Update 589


The Doctrine of the Laying on of Hands

On May 18th, 2013, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “The Doctrine of the Laying on of Hands.”
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.

On Sunday, May 19, 2013, Pentecost will be observed. We will conduct live services from Ft. Collins, Colorado, in the morning, beginning at 10:00 am Pacific Time; we will also conduct live services from Ramona, California, in the afternoon, beginning at 2:00 pm Pacific Time.

Dave Harris will give the morning sermon, titled, “Day of Firstfruits”; Norbert Link will give the afternoon sermon, titled, “Real Change Through the Holy Spirit.”

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by Rene Messier (Canada)

Some two-thousand years ago, a group of followers of Christ were waiting patiently for Christ’s promise of a comforter. They were gathered in a room in Jerusalem when suddenly life-changing events occurred for them.

The events are recorded in the book of Acts.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).

These events established the beginning of the New Testament Church of God. Because of the great significance of this day, there were unique miracles associated with it—the sound of a rushing wind was heard and tongues of fire appeared over the heads of the disciples. In addition,  the miracle did not only include the speaking but also the hearing of those who were present that day.

“Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God’” (Acts 2:7-11).

Thus Christ fulfilled the promise of the comforter in the form of the Holy Spirit–the power that emanates from both God the Father and Christ. It was given to the disciples on the Festival of Pentecost–the same day, according to tradition, when Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

Through inspiration, Peter was able to inspire and help those present to repent of their sins and to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, and three thousand visitors were moved to do so.

“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’ And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them (Acts 2:37-41).”

For us whom God has called in this day and age, our day of Pentecost, as it were, came after God had called us. We repented of our sins, and were baptized and had hands laid on us by a true minister of Jesus Christ. As a result of this, we received the gift of the Holy Spirit like many did on that Holy Day of Pentecost in 31 A.D.

For us it was a true beginning of a walk with God and of growth in grace and knowledge. We committed to help fulfill the Church’s great commission to preach the gospel to the world as a witness, to support the ministry in their task of baptizing others who would be called and of teaching and feeding the flock.

We must remain faithful to our calling until the return of Jesus Christ or, if we die prior to that, we must fall asleep “in the faith” as some have in recent years.

The comforter, in the form of the Holy Spirit, enables us to move forward in the responsibilities we have as God opens doors before us. To be able to fulfill these responsibilities is no less a miracle as were the miracles of speaking in tongues and giving an inspiring message that moved three thousand to be baptized in a single day.

Our work is ongoing, and we must, with God’s help, continue faithfully to move forward and to not look back. We must be waiting faithfully for our great reward in the future which is ruling with and under Christ in the Millennium and beyond. Then, mankind will come to the same spiritual understanding which we should today.

Let’s ensure we remain true to the course set before us.

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We begin with explanations on this year’s correct date of the Holy Day of Pentecost (to be observed on Sunday, May 19, 2013).

We continue reporting on, what some have termed, the “trinity of scandals” –unanswered questions regarding the American response to the 9-11 attack on the Libyan embassy in Benghazi and the murder of four American citizens, including Ambassador Chris Stevens; alleged inappropriate conduct of the IRS in targeting certain nonprofit groups; and the Justice Department’s conduct against The Associated Press. Others include (and we address herein) additional scandals, such as the Obamacare debacle and the corresponding role given to the IRS in the context; or the President’s refusal to close Guantanamo Bay (Der Spiegel Online added on May 15 another scandal—the Obama Administration’s ongoing drone warfare).

Turning to events in the Middle East, we speak about the U.N.’s incredible decision regarding Iran; hypocritical reactions of the Arab world regarding Israel’s bombing of Syrian military facilities; an ensuing rift between Israel and Germany over Security Council membership; German feelings that the West needs to do something in Syria; and the perception that the actions of the EU toward Hezbollah are insufficient.

We speak on this year’s award of the Charlemagne Prize to an outstanding European; and we conclude with two articles about God’s dietary laws, which are, sadly, misunderstood and neglected by many in this day and age.

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Why Do Many Jews Observe Pentecost on the Wrong Day?

This year, Pentecost or the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot) is to be observed, according to the Bible, on Sunday, May 19, 2013. But many Jews observe this Festival on May 14 (if living in Israel) and/or on May 15 (if living outside the state of Israel). Why is this?

In our free booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days,” we write the following:

“…the Church of God determines the correct date for Pentecost by counting 50 days from the Sunday [after the weekly Sabbath], which falls within the annual Holy Days of Unleavened Bread, as instructed in the Bible (Leviticus 23:11).

“The wave sheaf was offered on the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread. The wave sheaf pictures Jesus Christ, who ascended to heaven on a Sunday, even though He was resurrected on Saturday evening, just around sunset. Exactly 50 days later, He poured out the Holy Spirit from God the Father on His New Testament Church. This was the Day of Pentecost.

“In other words, we are not to count 50 days from the weekly Sabbath that falls within the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, but from the SUNDAY on which the wave sheaf was offered—and it is that SUNDAY, that must fall within the seven Days of Unleavened Bread (compare Leviticus 23:14–15; Joshua 5:11).”

The following article from the website of karaite-korner.org/shavuot.shtml gives interesting information as to why many Jews are confused today on the issue:

“Shavuot (Feast of Weeks/Pentecost) is the Biblical harvest-festival celebrated 50 days after the Sunday which falls out during Passover. These fifty days are called the Counting of the Omer. The Rabbis incorrectly celebrate Shavuoth on the 6th of Sivan… In late Second Temple times a debate arose between the Boethusians and the Pharisees about whether the ‘morrow after the Sabbath’ [Heb. Mimohorat Ha-Shabbat] refers to the Sunday during Hag HaMatzot [Feast of Unleavened Bread] or the second day of Hag HaMatzot (i.e. the 16th of Nissan). Like the Boethusians and Ancient Israelites before them [including the Sadducees], the Karaites [a movement within Judaism] count the 50 days of the Omer from the Sunday during Hag HaMatzot and consequentially always celebrate Shavuot on a Sunday.

“The Rabbanites claim that in the phrase ‘the morrow after the Sabbath’ the ‘Sabbath’ referred to is the first day of Hag HaMatzot. In the Rabbanite reckoning the 50th day of the Omer (=Shavuot) would NOT be on ‘the morrow after the seventh Sabbath’ as commanded in Lev 23,16. Instead it would be on the morrow after the 7th Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday or whatever day it happened to fall out after… The only way for the 49th day of the Omer to be a Sabbath, thereby making the 50th day ‘the morrow after the Sabbath’ as commanded in Lev 23,16, is if the 1st day of the Omer is on a Sunday.”

