Update 590


Clear Vision and Stand

On May 25th, 2013, Robb Harris and Eric Rank will give split sermons, titled, respectively, “Clear Vision,” and “Stand.”
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.

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Marco Polo

by Robb Harris

“Marco”…”Polo”…”Marco”…”Polo”.  As children, many have undoubtedly shouted these words while playing the simple game of tag in a pool.  But how many shouting the name know who Marco Polo was or why a game was based around his name?

Marco Polo was a Venetian explorer of the late 1200’s through early 1300’s. He traveled to China, India and surrounding parts of Asia.  He has been credited as introducing the “unknown Orient” to Western Europe. Legends say he did not know exactly where he was going when he first traveled east towards Asia, thus the game’s name was originated.

The chiding of Marco Polo’s name in a children’s game is lighthearted and not mean-spirited. The same is said by those who take the holy name of God and His Son Jesus Christ in vain.

The Ten Commandments have in times past been regarded with reverence and some have even attempted to observe them. How far society has slipped away from that DESIRE–the desire to please God! The commandments are not difficult to understand if a person has a desire to read, to listen and follow.  “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…” (Exodus 20:7). While easy to comprehend it is almost impossible to go out into society today and not hear that commandment broken numerous times in our daily routines. What society does not understand, or just plain ignores, is the consequence for breaking that commandment, continuing in verse 7 “…for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

Blaspheming God’s Name has become nothing more than a game, a way to get one’s point across with greater emphasis. But the misuse of God’s Name is NOT excusable. “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29).

Society is unwilling to live in a way that pleases God. We must NEVER fall into the same, satanically inspired trap. God must always be first in our thoughts and actions. It is easy to become man-pleasers, following after our own desires and forgetting God altogether. But we are warned where this attitude leads: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25). Death! Let each one of us demonstrate our willingness to live. Christianity is not a lighthearted game. It is a walk of life that requires every bit of our sincerity to be lights in a darkening world.

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We begin with Oklahoma’s devastating tornado, which released an estimated energy of up to 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. We continue with reports on and related to Pope Francis and alleged events involving his election and an alleged exorcism performed by him; and we report on a new controversial religious coronation ceremony of Britain’s monarch. We speak of Jewish controversies about Old Testament concepts and procedures, including the correct date of Pentecost; and we continue with damaging admissions of scientists about Darwin’s evolution theory.

We speak of Russia’s real goals towards Syria, and in focusing on France and Europe, we speak of President Hollande’s ambitious plan to create a political union within two years and his claim that Europe does not need Britain; and while Germany will not leave the eurozone, we find that France is more than willing to continue military operations around the globe.

We conclude with a troubling and, on the face of it, wrong and wide-ranging decision of an American Appeals Court, denying asylum to German parents, even though they seemed to have been clearly persecuted in Germany.

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Oklahoma’s Killer Tornado

The Associated Press reported on May 21:

“Everything had to come together just perfectly to create the killer tornado in Moore, Okla.: wind speed, moisture in the air, temperature and timing. And when they did, the awesome energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima… Wind speeds were estimated at between 200 and 210 mph. The death count is 24 so far, including at least nine children. The United States averages about one EF5 a year, but this was the first in nearly two years…

“Several meteorologists contacted by The Associated Press used real time measurements, some made by Schumacher, to calculate the energy released during the storm’s 40-minute life span. Their estimates ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb, with more experts at the high end. Their calculations were based on energy measured in the air and then multiplied over the size and duration of the storm…

“The United States’ Great Plains is the ‘best place on Earth’ for the formation of violent tornadoes because of geography… Scientists know the key ingredients that go into a devastating tornado. But they are struggling to figure out why they develop in some big storms and not others…”

Pope Francis an Exorcist?

The Associated Press reported on May 21:

“Is Pope Francis an exorcist? The question has been swirling ever since Francis laid his hands Sunday on the head of a young man after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, shook, and he then slumped in his wheelchair as Francis prayed over him. The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference said it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed there was ‘no doubt’ that Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil.

“The Vatican was more cautious Tuesday. In a statement, it said Francis ‘didn’t intend to perform any exorcism. But as he often does for the sick or suffering, he simply intended to pray for someone who was suffering who was presented to him.’ Fueling the speculation is Francis’ obsession with Satan, a frequent subject of his homilies, and an apparent surge in demand for exorcisms among the faithful despite the irreverent treatment the rite often receives from Hollywood…

“Italian newspapers noted that the late Pope John Paul II performed an exorcism in 1982 — near the same spot where Francis prayed over the young disabled man on Sunday.”

