Update 651


“Ignorance, Obedience, Innocence”

On August 9, 2014, Eric Rank will give the sermon, titled, “Ignorance, Obedience, Innocence.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

Back to top


by Rene Messier (Canada)

In the 1980s, I was involved in a management  training session which developed our abilities to properly prioritize things from the essential to the non-essential; the  most important to the less important; and the crucial to the insignificant. The purpose was to help us become effective managers in any company.

We had to imagine that we were isolated in the wilderness, with no help from anybody, and we had thirty items to choose from. Some of these items were of vital importance for our survival; others were trivial. To be able to survive, we had to list the items in the order of most important to least important; so it was essential to make wise choices. 

I don’t recall who provided the most correct answers according to the experts who had designed the list, but I do remember choosing correctly seven items out of the ten first ones, and I had also placed the first three in the correct order.

This reminds me that in this life we have to make choices and prioritize things so that we don’t waste time on frivolous and trivial pursuits while the crucial matters are being neglected.

Set forth below are examples of goals and objectives which Church members and non-Church members pursue in their lives. They include:

–Craving for material goods and buying all kinds of  toys  in an effort to keep up with friends and neighbours.

–Getting involved in local politics,  perhaps even running for the office of mayor, to make the community a better place.

–Getting involved in national political campaigns and propaganda, and voting for governmental candidates for the office of governor, senator, president, chancellor or prime minister.

–Being involved and  actively engaged in the process of preaching and publishing the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness in whatever capacity God sees fit for us. This would include the fact that we have the potential to become members of the very God Family in the future, and also, to give a warning message now to the modern houses of Judah and Israel, namely the white Anglo Saxon nations, as well as to all the nations on this globe, to announce to them impending doom as a result of their sins, coupled  with the hope of a coming better world when Christ returns and establishes the government of God on the earth.

–Seeking to do everything  physically possible to make sure we will be protected from the Great Tribulation at the place of safety; thereby focusing foremost on preserving our own life.

–Being involved in local outreach programs for the community and in missionary work in third-world countries in an effort to bring individuals to Christ and to be seen as shining lights, craving for recognition and glory from man; usually, but not always,  with the proclamation of a wrong gospel message and a false Jesus Christ.

–Joining the military and the armed forces since we feel it is our duty to defend our country from enemies, domestic and foreign.

–Growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ so we can answer any questions in regard to the hope that lies within us.

–Seeking the pursuit of wealth and riches, realizing that a twisted concept of the golden rule applies so often in this world; namely, that those with gold rule; and we want to be part of that group.

These are just some of the pursuits that people get involved with. In regard to your spiritual salvation, how would you prioritize these pursuits? And which pursuits would you identify as the only two, which true Christians should and must engage in today?

The choice is ours. Let us ensure we make the right choices in the correct order.

Back to top

We begin with extensive reports on the Middle East and America’s hopeless role as a paralyzed superpower. While the relationship between the USA and Israel is deteriorating and anti-Semitism is spreading around the globe, some ask for continental Europe’s active engagement and the need for creating a “new order” in the Middle East.

We are introducing you to Prince Georg, great-great-grandson of Prussia’s Kaiser Wilhelm II; German Army brigadier general Markus Laubenthal who became the first non-American chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe; and recently declared late “saint” Peter Favre, the first follower of the founder of the Society of Jesus.

In other news, we discuss the “twelve years” of CIA’s lawlessness, as the Huffington Post put it; eleven named countries at risk of default; the ongoing “sanctions game” between Russia and the West which could prove to become very costly for all parties; and Europe’s unparalleled success in our questionable space programs.

Back to top

The Paralyzed US Superpower

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 5:

“John Kerry has spent months rushing from one conflict to the next, but has little [to] show for it. His failures are symptomatic of an America that lacks a foreign policy identity — and of a country that seems uncomfortable with its role as a superpower…

“In recent days, global diplomacy has seemed like an absurd form of theater, with John Kerry in the role of the tragic hero. He doesn’t look like the secretary of state from a world power, Haaretz jeered, but like ‘an alien who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast’…

“The helplessness of the world’s most important foreign minister shows just how little influence the US still has in the Middle East. And with each failure, Washington’s influence in the rest of the world erodes as well. A civil war is raging in eastern Ukraine, an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program is still a long way off, Islamist terrorists now control large swaths of Iraq — and the US doesn’t appear to be in a position to do anything about it.

