Update 549


It’s Not a Small Thing


Sometimes we wonder what we can do to help the church… to do our part as we are often admonished.  But too many times we might come to the conclusion that we are too [fill in the blank] to help out. However, there is a way that does not require the resources that we feel that we might not have.

It is the very powerful act of intercessory prayer — praying for others on their behalf. We have the ability by the Holy Spirit; through Christ; to ask God the Father for anything for someone else (Romans 8:26-27, 34).  We can actually tap into the power that created the universe to ask Him to do something for SOMEONE ELSE.

Christ has set this example of intercession for us in John 17, even as the time of His death neared. As His physical life hung in the balance, His thoughts were on us. We are to follow His precedent and do the same — pray for the brethren.

Through this act of selflessness the heavens are the limits to what can be accomplished.  So when we stop and take a step back and look at our life and see it going well, it might not be because of what we have done, but because of what God did… because someone asked Him to do it FOR us.

Back to top

The terrible weather conditions in large parts of the US bring back frightening memories of droughts in 1988 or even the 1930’s, and bring into focus biblical warnings that our soil will ultimately become like iron, due to our disobedience of God and His laws. Severe weather conditions could also be seen in the UK and around the world. The Bible also prophesies that animals, in one way or another, will be responsible for the deaths of many people, and that sicknesses will increase, and we are already seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of these prophecies.

Germany will not return to the deutschmark nor give up the euro, and Angela Merkel’s popularity in Germany is higher than ever. At the same time, Germany finds itself under national and international attack because of its abominable final decision of the court of appeals in Cologne, declaring circumcision of babies or young boys to be a crime. Sadly, many Germans welcome the decision. They seem to have forgotten that in the past, the persecution of unpopular religious minorities in Germany led to Hitler’s Holocaust.

Focusing on Barack Obama’s ongoing troubles, allegations are being made that he has been using a fraudulent social security number, as reported by WorldNetDaily and the Drudge Report; frightening prospects and adverse consequences of his health care law may adversely affect most taxpayers in 2014, as reported by the Associated Press; and the way in which the US government is usurping more and more powers and thereby limiting the individual liberties and freedoms of US citizens, as reported by MSNBC, should wake everybody up. Sadly, most Americans don’t seem to know or care what is really going on—until it will be too late. And so, it is true that before we will be destroyed from the outside, we will have already begun to destroy ourselves from the inside.

We conclude with several articles pertaining to the developments in the Middle East.

Back to top

Will 2012 Become a Historic Disaster?

Time magazine wrote on July 5:

“Triple-digit days. Weeks with little to no rain. Soil crumbling away. Stunted corn stalks. Right now the fertile fields of the U.S. Midwest are experiencing corn-killing weather, with parts of five corn-growing states in the region experiencing severe or extreme drought. In at least nine states, one-fifth to one-half of cornfields are currently in poor or very poor conditions. And all of this comes after earlier expectations that corn farmers were going to produce a bumper crop this season, with 40 million hectares planted — the largest corn area in 75 years…

“So terrible is the weather in the heartland that farmers have begun to compare it to the drought of 1988, which wiped out millions of hectares of corn and caused $78 billion in crop damage, or even worse, the great Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. Already, stockpiles of corn have fallen by 48% from March to June, the biggest drop since 1996 — and that was before the drought and the brutally hot weather began in earnest. The percentage of the corn crop with top-quality ratings was 48% as of July 1, compared with 69% a year ago. Whether 2012 goes down as just an off year for corn crops or a truly historic disaster will depend on the next couple of weeks…”

The Guardian added on July 10:

“The worst drought to hit the United States in nearly 25 years is threatening to drive up food prices around the world.

“The price of corn, the staple crop of much of the midwest and the prairies, has risen by a third in the past month and rose again on Wednesday after a US government report said farmers would not yield as much from their parched fields as expected. Higher prices are likely to be passed on in the cost of hamburgers and steak and also affect a range of other foods such as corn flakes and bread.

“Almost a third of America’s corn crop is already showing signs of damage and a report released by the US Department of Agriculture on Wednesday forecast that farmers would only reap a fraction of the corn expected last spring when they planted 96.4m acres (39m hectares) – the most since 1937.”

Terrible Weather Conditions in Continental USA

Reuters reported on July 9:

“Scorching temperatures in June’s second half helped the continental United States break its record for the hottest first six months in a calendar year… The last 12 months also have been the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1895… The recent blistering heat wave broke records across much of the United States, threatening the Midwest’s corn crop and helping to fan destructive wildfires…

“This past month was also the 10th driest June, with drought spreading to 56 percent of the contiguous U.S. states, up from 37.4 percent in May, making it the largest drought footprint of the 21st century… Wildfires claimed 1.3 million acres, mostly in the West, the second-largest area to be charred during any June on record.