You might want to read our Q&A on the issue of exorcism.

“Pope Francis Elected after Supernatural ‘Signs’”?

The Telegraph wrote on May 14:

“Pope Francis elected after supernatural ‘signs’ in the Conclave, says Cardinal. The surprise election of Pope Francis came about because of a series of supernatural ‘signs’, one of the leading Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church has claimed…

“Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who was himself widely tipped as a possible successor to Pope Benedict, said he had personally had two ‘strong signs’ that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ‘the chosen one’ in the run up to vote. He said only divine intervention could explain the speed with which the Argentine Cardinal – who did not feature on any of the main lists of likely candidates compiled by Vatican experts – was elected.

“Speaking to an Anglican conference in London, he also said the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, had a ‘strange similarity’ to the new Pope. He said that the two elections were a ‘little miracle’ and a ‘sign from the Lord’ that the two churches should work towards closer unity…”

And they will hear of signs and wonders… and many will be deceived…

The Pope and Merkel

The Associated Press reported on May 18:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel, mindful of the importance of Christian voters in September elections, met with Pope Francis on Saturday during a quick trip to Rome… Merkel spoke privately for 45 minutes with the pope…

“Her Christian Democrat party depends heavily on support from Protestant and Catholic voters… For its part, the Vatican is eager for allies in its campaign to win over more Catholics… The chancellor said the pope had stressed the world needs a strong and just Europe…”

The mass tabloid, Bild, added on May 18 that the “two key figures for the future of Europe seem to have found a good connection, and that not only in just a few similarities… The Swiss Cardinal said on Friday that Europe needs a ‘unified spiritual currency.’ [Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant minister, said that] the Catholic Church has a ‘central role’ in light of the Christian roots of Europe.”

In Revelation 17, we read about a woman (a religious power) riding a beast (a political power). This picture is also drawn from European mythology, according to which the maiden Europa was carried away by the Greek god Zeus, who had changed into a bull. Now we see again the political power under German leadership collaborating with the religious power. In due time, things will become more focused. To what extent, exactly, we don’t know, but we might consider an article in the Austrian press (news-at), dated May 8, 2013, to the effect that more than 60% of Austrians would again like to see a king ruling over them. However, in case of a monarchy, Austria would not have a king, but an emperor and an empress—Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen (son of Otto von Habsburg, who died in 2011), as well as Karl’s wife, Francesca von Habsburg-Lothringen.

Coronation of the Monarch–Church of England to Be “Hospitable” to Other Faiths

The Telegraph wrote on May 19:

“The coronation of the next monarch will include a role for people of other faiths besides Christianity, in a break with a thousand years of history, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt… Church of England leaders have accepted the need to be ‘hospitable’ to other faiths within any future service at Westminster Abbey, in order to reflect the spiritual diversity of modern Britain… Senior church figures told this newspaper that it was now accepted that other faiths should be recognised within the coronation service for the first time. It will not, however, be a ‘multi-faith’ service in the sense of a ceremony that treats all faiths as equal.
“Representatives of other religions are likely to be asked to participate in a neutral symbolic act such as the lighting of candles, or to read from a text expressing shared values, rather than praying out loud or reading their own sacred texts.

“The Church considers the coronation to be a royal ordination, setting apart the monarch for a sacred purpose under God, and will resist any compromise of that. The ceremony contains elements dating back to 963, and is always written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently the Most Rev Justin Welby. The service is held at Westminster Abbey under the leadership of the Earl Marshal, currently the Duke of Norfolk, with the assistance of the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall.

“The Coronation Oath Act of 1689 requires the monarch to swear to uphold the Protestant faith, and the ceremony includes Christian sacraments such as Holy Communion and the anointing of the monarch by the Archbishop. Those will remain intact.

“Any changes will, none the less, be a dramatic break with the past. Dr Robert Morris of the constitution unit at University College London said: ‘Essentially, the last coronation… was an Anglican Christian service. No Popery allowed, etc. The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to give space to any of the other Churches, let alone faiths.’… There was some consternation in the Church seven years ago when it was reported that the Prince of Wales would like a multi-faith service to follow the Christian one, with readings and prayers by people of the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish faiths.

“Dr Hall went further in 2006, saying: ‘The coronation service needs to find the right way of including people of other faiths. It must be different in some ways because of the nature of society and how things have changed.’ The archbishop at the time, Dr Rowan Williams, was opposed, saying: ‘I am not a believer in multi-faith services..’”