“… as part of a government that is steering America away from its traditional role as global hegemon, Kerry also embodies the dilemma of the United States’ global role in the 21st century: How successful can a US foreign policy be if it depends more on strong words than it does on tanks and aircraft carriers?…

“The US remains the world’s only superpower, but it is also on the search for a new foreign policy identity. It is a country divided…”

The USA has lost the pride of its power, as was prophesied to occur thousands of years ago.

Did Israel Spy On John Kerry?

JTA wrote on August 3:

“Israeli intelligence reportedly eavesdropped on telephone conversations made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. In addition to Israel, at least one other intelligence agency also listened in on the phone calls, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported…

“‘Revelations of the eavesdropping could further damage already tense relations between the US government and Israel,’ der Spiegel wrote.”

USA And British People Condemn Israel

JTA wrote on August 3:

“‘The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed,’ State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday. ‘The coordinates of the school, like all U.N. facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces…’

“The State Department statement was the harshest condemnation of Israeli actions in Gaza… ‘The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.’”

JTA added on August 3:

“Much of the British public is ‘deeply disturbed’ by the impact of Israel’s operation in Gaza, the new foreign secretary of England said, and the response could be more widespread anti-Semitic attacks… Anti-Semitic incidents [in Britain] have doubled since Israel began its operation in Gaza nearly a month ago…”

Anti-Semitism Worldwide

The Hill wrote on August 26:

“The civilian casualties, though almost certainly overstated to include Hamas fighters in civilian clothes, are tragic.  The death of so many children is heartbreaking.

“But… Anti-Semitism has reared its head almost everywhere there are pro-Palestinian street protests.

“A heavily Jewish section of Paris was looted and attacked as crowds shouted ‘Gas the Jews,’ in what correctly has been called a pogrom.  Multiple synagogues and Jewish centers in Paris and elsewhere in France were firebombed, and neo-Nazi salutes were center stage.

“In Berlin protesters shouted ‘Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight.’ While in Frankfurt they carried signs such as ‘The Jews are Beasts’ and the Star of David is ‘The Star of the Devil.’

“In the Hague, Netherlands, crowds chanted ‘death to all Jews,’ shocking local officials.  In England, particularly London, there have been over 100 anti-Semitic incidents, and anti-Israel protesters pushed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion anti-Semitic tract.

“And it was not just overseas.  In Miami, protesters chanted ‘Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammed is returning’ commemorating an Islamic war victory. In Boston, pro-Israel supporters had to be rescued from an angry crowd that shouted ‘Jews back to Birkenau’ and ‘Drop dead, you Zionazi whores.’  A pro-Israel student was attacked by a woman insisting that Jerusalem would be cleansed of Jews, while another crowd shouted that ‘Jews better learn how to swim.’…”

These horrible developments are not just rare exceptions of a few deceived and hateful Islamists. Sadly, they are becoming more and more commonplace. At the same time, Israel is not helping in winning the support of others, as the next article shows.

Israel’s Fears And The Military Messianic Right

On August 5, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with Israeli sociologist Eva Illouz. We are bringing you the following excerpts from her comments:

“Israel has a split, schizophrenic self-awareness: It cultivates its strength and yet cannot stop seeing itself as weak and threatened… Israel is a colonial military power, a militarized society and a democracy all folded into one… It is a militarized civil society because almost every family has a father, son or brother in the army and because the military plays an enormous role in the ordinary mentality of ordinary Israelis and is crucial in both political decisions and in the public sphere… But it is also a democracy, which grants rights to gays and makes it possible for a citizen to sue the state…

“The messianic right has progressively gained power in Israel. It used to be marginal and illegitimate; it is now increasingly mainstream. This radical right sits in Parliament, controls budgets and has changed the nature of discourse. Many Israelis do not understand the radical nature of the right in Israel. It successfully disguises itself as ‘patriotic’ or ‘Jewish.’ …

“Fear is deeply engrained in Israeli society. Fear of the Shoah, fear of anti-Semitism, fear of Islam, fear of Europeans, fear of terror, fear of extermination. You name it. And fear generates a very particular type of thinking… You always think about the worst case scenario… many Israelis still hold on [to] the view they are morally superior…

“The real danger to Israel and its sustainability comes from within. The fascist and racist elements are no less a security threat than the outside enemies… Israelis pay a price, but we are not really aware of it… People don’t make a connection between the bad living conditions they have and the amount of resources invested in the settlements and in the army…  Israeli society has become very insensitive. Not only to the suffering of others, but also to its own suffering.”