“But it wasn’t all dry. Tropical Storm Debby dumped so much rain during its slow pass across Florida that the state’s monthly statewide precipitation total for the month was 13.16 inches, or 6.17 inches above average, making it Florida’s wettest June on record. Maine, Oregon and Washington state each had a top-10 wet June.”

Terrible Weather Conditions in Great Britain

The Daily Mail wrote on July 7:

“Torrential downpours battered the South West of England today causing life-threatening floods as ‘colossal’ levels of summer rain continued… After more than two inches of rain fell in just 18 hours in Devon, the Environment Agency put parts of the Rivers Yealm, Axe and Burton on the highest grade flood warning, meaning they pose a ‘danger to life’… A total of around 75 flood warnings and 150 flood alerts were issued across England and Wales… Many parts of the country received more than half the average rainfall for July in just one day…”

On July 9, The Daily Mail stated about Great Britain:

“… the country endured another sodden week, following the wettest spring and early summer period since records began…”

The Last Days of Britain

The Daily Mail wrote on July 6:

“The face of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has been slapped on the front of a U.S. magazine with a set of yellow, decaying teeth. The Royal was PhotoShopped like the American stereotype of a Brit with bad gnashers for a special issue of the politics and arts publication The New Republic about the future of Britain… The 30-year-old… appears in front of a tattered Union Jack alongside the words, ‘Something’s Rotten. The Last Days of Britain.’… Last year the pearly white Duchess spent thousands of pounds having her teeth polished and turned to give her the perfect smile…”

One can dispute the American “humor,” making the Duchess a target, but the perception that Britain has entered its last days is quite remarkable in light of biblical prophecy.

Terrible Weather Conditions in Russia

In an article on Russia, The Daily Mail wrote on July 7:

“At least 99 people have been killed in floods and landslides in southern Russia today after two months’ average rainfall fell in a few hours overnight. Most of the victims died in or around Krymsk, a town about 190 miles northwest of Sochi, the Black Sea resort where Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics…

“Some of the victims were electrocuted while others were swept into the sea. Many of the dead were elderly people who had been sleeping and drowned. Others survived by climbing on to rooftops after the torrential rain hit thousands of homes, flooded railways and roads, and halted oil shipments from the port of Novorossiisk.”

Animals Responsible for 2.2 Million Human Deaths a Year

Reuters reported on July 5:

“A global study mapping human diseases that come from animals like tuberculosis, AIDS, bird flu or Rift Valley fever has found that just 13 such diseases are responsible for 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths a year… The vast majority of infections and deaths from so-called zoonotic diseases are in poor or middle-income countries, but ‘hotspots’ are also cropping up in the United States and Europe where diseases are newly infecting humans, becoming particularly virulent, or are developing drug resistance.”

The Bible says that many people will die because of, among other factors, the wild beasts of the earth.

“Florida Closes Only Tuberculosis Hospital Amid Worst US Outbreak in 20 Years”

The Guardian wrote on July 9:

“Health officials in Florida hastened their closure of the nation’s only dedicated tuberculosis hospital on cost-cutting grounds as one of the worst outbreaks of the deadly disease in 20 years was taking a grip on the state, it has been revealed. At least 3,000 people in Jacksonville may have been exposed to the highly contagious respiratory illness that claimed 13 lives in the city and left another 100 sick in the last two years… patients once deemed too sick for contact with the public were released into the community and others newly diagnosed with the disease, mostly from the homeless population, are being put up in local motels in an effort to keep them on their medications… The CDC confirmed it was one of the worst outbreaks of TB anywhere in the United States for at least two decades.”

No Return to Deutschmark—Political Union Needed

The Local wrote on July 7:

“’A return to the Deutschmark would be irresponsible,’ Allianz CEO Michael Diekmann told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag. ‘Therefore we should stop toying with the idea.’ Diekmann said his company has made economic calculations for what would happen if Germany were to give up the euro, and that the result would be a deep depression in which a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP) would be lost within four to five years.

“As a way out of the euro crisis, the head of the Munich-based insurer called for a stronger political union ‘that will only work with more shared responsibility and financing.’ He said limits need to be established on how one country helps another in the eurozone. ‘Whoever helps another country must also have the possibility of control,’ he told the paper.”

As this and the next article show, Germany will never give up the euro.

Merkel Extremely Popular in Germany In Spite of Criticism

The Independent wrote on July 7:

“Despite angry domestic criticism of her efforts to resolve the euro crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity among German voters has reached its highest point since 2009, according to the results of an opinion poll broadcast yesterday by the ARD television channel. According to the poll, 66 per cent of the electorate were satisfied with the performance of their country’s first woman leader, and some 58 per cent said they agreed with the view that Ms Merkel had acted ‘properly and decisively over the euro crisis’…

“On her return from last week’s eurozone summit, where she was widely perceived as having given in to demands from Italy and Spain to approve bailout funding to be used directly to rescue ailing banks, Ms Merkel was accused by many of her domestic critics of making a policy U-turn.