It will need to be said that most Jews not only observe Passover on the wrong day (they observe it one day too late, erroneously claiming that the Passover lamb was sacrificed at the end of the 14th day of Nisan, while it was actually sacrificed at the beginning of the 14th day of Nisan, “between the two evenings” of sunset and nightfall), but they also observe Pentecost on the wrong day(s) as well.

The Benghazi Affair—A Cover Up?

Newsmax reported on May 10:

“Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tells Newsmax that the Obama administration is guilty of disseminating ‘deliberate misinformation’ regarding the Benghazi attack and continues to ‘stonewall’ efforts to uncover the facts behind the tragedy. The 2008 Republican presidential candidate also reiterates his earlier prediction that the Benghazi affair could lead to President Barack Obama’s impeachment… ‘even members of the mainstream press who have done everything possible to ignore this story are having to pay attention, because as new information comes out and as the hearings really validated this week, there was deliberate misinformation that was given out by the White House and by the State Department as to what happened that night…’”

NBC News reported on May 12:

“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman… Darrell Issa,  who heads a panel probing the assault on the diplomatic outpost that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, said [that the] interagency process of modifying talking points in the wake of the attack scrubbed the fact that the incident was ‘a terrorist attack from the get-go… The American people were effectively lied to for a period of about a month,’ he charged…”

World Net Daily added on May 12:

“House Republicans allege the U.S. government knew of a terrorist threat but ignored it. After the attack, critics charge, the administration blamed the deaths on reaction to an obscure anti-Muslim video, despite evidence from the beginning that it was a premeditated terrorist attack. Locked in a tight presidential race, a deliberate assault on American assets and the murder of Americans by al-Qaida on a date as significant as 9/11 would have damaged Obama’s campaign claim that his administration had al-Qaida under control.”

The Washington Times added on May 12:

“Sen. John McCain said the Obama administration is lying when it denies it scrubbed the official talking points regarding last year’s Benghazi assault. ‘I’d call it a cover-up,’ Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week.’ ‘I would call it a cover-up to the extent that it was willful removal of information, which was obvious.’”

Fox News reported on May 13, 2013:

“President Obama delivered a defiant defense Monday of his administration’s response to the Benghazi terror attack, calling the revived controversy over the matter a ‘sideshow’… [He] denied any suggestion that there was a cover-up, questioning recent reports that showed a State Department official trying to water down the administration’s initial story-line on what happened the night of Sept. 11…

“Despite claims that the White House and State Department were not heavily involved in editing the intelligence community’s narrative, emails show State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland pushed to remove references to Al Qaeda and to the intelligence community’s prior warnings about security in the region. Based on those talking points, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on five Sunday shows to claim the attack was prompted by a protest over an anti-Islam film.

“Further, three State Department whistle-blowers testified last week, with one claiming he was shocked and ‘embarrassed’ to hear Rice’s comments since he knew it was a terror attack all along.”

On May 14, The Washington Post gave President Obama four Pinocchios for his claim Monday, allegedly stating from the outset that Benghazi was an “act of terrorism.” The article stated:

“Notably, during a debate with Republican nominee Mitt Romney, President Obama said that he immediately told the American people that the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya ‘was an act of terror.’ But now he says he called it ‘an act of terrorism.’… Whatever the reason, when given repeated opportunities to forthrightly declare this was an ‘act of terrorism,’ the president ducked the question… In fact, as far as we can tell from combing through databases, Monday was the first time the president himself referred to Benghazi as an ‘act of terrorism.’”

This entire affair is becoming more and more a huge problem with perceptions of veracity and truthfulness. Trust of many US citizens in their government is almost totally gone, and the President’s unconvincing and contradictory “explanations” regarding the mishandling of Benghazi did not help to restore trust. Combine this with the incredible IRS mess, the Justice Department’s conduct towards The Associated Press, and the Obamacare debacle, as reported below, and America’s failure to send a clear message to Syria, and you can see why this nation is in such terrible shape, and why it is felt by many commentators that the President and his Administration are becoming more and more a “lame duck” for the remainder of the second term. During a time when we would need to see American leadership domestically and in the world, we are seeing a country being dragged down and paralyzed by its own, self-made problems.

Jewish Groups Targeted by IRS in Addition to Political Groups?

National Review wrote on May 11:

“Along with targeting tea-party groups, the IRS may also have given extra-special attention to the tax-exempt status of some Jewish groups for political reasons.”

Quoting from the Jewish Press, the article continued:

“The passionately pro-Israel organization Z STREET filed a lawsuit against the IRS, claiming it had been told by an IRS agent that because the organization was ‘connected to Israel,’ its application for tax-exempt status would receive additional scrutiny.  This admission was made in response to a query about the lengthy review of Z STREET’s tax exempt status application. In addition, the IRS agent told a Z STREET representative that the applications of some of those Israel-related organizations have been assigned to ‘a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.’ . . .

“And at least one purely religious Jewish organization, one not focused on Israel, was the recipient of bizarre and highly inappropriate questions about Israel.  Those questions also came from the same non-profit division of the IRS at issue for inappropriately targeting politically conservative groups. The IRS required that Jewish organization… state ‘whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,’ and also demanded the organization ‘[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel.’”

Did the IRS Go After Billy Graham?

Politico wrote on May 14:

“The IRS came after Billy Graham, too, his son charged Tuesday in a letter to President Barack Obama. Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the family’s international humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, said that the IRS notified the organizations in September that it was conducting a ‘review’ of their activities for tax year 2010… With the IRS admitting it gave extra scrutiny to conservative political organizations, Graham says he now believes that the review was part of an Obama administration effort of ‘targeting and attempting to intimidate us.’

“The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association urging of voters to back ‘candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel’ during last year’s presidential race was the reason why IRS agents visited the North Carolina offices of both Graham groups, the letter accuses. ‘While these audits not only wasted taxpayer money, they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices,’ Graham wrote in the letter… ‘I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us. This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it “un-American.”’ Graham said that ‘in light’ of the IRS admission that it targeted tea party groups for added scrutiny, ‘I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable.’…

“Graham, who last week attended a White House meeting for religious leaders to discuss gun control, said the IRS story threatens to engulf all manner of non-profit organizations. ‘Mr. President, the IRS has already publicly acknowledged it operated in a less than neutral and non-partisan way,’ Graham wrote. ‘We also now know that the target of their improper actions was much wider than political or Tea Party organizations. Will you take some immediate action to reassure Americans we are not in a new chapter of American history – repressive government rule?’

