Update 672


The Time of Salvation

On January 24, 2015, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “The Time of Salvation.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (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.

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Yet Another Day of Ignominy

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

December 11th 2014 will be another date that will go down in the annals of British history as another shameful piece of legislation came into force.   Most seemed to think that it was yet another great day in gaining equality for all, but for those who know God’s Word, the exact opposite was the case.

It was a day when homosexual couples were given the right to convert their civil partnerships into marriages.

UK Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who is also equalities minister, and skills minister Nick Boles, who is responsible for policy over same sex marriage, hailed it as a ‘proud’ moment for equal rights!

The Daily Mail reported that “Overall, almost seven in 10 Britons – 69 per cent – believe that homosexual couples should be able to marry while just over a quarter – 28 per cent – disagree.   When the same question was asked in 1975, support for gay marriage stood at just 16 per cent, with 53 per cent against.”

We had a Q&A in our Update 626, dated February 14, 2014, entitled “The frog in boiling water principle.”   In this, we stated the following: ”They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will leap out right away to escape the danger. But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling, the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.   The frog’s survival instincts are geared towards detecting sudden changes.”

There is no question that continual lobbying and the manipulation of public opinion over many decades ensured that the initial repugnance that most of the population once felt towards homosexuality, softened significantly over time towards mass acceptance of this ungodly practice.

During this campaign over the years, political leaders such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg, Ed Milliband and Prime Minister David Cameron have all played their part.  Whilst Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband are self-confessed atheists, Messrs Blair, Brown and Cameron have all acknowledged their Christian faith; however their knowledge of the Bible on this subject is either deficient or conveniently ignored.   They put what they call “equality” before the Word of God.

This was not only another day of ignominy for the UK but was compounded by the many hundreds of comments to the article, most of which not only approved of this new practice but also showed a good deal of hostility and antipathy towards God and the Bible.  Those few who disapproved of what was happening were subjected to such comments as “small minded bigots; the fairy tale book named ‘the bible’; dull and old fashioned” and many others proliferated, showing that the secular, Godless society, is very much in the majority today.

This latest day of ignominy following after many others will be part of our demise and the downfall of this once great nation.

And it seems that the writing is now truly on the wall!

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We begin with reports about some pitiful and highly embarrassing statements by the pope; continue with a made-up story about a child who allegedly died and went to heaven; brief you on a sickening case of “legal” “child kidnapping” through law enforcement; report on President Obama’s sixth State of the Union Address; discuss developments in Germany and the government’s mishandling of the situation pertaining to PEGIDA and the “darker” side of the movement; report about the alleged existence of 20 sleeper cells in Europe; and speak of the desire of the EU to forge an alliance with Muslim countries against Islamists.

We continue with the situation in war-torn Ukraine and Russia’s threats, which deeply unsettle the EU; speak of the growing alienation between the EU and the UK; and address the highly controversial killing of Argentina’s prosecutor Alberto Nisman as well as developments in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

We conclude with a piece on Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved the lives of more than a hundred thousand Jews, only to disappear in a Russian gulag at the end of World War II.  A hero in his own right, we are drawing some remarkable parallels between his legacy and today’s commission of the Church of God.

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Pope at Loss for Words—Unable to Give an Answer!

The website of interaksyon.com reported on January 18, 2015:

“Pope Francis on Sunday morning warmly embraced a former street child, comforting the little one after emotions overcame her as she asked: ‘Why does God allow so many children to suffer?’… Pope Francis later responded in his homily that it took [the young girl] ‘to ask a question to which there is no answer … Why do children suffer?’ The Pope was so moved by the question that he abandoned a prepared Homily…”

The Independent added on January 18:

“Pope Francis was moved to embrace a tearful abandoned girl at a university in Manila after she asked why God allows children to become prostitutes. Glyzelle Palomar wept as she asked the Pope: ‘Many children get involved in drugs and prostitution. Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything’…  Visibly moved, the Pope said: ‘She is the only one who has put forward a question for which there is no answer and she was not even able to express it in words but rather in tears.’”

This is SO pitiful. The leader of the biggest Christian organization is unable to answer one of the most fundamental questions, claiming that there is no answer. But there sure is, if one believes the words of the Bible. Please read the answer in our free booklet, “Human Suffering… Why… and How Much Longer?”

The Pope and His Rabbits

The Local wrote on January 20:

“The Association of German Rabbit Breeders… said on Tuesday that Pope Francis’ injunction to Catholics not to breed ‘like rabbits’ was inaccurate. ‘He should really think harder about giving up expressions like that and allow people to use contraception instead,’ ZDRK president Erwin Leowsky said. ‘I think it would be much more appropriate than saying such stupid things’.