“Yesterday, 170 leading German economists, headed by Hans-Werner Sinn, the eurosceptic head of the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute, stepped up the criticism by publishing an appeal for citizens to rise up and oppose Ms Merkel’s plans to rescue the single currency. The appeal singled out plans for a banking union announced at the Brussels summit and called on Germans to ‘warn’ politicians of the dangers of such a project. ‘Countries like Germany could be saddled with ever-increasing risks through heavily indebted countries,’ it argued.

“Wolfgang Schäuble, the finance minister, responded to the economists’ criticism yesterday by accusing them of confusing the public. ‘I find this outrageous,’ he said… In what threatened to become a ‘battle of the economists’, seven other leading financial experts announced their support yesterday for Ms Merkel’s euro policies, in a joint statement headlined: ‘No horror scenarios’. They accused Mr Sinn’s economists of failing to support their arguments with facts.

“Despite Ms Merkel’s renewed popularity, yesterday’s poll result suggested that her ruling coalition of conservative Christian Democrats and liberal Free Democrats would lose next year’s general election, meaning that to stay in power Ms Merkel would have to form a second grand coalition with the opposition Social Democrats.”

This will remain to be seen. In any event, Frau Merkel’s rise in popularity is quite remarkable.

50 Years of French-German Friendship

The Local wrote on July 9:

“French President Francois Hollande [said to German Chancellor Angela Merkel:] ‘No dark force and even less stupidity can alter the deep Franco-German friendship… Our friendship inspires Europe… We don’t want to preach. We just want to give examples to be followed… Madam Chancellor, I propose from our side to open and even cross a new door together that will lead to even closer friendship between our two nations’…

“Merkel’s message was more direct. ‘Europe is more than just a currency, and the Franco-German relationship is vital in this regard, it has deeply marked European unification,’ she said. At the same time she stressed that others were welcome to join in, echoing Hollande who is seeking closer ties with Italy and Spain. ‘We must now put finishing touches on a political level of the economic and monetary union, it’s a Herculean task but Europe is up to it,’ she said, ending her speech with ‘Long live Franco-German friendship’ in both languages.”

Germany Under Pressure Over Abominable Court Decision on Circumcision

The Local wrote on July 6:

“Germany is coming under increasing pressure over the court decision that ruled circumcision was bodily harm and thus a crime – with the Wiesenthal Centre quoting Hitler, and a Muslim group saying it was a blow against integration. The Los-Angeles-based Jewish group called on German lawmakers to provide legal safety for the practice, saying it would be ‘a stain on today’s Germany’ to let the court ruling stand.

“Criminalising circumcision was ‘an attack on one of the fundamental principles of Judaism,’ wrote Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean of the Centre in a letter to Merkel. ‘For 3,500 years, every male child has entered the Jewish people through the rite of circumcision. We are not talking about a mere custom, but a biblical principle that has defined the Jewish people from time immemorial.’ They noted that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler said ‘in one of his infamous anti-Semitic rants’ that ‘conscience is a Jewish invention, it is a blemish like circumcision.’…

“The ruling marked a ‘big blow against integration,’ a spokesman for the Coordinating Council of Muslims in Germany, one of some 20 groups representing most of Germany’s around four million Muslims, said on Wednesday. German Muslim leaders urged lawmakers Wednesday to pass legislation protecting the right to circumcise boys after a court ruling against the practice when carried out on religious grounds…

“The Muslim groups are in contact with Jewish and Christian leaders on the issue and discussing how to bring pressure to bear on the political class…  After the ruling touched off a storm of international protest, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle insisted the country would continue to protect religious freedom and rites including circumcision. However several doctors and hospitals have said they would suspend the practice as long as its legal standing is unclear.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 9:

“An Israeli parliamentary committee Monday denounced a recent German regional court decision making circumcision a crime while the ruling also provoked the Conference of European Rabbis to call for an emergency meeting in Berlin to discuss the issue. Both groups agree that ritual circumcision of Jewish boys when they are eight days old is a fundamental part of being Jewish.

“Israeli politician and committee member Danny Danon noted that Germany last banned circumcision in the country’s ‘darkest hour,’ referring to the Nazi years and the persecution of the Jews. The Associated Press reported that Danon said Israel would not tolerate restrictions on the practice of Judaism anywhere in the world, ‘and certainly not in Germany.’

“The Israeli committee’s denouncement of the decision, announced last month by a court in Cologne, was made after committee members met with Andreas Michaelis, Germany’s ambassador to Israel…

“Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Protestants alike have cricitized the ruling. The Coordinating Council of Muslims in Germany called the ruling a ‘massive intrusion on religious freedom and on parents’ rights.’ Meanwhile, the Central Council of Jews in Germany warned the ruling ‘would make Jewish life in Germany practically impossible.’ The Torah explicitly states that all Jewish boys should be circumcised by the eighth day after their birth.