“The IRS review, which Graham wrote involved an IRS agent visiting the two agencies last October, followed the Billy Graham ministry publishing newspaper ads in North Carolina backing a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The amendment passed in May.”

High-Ranking IRS Officials Knew

The Associated Press reported on May 14:

“Congress was not told tea party groups were being inappropriately targeted by the Internal Revenue Service, even after acting agency Chief Steven Miller had been briefed on the matter. Miller was first informed on May, 3, 2012, that applications for tax-exempt status by tea party groups were inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny, the IRS said Monday. Also… IRS officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed.

“The Post reported that IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups. At least twice after the briefing, Miller wrote letters to members of Congress to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without disclosing that tea party groups had been targeted. On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, but again did not mention the additional scrutiny — despite being asked about it…”

Did the President Know?

Newsmax wrote on May 14:

“Cleta Mitchell, one of Washington’s most respected elections attorneys, told Newsmax she has tangible proof that high-ranking IRS officials in Washington were fully aware of the agency’s campaign to target conservative groups for heightened scrutiny, despite their denials.  And she thinks the president knew about the practice, too. If proven, she said, it could be an impeachable offense… Mitchell said she doesn’t believe the president or the White House was uninvolved in the IRS activities, as the administration has claimed. ‘I’ve thought for some time that this is politically motivated and that’s the reason it was happening. And, as I said, I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this until 2009, 2010… We know the White House used the Department of Health and Human Services to try to silence critics about Obamacare. So if we know they used HHS, why wouldn’t they also use the IRS or other federal agencies to try to silence political critics?’…

“Mitchell said the IRS practices are in violation of federal law. She said it’s ‘a criminal offense to misuse information submitted by a taxpayer or an entity, anybody who submits anything to the IRS. The IRS agents are limited in what they can do with it, the scope of what they can say and do with it. So, clearly, the federal law has been broken.’

“Asked whether it would be an impeachable offense if it emerged that the president or his officials were behind the IRS’ practices, Mitchell said, ‘Well, it certainly was for Richard Nixon 40 years ago this week.’ She added, ‘Isn’t that ironic? The House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon 40 years ago this week on May 18, and one of those was misuse of the IRS to go after political enemies.’”

These developments are indeed reasons of great concern. Due to mounting pressure, CNN reported on May 16 that “President Barack Obama named Danny Werfel, an official in his budget office, as the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the White House announced Thursday. Obama demanded the previous acting commissioner resign Wednesday after revelations the tax agency was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups asking the government for tax exempt status.” At the same time, President Obama “rejected calls for a special counsel to investigate [the] Internal Revenue Service.”

The Unrecognized Curse of Obamacare

National Review wrote on May 10:

“Democratic senator Max Baucus is retiring because he is ‘fed up’ with the Affordable Care Act, according to his Republican colleague Chuck Grassley. Speaking at Friday night’s Lincoln Day dinner in Iowa, Grassley told the audience the Montana senator is leaving office ‘because he’s so fed up with the possibility of the implementation of Obamacare being a train wreck.’ Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, played a key role in writing the 2010 law.

“Grassley said that dissatisfaction with the health-care bill exists across party lines, describing a ‘bipartisan coalition in Washington’ that considers the implementation of the law a disaster.”

In this context, we are quoting here excerpts from a revealing article which was already published in early April of 2013. Forbes wrote on April 7:

“The biggest political problem faced by so-called ‘liberals’ and so-called ‘progressives’ in President Obama’s second term is how to prevent voters from holding them politically responsible as the public comes to realize how badly they were lied to during the first Obama term to win passage of Obamacare. Most supporters of Obamacare embraced it because of a principled belief that everyone should have access to essential healthcare. But even the establishment, still Democrat dominated, CBO admits that after 10 years of implementation, Obamacare will still leave 30 million uninsured…  that is a woeful underestimate…

“Just wait until the broad realization dawns that the harsh reality of Obamacare is that tens of millions will lose their employer provided insurance because of the perverse incentives under the program. Even the establishment CBO admits that at least 7 million, and as many as 20 million, will lose their employer coverage…

“The Obamacare employer mandate requires all employers of 50 or more full time workers to purchase the expensive insurance… Moreover, workers who do not receive employer provided coverage are eligible to purchase their health insurance on the state Exchanges with extensive taxpayer subsidies to help cover the cost. Indeed, in the Exchanges, low and moderate income workers can even get subsidies covering their out-of-pocket expenses. Employers can terminate their employee coverage, give their workers a raise with part of the savings, and let the taxpayers bear the cost of subsidizing their coverage in the Exchanges…

“Obama campaigned in 2008 on a promise that Obamacare would reduce the cost of health insurance by $2,500 for average families. But since Obamacare passed, the cost of an average family policy has already increased by $3,000.

“… individuals… could just skip the insurance and pay the penalty at a savings of at least 50% to 75% or more… So millions, including myself, will pursue this strategy next year to avert the costs of Obamacare, which will mean millions more uninsured. And that will mean more costly, sicker and older folks left covered in the insurance pool, which will cause premiums to soar further, which will cause still more individuals and employers to drop coverage, which means still more uninsured, and the chaos of a financial death spiral for private insurers…

“All of this health insurance cost chaos will just further feed the labor market chaos that is already starting as the darkening cloud of Obamacare approaches. Already employers are replacing full time employment with part time employment paying lower wages and no benefits. Already small businesses with less than 50 employees are freezing hiring, and those with just above 50 workers have begun layoffs. Moreover, under the Obamacare law, the employer mandate does not require employers to cover the family dependents of their workers. So the trend towards losing that coverage is already beginning as well…

“Obamacare is going to be causing chaos for seniors as well… almost half of Obamacare is paid for over the next decade by draining $716 billion out of Medicare… That leaves Medicare growing at only about half the rate of health care in the rest of the country…”

Gullible and uninformed people have failed to recognize that Obamacare is just one of the many avenues and inventions through which this country is nearing its prophesied downfall. God is withdrawing His blessings from this nation because of our many sins and our self-righteous attitudes and our unwillingness to repent. Rather, we proclaim with pride our liberal concepts and transgressions, following the example of ancient Sodom and Gomorrah. Please also note the next article.