Rabbanites vs. Karaites

In our last Update, we pointed out that the Karaites were celebrating Pentecost this year on the correct day (Sunday, May 19), while the Rabbanites (orthodox Judaism) observed it on wrong dates (Tuesday, May 14 and/or Wednesday, May 15). The article below shows a major controversy between the Rabbanites and the Karaites. It must be said that in quite a few cases, both parties are wrong, but the Karaites are correct on the issue as to when to observe Pentecost. They say it must be celebrated, in counting fifty days from that Sunday which falls within the Days of Unleavened Bread, following the weekly Sabbath. This is clearly correct, as Leviticus 23:15-16 commands to count “fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath.” This means, obviously, fifty days after the Sunday following the seventh weekly Sabbath. Pentecost therefore must be kept on a Sunday. The Rabbanites kept it this year on a Tuesday (May 14) or a Wednesday (May 15). By no stretch of the imagination can it be said that Tuesday or Wednesday is a day after the seventh SABBATH.

The Economist wrote on May 18:

“When is a Jew not a Jew? When he’s a Karaite. Or so says Israel’s chief rabbinate, which, after 65 years of relative harmony with an ancient Jewish sect, is reopening an old and bitter schism. In recent months, rabbis working for Israel’s ministry of religion have deemed Karaite marriages invalid, fined their butchers for claiming to be kosher, and demanded that Karaites marrying Orthodox Jewish women should convert, sometimes having to undergo tavila, or baptism…

“For over 1,300 years Karaites have battled with Rabbanites (adherents to mainstream Judaism) over their rejection of the Talmud, the corpus of an oral tradition that Rabbanites claim God gave Moses with the written Torah on Mount Sinai. Clinging to the biblical word alone, Karaites regard skullcaps, phylacteries (little leather boxes containing Torah scrolls), matrilineal descent and non-biblical festivals, such as the Festival of Lights, as pagan accretions. Like Muslims or—as they prefer to say—like Temple-era Jews, they prostrate barefoot on carpets…

“Once almost as numerous as Rabbanites, today’s Karaites make up less than 1% of Israel’s 6m Jews. Persecution has whittled their number down. The greatest classical Jewish theologian, Moses Maimonides, denounced them as minim, or heretics, and banned them from public prayer; others termed their children bastards, since their parents married in weddings which diverged from the Orthodox rite. The rabbinate recently slapped a fine of 1,000 shekels ($280) on a Karaite butcher for calling his meat kosher. The chief rabbinate, Israel’s state religious authority, reluctantly began legitimising their marriages again after a recent order by Israel’s Supreme Court, but it continues to argue that since Karaite rites are not Jewish, Karaites have lesser Jewish rights, too. ‘Israel is a Jewish state and Jews have superior rights,’ says the chief rabbinate’s spokesman. ‘But the Karaites are not Jewish.’

“Karaites… have… stopped lighting candles on Friday nights, in line with a biblical injunction against burning flames on the Sabbath…”

Of course, the Bible nowhere prohibits to light a candle on the Sabbath. Since both parties are wrong in so many instances, the confusion as to what the Old Testament really teaches is enormous, and they are no lights shining in the darkness.

Darwin Doubted His Own Theory of Evolution

The Examiner wrote on May 16:

“Charles Darwin’s ‘tree of life,’ which shows how species are purportedly related through evolutionary history, is wrong and needs to be replaced… Modern scientists and geneticists are now saying that representing evolutionary history as a tree is misleading… ‘The tree of life is being politely buried,’ said Michael Rose, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine. ‘What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.’

“It is interesting to note, too, that Darwin, evolution’s best-known advocate, when advancing his theory of evolution, had his own doubts about mankind’s origin and indicated an awareness of his theory’s limitations.

“In his conclusion to The Origin of Species, he wrote of the grandeur of the ‘view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one,’ thus making it evident that the subject of origins was open to further examination. And Darwin conceded in Chapter 9 of his book that ‘the distinctness of specific [living] forms and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty.’”

But even those scientists who doubt Darwin’s explanation of evolution do not doubt the concept of evolution. They are still as atheistic or antagonistic towards God, if not more, as Darwin was.

