be colonized again by Europeans. Our Country must not be divided again,’ the letter states…
“Since the uprising against Gadhafi’s rule began in February, Erdogan has distanced himself from the Libyan leader… Muslim Turkey had sizeable trade and commercial ties with Gadhafi’s Libya, and evacuated more than 20,000 citizens working there as violence engulfed the North African desert nation… In the interview, Erdogan expressed frustration at what he called Gadhafi’s stalling tactics. ‘I have contacted him six or seven times. I sent our special representatives, but we always faced stalling tactics…’”
We need to continue to watch the relationship between Europe, Libya and Turkey, which is biblical Edom. An upcoming Q&A will shed some light on Edom’s future.
Germany Recognizes Libya’s Rebels
The Local wrote on June 13:
“German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made a surprise trip to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Monday. The symbolic trip was kept secret for security reasons. The trip was a brief detour on Westerwelle’s planned trip to Israel. Stopping in Malta on Monday morning, the foreign minister changed planes and headed to a military base outside Benghazi, where the Libyan opposition leadership, the National Transitional Council, is based. During the symbolically-charged visit, Westerwelle opened the German liaison office, where two German diplomats have been working to strengthen ties with the Libyan rebels.
“Germany now recognized the rebel council as… Berlin’s partner for dealings in Libya, Westerwelle said. ‘The NTC is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people,’ Westerwelle told reporters after meeting council officials, including the rebel ‘foreign minister’ Ali al-Essawi. ‘We want a free Libya, in peace and democracy without (Muammar) Qaddafi,’ he said in the rebels’ eastern bastion of Benghazi, Libya’s second city.
“Germany becomes the 13th nation to recognize the NTC as ‘sole legitimate representative,’ after Australia, Britain, France, Gambia, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Qatar, Senegal, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States…
“Westerwelle’s visit is meant to signal that Germany is committed to supporting a new, post-Qaddafi Libya, despite its abstention from a United Nations vote on military intervention in the country. Westerwelle’s plane also carried humanitarian aid for the people of Benghazi.”
The relationship between Libya and Germany is of biblical proportions and significance, as our recent Q&A on Libya’s future explains.
“Terrorist” Group Takes Over Lebanon’s Government
CBS News reported on June 13:
“Hezbollah and its allies rose to a position of unprecedented dominance in Lebanon’s government Monday, giving its patrons Syria and Iran greater sway in the Middle East. Lebanon Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced a new Cabinet dominated by the militant group and its allies after the country has operated for five months without a functioning government. The move caps Hezbollah’s steady rise over decades from resistance group against Israel to Lebanon’s most powerful military and political force…
“The group’s most ardent supporters are Iran and Syria, which dominated Lebanon for 29 years… The new government opens the door for renewed Syrian influence in Lebanon at a time the Syrian leadership is struggling at home. It’s a remarkable turnaround from 2005, when fallout from the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri led to massive anti-Syrian protests in Lebanon. The protests, dubbed the ‘Cedar Revolution,’ drove tens of thousands of Syrian troops out of Lebanon and ended decades of Syrian domination over its smaller neighbor.
“The ascendancy of Hezbollah is a setback for the United States, which has provided Lebanon with $720 million in military aid since 2006 and has tried in vain to move the country firmly into a Western sphere and end Iranian and Syrian influence. It also underscores Iran’s growing influence in the region at a time when Washington’s is falling…
“The Cabinet still must be formally presented to Parliament for a vote of confidence. The makeup of the new government is seen as almost entirely pro-Syrian. President Bashar Assad of Syria, facing a growing uprising against his rule at home, called twice to congratulate Lebanese leaders on the new government’s formation…
“According to Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shiite Muslim. Each faith makes up about a third of Lebanon’s population of 4 million… Once seen solely as Iran’s militant arm in Lebanon, Hezbollah has reinvented itself as a more conventional political movement… but fighting Israel remains the group’s priority.”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 9:
“Erdogan has achieved a lot… He has built up Turkey, traditionally a country of coups and crises, into a regional power. He is taken seriously as an important player in London and Washington, just as he is in Riyadh and Beijing. And even Israel — with whom he has picked fights, much to the delight of Arabs — follows his every step with great attention. Erdogan has provided the Turks, even those who can’t stand him, with a self-confidence they lacked before.