“It is estimated that at least 15 percent of German men are circumcised, with around 50,000 circumcisions performed each year… In the United States, around 70 percent of all men are circumcised.”

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 11:

“European Orthodox rabbis have protested a German court’s ban on circumcision for religious reasons. The Jewish leaders say it’s yet another example of the marginalization of minorities… It’s a ‘highly problematic’ ruling for Jewish communities in Germany, Pinchas Goldschmidt , the president of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), told DW. He said he hoped the government in Berlin would quickly arrange for legal clarification.

“Goldschmidt said he is just as shocked by opinion polls that show a majority of Germans welcome the Cologne court’s ruling. This is about the ‘basics of a liberal democracy, about the absolute recognition of the religious freedom of minorities,’ he said… Goldschmidt also pointed out a rising tendency toward intolerance of religious minorities in Europe. As example, he cited a recent Swiss ban on building new minarets on mosques, a French ban on women wearing Islamic veils in public and a debate in the Netherlands about kosher meat prepared by Jewish butchers.”

BBC News added on July 12:

“European Jewish and Muslim groups have joined forces to defend circumcision for young boys on religious grounds after a German regional court ruled it amounted to bodily harm. A joint statement says the practice is fundamental to their faiths and calls for it to be awarded legal protection… Germany’s Medical Association told doctors not to perform circumcisions…

“The unusual joint statement was signed by leaders of groups including the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, the European Jewish Parliament, the European Jewish Association, Germany’s Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs and the Islamic Centre Brussels… The leaders also met members of the European parliament and the Bundestag to express their anger and insist that the German parliament establish clear legal protections for the rite. The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Berlin says the German government is clearly uneasy about the ruling, particularly after accusations that it was inappropriate for the country of the Holocaust to outlaw a fundamental ritual of Judaism.”

Haaretz wrote on July 12:

“Europe’s main Orthodox rabbinical body is urging Jews in Germany to uphold the commandment to circumcise newborn sons, despite a court ruling in Germany that said circumcising young boys [is] considered a criminal act. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said his organization is ready to back Jews in challenging the May ruling by a Cologne district court, which Jewish groups see as symptomatic of a trend across Europe against some Jewish rituals. Goldschmidt said some lawmakers intending to curb Muslim practices unwittingly outlaw Jewish traditions as well… Two Berlin hospitals that routinely perform the surgery, mostly for Muslim families but also for Jewish ones, have temporarily stopped the practice…

“Virtually all Jewish denominations have roundly condemned the Cologne ruling, though they may differ on other religious practices… Circumcision is one tradition that unites secular and religious Jews, Goldschmidt noted. He added that current challenges to the practice of circumcision and kosher slaughter in Europe stem from the notion that Muslims have similar practices but with less rigorous training than Jews. Lawmakers are reacting, for example, to botched circumcisions performed by poorly trained practitioners, he suggested, adding that such problems are extremely rare among mohels, or Jewish ritual circumcisers. Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 12:

“An influential group of European rabbis on Thursday used unusually strong language to attack a German court ruling against the circumcision of boys. If the ruling is allowed to stand, the group’s president warned, ‘then I don’t see a future for Jews in Germany.’ Calling it the ‘worst attack on Jewish life since the Holocaust,’ the Conference of European Rabbis on Thursday strongly condemned a recent German court decision that criminalizes the circumcision of boys. ‘A ban on circumcision poses an existential question for the Jewish community in Germany,’ the president of the organization, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said on Thursday…

“He said the ban on shechita, the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds according to Jewish dietary laws, by the National Socialists had also been a sign for many Jews that ‘we need to leave Germany.’ But he added that a ban on circumcision, given the importance of the tradition, would send a much stronger message…”

In addition, according to the President of the Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, in Germany’s “Tagesthemen,” one fourth of all young males are being circumcised worldwide, and for many generations, the successors on the British throne are being circumcised as well by Jewish circumcisers. This last statement is quite interesting, giving additional credence to the fact that British kings have been sitting on the Jewish throne of David.

Shame on the German court in Cologne and on the majority of Germans who have actually supported this abominable court decision, which was rendered by a professional judge and two appointed “jurors”—speaking volumes about jury duty systems. Shame also on the many German- and English-speaking listeners to our AufPostenStehen and StandingWatch programs on circumcision who voiced their disagreement with our programs which condemn the unbiblical and intolerable court decision.

The statement of Herr Westerwelle is ridiculous in light of the legal finality of the court decision which clearly serves as a precedence for other courts. As can be seen in other examples as well, Germany is steadily moving towards more and more intolerance and even persecution of religious minorities. It will have to be seen whether this trend can be (at least temporarily) stopped or reversed. On the other hand, incredible Muslim behavior in the Western world is not going to find too much understanding and approval, as the next article shows.