Russia’s True Goals in Syria

The Wall Street wrote on May 16:

“Russia has sent a dozen or more warships to patrol waters near its naval base in Syria, a buildup that U.S. and European officials see as a newly aggressive stance meant partly to warn the West and Israel not to intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war… Russia supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the U.S. has called for his removal…

“Hezbollah and its chief sponsor, Iran, also have rallied around Mr. Assad, sharing Russia’s interest in keeping the regime in place. Recent Israeli airstrikes inside Syria have targeted missiles believed to be bound from Tehran to Hezbollah… Russia has strongly protested previous Israeli strikes in Syria.

“Amid the strategic turmoil, U.S. and European defense officials say Russia appears to be trying to project power to deter outside intervention in Syria, which it sees as its foothold in the Middle East. U.S. and European officials believe Mr. Putin wants to prevent the West from contemplating a Libya-style military operation inside Syria…”

The Times of Israel added on May 18:

“On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would proceed with its planned delivery of the highly sophisticated S-300 air-defense system to Syria, despite pleas from Israel not to do so and a reported warning by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the delivery could lead to war. According to a report published in the New York Times Thursday, Russia has also sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to bolster Assad’s forces… An Israeli source told Channel 2 on Friday night that Israel had ‘made clear’ that it would not allow advanced weaponry to be transferred from Syria to Hezbollah.”

France Wants to Intervene Militarily Around the Globe

Defense News wrote on May 17:

“In a wide-ranging speech during a visit here, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian,… emphasize[d] three priorities: defending the French ‘homeland,’ maintaining a nuclear deterrent and ensuring France can intervene militarily around the globe… 

“He also plugged the strategy’s call for greater emphasis on cyber capabilities and special operations forces, as well as urging ample investments in intelligence and power-projection forces. The latter, he said, is needed so France can repeat its recent mission in Mali, where it sent combat forces to fight al-Qaida-affiliated elements in the northern part of that country…

“Le Drian said France will maintain a force in Africa in case it has to return to Mali, but also to intervene ‘in neighboring countries … to intervene in any terrorist activity.’”

“Europe Can Survive Without Britain”

The Telegraph wrote on May 16:

“François Hollande launched a three-pronged attack on Britain saying that Europe would survive without the UK, while claiming David Cameron risked splintering the EU and that his austerity policies were failing… Mr Hollande told 400 journalists gathered at the Elysée Palace: ‘Europe existed before Britain joined it.’

“France, Germany and four other nations were long part of the European Economic Community before Britain joined fully in 1973… There were overtones of Charles de Gaulle in his warning that Britain would not slow down European construction. De Gaulle twice vetoed Britain’s entry to the EEC, claiming its ‘deep-seated hostility’ towards European construction would result in the break-up of the community…

“Mr Hollande promised to lead the bloc towards ‘political union’ within two years – implying treaty change.  ‘Germany has several times said it is ready for political union, for a new phase in integration. Well France is ready to give body to this political union and gives itself two years to do so … It is a question of European urgency. If Europe does not advance it will fall or even be wiped out from the world map … My duty is to bring Europe out of its lethargy.’”

The EUObserver wrote on May 16:

“Hollande has called for the creation of a eurozone government as a solution to the wide-spread recession that threatens ‘the very identity’ of Europe.’”

“Economists Warn Against German Euro Exit”

The Local wrote on May 18:

“While a third of Germans would rather pay with the old Deutsche mark than the euro, economists warn that a German exit from the currency union would result in a disaster. ‘A German exit would be an economic and political catastrophe of the first degree,’ warned Holger Schmieding, the chief economist of the Berenberg Bank. ‘Even a believable rumour that Germany would exit the euro would result in a massive capital flight from the countries of southern Europe to Germany.’…

“A Prognos study showed that the German economy would grow by 0.5 percent less annually if it used its own currency. That would cost the country 200,000 jobs. On the other hand if you add up the expected growth advantages of euro membership between 2013 and 2025 there would be a profit of nearly €1.2 trillion – or about half Germany’s gross domestic product in a year.

“Thomas Straubhaar of the Hamburg HWWI economic institute thinks a return to the D-mark would be ‘a worst possible scenario.’… Actually during the D-mark years money in Germany was not better off than it is today. The 1990s saw average inflation increases of 2.2 percent. In the 1980s the rate was 2.8 percent. Germany’s inflation rate has dropped to a yearly average of 2.0 percent ever since the European Central Bank took over following monetary union in 2002.”

While Britain, in all likelihood, will exit Europe, Germany will not—and neither will it abandon the euro.

US Government and Appeals Court Deny Christian Homeschoolers Asylum

The Local wrote on May 16:

“An American appeals court has denied a fundamentalist Christian family from Germany the right to asylum in the US. The family claimed they were being persecuted for not being allowed to homeschool their children.