“Leowsky added that not all rabbits had a high level of sexual activity, and that the stereotype mostly applied to rabbits living in the wild. Most rabbits bred in captivity have a well-regulated reproductive rate, he said. [In fact, it was also pointed out in other articles that even rabbits in the wild have some in-built reproductive regulation system to prevent overpopulation.]

“Pope Francis made his remarks on the way home from a visit to the Philippines, a stronghold of the Catholic Church in Asia which last year passed a family planning law in defiance of the Vatican’s 1968-vintage ban on contraception. ‘God gave us the means to be responsible’, he told journalists on the flight home. ‘Some think, and excuse the term, that to be good Catholics, they must breed like rabbits’.

“Following the Church’s teachings did not mean ‘Christians should have children one after the other’, he said.”

As Bild Online explained, the Pope defended the official Catholic teaching, according to which any form of artificial contraception, such the pill or condoms, is prohibited. Only “natural” planning is allowed, such as no sexual intercourse during ovulation. This was decreed by Pope Paul VI in the Encyclical “Humane Vitae” in 1968. Pope Francis referred to Pope Paul VI as a “prophet.” He also said that he is sad when he hears that three children are too many, adding that three children is the minimum to keep the population stabile. He did not elaborate on how many more children than three could or would become “irresponsible parenthood”.

The article also stated that some of his ad-hoc comments in interviews create quite a problem for the Vatican.

These comments by the pope are SO ridiculous.

Pope: “Every Religion Has its Dignity”

NBC News reported on January 15:

Pope Francis suggested there are limits to freedom of expression, saying in response to the Charlie Hebdo terror attack that ‘one cannot make fun of faith’ and that anyone who throws insults can expect a ‘punch.’ The pontiff said that both freedom of faith and freedom of speech were fundamental human rights and that ‘every religion has its dignity. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,’ he said. ‘There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits.’

“The right to liberty of expression comes with the ‘obligation’ to speak for ‘the common good,’ Pope Francis said, cautioning against provocation. To illustrate his point, he joked about Vatican aide Alberto Gasparri who was standing nearby on the plane. ‘It’s true that we can’t react violently, but, for example if Dr. Gasbarri here, a great friend of mine, says a curse word against my mother, then a punch awaits him,’ the pontiff said.”

Again, the pope is grossly exaggerating. Not every religion has its dignity. Would ANYONE say that a religion requiring the sacrifice of babies has any sense of dignity? The same would apply to demon worship, witchcraft and hundreds upon hundreds of false religions. The pope’s use of inaccurate hyperbole could become a major problem for him in the future—while millions become lulled into a false sense of loyalty to the pope’s wrong assertions. Please view our new StandingWatch program, “The Pope Has No Answer!”

Also note the next article.

Two Male Witches “Tie the Knot” in UK’s First Pagan Same-Sex Marriage

The Telegraph wrote on January 19:

“Two male witches have tied the knot in the UK’s first pagan same-sex marriage… The ceremony encompassed a number of pagan traditions, including… jumping the broom. After their wedding, the couple said: ‘Getting married in a legal pagan ceremony means so much to both of us…’

“Scotland is the only part of the UK that allows pagans, and other minority and religious belief bodies, to solemnise legal weddings… Louise Park, the presiding officer for the Pagan Federation (Scotland), conducted the ceremony. She said: ‘… We feel that, if any couple wish to, they should be able to make their marriage vows before their own personal Gods, friends and family, in a religious ceremony tailored to suit their own beliefs.’”

So, does this “religion” have “dignity” too?

He Has NOT Been to Heaven!

The Washington Post reported on January 16:

“Tyndale House, a major Christian publisher, has announced that it will stop selling ‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,’ by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey.

“The best-selling book, first published in 2010, purports to describe what Alex experienced while he lay in a coma after a car accident when he was 6 years old. The coma lasted two months, and his injuries left him paralyzed, but the subsequent spiritual memoir – with its assuring description of ‘miracles, angels, and life beyond This World’ – became part of a popular genre of ‘heavenly tourism.’

“Earlier this week, Alex recanted his testimony about the afterlife. In an open letter to Christian bookstores posted on the Pulpit and Pen Web site, Alex states flatly: ‘I did not die. I did not go to Heaven… I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.’”

Alex came clean, which is to be applauded. But the fact that so many people believed his ridiculous story that he would have gone to heaven after his death shows the incredible ignorance of the masses and religious leaders and the gullibility of those who want to believe such nonsense. The Bible is dogmatically clear that no human being (except for Jesus Christ AFTER His resurrection) ever went to heaven after his death, nor will any human being ever go to heaven after his death. Everyone who dies IS dead, WITHOUT consciousness, awaiting the RESURRECTION from the dead.

For more information, please read our free booklet, Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”

“Do We Live in a Police State?”