Trust in weapons and the military will lead to the ultimate downfall of any country.

A New Order For The Middle East

On July 21, Der Tagesspiegel (translated by Federal Foreign Office) published the following article by German Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier:

“We Europeans are preoccupied by the Ukraine crisis. Meanwhile, the Middle East is coming undone. The uprising against the Syrian dictator Bashar al‑Assad first turned into a civil war and then into a regional proxy war. Now the crisis in Syria is affecting neighbouring Iraq and has reignited the smouldering embers of the conflict there, which had not been resolved.

“Shiites are fighting against Sunnis, radical against even more radical fundamentalists, Kurds against Arabs, terrorists against democrats and against dictators. Neighbouring countries in the region, as well as major powers, are providing their proxies with money, as well as arms. The international community has not adopted a coherent approach. Some are acting out of a sense of responsibility, while some are reckless, some defensive and others proactive. Neither those involved nor outsiders can say exactly whether the other side is acting out of strength or weakness.

“Millions of people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, thus placing a crushing burden on state‑provided services there. The ISIS terrorist group is extending its power base in Syria and Iraq and wants to sweep away the existing states…

“We should think about a new order for the Middle East which could redefine and guarantee the security interests of all parties… Parallel interests which could form a basis for a new order are there: all neighbouring countries and the international community are united in their concern that terrorist groups such as ISIS could become a permanent fixture. None of the states in the region want to see force being used to move borders. All of them are afraid that arms could fall into the wrong hands and be used against them. And it is in the best interest of all of them to ensure that minorities within their countries, whether ethnic or religious minorities, do not drift into open hostility towards the state.

“No‑one expects such efforts to lead to overnight success. However, a start should be made, and the sooner the better. We owe that not only to people in the regions where tens of thousands have been murdered and millions forced to leave their homes. For this will also help ensure our own security. Syria is a training ground for thousands of European jihadists who practice there what they subsequently want to carry out in our cities. And there is a real threat that Iraq will go the same way.

“This cannot be allowed to happen. For this conflict concerns us, and much more so than many want to believe.”

In due time, Europe will attempt to create such a new order for the Middle East. Steinmeier’s words almost sound prophetic.

Germany May Have a Decisive Role in Gaza

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 7:

“In an article to be published Friday in the Bild newspaper, Frank-Walter Steimeier said that he could see Germany having a role in Gaza following Israel’s month-long war there… ‘Together with our European partners, we are ready to make a contribution, for example with an EU monitoring mission of the border crossing,’ Steinmeier told Bild. ‘We are holding intensive talks with all sides to work out what would be necessary for this,’ he added.

“On Wednesday, a diplomatic source said Germany, Britain and France would consider reactivating a European mission to monitor the flow of goods across Gaza’s border with Egypt… Launched in 2005, the EU Border Assistance Mission monitored the Rafah border crossing after Israel pulled its troops out of Gaza, but it was discontinued two years later after Hamas seized power in the coastal territory.”

The Local added on August 7:

“‘The Germans, as Europe’s political leaders, must take a very decisive role in the Gaza conflict,’ Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Bild newspaper on Thursday. He also called for Germany to bring EU governments together to develop a solution to avert the unfolding economic and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

“Lieberman demanded that Germany and the EU send inspectors in to the region to oversee trade between the Palestinians and neighbouring countries. Germany should ‘take responsibility as instigator of such a mission,’ said Lieberman, with the aim of preventing violence escalating further.”

“The Man Who Would Be Kaiser”

The Irish Times wrote on August 2:

“[After] Germany lost a second World War, the Allies in occupied Berlin passed a law stating: ‘The Prussian state, which from early days has been a bearer of militarism and reaction in Germany, has de facto ceased to exist.’…

“Prussia dominated Germany’s history for centuries. Mention Prussia to Germans today and they’ll trot out the ‘Prussian virtues’ – discipline, punctuality, deference to hierarchy – that many outsiders consider utterly German traits…

“Prince Georg [Kaiser Wilhelm II’s great-great-grandson] has no crown – and is not a prince under the law of the Federal Republic of Germany, which recognises the old title Prince of Prussia only as part of his surname – but has the calm energy of a man on a mission: to exhume and rehabilitate his family’s history, good and bad. His striking resemblance to Kaiser Wilhelm II, he jokes, makes it a delicate affair…