“In its Tuesday ruling, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, said there was a difference between the persecution of a group and prosecution of violators of a law that is applied across the board – in this case, Germany’s rule on mandatory schooling…

“An immigration judge in the state of Tennessee initially ruled in 2010 that parents Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, and their five children, were free to remain in the United States, where they had been living for the past five years. But the US government successfully appealed the decision two years later, and on Tuesday the Cincinnati court upheld that ruling.

“The Romeikes, originally from Baden-Württemberg, said they decided to homeschool their children because public schools were teaching children to adopt an ‘anti-Christian worldview,’ AP said. The German school curriculum was ‘more about vampires and witches than it is about God,’ Uwe Romeike was quoted as saying. Those who do not comply with Germany’s compulsory school rules face fines and jail time. By the time the Romeikes left for the United States in 2008, they owed the German government €7,000.

“The Home School Legal Defense Association, which represented the Romeikes in court, said Germany’s policy on homeschooling is tantamount to persecution, and called Tuesday’s ruling ‘inexplicable’. ‘We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong and we will appeal their decision. America has room for this family and we will do everything we can to help them,’ HSLDA founder Michael Farris said in a statement on the organisation’s website.”

The decision of the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court sounds rather odd and unintelligible, and reminds us painfully, in principle, of the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany and America’s refusal to grant them asylum.

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Would you please elaborate on the ten European revivals of the ancient Roman Empire? (Part 10)

In previous installments, we showed that the final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire has already begun in Europe. We saw that core member states of Europe—ten nations or groups of nations—will unify and give their power and authority to a charismatic political personage—the “beast” (Revelation 17:12-13), who will work together with a religious figure, called “the false prophet.”

In this installment, we will discuss the biblical revelations about the religious organization that the “false prophet” will represent. A future installment will address the “false prophet” himself—also in light of historic forerunners.

We have seen that the last seven revivals of the ancient Roman Empire constituted a collaboration between religion (the Roman Catholic Church) and state (the political empires under military leaders), while the first three revivals of the ancient Roman Empire were not supported by the Catholic faith.

In our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy,” we explain:

“In Revelation 17, the Apostle John is given a vision of a… scarlet beast… having seven heads and ten horns… the scarlet beast is ridden by a woman—a harlot. Revelation 17:5 identifies the woman as ‘mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.’ This woman is depicted in verse 6 as drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. In verse 18 the woman is also identified as that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth, the city that sits on seven mountains (v. 9). Though here called Babylon, the famed City of Seven Hills is the city of Rome!—successor to ancient Babylon politically, militarily, economically and religiously. It is this city that rides the scarlet beast with the seven heads and the ten horns. The seven heads of the beast are seven kings or seven kingdoms (v. 10). These are successive kingdoms, one following the other…

“… the heads of the beast in Revelation 17 depict the seven last resurrections of the Roman Empire… The woman sits on these last seven resurrections of the beast. That is, the woman was only instrumental in the last seven revivals of the Roman Empire—not the first three.

“This woman or city is described as both an economic power and a religious power. The Ryrie Study Bible comments in a footnote to Revelation 17:5, ‘Though the famous city of Babylon was on the Euphrates River, the name seems to be a symbolic reference to Rome. In chapter 18 it represents more the political and commercial aspect of the revived Roman Empire. Thus the term stands both for a city and for a (religious and commercial) system related to the city (much like “Wall Street,” which is both a place and a system).’

“An interesting statement in Halley’s Bible Handbook agrees with this assessment: ‘The description of Babylon the great… exactly fits Papal Rome. Nothing else in world history does fit.’ Unger’s Bible Handbook states, ‘The great harlot denotes a religious system that compromises truth for worldly power. She is guilty of prostituting truth and purity, intoxicating men by her doctrines and practices which violate the Word of God. She heads up the corrupt religious system of the end-time. It represents in fullest scope all apostate religious movements—from the inception in the ancient Babylon of Nimrod to the terrible consummation and apostate Christianity and other evil religious forces of the last day. The revived Roman Empire, with its end-time emperor—the Beast—appears as the agent of the harlot’s destruction. The woman has her headquarters in the Beast’s capital, which is the seven-hilled city of Rome’ (p. 870).