Muslim Values Not Popular

Breitbart wrote on July 10:

“A feminist journalist from England, Cinnamon Heathcote-Drury… got her world turned upside down over the last few months, and the liberalism of her own self-defeating British culture is what did her in…

“So, imagine the scene. A British, feminist journalist sees a woman in a hijab loading a large number of groceries onto the store conveyor belt at check out. She begins fuming with feminist ire because this Muslim woman’s husband stands idly by doing nothing to help the overworked woman load the groceries. The journo can take it no more and just has to say something. She brusquely confronts the man telling him that his wife needs help loading the merchandise. She pushes past the man and starts helping the hijab-clad woman herself…

“As it happened, neither the Muslim man nor his wife much appreciated the ‘social lesson’ the journalist thought to teach them. And, as so many Muslims in Britain do, they proceeded to play the Brit’s liberalism against them. The couple cried racism and had the journalist arrested for a ‘hate crime.’…

“We must realize, of course, that this Muslim man’s indifference to his wife’s toils is typical in many Muslim cultures. The groceries would be ‘women’s work,’ after all. Women are often second-class citizens. And in the male-dominated Muslim world, women do all the work for the home and children. Everything…

“In the end, this journalist was lucky. Her court system returned a not guilty verdict for her. She was let off the hook. But the next pushy journalist — or other citizen — might not be so lucky. The next one may be thrown in jail because of liberalism gone wild…”

Barack Obama—Now In Trouble over “Fraudulent Social Security Number”?

On July 6, The Drudge Report linked the following article by WorldNetDaily, dated July 4:

“If Barack Obama has an immediate eligibility problem, it is more likely to derive from the Social Security Number he has been using for the last 35 years than from his birth certificate. Ohio private investigator Susan Daniels has seen to that. On Monday, July 2, she filed suit in Geauga County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court demanding that Jon Husted, Ohio secretary of state, remove Obama’s name from the ballot until Obama can prove the validity of his Social Security Number.

“Daniels, who has vetted thousands of Social Security Numbers for numerous other clients, has done her homework. In her filing, she thoroughly documents her contention ‘that Barack Obama has repeatedly, consistently, and with intent misrepresented himself by using a fraudulently obtained Social Security Number.’ To acquire appropriate standing in court, Daniels has gone to the trouble of establishing herself as a valid write-in candidate for president. Before she is through, this 70-something mother of seven, who has been a licensed Ohio PI since 1995, may cause Obama more trouble than the Romney campaign.

“Daniels started her investigation in August 2009. Given her profession, she has been able to access a variety of proprietary databases. What she learned without much trouble is that Obama has been using a Social Security Number with the prefix ‘042’ since 1986. As she discovered, the ‘042’ number is reserved for the exclusive use of individuals who register in Connecticut… she came to the firm conviction that Obama’s number was issued in March 1977 in Connecticut. By all accounts, as Daniels thoroughly documents, Obama was then a 15-year-old living in Hawaii. There is no record of him even visiting Connecticut in or near this time frame.

“To have gotten a Social Security card at this time Obama would have had to show up for a ‘mandatory in-person interview.’ This could not have taken place in Connecticut. Obama’s sister, Maya, by contrast, uses a number appropriate for a Hawaiian resident. Daniels checked other databases as well to validate her findings, including the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles and the IRS. Yes, Obama used the 042 number to get a driver’s license when at Harvard and as recently as on his 2009 income tax return…

“The ample evidence Daniels gathered led her to believe that the 042 number Obama has been using ‘had previously been issued to another person,’ one who lived in Connecticut between 1977 and 1979 and who was born in 1890. This assertion can be verified. By law, the Social Security Administration will have kept on microfilm a copy of the original SS-5 application attached to a particular Social Security Number. Daniels, however, does not have access to that microfilm. For this reason, Daniels has filed suit…

“Daniels asks the court, among other things, to issue an injunction against Obama’s name appearing on ballot until it is determined that he is using a proper Social Security Number. Given the response of courts elsewhere, it is unlikely that Daniels will find satisfaction in Geauga County or from the Republican secretary of state… The major media, of course, will not bother to look…”

There are many cases pending in front of numerous courts, questioning the eligibility of Mr. Obama as President for several reasons. So far, to our knowledge, no case has been decided on the merits.

Obamacare Could Come Home to Roost for Most Taxpayers in 2014

The Associated Press wrote on July 7:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama’s health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2 1/2 years, when they’ll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance. That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government.