“[Prince Georg lost] his father when he was just a year old. In 1994 he lost his grandfather Louis Ferdinand snr, making the [then] 18-year-old head of the house of Hohenzollern…  Although they lost their aristocratic titles in 1918, the Hohenzollerns and other former ruling houses live on around Germany…

“The Hohenzollerns’ unhappy role in German history continued after 1918. Before Kaiser Wilhelm died in exile, in the Netherlands, in 1941, his son August Wilhelm flirted with the Nazis in the hope of taking back the throne. The relationship cooled after Hitler took office…

“After seven decades in the Third Reich’s shadow, Prussia is emerging again as a new generation of Germans shuffle the historical hand they have been dealt… Berlin is back on the political map and Germany’s role in Europe is shifting before our eyes. Understanding this country, and how it sees itself, means taking Prussia out of historical quarantine.

“Prince Georg sees Germany’s role in Europe differently from previous generations. He dismisses as absurd the former chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s recent remark that Third Reich crimes exclude Germany from a leading role in Europe for centuries to come. ‘I think it is clear to all that Germany should assume a leading role in Europe,’ he says.

“And what does he think about the leader shaping this new role, Chancellor Angela Merkel? ‘She represents the positive Prussian virtues of modesty, conscientiousness and sense of duty.’ Is such generous praise a sign that Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preussen, the man who would be kaiser, is happy to remain in the conditional tense? ‘The question of a return of the monarchy is not relevant at the moment,’ he says…”

Maybe not “at the moment”…

German Officer New Head Of U.S. Army Europe [USAREUR]

Army Times wrote on July 31:

“A German Army brigadier general [Markus Laubenthal] who recently served with NATO forces in Afghanistan is assuming duties as the chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe, the first time a non-American officer has held that position…

“Army sources in Europe said the first-ever assignment of a German general to the USAREUR staff is unrelated to the political furor over the spying revelations, but does reflect the increased importance of multinational operations in NATO… [It] is part of an American effort to give a more multi-national flavor to its major overseas commands.”

Germans are becoming more and more powerful and influential on the world scene.

Pope Celebrates Jesuits, Canonizes First Follower

Zenit wrote on August 6:

“Pope Francis on Saturday celebrated the feast of St. Peter Favre, the first follower of the founder of the Society of Jesus. St. Peter was the first of St. Ignatius’ followers, as Ignatius set the foundations for what would become the Society of Jesus.

“Some compare Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope, to St. Peter Favre. For his part, Francis has noted his own devotion to the saint, and as Pontiff, dispensed with some of the requirements of the canonization process in order to declare him a saint…

“Many note that Fr. Favre and Pope Francis have many characteristics in common and share many of the same ideas. Like Francis, Fr. Favre supported Catholic reform and was a pioneer of ecumenism…

“Fr. Favre became a canonized saint through the process of ‘equivalent’ canonization, which Pope Francis used also for now Saint John XXIII, canonized this April 27. ‘Equivalent’ canonization is a rare procedure, meaning popes can declare that someone who has enjoyed widespread reverence over time deserves veneration by the universal Church without having to go through the usual canonization steps. These steps include proving two miracles attributed to the candidate’s intercession. With ‘equivalent’ canonization, the Pope can override the two miracle requirement enabling the individual to become a canonized saint.”

The Jesuits have been viewed with great suspicion… and that for convincing reasons. Under Pope Francis, this perception is gradually changing. And not unlike President Obama who is circumventing Congress and the Senate through more and more “executive orders,” so Pope Francis ignores “usual canonization steps” by unilaterally declaring someone a saint through “equivalent canonization.”

Pope Pleads for Help

Reuters reported on August 7:

“Pope Francis appealed to world leaders on Thursday to help end the crisis in northern Iraq after a sweeping advance by radical Islamic state militants forced thousands of residents of Iraq’s biggest Christian town to flee their homes.

“‘His Holiness addresses an urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway, to act to protect those affected or threatened by violence and to provide aid, especially for the most urgent needs of the many who have been forced to flee and who depend on the solidarity of others,’ the Vatican said in a statement.”

The Telegraph wrote on August 7:

“Islamic State, the jihadist group formerly known as Isis, have occupied churches in Iraq, removing crosses and destroying manuscripts, witnesses report, having overrun Kurdish troops forcing 200,000 to flee.”

Obama Authorizes Air Strikes in Iraq “If Needed”

The New York Times reported on August 7:

“President Obama said Thursday that United States military aircraft had dropped food and water to thousands of Iraqis besieged by Islamic militants on a mountaintop in northern Iraq… the president said he had directed the United States military forces to conduct targeted airstrikes on the militants if they moved to take Erbil, threatening the American citizens and military personnel there.