The website of MedicalKidnap.com reported on January 21:

“Relatives of the Stanley family in Garland County, Arkansas have reached out to MedicalKidnap.com to notify the public that the 7 homeschool children of Hal and Michelle Stanley were removed during the night by DHS and fully armed sheriffs this past week, simply because they reportedly found a supplement in the home that was not approved by the FDA… A ‘miracle’ mineral treatment alleged to be a remedy for cancer and AIDS is at the center of an law enforcement search warrant. The investigation ended in the removal of seven children from their home in Garland County.

“The family has cried foul, saying only the father has taken it and it’s mostly used for purifying water for their garden. Hal and his wife Michelle were kept outside for hours while officers searched the home with their seven children inside. They avoid most contact with the government. The parents have home schooled their nine children, two of whom have graduated and gone on to college. The Stanleys keep to themselves, are generally self-sustained and consider themselves ‘preppers’…

“Hal added, ‘There’s never been any beer, liquor.’ They say they’ve never had a run-in with the law before.  ‘I’ve never had a speeding ticket.’ The Stanleys say since the night they had their children taken, friends and relatives have called and shown support. As the children were removed from the home Hal and his wife Michelle say they emotionally asked who made the decision. Hal said, ‘And finally a young man from the Sheriff’s department raised his hand, “I did it and I’m proud of the decision”’…

“Health Impact News has also reported on how the FDA has targeted the main distributor of MMS, who is facing 37 years in prison. This is in spite of the fact that the product has been used in Africa by the Red Cross to treat Malaria, and reportedly has helped tens of thousands of people worldwide. The product is made from sodium chlorite, which is a perfectly legal product and can be purchased online in such places as Amazon.com and eBay. Daniel Smith has been embroiled in a legal battle with the FDA for almost 5 years, and has been confined to his home under house arrest wearing a government monitoring device around his ankle for over two years…

“While the FDA and other authorities are attacking both distributors and users of this ‘unapproved’ product, several pharmaceutical companies have existing drug trials in place for similar products, according to the MMS Defense Fund site…Nobody has died from the many years of this product being used all around the world, but every year over 100,000 people die from FDA approved pharmaceutical products.”

Let us remind our readers that we are supposedly living in the land of the brave and the FREE—not in a dictatorial autocratic police state!

The Sixth State of the Union Address—More Divided Than Ever

Breitbart wrote on January 21:

“As President Obama cruised through his sixth State of the Union address, Democratic lawmakers, who frequently rose to cheer on their party leader, began to notice how poorly the speech was being received by their GOP colleagues. The response surprised them, even in an age of deep partisanship… With GOP lawmakers grudgingly sitting through what they considered… another lecture by a petulant, professorial Obama, the president was trying to channel some of the magic of his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention speech. He quoted himself saying that there wasn’t a liberal America or a conservative America, or a black America or white America, but a United States of America.

“‘Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever’… Six years in to his presidency, Obama is on track to be the most polarizing president, according to public polls. He has lost more Democratic congressional seats in midterm elections than any president since Harry Truman, and he won reelection himself primarily by demonizing Mitt Romney as a heartless plutocrat, similar to how George W. Bush tarnished John Kerry en route to a victory that carried no governing mandate.”

Wars and More Wars

The Times of Israel reported on January 21 on President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“President Barack Obama vowed to veto any bill that would place additional sanctions on Iran… Obama warned that ‘there are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran,’ but added that ‘new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails – alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress,’ he continued. Obama left a military option on the table, noting that ‘the American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.’…

“Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks quickly responded to Obama’s comments in a statement following the speech…  ‘Despite pleas from Congress and the international community, the president, after exhaustive negotiations to halt their program, is rewarding Iran with yet more time,’ Brooks complained. ‘The Obama administration’s Iran policy is failing. Congress needs to place enhanced sanctions on Iran to demonstrate that we are serious about halting their nuclear weapons program. The president’s veto threat will only empower and embolden Iran to continue as a threat to the entire region and world.’…

“Obama argued that US military leadership in Iraq and Syria was stopping the Islamic State’s advance, but asked lawmakers ‘to show the world that we are united in this mission’ with a war authorization vote. Republican lawmakers have said they are prepared to work with him to pass such a measure if he sends a proposal up to Capitol Hill… Obama said he believes in moving forward with ‘a smarter kind of American leadership’ that combines military power with strong diplomacy… ‘We reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we’ve done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies,’ he said.

“Obama also spoke out against both ‘deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world’ as well as against ‘offensive stereotypes of Muslims,’ although the first statement was greeted by applause, while the latter — made seconds later — was not.

“Unlike last year, when Obama mentioned in passing the US-brokered attempts to achieve a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, there was no mention of the Palestinians whatsoever, and a reference to Israel only in the context of Iran…”

“In Two Years We Will Get Rid of Obama!”