Gingrich: “Almost Madness” to Entrust the IRS with Obamacare Fines

Newsmax reported on May 13:

“The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups raises serious questions about how it plans to handle the taxes and penalties associated with Obamacare, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says… Gingrich raised the issue because the IRS will be responsible for administering the mandate on health insurance by tracking taxes and fees associated with the law and levying penalties on Americans who don’t purchase coverage…

“The former speaker, who ran for president last year, insisted it would be ‘almost madness’ to put the responsibility for enforcing the requirements of Obamacare under the IRS, given the circumstances now… Gingrich said that one of the most disturbing aspects of the IRS scandal is that agency heads apparently knew about the targeting of conservative groups in 2011 and lied about it during testimony to Congress in March 2012…

“Gingrich also sought to compare the IRS scandal with developments in recent days concerning changes that were made in administration talking points about the terrorist attack in September 2012 on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. ‘The parallel between Benghazi and the IRS story is amazing,’ he said. ‘Lying, then lying about lying, and then hiding from the fact that they’re lying. Then seeking to apologize for the lies they claim they didn’t tell.’”

The Latest Scandal—AP Spied On By Justice Department

Newsmax reported on May 14:

“Investigative reporter Carl Bernstein on Tuesday called the scandal involving the Department of Justice securing telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors a ‘nuclear event.’ ‘This is outrageous,’ Bernstein said on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.’ ‘It is totally inexcusable. This administration has been terrible on this subject from the beginning. The object of it is to intimidate people who talk to reporters,’ he said. ‘This was an accident waiting to become a nuclear event, and now it’s happened.’

“The AP reported late Monday afternoon that the ‘Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press.’ The organization was not told the reason for the seizure. But the timing and the specific journalistic targets strongly suggest they are related to a continuing government investigation into the leaking of information a year ago about the CIA’s disruption of a Yemen-based terrorist plot to bomb an airliner, The New York Times reported.

“The development represents the latest collision of news organizations and federal investigators over government efforts to prevent the disclosure of national security information, and it comes against a backdrop of an aggressive policy by the Obama administration to rein in leaks, according to The New York Times. Under President Barack Obama, six current and former government officials have been indicted in leak-related cases, twice the number brought under all previous administrations combined. ‘The numerical thing doesn’t matter,’ said Bernstein, a former Washington Post reporter who, along with Bob Woodward, broke the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. ‘What matters is, this is a matter of policy. It is known to the president of the United States that this is the policy. To say that there was no knowledge, in quotes, specifically about this in the White House is nonsense.’…

“That the Justice Department sought records of phone calls made over congressional phone lines could also raise a separation of powers issue between the administration and legislative branches of government…”

President Obama “Being Drunk on Power”?

Infowars.com (as linked by The Drudge Report) wrote on May 14:

“[Kentucky] Senator Rand Paul responded to the barrage of scandals to hit the Obama administration, from Benghazi, to the IRS targeting conservatives, to the Justice Department spying on Associated Press reporters, by accusing President Obama of being ‘drunk on power’… Paul said the President was ‘using the power of his government to investigate his enemies, he’s tapping the phones of the press, and it turns out last year he signed legislation that allows him to detain an American without a trial and send them to Guantanamo Bay…

“With the White House already reeling from its complicity in the Benghazi cover-up and the IRS controversy, it emerged last night that the so-called ‘most transparent administration’ in history had, via the US Department of Justice, ‘secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.’…

“After the Justice Department responded by claiming it valued ‘the freedom of the press’ and was ‘always careful and deliberative’ in its actions, House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa reacted by remarking, ‘This is obviously disturbing. Coming within a week of revelations that the White House lied to the American people about the Benghazi attacks and the IRS targeted conservative Americans for their political beliefs, Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone…’”

Obama’s Fight With the Press

Fox News reported on May 14:

“Brushfire season has come early to Washington. The Obama administration had been trying to stamp out persistent complaints over Benghazi. On Friday, a second fire broke out as we found the IRS lied and deliberately targeted conservative groups for special investigation… Then, a third blaze caught everyone – especially the media – off guard. The poorly named Justice Department ‘used a secret subpoena to obtain two months of phone records for Associated Press reporters and editors without notifying the news organization’… such ‘subpoenas of records from news organizations must be approved personally by the attorney general.’ In other words, this attack on press freedom goes all the way to Eric Holder…

“The Obama administration has been at war with the media since before it was elected the first time… The administration went after Fox News, Drudge, Tea Party inspiration Rick Santelli and even liberal CNBC host Jim Cramer… The federal government locked out the press from the disastrous BP oil spill – so much so that CBS, Associated Press, Mother Jones and The Times-Picayune all complained… The press can no longer say the Obama scandals are a case of smoke but no fire because they are getting burned, too… If Obama can’t contain it, the fires will merge into one mighty conflagration – and light up just how awful his administration has been to the press and opponents.”

Did the White House Know?

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 15:

“The US Department of Justice secretly seized two months of telephone records from the Associated Press (AP) in 2012. This comes amid a crackdown by the Obama administration on whistleblowers and leaks. AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt has accused the Justice Department of infringing on the freedom of the press, after the department revealed that it had seized records from more than 20 separate AP phone lines… Pruitt said the Justice Department informed the AP of the seizures in a letter received on Friday. But the notification came after the subpoena had already been issued and the phone records seized. That means the AP had no chance to challenge the Justice Department’s move.

“‘To be secretly seizing two months of phone records for reporters and editors at the AP is a[s] just a serious interference with First Amendment, freedom of the press, and constitutional rights that are enshrined in our constitution,’ Jesselyn Radack, the national security and human rights director at the Government Accountability Project, told DW…

“The Obama administration, for its part, has denied that it had any prior knowledge that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed AP phone records… But Radack said it’s hard to believe that the White House had no prior knowledge of the case. She represented Thomas Drake, a National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who was accused of leaking classified information to the Baltimore Sun newspaper. While the Justice Department does in theory operate independently, Radack said that President Obama knew about the details of the Drake case. At the very least, the attorney general had to sign off on the subpoena of AP phone records, she said. ‘If Obama did not know, then he should fire Eric Holder as attorney general and the Justice Department should destroy all the materials that it collected from the AP,’ Radack said…”

The Washington Times reported on May 15 that “Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday described the leak about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen to The Associated Press as a ‘very, very serious’ matter that ‘put the American people at risk,’ but he did not remember when he recused himself from the investigation into it, did not put his recusal in writing and never told the White House.” President Obama subsequently expressed his confidence in Mr. Holder and stated in vague terms that America’s security must be protected, while conceding that the freedom of the press must not be violated.  This position on the matter will not satisfy either side.