“The Ottoman Empire was once known as the ‘Sick Man on the Bosporus,’ but today’s Turkey looks very healthy indeed. After eight years of Erdogan, it is much richer and more modern than the poor country that applied to join what was then known as the European Community more than 20 years ago. Its economy is growing three times as fast as those of other European countries…
“It is time for Europe to rethink how it actually wants to treat this powerful and difficult neighbor… Gone are the days when the only people flocking to the Bosporus were tea pickers from the Black Sea and refugees from the troubled Kurdish regions. Europeans and Americans have also discovered ‘Istancool,’ the most modern city in the Islamic world, a city that never sleeps. Among the new arrivals are people whose parents and grandparents once emigrated to faraway Germany in search of a better life. Germans of Turkish descent, derided in Turkey as ‘Almancilar’ (literally ‘Germanyers’), are discovering that the city is much more dynamic than anything they could find in Germany…
“The number of Turkish-Germans returning to the country of their forefathers has long outnumbered the number of Turks heading to Germany…
“Ankara has good relations with almost all of its neighbors today. In recent years, Turkish diplomats participated in negotiations in the Azerbaijani capital Baku over the construction of the Nabucco pipeline, which is supposed to transport natural gas to Europe, in Tehran over the Iranian nuclear program, and in Tripoli with the tottering Gadhafi regime. Turkish businesspeople are building airports in northern Iraq, high-rises in Mecca and seawater desalination plants in Libya.This new foreign and economic policy has been dubbed ‘Neo-Ottomanism,’ another term that triggers anxiety in the West. Are the Turks trying to rebuild the empire that controlled the Middle East for 400 years?… Such fears are exaggerated. At most, what will materialize is nothing more than a loose commonwealth of former Ottoman provinces… It seems unlikely that the Turks could turn away from the West…
“‘This man [Erdogan] is dangerous,’ says Celal Sengör, 56, a renowned seismologist… ‘ Europe shouldn’t be naïve,’ he says. ‘Turkey simply isn’t ready to be a true democracy.’… The brutality with which women are treated is as old as Turkey itself, and the previous regimes failed just as miserably when it came to protecting the victims. But between 2002 and 2009, the number of violent acts and so-called honor killings rose from 66 to 953. A woman dies every day, say human rights activists… suspicions of secular Turks and skeptical Europeans [are being confirmed] that a broad segment of Turkish society espouses a view of the world and of women that is incompatible with that of the West. This casts a dark shadow over Turkey as an EU candidate.
“… It’s more likely that the Europeans and the Turks will continue to spend years talking at cross-purposes, but without expressing the two truths that everyone knows by now: that Europe doesn’t want Turkey — and that soon Turkey will no longer need Europe.”
Turkey—biblical Edom—will still play an important role in the future, as prophesied in Scripture. But we do not anticipate that Turkey—which is predominantly Moslem–will ever become a full member state of a united Europe—and most certainly not of the final ten nations or groups of nations (of core Europe) which will ultimately rule “Christian” Europe for a short time. However, we do find that “friendly” relationships and cooperation between Turkey and Europe and antagonism against Israel will continue.
Deutsche Welle reported on June 13:
“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won just under 50 percent of the votes in the AKP’s largest electoral victory since it came to power in 2002… The AKP is projected to win 325 of the 550 seats in the Turkish parliament, with Erdogan headed for his third consecutive term as prime minister… European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso offered their congratulations to Erdogan in a joint statement, and said the election results opened the way to ‘further [strengthen] Turkey’s democratic institutions, as well as to the continued modernization of the country, in line with European values and standards.’…
“AKP members had hoped to win at least 330 seats in parliament, which would have allowed it to call a unilateral referendum on constitutional change, effectively shutting the political opposition out of the process. It appears now that the AKP will have to find support from other parties to rewrite the constitution, replacing a charter drafted after a 1980 coup that has been criticized for limiting individual rights…
“Although Erdogan has not publicly said what constitutional reform would look like, speculation is rampant that he wants to change Turkey to a presidential system with himself at the helm… The AKP first came to power through a decisive electoral victory in 2002, which raised concern among Turkey’s powerful and politically influential military that the Islam-influenced party would undermine the country’s secular ideology.”