Bild Online wrote on January 20:

“Two years from today will be a good day. Two years from today Barack Obama will retire from the Presidency…. During the last six years of his Presidency, he has proven to have a unique talent to miss historical opportunities…  It has been very rare that a president ruled so much without a compass, without noticeable love, and so unpredictably… [Six years ago] the world saw him as a Messiah. And today? The history books will judge how weak Barack Obama was as a president. But in every case, he was the biggest disappointment in the White House…”

Obama vs. Netanyahu

The Associated Press reported on January 22:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip to Washington in March is kicking up a diplomatic dust storm in the nation’s capital. On Thursday, the White House said President Barack Obama [and Secretary of State John Kerry] would not meet the prime minister when he comes to the U.S. to address a joint session of Congress. The official White House explanation was that Netanyahu’s visit fell too close to the Israeli election and the Obama administration wanted to avoid the appearance of taking sides…

“But the timing of Netanyahu’s visit also gave the White House a convenient means of retaliating against the prime minister for his decision to accept an invitation from Republican leaders to address Congress. GOP lawmakers and Netanyahu worked out the arrangement without consulting with the White House or State Department, only alerting the Obama administration a few hours before the Israeli leader’s trip was made public. The White House appeared stunned by what it saw as a breach of diplomatic decorum by Netanyahu, a leader with whom Obama has a history of tension.”

German Pegida’s “Darker” Side

The Local wrote on January 16:

“They’ve grown from a small Facebook community to a worldwide phenomenon… The average Pegida marcher is surprisingly average… Germany has Europe’s largest Muslim population, though they only make up five percent of the population. In respose to Pegida, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said ‘Islam is a part of Germany’. However, broadcaster ZDF published a poll on Friday showing that only 48 percent of respondents agreed with her statement…

“Many people at Monday’s rally shared concerns about Germany’s vulnerability. Many felt the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s editorial staff was an attack on freedom of expression and the press. They worry people will feel that their freedoms are diminished by Islamic extremists who cannot adhere to those western values. It also explains why some carry signs saying ‘I like pork’. They worry that with more Muslims entering schools and work forces, pork will get taken off canteen menus…

“The group was launched following a growth of feeling against the Kurdistan’s Worker’s Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist group by NATO states.

“[One of its two co-founders, Lutz] Bachmann has avoided the press since his criminal history, which includes drug charges that he fled to South Africa to escape, came to light. Pegida has a 19-point manifesto that was released in December 2014. Besides calling for stricter immigration and asylum laws as well as making integration part of the constitution, it also calls for the outright rejection of any immigrant, refugee or asylum seeker with a criminal background.

“The movement is also deeply pro-Russian… [T]o former East Germans, the current Russian regime has nothing in common with the Soviet Union… Many of those who participate in the walk carry Russian flags. The idea is that if Russia has power again, it can create a balance of power with the United States of America, thus causing fewer bombing campaigns by the global military power.

“With fewer military actions, there would be fewer wars, less demand for arms, and fewer refugees fleeing their homelands and coming to Germany… There is still a deeply-rooted anti-Americanism in East Germany and Dresden…

“While Pegida movements outside of Dresden have been out-shouted by no-Pegida demonstrators, others keep appearing. Oslo has already hosted a Pegida march. Danes will hold one this coming Monday.”

Apart from the fact that Christians should not participate in political demonstrations (they are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God and a better world to come, when Jesus Christ returns), the article points out some of the questionable positions which Pegida propagates. At the same time, the next article shows how the German government is trying to suppress the movement—apparently with Pegida’s acquiescence, while at the same time portraying itself as persecuted victims to capitalize on Islamic threats.

The Local reported on January 21 that “Lutz Bachmann, the founder of Pegida, has resigned his leadership of the anti-Islam group following widespread outrage over Facebook photos of him in an Adolf Hitler costume.”

PEGIDA Demonstration Cancelled Due to Islamic Threats

APP wrote on January 19:

“German police banned a planned rally by the anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement and other public open-air gatherings in the eastern city of Dresden Monday, citing a terrorist threat. Dresden police said Sunday they had received information from federal and state counterparts indicating a ‘concrete threat’ against the right-wing populist group ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident’.

“There had been calls for would-be ‘assassins to mingle among the protesters… and to murder an individual member of the organising team of the PEGIDA demonstrations’, police said in a notice on the 24-hour ban. This was consistent with ‘an Arabic-language tweet that called the PEGIDA demonstrations an enemy of Islam’, it said. Top-circulation daily Bild said online that the threat targeted PEGIDA’s most prominent leader Lutz Bachmann.