Iran to Chair U.N. Arms Control Forum

The Washington Free Beacon wrote on May 13:

“Iran will preside over the United Nations arms control forum this month, despite the fact that it is under U.N. sanctions for illicit nuclear activities and routinely supplies arms to the terrorist organization Hezbollah in violation of international law. The U.N.’s annual Conference on Disarmament, which Iran is slated to lead from May 27 to June 23, is the organization’s primary multilateral forum for negotiating arms control agreements. The forum has given way to major international treaties on nuclear non-proliferation, prohibitions on chemical weapons, and bans on nuclear tests.

“UN Watch, a Geneva-based watchdog group, blasted the decision to allow Iran to chair the conference. ‘This is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,’ said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer in a statement. ‘Iran is an international outlaw state that illegally supplies rockets to Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, aiding and abetting mass murder and terrorism. To make this rogue regime head of world arms control is simply an outrage. Abusers of international norms should not be the public face of the U.N.’…

“Neuer called on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and EU High Commissioner Catherine Ashton to ‘make clear that when the United Nations imposes four rounds of sanctions on Iran for illicit nuclear activities, condemns it for illegally arming the murderous Syrian regime, and denounces Tehran’s massive abuse of human rights, this kind of appointment just defies common sense and harms the U.N.’s credibility.’

“U.N. officials say Iran is simply the next country in rotation for the conference chair slot, according to UN Watch. The U.N. Secretary-General’s office and the State Department did not respond to requests for comment.

“Iran has not halted its nuclear weapons efforts despite international sanctions and condemnation. The country is a top benefactor of the Syrian regime, which is suspected of using chemical weapons against rebel forces. Iran also supplies rockets and other arms to its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah.

“The United Nations has previously hosted the Holocaust-denying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at its World Conference Against Racism, where he has equated Zionism with racism and claimed Israel exploits the Holocaust to persecute Palestinians…”

Is there no limit to the UN’s foolishness?

“Hypocrisy over Israel”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote on May 13:

“It didn’t take long after news that Israel had bombed military facilities inside Syria for the Arab League to demand that the U.N. Security Council ‘act immediately to end Israeli attacks on Syria’ over what the League called a ‘dangerous violation of an Arab state’s sovereignty.’ By contrast, the group – still made up mostly of dictators – hasn’t found time in its presumably busy schedule to say anything about the massacres in Syria of 77 mostly civilians, including scores of women and children in the coastal city of Banyas and scores more in al-Bayda, which sent thousands of people fleeing in the last few days, adding to the millions displaced by the civil war and the tens of thousands already killed…

“Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rightly raised the alarm, saying Assad has launched ‘Plan B,’ a campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’… This, of course, garnered little interest from other Arab regimes, occupied with accusing Israel of violating Syria’s ‘sovereignty.’…”

Israel will never receive approval from Arab nations for any actions directed against any Arab country.

Israel Unhappy with Germany

The Times of Israel wrote on May 14:

“Israeli officials are reportedly raising hackles with Germany over the fact that the two countries are competing for a spot on the United Nations Security Council. The fact that Berlin is throwing its hat in the ring complicates Jerusalem’s chances of ascending to the two-year non-permanent rotation on the council for the first time. Although Israel has been planning its opportunity to get the seat for several years, Germany only just recently announced its candidacy, which means that three countries — Belgium, Israel, and Germany — are competing for two possible slots.

“Germany ended a two-year stint as a non-veto-wielding member of the panel in December. Channel 2 news, citing unnamed Israeli officials, reported that Jerusalem was ‘critical’ and ‘upset’ by Germany’s decision… An unnamed Israeli source was quoted by the channel saying Germany, of all countries, shouldn’t try to deny Israel a spot…

“Candidacy to the body requires approval from two-thirds of the UN General Assembly, or 128 countries. Israel, which has repeatedly faced censure from the international body, would have to wage an uphill battle to garner enough support. In 2010, Canada lost a bid for one of the seats, which some blamed on Ottawa’s friendly stance toward Israel, among other things. Germany ultimately won that seat, gaining its fifth term on the panel.

“Germany is also seeking a permanent seat on the council, along with India, Brazil and Japan. Five countries are currently permanent members: the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain.”

Syria—Time for the West to Act

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 13:

“Turkish officials announced Sunday that nine people had been arrested in connection with a double car bombing in Reyhanli, a town near the Syrian border. The attack, which killed at least 46 and injured 100, has increased fears that the conflict in Syria is spreading into neighboring countries… Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that those allegedly responsible for the attacks — all of them Turkish citizens — belong to an ‘old Marxist terrorist organization’ with ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s administration…

“On Monday, German commentators decried the bombing, as well as the failure of the West to take a unified position on the worsening situation in Syria… Left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘… the attack is primarily a consequence of the shameful inability of the international community to pacify the Syrian drama…’ Leftist daily Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘The bombing attacks also show that no scruples remain in the war over Syria. It is possible that those who have been arrested and presented by the government actually are guilty. But it’s just as possible that Islamist opposition fighters laid the bombs.’”

EU’s Response to Hezbollah Falls Short

The Jerusalem Post wrote on May 12:

“The EU plans to endorse the UK’s model of proscribing Hezbollah’s military wing as a terror entity while permitting the Shi’ite Lebanese group’s political arm to operate as a legal organization, sources well-versed in the inner workings of EU discussions on the matter told The Jerusalem Post last week. British Labor MP Michael McCann, however, said in a House of Commons debate last week that this falls short of the necessary punitive response to Hezbollah and its chief sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“‘And they retain a clear and present military danger to millions of Israeli men, women and children, with tens of thousands of missiles pointed at major population centers,’ McCann told Parliament in a debate on Thursday. ‘Missiles which could be launched with one word from their venal, anti-Semitic paymasters in Tehran…’

“Dividing Hezbollah into military and political wings prompted McCann… to vehemently oppose the partial listing. The MP… called on the British government to proscribe the ‘whole of Hezbollah’ as a terrorist organization.”

It is doubtful that Europe will prohibit Hezbollah in their entirety. This would mean that they can continue, through their “political wing,” to launch or finance terror attacks without hindrance from Europe.

Iron Lady Wins Charlemagne Prize

The EUObserver wrote on May 10:

“Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite on Thursday (9 May) was awarded the Charlemagne Prize for her ‘oustanding’ merits in European politics, just as her country prepares to take over the rotating EU presidency on 1 July. Coinciding with Europe Day, the award ceremony took place in the German city of Aachen and was dubbed the ‘EU Oscar’ by Lithuanian media. It was attended by top EU officials such as council chief Herman Van Rompuy and European Parliament chief Martin Schulz, as well as German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who won the prize last year.