Berlusconi Suffers Crushing Defeat…
Deutsche Welle wrote on June 13:
“Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has suffered a humiliating defeat in opposition-backed referendums to block nuclear power and abolish a law intended to give him legal immunity. Despite urging the public to boycott four referendums, huge numbers of Italians turned out to deliver a humiliating electoral defeat to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a two-day vote. The proposals to repeal Berlusconi-era legislation on nuclear power, water privatization and trial immunity for government ministers were put forward by the opposition parties, and backed by more than 90 percent of the votes counted… turnout was 57 percent, reaching quorum for the first time since 1995…
“The public decided to uphold the ban on nuclear power, despite Berlusconi’s government wanting to re-introduce it in order to cut energy bills. Currently Italy highly depends on oil and gas imports and Berlusconi said nuclear power was indispensible for the future of the country… The referendum results come as the 74-year-old premier faces a sex scandal, three fraud trials and recently suffered crushing losses in May’s local elections.”
Italy’s governmental history has been one of constant scandals and upheavals, and leaders have come to political power in that country who would not have been elected in many other European nations. The present situation and scandal involving Silvio Berlusconi is no exception, and it will remain to be seen what the outcome for the Italian nation will be. However, that Italy will be one of the leading powers within a United States of (core) Europe is without any doubt.
Denmark Against Europe?
The Local reported on June 10:
“The Danish parliament is set… to approve the plan which would introduce customs checks on the country’s land borders, a move which Germans and some in the European Union [say] is an affront to freedom of movement in Europe… Germany has argued that it would be a violation of the Schengen travel-free area, which allows movement without passport checks between member states. This week Danish justice minister Lars Barfoed called criticism of the plan, ‘terrible nonsense,’ after German Foreign Ministry official Warner Hoyer fretted about countries ‘playing with the fire of nationalism.’ The German ambassador to Denmark also joined in the fray, strongly criticizing the Danes and earning a strong rebuke from right-wing politicians…”
Historically, the relationship between Denmark and Germany has been a rocky one, and even wars were fought between these two countries over border and cultural/economic disagreements. Denmark is descended from ancient Dan, and it is very likely that it will not be part of a United Sates of core Europe, as it has already refused to accept the euro and become part of the Eurozone, and is now in the process of questioning and even fighting the institution of the Schengen agreement.
The Greek Situation
The Associated Press reported on June 16:
“Talks to form a Greek coalition government with rival Conservatives collapsed Wednesday, and the country’s political crisis deepened Thursday as [Prime Minister George] Papandreou saw two of his Socialist lawmakers resign. The party feud was the latest crisis to heighten worldwide concern that a Greek financial collapse could trigger panic elsewhere in the 17-nation eurozone — a fear that saw borrowing costs in vulnerable EU countries surge and stock markets come under pressure… Papandreou is trying to push through a five-year austerity program worth euro 28 billion ($39.5 billion) that has been demanded by international creditors. The new spending cuts and taxes have spurred violent street protests as well as the party rebellion.
“In Brussels, top EU finance official Olli Rehn said eurozone ministers would likely agree Sunday to give Greece the next euro 12 billion ($17 billion) installment of loans from the euro 110 billion ($155 billion) bailout package. ‘It means that the funding of the Greek sovereign debt can now be ensured until September,’ Rehn said… ‘The next days will be critical for the financial stability and economic recovery in Greece and Europe,’ Rehn warned. ‘I trust all leaders in Greece and Europe realize their responsibility and will act accordingly’… The Greek prime minister spoke by phone earlier in the day with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss negotiations over the second bailout for Greece.”
Die Welt wrote on June 16:
“The protests in Athens are sending a disastrous signal to the rest of Europe. They give the impression that many Greeks are still denying reality… The deal with Greece is unpopular across Europe, particularly in Germany… But they are also unpopular in Eastern Europe…”
The financial daily Handelsblatt wrote on June 16:
“The pressure in the euro cooker is climbing, as is the threat of an explosion. The Greek people are taking to the barricades because the country’s elite are failing shamefully. Many rich Greeks are still not paying any taxes and have taken their fortunes abroad… Nobody knows what the future holds for Greece. The conservative opposition has refused to support the austerity package negotiated with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Such an irresponsible denial of reality not only damages the conservatives in their own country, but it also harms the common currency union and the European Union. One wonders if a party which behaves in such an anti-European manner should still be welcome in the family of European conservative parties.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on June 16:
“The systematic corrections taking place in Greece, under the leadership of the Papandreou government, are understandably unpopular. Many Greeks, however, understand that the country must change… It is mostly the opponents to modernization policies which have been audible and visible. Their actions have found a disproportionate echo in the media. In reality, the vehemence of the strikes has ebbed — and it wasn’t even all that impressive to begin with…”
No Right of Free Speech and Free Exercise of Religion in Germany?