“Because there were no individual suspects, Dresden police said it saw no alternative to the temporary suspension of the constitutional right to free assembly within city limits. PEGIDA earlier told its followers on Facebook that its 13th planned rally had been scrapped, citing a threat from the Islamic State jihadist group, and portraying the cancellation as its own decision… It had decided to call off the Dresden event as it could not guarantee the security of marchers…”

And so, one bows to terrorist threats, even though Pegida announced that their demonstrations will continue in the future. Many German papers reacted negatively, stating the German government should not have prohibited the demonstration and PEGIDA should not have given their prior consent.

Euro Drops

Deutsche Welle reported on January 22:

“The euro dropped to $1.13 on Thursday, its cheapest rate against the greenback in 11 years. The value of the euro has been falling over the past year. Last April, it was trading at $1.38. News of the two-percent drop in value came on the heels of an announcement of the European Central Bank’s stimulus plan [which Germany opposes], which foresees printing 60 billion euros ($69.7 billion) a month beginning in March. The 19-month quantitative easing program – which will cost over 1 trillion euros – aims to spur inflation and encourage lending in the real economy.”

Up To 20 European Sleeper Cells

Newsmax reported on January 17:

“Up to 20 sleeper cells comprising 120 to 180 people may be ready to strike targets in several European countries, intelligence source say in the wake of the discovery of an ‘imminent threat’ of an attack in Belgium this week. More than two dozen people with suspected ties to Islamic extremists were arrested in a sweep Friday,  and an unnamed Western intelligence source told CNN that as many as 20 sleeper cells are ready to strike targets in France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

“‘There is a tremendous amount of concern over sleeper cells in Europe,’ said the official… Intelligence officers have been monitoring men who have returned to Europe after fighting in Syria, as it is believed the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, has directed attacks to retaliate against airstrikes against its forces in Syria and Iraq…”

Europe Calls for Alliance with Muslim Nations…

The Washington Post wrote on January 19:

“European foreign ministers… called… for an alliance against Islamic extremism with the countries of North Africa and other Muslim nations like Yemen, where at least one of the gunmen responsible for attacks this month in Paris received training. ‘We need an alliance, a dialogue, because we are all facing the same threat,’ Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, said…

“In an effort to increase counterterrorism cooperation both inside Europe and with countries outside the bloc, particularly those in the Muslim world, the 28-nation European alliance will assign security attachés at its diplomatic missions overseas, Ms. Mogherini said. Didier Reynders, the foreign minister of Belgium… said the European Union needed to increase intelligence sharing and other cooperation with countries like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia to help curb radicalization and violent extremism.

“Many Muslims living in Belgium and France… trace their origins to North Africa. Proposals for such a program in Europe were put forward years ago but were stalled because of opposition from the European Parliament, where many lawmakers worried about violating citizens’ privacy.

“Under the program, information about seat numbers, flight reservation dates, payment methods and travel itineraries would be exchanged…”

Irreversible Consequences for Ukrainian Statehood?

The Guardian wrote on January 19:

“Pro-Russia separatists renewed attacks on Ukrainian forces at Donetsk airport complex in the east of the country on Monday after Kiev launched a mass operation to reclaim lost ground in the region… Russia expressed concern at what it called escalation by Kiev… ‘It’s the biggest, even strategic mistake of the Ukrainian authorities to bank on a military solution to the crisis,’ Interfax quoted Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, as saying. ‘This may lead to irreversible consequences for Ukrainian statehood.’”

The Washington Post wrote on January 19:

“The foreign ministers [of the EU]… discussed policy toward Russia and whether to keep in place sanctions imposed last year on Russian banks, other companies and individuals over the conflict in Ukraine. Some countries had in the past urged a softening of the sanctions, while others, particularly the Baltic countries, had demanded that they remain. But a recent uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine — notably a push by Russian-backed separatists to seize the Donetsk airport from Ukrainian forces — strengthened the arguments of those opposed to any change in policy.

“Ms. Mogherini said that ‘the latest developments on the ground are not encouraging, rather the contrary,’ adding that the foreign ministers were united in their desire to stick with the current sanctions. ‘There is no normalization, there is no back to business as usual in any way.’”

Again, Russia put the world on notice by referring to grave consequences for Ukrainian statehood, if the battles were to continue. With this warning, Russia is clearly issuing a threat of military intervention. 

Deutsche Welle reported on January 22: “The battle for Donetsk airport is raging on between government troops and pro-Russian separatists. The ceasefire agreed for eastern Ukraine in September seems to be finished for good.”

More Bad Rumors from the East

The EUObserver wrote on January 15:

“Russia has said it will stop EU gas transit via Ukraine and do it via Turkey instead in the second shock announcement on energy in as many months. It said on Wednesday (14 January) that the EU should build new infrastructure to link up with a future Russia-Turkey pipeline or lose access to supplies. Gazprom head Alexei Miller issued the ultimatum during a visit to Russia by EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic, who said he was ‘very surprised’ by the statement.