“Grybauskaite, 57 years old, is a former EU budget commissioner and minister of finance in her country before being elected the first female president of Lithuania, in 2009. She has a black belt in judo and has been nicknamed the ‘Iron lady’ for her tough negotiating style and the harsh austerity measures her government imposed to get Lithuania out of the economic crisis, without external assistance…

“Often compared to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also won the Charlemagne Prize in 2008, Grybauskaite praised Germany for its leadership on European level. ‘Today Germany plays the leading role in ensuring European stability and does not allow us to wander from the path of trust in Europe. That is why it is Germany which gets the strongest criticism – and also our deepest respect,’ she said.”

The news agency published the following astute comments to the article from one of their readers:

“The Charlemagne Prize; that sounds familiar. Oh yes, I know, what is being referred to here is the Aachen Charlemagne Prize, not just that ‘the award ceremony took place in the German city of Aachen’ – no, no. It is called the Aachen Charlemagne Prize to be absolutely correct… Who was Charlemagne? Called the ‘Father of Europe’ Charlemagne’s empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire. He was protector of the papacy, put Saxon pagans to death (for not converting to RC) and was crowned as ‘Emperor’ by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day 800AD. He issued a pan-European coinage and monetary systems… He was laid to rest in his capital which was today’s Aachen in Germany.”

Brazil’s Deutschland-Year

Deutsche Welle reported on May 14:

“Joachim Gauck is in Brazil seeking to strengthen trade ties with a key German partner; he and President Dilma Rousseff have officially opened a special Germany-themed year in Brazil. German President Joachim Gauck and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff started Brazil’s ‘Deutschland-Jahr’ year-long schedule that incorporates as many as 400 cultural, economic and scientific appointments in the coming months. Gauck and Rousseff appeared at the opening of a German-Brazilian trade conference in Sao Paolo late on Monday.

“The German president praised long-standing and stable bilateral trade ties. Gauck said that Volkswagen’s partnership with Brazil had proved so successful over the years that many in Brazil considered VW a ‘domestic legacy brand.’ He also lamented that too few Germans knew that author Thomas Mann should dedicate ‘his artistic streak to his mother who was born in Brazil.’

“Brazil is Germany’s seventh-largest trading partner by volume and is soon set to overtake Britain and France. Trade figures have roughly tripled in the past decade, hitting $21.5 billion (16.6 billion euros) in 2012. Gauck said further progress could be made, with ‘our shared values the foundation for this.’ He also issued a carefully-worded appeal to ‘continue to improve the conditions for free trade and exchange’ in Brazil, saying that Brazilian companies operating in the EU already profit from the bloc’s open trading policies.

“Rousseff referred to trade ties between the two countries as among the ‘most successful’ in the world… Prior to his trip to Brazil, Gauck visited Colombia.”

Germany—and Europe—are getting more and more involved in South American countries…

Don’t Eat Pork

The Jewish Daily Forward wrote on May 9:

“… pigs are remarkable. They are extremely intelligent… Physiologically they are also extraordinary; they convert carbohydrates into protein faster than any other mammal, often going from infant to ready-to-slaughter in about six months. They can even subsist on food scraps, making them nature’s composter… There is no clear answer for why we avoid swine, just a couple of lines in the Torah about split hooves and cud chewing that are further expounded upon in the Talmud and a whole slew of theories that span disciplines from social anthropology to medicine to theology.

“The question of why pigs are taboo isn’t relevant here. The prohibition is tied up in the complicated historical relationship between pigs and Jews and has helped define Jewish identity over the course of millennia. When Greeks invaded ancient Judea, they desecrated the holy altar by sacrificing the forbidden animal. Spanish inquisitors tested Catholic loyalty by forcing Jews to eat pork… the very term for crypto-Jews, Marranos, means pig. The list of historical associations and humiliations goes on and on, but it’s this context that helped make avoiding pork more than just a kosher rule and, instead, the kosher rule…

“I just think eating pork, if one chooses to do so while also identifying as a Jew, should be a transgressive act… Some Jews will continue to eat pork, as many have done throughout Jewish history… [but the] suggestion that we shed the guilt that comes with eating pork — the guilt that, whether we like it or not, is a critical component to the Jewish experience — would make for… a less meaningful Judaism.”

As Christians, we are spiritual Jews. The dietary laws are still in force and effect today. Many years after his conversion, Peter still refused to eat pork or any other unclean food. Even though the author in the article above does not understand the reason for the dietary laws, it is clear to us that these are health laws given by God for the benefit of mankind. But people—Christians, Jews and others—are confused on the issue, as the next article shows as well.

Don’t Eat Unclean Insects—Never Mind the U.N.

The Associated Press reported on May 13:

“The U.N. has new weapons to fight hunger, boost nutrition and reduce pollution, and they might be crawling or flying near you right now: edible insects. The Food and Agriculture Organization on Monday hailed the likes of grasshoppers, ants and other members of the insect world as an underutilized food for people, livestock and pets.

“A 200-page report, released at a news conference at the U.N. agency’s Rome headquarters, says 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diets with insects, which are high in protein and minerals, and have environmental benefits. Insects are ‘extremely efficient’ in converting feed into edible meat, the agency said…

“The agency noted that its Edible Insect Program is also examining the potential of arachnids, such as spiders and scorpions, although they are not strictly speaking insects. University biologists have analyzed the nutritional value of edible insects, and some of them, such as certain beetles, ants, crickets and grasshoppers, come close to lean red meat or broiled fish in terms of protein per gram (ounce)… The report noted that some caterpillars in southern Africa and weaver ant eggs in Southeast Asia are considered delicacies and command high prices.”

Even though some grasshoppers and perhaps some crickets are considered clean and can be eaten, none of the other insects are. The consumption of spiders and scorpions are of course also forbidden by God. The U.N. is simply ignorant and wrong, and it is deceiving people.

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Would you please elaborate on the ten European revivals of the ancient Roman Empire? (Part 9)

In the last installment, we began discussing some of the characteristics of the beast (a future charismatic political and military leader ruling ten nations or groups of nations in Europe, compare Revelation 17:12-13, 17) and important aspects associated with him. We saw that he will be worshipped as a god; that he will blaspheme God and that he will persecute the saints who do not accept his mark, his name and the number of his name, which is 666.

In this installment, we will continue pointing out some interesting facts which will identify the coming beast.

In Revelation 16:10, 13-14, we are specifically told that the beast has a throne and a kingdom, and that he will be demon-possessed. It is also revealed that a demon possessing the beast will perform signs. We also read in verse 14 that the false prophet, a religious leader, will likewise be possessed by a demon who performs signs. Furthermore, the dragon, Satan the devil, will send forth a powerful demon who will work lying signs and wonders. Revelation 19:19-20 adds that the beast, in collaboration with the false prophet, will lead the armies of the world to fight against the returning Jesus Christ and His angels.