The Local wrote on June 16:
“A German court has told anti-abortion campaigners they must not speak to women near a pregnancy advice centre in Freiburg… People from the association ‘Life Centre – Helpers for God’s Precious Children in Germany,’ have been approaching women entering the Pro Familia advice centre, showing them photos of aborted foetuses, calling out, ‘Please mummy, let your child live,’ and praying with rosaries hung with model foetuses. These ‘pavement advisors’ were upsetting the visitors to the Freiburg Pro Familia advice centre so much that manager there, Friedrich Traub made an official complaint to the city authorities… One woman was… offered €200 a month in maintenance to keep her baby…
“Traub approached the city authorities for a ban of the campaigners from the street on which his office is located. This they duly did, imposing a €250 fine on anyone who approached unbidden to talk about a ‘pregnancy conflict situation’ or to show them brochures, pictures or objects on that theme. An appeal against this decision was rejected on Thursday, with the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg upholding the ban.”
These are indeed the beginning signs of very dangerous developments in Germany, when unpopular religious views are suppressed by the state. Especially Germany should remember the terrible tragedies inflicted by governmental dictatorship on the German nation…
Guttenberg Leaves Germany
Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 10:
“Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has reason to be cautious. State prosecutors are still investigating more than 100 claims connected to allegations that he plagiarized large chunks of his doctoral dissertation. Once Germany’s most popular and promising politician, the scandal forced the member of… Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union to step down from his post as defense minister on March 1. His alma mater, the University of Bayreuth, later stripped him of his doctoral title, after a damning review of his work found that he had deliberately used text from various sources, including the academic service of the Bundestag where he was an MP at the time, without attributing it.
“… this summer the Guttenbergs plan to make a big change, moving abroad with their two young children. Guttenberg has called the plan to leave Germany for at least two years a ‘sabbatical’ in conversations with and emails to friends. He has also reportedly refused to rule out a return to politics at a later date…
“The family will likely move to the US or London in time for their daughters to begin the next school year in the fall. But the former minister’s many contacts in Washington make the US a more likely destination. He is known there as an advocate of US-German relations after taking part in a number of trans-Atlantic exchanges and holding high-profile talks at think tanks.
“Moving to America in times of difficulty has become an informal tradition for German politicians. Current co-chair of the environmentalist Greens, Cem Özdemir, took a job at a Washington think tank after his personal use of frequent flyer miles earned on the job scandalized German newspapers. He later made a successful comeback. Guttenberg, who resigned after just 16 months as defence minister, could be attempting a similar approach. Before the plagiarism scandal many expected the suave aristocrat to make it all the way to the chancellery.”
For now, Guttenberg’s bright and shining star seems to be all but erased. But as the article suggests, a sabbatical might result in his successful political comeback. His plagiarism has not diminished his popularity among many Germans; if anything, it has even helped to increase his popularity.
What does the Bible say about Ethiopia?
Even though Ethiopia is not mentioned as often in the current news as countries such as Egypt, Libya, Syria or Iran, the Bible has much to say about the past and future of Ethiopia. As we pointed out in a recent Q&A on Egypt, Ethiopia was at one time the influential “king of the South,” as mentioned in the book of Daniel, and the Bible shows that Ethiopia will still play an important role in future world affairs. This is not that surprising when considering even the present role and status of Ethiopia, which should not be underestimated. As the Wikipedia encyclopedia tells us:
“[Ethiopia] is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 85.2 million people… When Africa was divided up by European powers at the Berlin Conference, Ethiopia was one of only two countries that retained its independence. It was one of only four African members of the League of Nations. After a brief period of Italian occupation, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia’s flag, and Addis Ababa [Ethiopia’s capitol] became the location of several international organizations focused on Africa… Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
“Today, Addis Ababa is still the headquarter[s] of the African Union, the Nile Basin Commission, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce (PACCI) and UNECA. The country has one of the most powerful militaries in Africa and Addis Ababa is the headquarter of the continental African Standby Force (ASF)… Currently, Ethiopia is the top coffee and honey-producing country in Africa, and home to the largest livestock population in Africa. Ethiopia has close historical ties to all three of the world’s major Abrahamic religions. It was one of the first Christian countries in the world, having officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. It has a Christian majority and a third of the population is Muslim…
“Ethiopia, which has Africa’s second biggest hydropower potential, is the source of over 85% of the total Nile water flow and contains rich soils… today Ethiopia has the biggest economy in East Africa… as the Ethiopian economy is also one of the fastest growing in the world. It is a regional powerhouse in the Horn and east Africa…”
Many commentaries recognize that Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, descended from “Cush” of the Bible (compare Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, under “Ethiopia.”). The word “Cush” means “black.”