“Under the law, the IRS will provide tax breaks and incentives to help pay for health insurance and impose penalties on some people who don’t buy coverage and on some businesses that don’t offer it to employees. The changes will require new regulations, forms and publications, new computer programs and a big new outreach program to explain it all to taxpayers and tax professionals. Businesses that don’t claim an exemption will have to prove they offer health insurance to employees. The health care law ‘includes the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years,’ according to the Treasury inspector general who oversees the IRS. The agency will have to hire thousands of workers to manage it, requiring significant budget increases that already are being targeted by congressional Republicans determined to dismantle the president’s signature initiative…

“The Supreme Court, in its 5-4 ruling, upheld the mandate that most Americans get health insurance. The majority said Congress has the power to enforce the mandate under its taxing authority. The decision labeled the penalties a tax, noting that they will be collected by the IRS. Those who don’t get qualified health insurance will be required to pay the penalty – or tax – starting for the 2014 tax year, unless they are exempt because of low income, religious beliefs, or because they are members of American Indian tribes. The penalty will be fully phased in by 2016, when it will be $695 for each uninsured adult or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater, up to $12,500…

“The law, however, severely limits the ability of the IRS to collect the penalties. There are no civil or criminal penalties for refusing to pay it and the IRS cannot seize bank accounts or dock wages to collect it. No interest accumulates for unpaid penalties. So how can the IRS enforce the mandate? Scary letters and threats to withhold tax refunds…”

Obamacare’s catastrophic and troublesome consequences for the American public and economy have not even hit yet the conscious minds of many indifferent Americans. And as the next article shows as well, the powers usurped by the US government and its institutions are truly frightening.

Big Brother in Big Operation

MSNBC wrote on July 7:

“Does the U.S. government read your email? It’s a simple question, but apparently there’s no simple answer. And the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are reluctant to say anything on the topic.

“In March, the American Civil Liberties Union caused a nationwide stir when the advocacy group released the results of its year-long investigation into law enforcement use of cellphone tracking data. After issuing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests, the ACLU learned that many local police departments around the country routinely pay mobile phone network operators a small fee to get detailed records of historic cell phone location information… In most cases, law enforcement obtains the data without applying for a search warrant; generally, subpoenas are issued instead, which require law enforcement to meet a lower legal standard…

“In a landmark 2010 case, United States v. Warshak, government investigators acknowledged that they read 27,000 emails without obtaining a search warrant, violating both the suspect’s privacy and the privacy of everyone who communicated with the suspect… Evidence obtained during that email search was thrown out on appeal by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but that ruling applies only to four U.S. states…

“The Justice Department and the Obama administration had a chance to settle the issue in April 2011, during a Senate hearing on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Instead, officials with both the Commerce and Justice departments failed to provide any clarity. Instead, a Justice Department official argued against extending Fourth Amendment protections — specifically strict warrant requirements — to email, saying that doing so would hinder investigations…”

These are troubling developments, but most Americans don’t seem to know or to care. They are like the proverbial ostrich, placing its head in the sand, or the frog that is being boiled in hot water.

Egypt’s Morsi in Confrontation with Military

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 9:

“Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s decision to reinstate parliament after its dissolution by the country’s highest court could be the beginning of a face-off with the military, which backed the ruling, observers say… Local newspaper Al-Akhbar, summed up Morsi’s decision to defy the ruling military council, led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi as an ‘early confrontation.’ Since Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011, the military council has run the country. Seeking to trim Morsi’s authority they dissolved parliament, as well as giving themselves full legislative powers, before swearing him in as Egypt’s first freely elected president on June 30. Morsi’s decree late Sunday to reinstate parliament gives those powers to his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, who share a two-third majority in the house along with other Islamists… Non-Islamist political forces in Egypt have reacted angrily to Morsi’s decision, especially leftists and liberals who fear the Brotherhood is aiming to establish an Islamic state where human rights will be undermined.”

The Telegraph reported the following on July 9:

“Egypt is braced for a major confrontation between the country’s Islamist president and military after the generals vowed to uphold a Constitutional Court ruling disbanding parliament.”

UN Asks Iran for Help and Becomes a Laughing Stock

Newsmax reported on July 10:

“The United Nations has turned to Iran to help negotiate a global arms treaty in a move that is drawing scorn and ridicule around the globe. The appointment was made by members of the U.N. Conference of the Arms Trade Treaty in New York last week. The committee to which Iran was appointed is tasked with coming up with a treaty regulating the international trade of conventional arms…

“The 15-nation committee, which is meeting this month, is led by Argentina, which serves as president, and includes the United States, Iran, China, and Russia, nations that serve as vice presidents… The Iranian media wasted no time in touting the appointment, noting that Iran ‘has been elected as deputy for the talks.’ According to The Times of Israel, The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that ‘some 193 participating countries unanimously voted in favor of Iran during the fourth day of the meeting under way in the United Nations headquarters, to draft a bill on regulating arms trade in the world.’”

How could any kind of true success be achieved with these kinds of organizations?