“The latest announcement comes after Russia said in December it won’t build the so-called South Stream pipeline via Bulgaria and Hungary to Italy in favour of a new project with Turkey. The European Commission blocked South Stream construction on grounds of non-compliance with EU energy law.  But both South Stream and ‘Turkish Stream’ have strategic implications because they bypass Ukraine, which earns billions from transit fees and which is on the edge of bankruptcy…

“About 80 percent of the EU’s gas imports from Russia come via Ukraine. But political disputes between Kiev and Moscow have seen EU supplies interrupted on two occasions in recent years, with Moscow justifying the Turkey decision by saying Ukraine is ‘unreliable’.”

“EU-UK Romance Gone Wrong”

The EUObserver wrote on January 19:

“European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker has given the clearest hint yet that he would be prepared to see the UK leave the EU, comparing the UK’s 42-year membership of the bloc to a romance gone wrong… The UK joined the then European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, a decision confirmed by a referendum in 1975, but has long been regarded by many as an ‘awkward partner’…

“Meanwhile, [Juncker] ruled out the prospect of UK-pushed treaty changes to reform EU rules on free movement saying that there would be ‘no debate, dialogue or compromise’ on an issue which he described as ‘red lines which could not be crossed… the EU won’t change the treaties to satisfy the whim of certain politicians,’ added Juncker. The commission president’s stance is a political blow to prime minister David Cameron ahead of the UK’s general election in May. The UK prime minister’s rhetoric on EU migration is likely to intensify in the coming weeks, with surveys suggesting that immigration, rather than the economy or public services, is the most important issue to voters…

“Cameron wants to [require] all EU migrants to have a job within six months of arriving in the UK. He also wants them to pay into the UK’s tax and social security programmes for four years before they can receive certain benefits and plans to end the payment of child benefit to dependents of EU migrants in their home country. However, last autumn Cameron dropped a plan to cap the number [of] EU nationals able to come to the UK amid opposition from Berlin and other capitals, and following warnings that this would breach the EU treaties.”

The UK’s exit from the EU becomes more and more apparent.

Argentinian-Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman Killed

The Times of Israel reported in January 19:

“Argentinian-Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman was killed by a gunshot below his ear, the preliminary results of an autopsy showed Monday, as thousands of Argentinians headed to the streets to protest his death. Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound just hours before he was due to testify at a congressional hearing on the deadly 1994 AMIA bombing.

“Nisman had fingered Iran and Hezbollah in the attack, which killed 85 people at a Jewish community building, and was scheduled to release information tying Argentinean President Christina  [Fernandez de] Kirchner [and her foreign minister Hector Timerman] to a coverup of Tehran’s involvement…

“Police [and several] officials maintained Monday that Nisman’s death appeared to be a suicide… [But] Anibal Fernandez, secretary general for the presidency, said he was ‘dumbfounded,’ adding there was ‘absolutely nothing normal’ about it. Congresswoman Cornelia Schmidt-Liermann said she had planned to pick Nisman up Monday at his residence and accompany him for his testimony. ‘Everybody who had contact with him the last 24 hours says he was confident’ about his testimony,’ she told The Associated Press. ‘There is no indication, under any circumstances, that he killed himself.’…”

Will the world be sold another cover-up, as there have been so many examples historically around the world?

Reuters wrote on January 22:

“The death of a prosecutor investigating the bombing of a Jewish community center was not a suicide, as was initially reported, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said on Thursday… She did not say who killed him and no one has been arrested in the case, which has shocked Argentines. Social media networks are seething with conspiracy theories, some pointing at Fernandez and her government…”

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Has Died

The Huffington Post reported on January 22:

“Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has died, Saudi state television announced early on Friday local time. Abdullah’s designated successor is Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, his 79-year-old half-brother.

“Reuters reports that King Abdullah had been admitted to a Riyadh hospital in December for medical tests. The royal court announced in January that Abdullah was suffering from pneumonia. Abdullah came into power in August 2005 after the death of his brother, King Fahd.”

The Associated Press added on January 22:

“Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington’s fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom with incremental but significant reforms, including nudging open greater opportunities for women, has died, according to Saudi state TV. He was 90.

“More than his guarded and hidebound predecessors, Abdullah assertively threw his oil-rich nation’s weight behind trying to shape the Middle East. His priority was to counter the influence of rival, mainly Shiite Iran wherever it tried to make advances. He and fellow Sunni Arab monarchs also staunchly opposed the Middle East’s wave of pro-democracy uprisings, seeing them as a threat to stability and their own rule.”

Reuters wrote on January 22:

“At stake with the appointment of Salman as [new] king is the future direction of the United States’ most important Arab ally and self-appointed champion of Sunni Islam at a moment of unprecedented turmoil across the Middle East… Saudi Arabia, which holds more than a fifth of the world’s crude oil, also exerts some influence over the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims through its guardianship of Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest sites.”