(Please note, however, that descendants of Cush can also be found today in other parts of the world. For more information, please see our Q&A on Ezekiel 38 and 39. In this Q&A, we are strictly addressing the history and prophecy, relating to Ethiopia.)
Cush was a son of Ham, one of the three sons of Noah (Genesis 10:6). Cush was also the father of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12).
Cush is also identified, in Genesis 10:7, as the grandfather of Sheba (Sheba’s father was Raamah). From this it follows that the famous queen of the South, or the Queen of Sheba, who visited King Solomon to test his intelligence and wisdom, was actually the Queen of Ethiopia (compare 1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12; Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31). The Queen of Sheba is known in worldly records as Queen Makeda, Empress of Axum. According to legend and tradition, the royal house of Ethiopia under, then, King or Emperor Haile Selassi (1892-1975), claimed to be descendants of a “union” between King Solomon and the Queen of the South. It is also well known that one of the royal titles of Haile Selassi was the “king of Judah.” Not that well known might be that three royal sons or princes and three royal daughters or princesses of the late emperor are still alive today.
Historically, we read that Moses, apparently prior to his conversion, had married an Ethiopian woman (Numbers 12:1). Later, during the reign of King Solomon’s son, the king of Egypt attacked Judah with the help of Ethiopia, because Judah had greatly sinned against God (2 Chronicles 12:1-3). Subsequently, Zerah the Ethiopian and his great army attacked Judah under King Asa (who was then a righteous king), but at that time, God helped Judah (2 Chronicles 14:8-13; 16:8). Later, Isaiah was given a prophecy proclaiming the defeat of Egypt and Ethiopia through King Sargon of Assyria (Isaiah 20:1-6).
At the time when Jeremiah was imprisoned and thrown into a dungeon, because he proclaimed the unpopular message of an impending defeat of Jerusalem through the Babylonians, Ebed-Melech, an Ethiopian eunuch, came to Jeremiah’s rescue and was rewarded accordingly by God (Jeremiah 38:6-13; 39:15-18). Later, the famous Persian king Xerxes I (referred to in the book of Esther as king Ahusuerus), who married Esther, reigned over Ethiopia (Esther 1:1; 8:9). And in New Testament times, we hear that “a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury…, had come to Jerusalem to worship” (Acts 8:27). God sent the evangelist Philip to that influential man to baptize him, and he returned to his country “rejoicing” (compare Acts 8:39).
We read in Nahum 3:9 that Ethiopia, as well as Egypt and Put (Libya), will be modern Nineveh’s helpers (that is, the modern Babylonian system under Assyrian or German leadership), prior to the destruction of modern Nineveh. They will help modern Nineveh to fight against Israel and Judah. Even during the time of the “day of the LORD” (a time beginning about one year prior to Christ’s return), the Ethiopians are still described as “mighty men” of war (compare Jeremiah 46:9-10).
But we also read that this particular alliance will change—as alliances change often and quickly in wars—and that the modern king of Babylon will attack and conquer Egypt and Ethiopia (Ezekiel 30:1-9; 29:10; compare also Isaiah 18:1-6). Zephaniah 2:12 tells us specifically that “You Ethiopians also, you shall be slain by the sword.” We also read in Daniel 11:42-43 that the modern king of Assyria of the Babylonian system will be ruling over the Ethiopians.
We are specifically told in Isaiah 11:11 that at the time of Christ’s return, the survivors of the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah will find themselves enslaved in countries such as Assyria (Germany), Egypt, Pathros (upper Egypt), Cush (Ethiopia), Elam (Iran), Shinar (part of Babylon, Genesis 10:10), Hamath and the islands of the sea. [Regarding “Hamath,” this word designates descendants of Ham’s son Canaan—a brother of Cush (Genesis 10:18). The word has no connection to Syria or today’s city of Hama which is 200 km north of Damascus. As we pointed out in a recent Q&A, the Syrians are descendants of Noah’s son Shem (Genesis 10:21-23; 22:20-21)—not of Noah’s son Ham or his grandson Canaan.]