“And he said that at the request of the Iraqi government, he had authorized the military to use airstrikes to help provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi citizens, many of them religious minorities, who are trapped on the mountain.”

Twelve Years Of CIA Lawlessness?

The Huffington Post wrote on August 6:

“Twelve years. The time has flown by. Seems like just yesterday that the Justice Department sent over its torture memos to then-CIA General Counsel John Rizzo, ramping up a CIA torture program that horribly abused more than a hundred men, killing a few of them. No one at the CIA was ever even charged with a crime. Some agents, in fact, got job promotions…

“The CIA, with the backing or orders of the White House, ran a worldwide network of secret prisons where it tortured men with barbaric techniques… kidnapped people from European streets; and then reportedly lied to Congress, the White House, and the Justice Department about it.

“The lawlessness continued, even after horrified Americans found out what was happening. More legal memos were written to try to keep torturing, even after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) convinced Congress to pass yet another law to stop it. Top CIA officials ordered evidence — videotapes of men being subjected to simulated drowning — destroyed before investigators could view them…

“CIA officials, and all Bush officials, dodged any criminal indictments, were protected from lawsuits by courts that deferred to CIA secrecy and immunity claims, and did whatever they could to get in the way of Senate investigators. The lawlessness remains because the Constitution’s system of checks and balances is broken. The president, Congress, and the courts seem unwilling or unable to hold the CIA accountable.

“Incredibly, more than 200 CIA employees who were involved in the torture program are today still employed at the CIA. The acting general counsel of the CIA until this past March was the very same person who had been one of the CIA’s top torture lawyers a decade ago…

“The lawlessness seems to be coming to a head this year. The CIA’s internal watchdog, its inspector general, just gave a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee that found that the CIA spied on the computers used by the Senate committee to investigate the CIA torture program…

“An uncontrolled — and seemingly uncontrollable — CIA threatens the very foundations of our Constitution… It is long past time for Congress and the president to forever ban the CIA from holding anyone in its custody and running a secret prison. But President Obama must also stand up to the CIA and to John Brennan himself…”

There is little hope that this will happen. A country allowing for and engaging in more and more lawlessness disconnects itself from the Author of all righteous Law—the God of the Bible. 

Why Armored Tanks for Californian City Police Department?

The Daily Mail wrote on August 7:

“A war of words has broken out over police force in California getting a new armored vehicle built more for a state of war than patrolling in the Golden State. The Salinas Police Department recently issued a news release proudly announcing the arrival of the armored truck built to survive minefield explosions, which it got compliments of federal taxpayers as part of a program to convert military equipment to law-enforcement use.

“Critics took to the police department’s Facebook page to ask exactly why a city of 150,000 on the northern California coast really needs a vehicle designed for battlefield use. It’s more likely to be used against its own citizens, they said…

“This country only two months ago saw rangers for the National Park Service – National Park rangers, for God’s sake – turn into a bunch of storm troopers keeping World War II vets out of their own monument, and visitors from ‘recreating’ at Yosemite…”

Eleven Countries At Risk Of Default

USA Today wrote on August 1:

“After years of bitter court battles with creditors, Argentina has defaulted on its debt… the country missed necessary bond payments on July 31, triggering the default announcement…

“Alongside Argentina, Moody’s currently lists [these] 10 other countries… at risk of default:

“Ecuador… Egypt… Pakistan… Venezuela… Argentina… Belize… Cuba… Cyprus… Greece… Jamaica… [and the] Ukraine.”

More countries might soon follow, or they are already in the same category, without being listed in the article. Many fear that another worldwide great depression might not be that far off. Also notice the next article.

The Sanctions Game

The Guardian wrote on August 6:

“Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia in a tit-for-tat move that deepens the economic standoff between the Kremlin and the west… The import ban follows a threat of retaliation from Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, in response to the grounding of the budget airline subsidiary of Aeroflot as a result of EU sanctions. Russian officials are reported to be considering banning European airlines from flying to Asia over Siberia.