“Note that it is the seven last revivals of the Roman Empire that are ridden by the woman, a religious power. The first three were not. The first three revivals occurred under leaders with a different religion, that of Arianism, which was labeled a heresy by the Roman Catholic Church. But the last seven occur under the control and with the approval of the Church of Rome…”

Remember that the first of the seven last resurrections of the Roman Empire occurred under Justinian in A.D. 554; the second occurred under Charlemagne or Charles the Great; the third occurred under Otto the Great; the fourth under Charles V Habsburg; the fifth under Napoleon Bonaparte, and the sixth of the last seven resurrections occurred under Hitler and Mussolini. As with the previous six resurrections, the woman—the papal city of Rome—will “ride,” or direct the activities of, the seventh resurrection as well.

Referring to the “little horn” in Daniel 7:8, 24, we point out in the before-mentioned booklet that the “little horn, the religious power synonymous with the woman riding the scarlet beast, would change times and law, or rather, change the law regarding holy times,” which it did. As you will recall, it transferred religious services from the weekly Sabbath to Sunday (the day of the sun god), and abrogated God’s annual holy days and adopted instead pagan days such as Christmas and Easter.

In chapter 19 of our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” we shed additional light on the woman riding the beast:

“In Revelation 17, John sees a fallen woman who sits on a scarlet-colored beast with seven heads and ten horns… The woman is called, in verse 5, ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.’ This fallen church is called the ‘Mother Church,’ which has ‘daughter churches’… Revelation 17:9… says: ‘Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.’

“According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the Greek word for ‘mountain,’ ‘oros,’ means ‘mountain’ or ‘hill’ (see Strong’s No. 3733). Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible agrees, defining the Greek word used in Revelation 17:9 as ‘mountain, mount, hill.’ This same word is used in Matthew 5:14, where Christ says: ‘You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a HILL cannot be hidden.’ It is also translated as ‘hill’ in Luke 4:29. The New English Bible translates Revelation 17:9, as follows: ‘The seven heads are seven HILLS…’ So do the Revised English Bible; the New International Version; the New American Bible; the Moffat Translation of the Bible; the Jewish New Testament, by David Stern; and a German Bible translation, ‘Die Gute Nachricht.’ The New Jerusalem Bible states: ‘The seven heads are THE seven hills…’ The Living Bible gives the following interpretation of the verse: ‘And now think hard: his seven heads represent a certain city built on seven hills where the woman has her residence.’

“Verse 10 explains that the seven mountains or hills symbolize seven kings—seven military and political rulers. They describe the seven last resurrections of the ancient Roman Empire—with the last king or revival of the Roman Empire still to appear in the near future. But remember that the woman is also identified as a CITY, which sits on seven mountains or hills…

“John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains: ‘… this confirms that the beast before spoken of, on whom the woman sat, is the Roman empire, since she is here said to sit on the seven mountains, on which Rome, the metropolis of that empire, was built…’

“Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible states: ‘Seven mountains—the seven hills on which Rome stands…’ Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible agrees: ‘The seven heads are seven mountains—Referring, undoubtedly, to Rome—the seven-hilled city…’

“Lehman Strauss writes in ‘The Book of the Revelation,’ pages 295–301: ‘The Babylon of the Revelation is an apostate religious system clearly identifiable with all of Christendom, with papal Rome taking the lead in its formation… the world might applaud such a union, but we may be certain God is not in it… We are not surprised, then, when we see men and women of various religious faiths making pilgrimages to Rome to see a man who has been exalted as “the holy father,” “the voice of God,” and then bowing down to him as though he were a god… Rome is known as the seven-hilled city… Here then is a prophecy referring to papal Rome, not history referring to pagan Rome… The wealth of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations combined adds up to many billions of dollars…’

“Therefore, the Bible does reveal that the final revival of the ancient Holy Roman Empire in Europe will again be guided by the Church of Rome. In addition, the Bible speaks in several places of a ‘heavenly queen,’ which is being worshipped (Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17–19, 25). However, Scripture condemns such practice. In fact, modern Babylon identifies herself as a ‘queen’ (Revelation 18:7; compare Isaiah 47:1, 5, 7, referring to the ‘daughter of Babylon’ as the ‘Lady of Kingdoms,’ verse 5). It is therefore no coincidence that the design of the European flag was allegedly ‘inspired’ by an image associated with the ‘Virgin Mary,’ who is described by Catholics, directly or indirectly, as ‘our Mother,’ the ‘queen of heaven,’ ‘our Lady’ and ‘the queen of Europe’…”

We read in Revelation 17:11 that the beast “that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.” We explained in our fifth installment that the phrase, “is not” refers to the short-lived ninth resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire. Even though “it was” (verse 8: “… is not, and yet is”), it really was not, by comparison, such an all-encompassing and consequential revival as the previous ones, and as the tenth and last revival will be.