We don’t know when and exactly how the survivors of Israel and Judah will become captives in Ethiopia and in some of the other countries mentioned. It could begin to happen when Ethiopia fights with Assyria against Israel, or later, when Assyria fights against Ethiopia and then transfers and settles some of its Israelite captives there.
We also read that some Ethiopians will become a part of an army, led by Russia, to invade the Promised Land. This will happen just after Christ’s return to this earth; compare Ezekiel 38:5. God will supernaturally destroy this hostile army. We also find that in the Millennium, the surviving Ethiopians will turn to God.
For further information on Ethiopia and her allies, please read our Q&A on Libya.
God asks the question in Jeremiah 13:23: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?” Even though the answer to this question is, “No,” God will nevertheless see to it that the Ethiopian will change his mind. God is not a respecter of person—he loves Ethiopia as much as Israel (Amos 9:7). And so, when God gives the Ethiopians a new heart and a mind to understand, they will respond. Isaiah 18:7 has this to say about the Ethiopians:
“In that time a present will be brought to the LORD of hosts From a people tall and smooth of skin, And from a people terrible from their beginning onward, A nation powerful and treading down, whose land the rivers divide—To the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, to Mount Zion” (compare Isaiah 2:1-4; see also Isaiah 45:14, saying that the merchandize of Cush—Ethiopia—will become Israel’s property, and that Ethiopians will come “in chains” and worship God and recognize Him as their only true God).
Finally, let us read this encouraging promise from God, relating to the future of Ethiopia, in Psalm 68:31: “Envoys will come out of Egypt; Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.”
Sadly, much horror, pain and suffering will have to be endured first, before this glorious time can begin.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
God Shows the Way
by Ben Agbayani (Canada)
2008 was the year of a full transitional period for me. My family and I were attending a church organization which simply preached a “gospel” about the person of Christ (as they understood it). One day, I found myself wanting to learn more. I was feeling that I was starving spiritually.
On one occasion during services, my family noticed that when the pastor spoke about something, I would turn to passages in the Bible looking for Scriptures that would confirm what he said, but I found none supporting his preaching. In other words, he spoke empty words.
Finally, after having studied the false teaching of the “rapture,” I asked several members and ministers about this concept, but I was only given disappointing answers. When I asked the leading Church pastor, he answered: “If you were God, would you like your people to suffer during the tribulation period? Of course not.”
My eyes grew big, and I was quite surprised that he evaded the question by trying to pull a trick answer, like a magician would act. I realized that he had no answers, and he recognized that I knew, and from that point in time, I was viewed by the entire congregation as someone who had a different spirit.
I prayed to God to show me His Way and to reveal to us where the true remnants of His church are today. God led me to the doorsteps of the Church of the Eternal God and its StandingWatch programs. In 2009, my wife and I were baptized by Mr. Messier, and we are happy to be Spirit-begotten members of the true Church of God.
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
Please feel free to proceed with making reservations for the Feast of Tabernacles 2011 with the Hilton Garden Inn at 601 James Way, Pismo Beach, CA 93449. When you call under 1-805-773-6020, please make sure that you mention that you are attending the Feast convention of the Church of the Eternal God. Further information is available on our Web site (www.eternalgod.org), under “Feasts.”
A new StandingWatch program was posted on our Web site and on You Tube, titled, “New Great Depression in 2012?” According to CNN, almost 50 percent of Americans worry that the US is likely to slip into another Great Depression within the next twelve months. The Guardian postulates that America is in an advanced state of cultural decadence and that it can be compared now with Rome prior to its fall. While the US is facing higher annual interest rates on the huge national debt of 14.34 trillion dollars, it provides hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign aid to some of the world’s richest countries, while at the same time borrowing billions back from them. What IS going on in our nation, and WHY?
Our booklet, “Germany in Prophecy,” has reached its final review cycle.
The draft for a new booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Philippians,” has entered the first review cycle.
Norbert Link’s video-recorded sermon, “The Mystery of Understanding,” has been posted on the Internet.
A new German sermon, dealing with Ethiopia in the Bible, has been posted on the Internet. It is titled, “Aethiopien in der Bibel.”
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