“Food has also been caught up in political tensions between Russia and the west. In recent days Russian food safety authorities have banned the import of Polish fruit and vegetables, while McDonald’s cheeseburgers and milkshakes are being investigated…

“The import ban will hit all EU countries and the United States, which last week stepped up punitive action against Russia in response to Moscow’s support for eastern separatists in Ukraine, unwavering despite the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17…

“Russia is Europe’s second largest market for food and drink and has been an important consumer of Polish pig meat and Dutch fruit and vegetables. Exports of food and raw materials to Russia were worth €12.2bn (£9.7bn) in 2013, following several years of double-digit growth… Russia banned EU pork at the start of the year as the Ukraine crisis escalated, cutting off 25% of all European pig meat exports in a move that the European Commission said exposed European farmers to significant losses.

“Russia’s state-owned banks have been cut off from Europe’s capital markets, while Russian defence and energy firms will no longer be able to import hi-tech western equipment that could have been used for military purposes, fracking or Arctic oil exploration.”

Ebola Outbreak

Reuters wrote on July 25:

“A Liberian man who died in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos on Friday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said… If confirmed, the man would be the first case on record of one of the world’s deadliest diseases in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and with 170 million people, its most populous country…

“Nigeria has some of the continent’s least adequate healthcare infrastructure, despite access to billions of dollars of oil money as Africa’s biggest producer of crude…”

Deutsche Welle added on August 7:

“Liberians stocked up on food Thursday after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced emergency powers lasting 90 days. ‘Operation White Shield’ allows Liberia’s government to contain the epidemic by restricting movement, deploying troops and giving police the power to impose quarantines on badly affected communities.

“Lacking the medical equipment and training to handle the new disease, some 32 health workers have already died of Ebola in Liberia and many sick people have gone untreated after doctors deserted their posts…

“In eastern Sierra Leone – the worst-hit area of that country – police chief Alfred Karrow-Kamara said security forces had been deployed on Wednesday ‘to establish a complete blockade’ of the Kenema and Kailahun districts, setting up 16 checkpoints on major roads. ‘No vehicles or persons are allowed into or out of the districts,’ he added.

“The World Health Organization reports that 932 people of the 1,700 diagnosed so far have died…”

Bloomberg added on August 7:

“As the death toll rises in West Africa amid the worst Ebola outbreak on record, a separate threat is compounding the problem: the rainy season and the malaria that comes with it. In Sierra Leone, with the most Ebola cases in the epidemic, a fearful population is failing to seek medical attention for any diseases, health officials say. If they have malaria, the feeling is they don’t want to go near a hospital with Ebola cases. If it’s Ebola, they don’t believe the hospitals can help them anyway, instead turning to traditional healers.

“It’s a widening challenge complicated by the fact that Ebola, malaria and cholera share common symptoms early on, including fever and vomiting, which can cause confusion among patients…”

Europe’s Unique Success In Spacecraft Maneuvering… But At What Price?

BBC News wrote on August 6:

“Europe’s Rosetta probe has arrived at a comet after a 10-year chase. In a first for space history, the spacecraft was maneuvered alongside a speeding body to begin mapping its surface in detail… ‘We’re at the comet!’ said Sylvain Lodiot of the European Space Agency (Esa) operations centre in Germany… Getting a spacecraft to match the speed of a comet and effectively ride alongside it is a landmark in space exploration… The comet is travelling at 55,000km per hour (34,175 mph). The spacecraft’s speed has been adjusted so that in relative terms it will be flying beside the comet at a slow walking pace of 1m/sec (2.2mph, 3.6kph)…

“Total cost of the mission is said to be 1.3bn euros.

“… in November… mission controllers will attempt to put the Philae lander on the surface. The lander will use harpoons to anchor itself and will carry out a series of experiments, including drilling into the material that makes up the comet.

“The mission aims to add to knowledge of comets and their role in ferrying the building blocks of life around the early Solar System.”

We will be spending 1.3bn euros for this “mission” to ultimately “prove” the creation of life without a Creator. Also, a top NASA representative announced recently on American television that the only (!)  reason for the existence of NASA and its costly endeavors is to find alien life somewhere out there. What an incredible waste of money and resources.

Back to top

Does the Bible say how blessings are bestowed on others? Is this only done in a general way, or are specific procedures also involved?

In Genesis 1:22, we are introduced for the first time to the concept of blessing. God created sea animals and birds and, in blessing them, He said that they were to be fruitful and multiply. In Genesis 1:28, God blessed the first man and the first woman and said that they were to be fruitful and multiply as well (compare also Genesis 5:2). Then, in Genesis 2:3, we are introduced to the third blessing of God—He blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it (compare also Exodus 20:11).