In regard to the statement in verse 11 that the beast himself is the “eighth, and is of the seven,” the New Unger’s Bible Handbook offers this explanation:

“The last ruler of the revived empire is specified, 11: ‘And as for the beast which was and is not [the revived empire, 8a], even he [autos, ‘he himself,’ the personal beast-emperor now coming into view] is the eighth, and is of the seventh [the imperial government, 10] and he goes into perdition.’… This diabolical head is unique… He rules over a ten-kingdom federation… unknown to imperial Roman government, and makes war against the Lamb… in the gigantic conflict for sovereignty over the earth…”

The Nelson Study Bible states: “The beast is related to the 7th king, but also has a separate identity.”

Verse 11 could therefore be a reference to the individual beast—the end-time military leader, ruling and being part of the seventh revival. It could also refer to the Catholic Church or the false prophet riding on and collaborating with the ten-nation federation and their political leader. The Roman Church and its final pope would be the “eighth,” but “of the seven,” as being a part of the seventh revival.

The woman riding the beast is also mentioned, as a separate beast, in Revelation 13. After having described a first beast with seven heads and ten horns—the Roman Empire with its ten revivals—John proceeds to introduce us to a “second beast,” which he also associates with the “image” of the “first beast.”

We state in our booklet, “Europe in Prophecy”:

“In Revelation 13:11-17, John sees a second beast that has two horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. It is a religious power, claiming to be the Lamb or Jesus Christ, but is influenced by the dragon, or Satan. The second beast, we are told, exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence… This [second] beast performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men…”

We make the following additional comments in our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation”:

“This second beast had two horns. It looked like a lamb (Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God throughout the New Testament, compare John 1:29), but it spoke like a dragon (Remember that Satan is identified as a dragon in Revelation 12:3, 9). This second beast is obviously a religious power, which is influenced by Satan, while pretending to speak on behalf of Christ. We read in 2 Corinthians 11:15 that Satan’s ‘ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.’ Jesus warned that many would come in His name, admitting that He was the Christ or Savior, and deceive many through their wrong teachings (compare Matthew 24:4–5)…

“We read in Revelation 13:14 that the second beast will make an ‘image’ to the first beast, which we identified as the Roman Empire. This passage found its fulfillment, historically, when the religious power of the second beast patterned itself after—made an image of—the governmental and political structure of the worldly power—the first beast—when it became a state in Rome, called the Vatican State, which would make contracts or treaties with other worldly governments; which also would send out their ambassadors and emissaries; and which would even have an army, including the Swiss guards, which fought against ‘heretics’ under the leadership of the Pope. It ultimately influenced and ‘inspired’ the first beast to put to death those who would not worship and follow the dictates of the Catholic Church.

“Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible agrees, stating the following regarding the nature of the ‘image’: ‘… In the empire which then sprung up, and which owed much of its influence to the sustaining aid of the papacy, we discern the “image” of the former Roman power; the prolongation of the Roman ascendency over the world.’…

“However, this passage is not just of historical application, but it also contains a prophecy for the immediate future. Many commentaries suggest, therefore, that the ‘image’ might very well point at an ultimate literal fulfillment…

“We read in Revelation 13:15 that the image will speak and cause those to be killed who will not worship the image of the beast. In applying this statement figuratively and quite literally, John Gill writes: ‘[This] may be understood either of the images of the virgin Mary, and other saints, which it is pretended, and the people are made to believe, that they do at times actually speak, and really weep and laugh, as it may serve their different purposes; or this image may be said to speak by the decrees, canons, anathemas, curses, threatenings, persuasions, doctrines, and blasphemies of the pope and his clergy… these are the known orders and decrees of the Papacy, which have been executed by the Inquisition, and other hands, in innumerable instances…’

“The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown adds the following: ‘Charlemagne’s image was set up for homage; and the Pope adored the new emperor… Rome’s speaking images and winking pictures of the Virgin Mary and the saints are an earnest of the future demoniacal miracles of the false prophet in making the beast’s… image to speak.’

“Lehman Strauss writes in ‘The Book of the Revelation’: ‘The false prophet [the second beast] will attempt to lead the people to finance the erection of a great image in Jerusalem, thereby making Jerusalem the center of a world-wide religious system… How the image is made to speak, or what it says, is not revealed… When the image speaks, Jews and Gentiles, Roman Catholics and Protestants, wherever they are, will worship the image or be killed if they refuse.’”