Syria and the Arab Sunni Versus Persian Shiite Struggle

Stratfor.com wrote on July 10:

“… this is a useful moment to step back and think seriously about the regional implications should [Shiite] Syria return to Sunni hands…

“Let’s first recall why Syria is up for grabs. Human rights interests alone do not come close to explaining why this particular uprising has received a substantial amount of attention and foreign backing over the past year. The past decade enabled Iran to wrest Baghdad out of Sunni hands and bring Mesopotamia under Shiite control. There is little question now that Iraq, as fractured as it is, sits in the Iranian sphere of influence while Iraqi Sunnis have been pushed to the margins. Iran’s gains in Baghdad shifted the regional balance of power, creating a Shiite crescent stretching from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean coast.

“This disturbance in the regional balance of power has aggravated a number of regional stakeholders. With U.S. backing, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar have banded together to lead a counter-coalition to Iran. Iraq may have been reluctantly conceded to Iran, but the uprising in Syria offered a new opportunity to undercut Iran’s Mediterranean outlet in the Levant. Saudi Arabia has been trying to manage simmering Shiite unrest on the Arabian Peninsula, while Turkey is looking to lay a Sunni foundation for its regional resurgence.

“As a result, increased amounts of money, supplies, weaponry, training and intelligence support have made their way to the Syrian rebels through covert channels. The hope was that a covert campaign would obviate the need for a costly foreign military intervention and lead to the collapse of the regime from within. In theory, the plan sounds reasonable. In practice, it’s a lot more complicated.

“A transition to Sunni rule in Syria is bound to be messy. Syria’s Alawites have become well established in Damascus and in other key urban centers across the country… the Alawites, with Iranian backing, could be expected to mount a militant resistance against Turkish- and Arab-backed Sunnis. The Alawites… currently dominate Syria’s ruling Baath Party…

“It is safe to assume that Syria, between the fall of the Alawite regime and the turbulent emergence of a new, Sunni-empowered regime, would experience an interregnum defined by considerable chaos…

“The most important battleground to watch in this regard will be Iraq. There are a number of regional stakeholders who are not satisfied with Baghdad’s Iranian-backed Shiite government… the domino effect from Syria could place Iran back on the defensive in Iraq, which has the potential to re-emerge as the main arena for the broader Arab Sunni versus Persian Shiite struggle for regional influence…”

Syria is a powder keg ready to explode, potentially setting the entire Middle East (and more) on fire. For further information on Syria’s future, please read our Q&A on Syria. 

Back to top

Were Joshua and Caleb, of all the Israelites who left Egypt, the only ones allowed to enter the Promised Land?

The Israelites endured many tests and trials after leaving Egypt and often fell short of what was required of them. One test was to have serious consequences that would affect so many. That was when the spies were sent into Canaan.  

In Numbers 13:1-2, we read: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.’” In the following verses, Moses “sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of the men who were heads of the children of Israel.”  Their task was to spy out the land and to “see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not” (verses 18-20).

At first sight, this passage might imply that all the tribes, including the tribe of Levi, send out one man from each tribe to spy out the land. However, note the following comments by Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, regarding Numbers 13:2:

“Send thou men… of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man; excepting the tribe of Levi; the reason of which was because they were to have no inheritance in the land, [Deuteronomy] 10:9; but then, to make up the number twelve, the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, are reckoned as two tribes…”

We will address Gill’s rationale, excluding the Levites from the spying mission and God’s subsequent punishment, throughout this Q&A. The outcome of this spying mission was that the spies returned after 40 days (verse 25) and reported on their findings. Of the twelve spies, ten reported that “the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there” (verse 28). In spite of Caleb wanting to go and take immediate possession, the spies (except for Joshua and Caleb) were fearful: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we. And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.’”

Then we read, in Numbers 14:1-3, that all the congregation “lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’” Joshua was, like Caleb, positive about what they could achieve with God’s help (verses 6-9), but the congregation “said to stone them with stones” (verse 10). Moses then interceded for the people (verses 11-19), and God said: “I have pardoned according to your word” (verse 20), but with the proviso that “they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (verse 23). 

We read that “all the children of Israel” complained against Moses, but we understand that in the Hebrew, the word for “all” (“kole”) does not have to mean, “every single one.”  It can also mean, “enough,” or “as many as.” We know that Joshua and Caleb did not complain, and there could have been others, such as Miriam, Moses’ and Aaron’s sister, or Eliazar, Aaron’s son. The word “all” can be used to mean a big majority or most of them. For example, when the children of Israel agreed to the conditions laid down by God in Exodus 19:8, “all the people answered together” that they agreed to the conditions. But it stands to reason that some of the constant troublemakers would not have done so.

In Matthew 4:23 we read that “Jesus went about all Galilee.” As with the Hebrew word for “all,” the Greek word, “holos,” can also mean, “throughout.” Christ went throughout much of Galilee, but He did not necessarily visit every little spot in the region. Likewise, the Church of God is commissioned to preach the gospel in all the world as a witness, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). But this does not mean that every single person will have heard the message, as we also read that after Christ’s return, He will send his messengers to places on the earth that had not heard of Christ (Isaiah 66:19).