For information on the future of Saudi Arabia, please read our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy.”

Turmoil in Yemen

The Washington Post wrote on January 22:

“Yemen’s Western-backed president and his cabinet resigned Thursday amid deepened turmoil that left Shiite rebels in effective control and threw into question this nation’s continued participation in the U.S. fight against terrorism…

“The crisis threatens to weaken Washington’s campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based in Yemen and has actively targeted the United States and Europe. The government’s collapse could also plunge Yemen into full-scale civil war. The Houthi rebels are widely considered to be backed by Shiite-majority Iran, although they deny it. Yemen’s population is majority Sunni, and there is a strong separatist movement in the Sunni-dominated south…

“For Saudi Arabia, in particular, the ascendance of a Shiite-dominated state on its doorstep represents a strategic threat. It sees Iranian proxies consolidating power on its southern border with Yemen and on the northern one with Iraq, which is led by a Shiite government that has growing political, military and economic ties with Tehran, said Mustafa Alani, director of security and terrorism at the Geneva-based Gulf Research Center. ‘This is becoming a strategic nightmare’ for Saudi Arabia, he said. Riyadh fears Iran is building a ‘mini-state in Yemen,’ he added, similar to what the Shiite movement Hezbollah has created in Lebanon.”

Remember Raoul Wallenberg

The Times of Israel wrote on January 17:

“Thus far, 2015 has brought tragic and infuriating terrorism, anti-semitism, and assaults on liberty in France; a car bomb in Yemen that killed and injured dozens; and the massacre of thousands in Nigeria by Boko Haram, as well as yet another of the group’s mass kidnappings. This is in addition to continuing mass atrocities and humanitarian crises in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Central Africa, Sudan and elsewhere, and it comes on the heels of the deadly hostage-taking in Sydney, and the barbarous terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan that left over a hundred dead, most of them children…

“[Raoul] Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, was a beacon of light during the darkest days of the Holocaust, and his example remains so today. Prior to his arrival in Budapest in July 1944, some 430,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to Auschwitz in the space of ten weeks – the fastest, cruelest, and most efficient mass murders of the Nazi genocide. Yet Wallenberg rescued more Hungarian Jews from the Nazis than any single government, notably saving 20,000 by issuing Schutzpasses, documents conferring diplomatic immunity. He even went to the trains as mass deportations were underway, distributing Schutzpasses to people otherwise consigned to death. Other diplomatic missions followed suit, saving thousands more.

“Wallenberg saved an additional 32,000 by establishing dozens of safe houses in a diplomatic zone protected by neutral legations. He organized hospitals, soup kitchens, and childcare centres, providing human dignity along with the essentials of life. Moreover, when thousands of Jews were sent on a 125-mile death march in November 1944, Wallenberg followed alongside, distributing improvised Schutzpasses, as well as food and medical supplies…

“Finally, with the Nazis preparing to liquidate the Budapest ghetto as the war neared its end, Wallenberg warned Nazi generals that they would be held accountable and brought to justice, if not executed, for their crimes. The Nazis desisted, and 70,000 more Jews were saved…

“70 years ago today, Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviets, who had entered Hungary as liberators. He disappeared into the Gulag, and his fate remains unknown… the person who saved so many was not saved by so many who could. Yet, while we pursue the moral obligation of discovering the truth of Wallenberg’s fate, his legacy endures, reminding us of the power of an individual with the compassion to care and the courage to act to confront evil, resist, and transform history.

“In recognition of his heroism, Canada has established January 17th as Raoul Wallenberg Commemorative Day, and we [the state of Israel] named Wallenberg our country’s first honorary citizen thirty years ago. He has been granted the same distinction in Hungary, Australia, Israel, and the United States, and there are monuments to him in cities around the world, as well as streets and schools that bear his name. In Paris, there has been a Rue Raoul-Wallenberg since 2007…

“At a time when it seems as though each day brings a new heart-wrenching catastrophe, let us be inspired by Raoul Wallenberg, who came face to face with the horrors of Nazism, and was moved not to despair, but to action.”

The Church of God has a very similar task to fulfill today. It has the commission to preach the good news of the coming Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness to make possible the establishment of God’s righteous and peaceful government on earth. In the meantime, God’s Church is to teach and help those spiritually who respond to the Gospel message, by nurturing them with God’s Word and showing them a way to become protected during the terrible times ahead.

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Would You Please Explain Proverbs 27:14?

Proverbs 27:14 reads: “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, It will be counted a curse to him.”

This seems to be a rather straight-forward statement, easy to understand. But upon further and deeper scrutiny, some very remarkable and easily overlooked truisms may come to light. This is a good example for the fact that the Bible must be read with great care and diligence, and that just a superficial glancing at biblical passages will not suffice.