The Pulpit Commentary writes that blessing means, “to wish well… As on the introduction of animal life the Divine Creator conferred on the creatures his blessing, so when the first pair of human beings are formed they are likewise enriched by their Creator’s benediction.”

Regarding the blessing of the seventh day, the Benson Commentary writes: “He conferred on it peculiar honour, and annexed to it special privileges above those granted to any other day…” Barnes’ Notes on the Bible adds: “Blessing results in the bestowment of some good on the object blessed. The only good that can be bestowed on a portion of time is to dedicate it to a noble use, a special and pleasing enjoyment.”

We see, then, that blessing can refer to people, animals or even time in a very GENERAL way. Subsequently, God would bless the entire nation of Israel (Numbers 24:1; Deuteronomy 26:15), and Moses would also say a blessing for the entire congregation of Israel (Exodus 39:43), as did King Solomon (2 Chronicles 6:3) and the priests (2 Chronicles 30:27).  Jesus Christ blessed a meal (Mark 6:41), as He had promised the entire nation of Israel, to bless bread and water in case of their obedience (Exodus 23:25). We read about the cup of blessing, referring to the wine (symbolic for the blood of Christ) at Passover (1 Corinthians 10:16). Also note that Christ blessed the Passover bread—symbolic for His broken body (Matthew 26:26). We also read that people blessed God (Joshua 22:33; 1 Chronicles 29:10,20; Nehemiah 8:6; Daniel 2:19; Luke 2:28; James 3:9), in the sense of speaking well of and praising and thanking God.

We are told that we ought to bless our enemies and those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14). The quoted examples above have shown us how blessings are bestowed in a more GENERAL way.

But we also find quite a few examples in the Bible where humans were blessed by others in a very INDIVIDUAL and SPECIFIC way.

In our Q&A about the concept of “laying on of hands,” we referred to several incidents when specific blessings were and are bestowed on others in connection with the laying on of hands of Christ or His ministers. We gave five specific examples of laying on of hands (baptism; healing; marriage; blessing of little children; and ordination). In the case of little children, it is specifically mentioned that Christ took up the little children “in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16). We said: “The Church of God now follows this example by setting aside a time during the annual Feast of Tabernacles celebrations to bless little children, and especially, to ask God to grant them His protection and guidance.”

Even though in the four other examples discussed in our Q&A, the word “blessing” is not specifically mentioned, it is clear that in each case, blessings are involved. Note, for instance, that the symbolic act of laying on of hands at baptism “sets the baptized person aside or sanctifies him or her for the divine purpose of receiving from God His Holy Spirit.” What a spiritual blessing from God that is! (Compare also Ephesians 1:3). The prayer for the blessing of healing is accompanied with the laying on of hands by the elders. During the marriage ceremony, the minister “places his hands on the couple, while asking God in prayer to sanctify the marriage and to set aside the couple for the holy purpose of the marriage relationship”—so that the marriage will be blessed by God. And finally, ordinations “are always accompanied by the laying on of hands–setting the ordained person aside for the godly office of a deacon or deaconess or an elder.” This act manifests that “all official gifts flow… from the Church’s glorified Head.”

The point to notice is that in these cases, blessings were bestowed not in a general way, but through the LAYING ON OF HANDS. In light of this, let us examine numerous biblical passages which also indicate that individual blessings were bestowed on others in a very specific way—not just in a “general” way—through the laying on of hands by the one bestowing the blessing. In our Q&A, we stated: “The ‘laying on of hands’ is a symbolic act, setting individuals apart for God’s special intervention. Already in Old Testament times, it was understood as symbolizing the imparting of godly blessings (Genesis 48:13-20), His authority and spiritual power (Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9).”

The above-quoted passage in Genesis 48:13-20, makes very clear that Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh—the sons of Joseph—by laying his hands on their heads (compare also Hebrews 11:21). Even when general blessings were bestowed on a group of people, these were many times signified by hands which were lifted up, even though hands might not have been laid specifically on each one in attendance (Leviticus 9:22; 1 Kings 8:54-56; Luke 24:50-51).

Let us consider additional examples of very specific and individual blessings.

First, we will review two more examples when GOD BLESSED humans QUITE SPECIFICALLY during PERSONAL encounters:

We read that Melchizedek (Jesus Christ) blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20). This occurred during a personal meeting between them. What was specifically involved here?  Based on the other passages, noted above, it stands to reason that Melchizedek blessed Abraham by laying His hands on him. In Hebrews 7:1-7, we read that Melchizedek, as the “better,” blessed Abraham, the “lesser.”