Prior to Christ’s return, the beast and his armies will invade the Middle East and Jerusalem to take away the daily sacrifices. We read a prophecy in Daniel 8:9-12, which very well may be dual in nature. It first speaks about the ancient leader, Antiochus Epiphanes, who is described in that passage as a little horn (not to be confused with the little horn in Daniel 7, which describes a religious power).  According to Daniel 8:9-12, that “little horn” persecutes God’s people, invades and casts down the “sanctuary” and opposes the daily sacrifices which are “taken away.”

Antiochus did all of that. He was born in 215 BC and died in 163 BC.

According to 2 Maccabees, “Raging like a wild animal, he set out from Egypt and took Jerusalem by storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost, forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same number being sold into slavery…

“Not long after this the king sent an Athenian senator to force the Jews to abandon the customs of their ancestors and live no longer by the laws of God; also to profane the temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus, and that on Mount Gerizim to Zeus the Hospitable, as the inhabitants of the place requested… They also brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws. A man could not keep the sabbath or celebrate the traditional feasts, nor even admit that he was a Jew.”

We read in Daniel 8:23-25 that a fierce king or a king “having fierce features” (verse 23), i.e. Antiochus, would arise with sinister schemes and cunning and deceit; and that he would be broken without human means. Antiochus died suddenly of a disease, but if this is a dual prophecy, it would also refer to the death of the beast by the hand of Jesus Christ, when he is thrown alive into a burning lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). To point out a parallel with the king having fierce features in Daniel 8:23, we read in Deuteronomy 28:50 that the end-time army which will occupy the Middle East is described as a “nation of fierce countenance.”

Scofield’s Concordance states that “Antiochus is a remarkable type of the Beast.” In fact, much of what Antiochus did, the end-time beast will repeat to do, and worse.

Daniel 11:21-23 describes that Antiochus Epiphanes supplanted the ruler and that he came to power through intrigue. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia tells us: “After King Seleucus was assassinated by Heliodorus, an usurper, in 175 BC, Antiochus in turn ousted him. Since Seleucus’ legitimate heir, Demetrius I Soter, was still a hostage in Rome, Antiochus, with the help of King Eumenes II of Pergamum, seized the throne for himself, proclaiming himself co-regent for another son of Seleucus, an infant named Antiochus (whom he then murdered a few years later).”

The end-time beast might also obtain his rule over the ten nations or groups of nations through “intrigue” or “flattery.” Jesus Christ confirmed that the acts of Antiochus may be dual in nature, and that the abomination of desolation, which Antiochus set up in the temple (Daniel 11:31), will be set up again (Matthew 24:15). The abomination of desolation has been understood as describing both a devastating army occupying Jerusalem as well as the erection of an idol, a statue or an “image,” an ungodly presence or pagan worship services in the Temple.

In Matthew 24:15, Christ refers to the abomination of desolation in the context of the destruction of Jerusalem through Titus’ devastating and abominable army in 70 AD, but He also speaks of a future military occupation of the Holy Land and of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-21) and the desecration of the “holy place”  just prior to His return. Daniel 12:11 contains an end-time prophecy and establishes that another prophetic “abomination of desolation” will be set up at the holy place (“where it ought not,” compare Mark 13:14) at the same time when the future Jewish daily sacrifices will be taken away.

Judging from the past and also from several passages in the Bible, the Jews will indeed build another Temple in Jerusalem, but it will be desecrated. Actually, something similar did occur in 131-133 BC, even though at that time, the Romans built the Temple “for the Jews,” while in the future, the Jews will do so themselves. As Michael Kerrigan writes in “Dark History of the Roman Emperors, “In 131 C.E… [emperor] Hadrian had work on the Temple site commence… The Romans’ inauguration ceremony started with the ritual breaking of the ground, itself an act of sacrilege in Jewish law. Unperturbed, the emperor decided that this was a good moment to prohibit the practice of circumcision… “

In 133 C.E. the Romans marched on Judea to quench a Jewish “rebellion” under the followers of Simon Bar Kokhba (who was perceived to be the Messiah). His followers had taken control of Jerusalem and had established an independent Jewish state under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Akiva. The Romans, under general Sextus Julius Severus, massacred at least half a million Jews (other estimates give the number as “millions”) and destroyed almost a thousand villages.

Kerrigan states that “Hadrian redoubled his efforts to stamp out Jewish religious practices. Sacred scrolls were burned, rabbis executed and the Torah… was banned. The temple was turned over to the worship of Jupiter, and of Hadrian himself… Judea became ‘Palestinae.’”

Commentaries agree that the events of the past, especially under Antiochus and, to a lesser degree, Titus and Hadrian, were just forerunners of end-time events.

We read in Daniel 11:31-39 that the “king of the north” will take away the daily sacrifices and place there the abomination of desolation; that he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God [or “god”] of gods; and that he “shall regard neither the God [better “god”] of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver”; and that he will “act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory…”

Even though this passage has been applied to Antiochus (as he did perform some of those prophesied events), it is also recognized that it cannot refer to him exclusively. The Ryrie Study Bible writes that “the scope [of this section] also requires reference to some details of Israel’s last days.”

The New Bible Commentary: Revised adds:

“Antiochus who persecuted the [Old Testament] church shortly before the first advent of Christ may be regarded as typical of the antichrist [the beast] who will persecute the church before the second advent of Christ… [Verse] 36 states that the king will ‘magnify himself above every god,’ a description which does not well apply to Antiochus… likewise it is difficult to see how Antiochus showed disrespect for the gods of his fathers…”

However, it is not difficult to see how it would apply to the end-time beast. He will worship a foreign god for a while, that is, the false prophet, who is described in places such as 2 Thessalonians 2 as the “man of sin” who will sit in the “Temple of God,” claiming to be God (verse 4).  We can appreciate that the “abomination of desolation,” set up at a holy place, also applies to the false prophet sitting in God’s very Temple, claiming to be “God.” Also, he may be instrumental in persuading the beast to invade militarily the Middle East and Jerusalem and to initiate the erection of a great “image to the beast,” which will be given the power to speak and to cause the murder of Christians (Revelation 13:14-15); hence, the beast will honor a “god of fortresses,” murder and war. He will make that “god” rich. His fathers did not know that “god,” because the false prophet had not yet existed during their time.