God said to Moses that all those who had rejected Him would not see the Promised Land, but this could exclude the Levites, if they had not sent out a spy and if they had not rejected God by siding with those who brought an evil report over the land.

In Numbers 14, verses 29-30, we read: “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.” These words are interesting, pertaining to those who would not enter the Promised Land: “… all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above Except for Caleb and Joshua…” 

Only those who were numbered and who were at least 20 years of age were not to enter the Promised Land. However, the Levites were not numbered (Numbers 1:47-50). Therefore, they were not included in God’s punishment, and apparently, as Gill’s Exposition surmised, they did not present a man to spy out the land. 

The concept that Levi did not send a spy into the Promised Land is also confirmed by Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed, stating the following:

“The tribe of Levi was not meant to make their living by farming or pasturing the land; their ‘job’ was to serve as priests and Levites in the temple and teach the Torah to the rest of the people. They lived off their sacrificial dues in the Temple… and other tribes were required to give them (their tithes). They lived in special cities that were set aside for them, which were surrounded by parks, but they possessed no agricultural territory. Thus, since they were not ‘interested’ in the land per se, no representative of their tribe was sent to spy out the land.”

God had delivered them out of Egypt with a tremendous display of His awesome power, but when He saw their negative attitudes and their lack of faith and belief in Him and His power, He made His pronouncement and told them that all of the men who had been numbered and who were 20 years and older would not enter into the Promised Land, due to their lack of faith and belief in Him. He said they would all wander in the desert for the next 40 years until they all literally died in the desert, something that they had in fact requested (Numbers 14:2).

It is clear from the above that Joshua and Caleb and those who were under 20 years of age entered the Promised Land, but were these the only ones? In Numbers 1:2-3, the first census of Israel took place, “from twenty years old and above – all who are able to go to war in Israel.”  But remember that we read in verse 49 of the same chapter, that “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel.”

It is also interesting that we are given some idea of the size of the tribe of Levi with the information that it had 22,000 male babies one month old and upward (Numbers 3:39), and 8,580 able-bodied priests from ages thirty to fifty (Numbers 4:47-48).

Talking about the Levites, Matthew Henry’s Commentary states the following: “It was their further honour that as Israel, being a holy people, was not reckoned among the nations, so they, being a holy tribe, were not reckoned among other Israelites, but numbered afterwards by themselves… The service which the Levites were to do about the sanctuary is called (as we render it in the margin) a warfare, [Numbers] 4:23. And, being engaged in that warfare, they were discharged from military services, and therefore not numbered with those that were to go out to war.”  

Therefore, the Levites would not have been included in the punishment of those who were numbered from twenty years and older. Eleazar who was a son of Aaron is a good example (Numbers 4:16). In verse 23, we read that those who performed service in the tabernacle had to be at least 30 years old. Therefore, he and other Levites older than 20 would also have been allowed to enter the Promised Land. We specifically read in Joshua 14:1 that Eleazar the priest distributed the countries of the Promised Land’s inheritance, together with Joshua, to the children of Israel. This means that Eleazar entered the Promised Land, even though he was at least 30 years old when God pronounced His punishment over those who had been numbered from “20 years and older.”  Still, he, as a Levite, entered the Promised Land because the Levites were excluded from the punishment of God.

Lead Writers: Brian Gale and Norbert Link

Back to top

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new member letter has been written and will be sent out this week. In it, Norbert Link draws upon the biblical warnings given to Christians as this society becomes more and more intolerant of the true godly values by which we are called upon to live.

Our Internet ad campaigns, which promote our booklets and the weekly Update, are ongoing, and recent ads focused in Great Britain and the USA were particularly successful for two of our publications, according to  Brian Gale, Johanna Link, and Michael Bannen, who coordinates these programs. All of our publications and recorded audio and video messages are available for easy access at our webpages: www.eternalgod.org; www.churchofgodacf.ca; www.globalchurchofgod.co.uk; aufpostenstehen.de; www.standingwatch.org

The cut-off date for submissions of articles to our Feast newspaper is to be July 31, which will give Karen Myers a month to finalize the project, submit to the printers and have the newspapers ready for the Feast. Currently we have 30 submissions, and if we could receive another 10, it would make for a first class production. As this will probably be a one-of, it would be good if as many as possible could contribute. After all, this could well turn out to be a collector’s item, with high-quality paper and full-color pictures. Please submit your article(s) to Brian Gale. 

A reminder for those wishing to attend the Feast of Tabernacles with us for 2012–please review details posted on our website under the “FEASTS” heading. Our locations for this year are Pismo Beach, California, and Deganwy, North Wales.

Back to top

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

©2024 Church of the Eternal God