When Jacob wrestled with the “LORD”—Jesus Christ—he insisted that God would bless him before he would let Him go. God did so, changing his name from Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:23-32). We can clearly see that this was not a general blessing, but a very SPECIAL act of a blessing which was apparently bestowed on him in a very specific way. Subsequently, God appeared again to Jacob to bless him (Genesis 35:9-13; compare also Genesis 48:3).

Let us now review further examples when people were individually and SPECIFICALLY BLESSED BY OTHER PEOPLE:

Isaac’s blessing of Jacob involved a very specific act (Genesis 27:4), and it was understood to be “in the presence of the LORD” (verse 7). In fact, this blessing—as well as Isaac’s blessing of Esau—was inspired by God (Hebrews 11:20). Later, before Jacob’s departure, Isaac blessed him again very specifically  (Genesis 28:1-4).

We read that Jacob blessed Pharaoh who had treated Joseph kindly (Genesis 47:7, 10). Israel also blessed every one of his twelve sons with a special blessing (Genesis 49:28). Joshua blessed Caleb for his faithfulness (Joshua 14:7-8, 13), and Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife—the parents of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:20). We read that David blessed his household (2 Samuel 6:20), and he also blessed Barzillai (2 Samuel 19:39), because he had helped David when he had fled from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:27-29). Finally, we read that the prophet Simeon, a just and devout man, blessed Mary and Joseph in the temple (Luke 2:25-34).

All these incidents of individual blessings through other humans were very special and specific. Even though the Bible does not say expressly that laying on of hands was involved, this is very likely to be the case, in light of other biblical passages and in consideration of the important symbolic meaning of the laying on of hands and the significance of the particular blessing.

Those blessings included the wish for God’s special favor and guidance on others and the plea to God to answer these prayers. We are reminded of the wording of a very well-known collective priestly blessing on the house of Israel and Judah, which, according to tradition, was passed on with lifted-up hands, and which reads as follows (compare Numbers 6:22-27):

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, “This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.’”’ So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

The Life Application Study Bible has the following annotations to this passage:

“A blessing was one way of asking for God’s divine favor to rest upon others. The ancient blessing in these verses helps us understand what a blessing was supposed to do. Its five parts conveyed hope that God would (1) bless and protect them; (2) smile upon them (be pleased); (3) be gracious (merciful and compassionate); (4) show his favor toward them (give his approval); (5) give peace. When you ask God to bless others or yourself, you are asking him to do these five things. The blessing you offer will not only help the one receiving it, it will also demonstrate love, encourage others, and provide a model of caring for others.”

In fact, we read in 1 Peter 3:8-9:

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

The commentary of Rienecker, Lexikon zur Bibel, states this about blessing:

“According to the Holy Scriptures, blessing (in opposition to cursing) is the gift of godly… favors towards men, be it through God Himself or through people who act within the power of God… The strength of the blessing passes on to the blessed person… it is transmitted through words… and the laying on of hands… The blessing can include the offspring…, the possession…, and the environment … of the blessed… Ultimately, it is always God who blesses… The Hebrew and Greek words for blessing can also mean praising and thanking.”

All of us are most certainly called upon to bless others in general ways and to speak well of them and wish them happiness. However, we should understand that at least since the establishment of the New Testament Church, only ordained ministers, acting “within the power of God,” should be laying their hands on others, including for the purpose of bestowing a godly blessing upon them. This is more fully explained in our above-quoted Q&A, and no biblical example exists which would indicate the contrary.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Back to top

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Following their extensive trip to visit brethren in Oregon, Idaho and Colorado, Norbert and Johanna Link have arrived safely back in California.

“A New Order for the Middle East?,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

The Bible prophesies that when the US falls, Europe under German leadership will rise. This programs gives you up-to-date information on America’s declining influence in the Middle East and around the world, and Germany’s ambitious plans for a new order for that part of the world, citing security concerns for Europe. We are also addressing the potential of the return of the monarchy in Germany. We are offering you three of our free booklets related to this program, dealing with biblical prophecy.

“Gab es Christen im Alten Testament?” is the title of this week’s German sermon. In English the title is, “Were there Christians in the Old Testament?”

The 2014 Fall Holy Days will be observed on the following dates: Feast of Trumpets–September 25; Day of Atonement–October 4; Feast of Tabernacles–October 9-15; Last Great Day–October 16.

Back to top

How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God