Another statement about the king of the north needs consideration. We have read that he “does not regard the desire of women” (Daniel 11: 37). Some say, the “desire of women” is a reference to the god whom the women worshipped, i.e. Tammuz (compare Ezekiel 8:14). Others claim, this means, he does not love what women love, or, that he lives in licentiousness with women and does not want to get married (since many women have the desire to get married).

However, a much more obvious explanation needs to be brought out. The Elberfelder Bible translates that he does not care for the love of or towards women (“Frauenliebe”). This could be a reference to other than normal sexual preferences. The commentary of Henry speaks of “unnatural lust” in the context. This might indicate that the beast will be homosexual (compare Romans 1:24-28). There is no indication that Antiochus was homosexual (nor, that he had illicit affairs with other women, nor, that he did not want to get married. In fact, Antiochus was married). If the reference is to the homosexual nature of the end-time beast, we could think, as a forerunner, of emperor Hadrian who massacred the Jews. He was married, but he was also homosexual. When his male lover died by drowning in the sea, a heart-broken Hadrian gave orders for his deification. So, judging by these examples, the beast could very well be married and still be homosexual. For instance, Austria’s former leader, the late Joerg Haider, was married and had a daughter, and it only became known after his death that he was homosexual.

In Daniel 11:44-45, we read that the end-time king of the north (verse 40) or the beast will act with great fury. He is identified in Hosea 5:13 as the Assyrian King “Jareb,” which word means, “a fighter.” He is also identified as the end-time king of Assyria in Isaiah 10:5-7,12, who has an arrogant heart and the will to destroy others. Isaiah 14:24-25 tells us that the king of Assyria will enslave the nations of Israel and Judah; and Isaiah 30:30-33 adds that he will be thrown into Tophet—the lake of fire and brimstone (compare Isaiah 31:8-9). This shows, then, that the beast will be of Assyrian descent. The modern Assyrians can be found today in Germany and Austria. (For more information, please read our free booklets, “Germany in Prophecy” and “Europe in Prophecy”).

Another interesting reference to the beast can be found in the book of Habakkuk which deals with the modern Chaldeans or Assyrians.

Isaiah 23:13 tells us that the ancient Assyrians founded the land of the Chaldeans. And so, it will be the modern Assyrians—mainly the German-speaking peoples—who will lead the final resurrection of the “Holy Roman Empire” (For instance, as we have seen, the German Otto the Great and the Austrian Charles V. were previous emperors of the “Holy Roman Empire” or “the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” Arguably this is also true for Charlemagne or Charles the Great, who was crowned as Emperor in the German city of Aachen and who is viewed by the Germans as a German, by the French as a Frenchman, and by the Belgians as a Belgian. In addition, the collaboration of the Austrian Hitler and the Italian Mussolini with several popes constituted the sixth revival of the “Holy Roman Empire”).

In ancient times, the Chaldeans were Babylon’s religious leaders, astrologers and magicians. John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says about the ancient Chaldeans:

“A people still of late mean and low, famous only for their soothsaying, divination, and judicial astrology; but now become a powerful and warlike people, rising up under the permission of Providence to universal monarchy, and who would quickly add Judea to the rest of their dominions…”

Even though a partial fulfillment of Habakkuk’s entire prophecy can be seen in ancient Judah’s captivity through the Babylonians, due to Judah’s transgressions (compare verse 4), Habakkuk’s prophecy of Babylonian warfare is clearly awaiting an end-time fulfillment. As we will see, this will COINCIDE with the powerful, but short, revival of the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Habakkuk 1:5-10 reads as follows: “Look among the nations and watch–Be utterly astonished! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful… They all come for violence… They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings…”

Paul later quoted these words and applied them as a warning to the people in his time and age who would reject the gospel message. We read in Acts 13:32-41: “And we declare to you glad tidings–that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He raised up Jesus… David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. BEWARE therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets COME UPON YOU: ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’”

God said through Habakkuk that His work–the end-time preaching of the gospel–would be powerful, but short. Romans 9:28 confirms this, saying: “For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a SHORT WORK upon the earth.”

The Bible prophesies that at the time when the powerful preaching of the gospel message is being revived, modern Babylon will rise once again in Europe as the seventh and very SHORT-lived resurrection of the ancient “Holy Roman Empire”—a combination of church and state—when the (religious) fallen woman will be once more riding the (political and military) beast (compare Revelation 17, especially verses 10 and 12).

God will use modern Babylon in a literal SWIFT blitzkrieg to punish the modern houses of Israel and Judah for their transgressions (compare also Isaiah 29:13-14). But God will then punish modern Babylon (Habakkuk 2:8)–a system less righteous than modern Israel and Judah (compare Habakkuk 1:12-13).

In this context, we read in Habakkuk 1:11 that after the modern Babylonian/Assyrian leader—the beast—has come to power, his mind will change. This term could be a reference to demonic possession; Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says it could describe the invisible presence of a spirit (compare Job 4:15; the word for “passed” in that passage is the same word as for “change” in Habakkuk). We know, of course, from passages such as Revelation 16:13-14, that the beast will be demonically possessed, but this passage in Habakkuk seems to indicate that the possession will occur after he has received his authority and power from the ten core nations or groups of nations.

In the next installment, we will discuss the biblical prophecies about the religious system which has been riding the last seven revivals of the ancient Roman Empire.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“Antiochus Epiphanes and the End-Time Beast,” is the title of our new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary: The book of Daniel speaks about an ancient ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, who is to be viewed as a forerunner of the end-time beast, mentioned in the book of Revelation. When reviewing the brutal and blasphemous acts of Antiochus, we should be able to see what the future military leader of Europe will do.

Neu! Der Brief an die Hebräer, Teil 3,” is a new German sermon, continuing our series on the letter to the Hebrews. It covers chapters 6 and 7. Title in English: “New! The Letter to the Hebrews, Part 3.”

Neu! Der Brief an die Hebräer, Teil 4,” is the newest German sermon, for Pentecost, continuing our series on the letter to the Hebrews. It covers chapters 8 and 9. Title in English: “New! The Letter to the Hebrews, Part 4.”

We have purchased translation equipment for the Feast of Tabernacles in Germany, and we have also ordered a banner in German. In addition, hard copies of our German booklet on the Gospel of the Kingdom of God are being printed. Live services will be conducted in Germany on the Sabbath and on Pentecost. Sermonettes will be given by Christoph Sperzel and Thilo Hanstein, and video-recorded sermons by Norbert Link on the letter to the Hebrews, Parts 3 and 4, will be played.  Those unable to attend will participate via Skype.

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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