In this context, we might think of our discussion in the ninth installment about Christ’s warning that an abomination of desolation will be set up at the holy place in the near future.

In the next installment, we will discuss the person identified as Simon Magus along with other historical forerunners of the future end-time religious figure, called the “false prophet.”

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“Why the Triangle of Scandals?,” is a recent StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary: For the first time in the history of the United States, a sitting president is confronted with three major scandals at the same time-involving Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department. But many more scandals exist. Why is this country facing such insurmountable and unfixable problems? The answer is of a spiritual nature, which most are unwilling to consider.

The False Prophet and Simon Magus,” is our new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary: The coming false prophet will be possessed. Satan will give him the power to perform lying signs and wonders. One forerunner was Simon Magus, an influential sorcerer from Samaria, who was confronted by the Apostle Peter, as mentioned in Acts 8. This program gives interesting facts about Simon Magus’ demonic powers, and explains who was really the first bishop of Rome.
“Neu! Der Brief an die Hebräer, Teil 5,” is the new German sermon, continuing our series on the letter to the Hebrews. It covers chapter 10 and part of chapter 11. Title in English: “New! The Letter to the Hebrews, Part 5.”

“The Doctrine of the Laying on of Hands,” is the sermon from this past Sabbath. Here is a summary: In Hebrews 6, the doctrine of the laying on of hands is described as one of the elementary or foundational teachings of God. Sadly, most people do not understand what this doctrine means, and how it is to be applied. This sermon explains this very important teaching from the pages of your Bible.

“Real Change Through the Holy Spirit,” is the title of the Pentecost sermon given by Mr. Link. This is available for viewing on our website and on YouTube–here is a summary: God gives us His Holy Spirit so that we can change and become different persons. We must engage in this process of change on a continuous basis. This sermon gives several points as to how to do this, to guarantee that we will inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

In his monthly newsletter to the German-speaking members and others who are interested, Norbert Link discusses weekly Sabbath services and the preparations for the Feast of Tabernacles in the Black Forest, and addresses the importance of opening and closing prayers and the Church’s understanding as to its role and function. If you speak German and would like to receive a free copy of our monthly newsletter, please contact us.

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Forgetting To Remember

by Manuela Mitchell

As I have become older, I have noticed that I have to be very aware and think harder when it comes to making plans, putting things away or in new places, making sure I have a written grocery list of essentials and posting appointments on the calendar. The times of doing things that I have always been able to do and remember without having to write them down, or even think that hard about, are definitely from the past. It can become very frustrating when I simply forget to do something that I knew I had to do just a few short days ago. Within the past few years, this has happened to me more and more. I have tried to come up with explanations such as, age, health, parenthood, distractions, busy lifestyle, work and diet. I have concluded that all of these things play some role in what I can mentally retain in my life on a daily basis.

As I get older, my life changes in ways that are sometimes out of my control. On the other hand, I sometimes don’t plan accordingly for the activities I have set aside to do. Therefore, I get in a rush and forget to do the simple things that are important and necessary to do before all others. One example of that is prayer. If I wake up late on a day I have to work, that still means getting ready for work, packing lunches, feeding animals, getting my son ready and driving to wherever he is going and then getting myself to work. I will most likely have forgotten something very important–to pray. I will also realize that because I have forgotten to pray, I will forget to do other simple things and not realize that I have forgotten that vital thing until half of my disorganized day is already over.

Recently, I was asked some questions regarding my faith. They were rather simple questions, in my opinion, asked by my co-worker and boss. They pertained to the reason for keeping the Holy Day of Pentecost on God’s selected time. Being Jewish, my boss was observing it on a different day, based on her understanding of the Hebrew Calendar. Our dates did not agree. Immediately, when I was questioned, the Scripture came to mind, “Always be ready to give a defense for the hope that lies in you.” I answered as best I could and in a way that I thought my boss could understand. But after I had more time to think about it, I wished I could have replied in a way that was more detailed. I had simply forgotten how to answer quickly but also strongly, because I had not retained the teaching in the Bible so that I could prove to others my belief.

After that experience, I realized as awful as it is that there have been times when I have simply forgotten to pray, I also need to ask God on a daily basis for my memory to be whole and clear. In accomplishing this I can be more useful in the things that I do daily and be more helpful to the people who are around me. Also, I will become more effective to God. 

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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