(1)  First, we should note that the person blesses, praises or thanks his friend “with a loud voice.”

The Broadman Bible Commentary states:

“Verse 14 is aimed at insincerity in greeting concealed by a loud but hypocritical voice.”

The Lamsa Bible renders the verse:

“He who blesses his friend with a flattering loud voice is not different from him who curses.”

The person who flatters his friend by blessing him with a loud voice, while he has ulterior motives and insincerity in his heart, can be compared with those who pray to God with a loud voice, but who are unwilling to submit to Him. In either case, such a “blessing” or prayer of “thanks” will not produce positive results, as Ezekiel 8:18 states: “.. though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”

It is also interesting that the harlot is described as “loud and rebellious” (Proverbs 7:11).

The Soncino Commentary gives the following explanation of the person’s blessing with a loud voice, in Proverbs 27:14:

“… ‘with a loud voice.’ His heartiness conceals feelings of animosity…”

Psalm 5:9 states that “… there is no faithfulness in their mouth… their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.”

Proverbs 26:28 tells us that a “flattering mouth works ruin”; and Proverbs 29:5 states that “A man who flatters his neighbor Spreads a net for his feet.”

Psalm 12:3 states: “May the LORD cut off all flattering lips…”  and Job 17:5 warns also against the bad consequences of flattery for the flatterer and his offspring.

Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 that he and his fellow workers did not act as the flatterer in Proverbs 27:14, pointing out: “For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.”

We might also remember the many instances when the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Christ with flattering and praising words, in order to trick Him. For instance, we read this remarkable episode in Matthew 22:15-18:

“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their wickedness [Mark 12:15 states: “But He, knowing their hypocrisy …”], and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?’”

The Benson Commentary gives an additional meaning to the use of a “loud voice” in Proverbs 27:14:

“‘He that blesseth his friend’… That saluteth, praiseth, or applaudeth him to his face, as the manner of flatterers is; ‘with a loud voice’… That both he and others may be sure to take notice of it…”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible elaborates as follows:

“‘He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice’… So as not only to be heard by him, but by others; who is extravagant in his praises and commendations of him; who exceeds all bounds of modesty, truth, and decency; who affects pompous words, and hyperbolical expressions; and shows himself to be a real sycophant [a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain an advantage] and flatterer, having some sinister end to serve by it…”

The Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers agrees:

“‘He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice’… If gratitude is to be acceptable, the time, place, and manner of shewing it must all be well chosen. A man who is so eager to express his thanks that he begins early in the morning, and in so loud a voice as to draw upon his patron the attention of all the bystanders, is looked upon as a nuisance; any one would as soon be cursed as blessed by him. So God loves heartfelt gratitude offered in secret (Compare Matthew 6:5-6.).”

The point is made that we ought to be careful not to praise another person with a loud flattering voice in the presence of others, while being motivated by a desire to be heard and acknowledged by them.

(2)  Next, we should again take note of the fact that he blesses his friend “early in the morning.”

The Soncino Commentary states that “early in the morning” describes “an idiomatic phrase denoting zeal [compare Jeremiah 7:13], but in this instance it is only feigned…”

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary states:

“‘He that blesseth his friend… rising early in the morning…’ it shall be counted to be a flatterer all the same as if he cursed his friend (cf. Proverbs 26:25). ‘Early in the morning’ implies the affected assiduity [constant or close attention to what one is doing] of the flatterer… The exaggerated praise and compliment engender suspicion and sinister motives.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states:

“‘rising early in the morning’… lest any should be before him, and get the benefit he seeks by his flattery; or as if he had not time enough in the day to finish his encomium, unless he began early in the morning, and continued it all the day; and so it denotes his being incessant at this work, always harping on this string, or expressing himself in this adulatory way; or, as some think, this is mentioned as an aggravation of his sin, that he should be acting this low, mean, and criminal part, when he should be employed in devotion and prayer to God…”

We find an interesting example in Judges 6:28 when men of the city arose “early in the morning” to worship before the altar of Baal. They had zeal to do something, but their zeal was totally wrong. Another example of a wrong kind of zeal by those who rise “early in the morning,” but who do not behave in accordance with God’s Will and who disregard His Plan, can be found in Isaiah 5:11-12: “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may follow intoxicating drink… but they do not regard the work of the LORD, Nor consider the operation of His hands.”

(3)  Finally, we read that such early and loud blessings “will be counted a curse” to the flatterer.

The Soncino Commentary gives the following explanation:

“… ‘counted a curse to him.’ The clause… can mean that God will punish the insincere man for his greeting as though it had been a curse…”

The Benson Commentary states:

“…‘It shall be counted a curse to him’… His friend will value this kind of blessing no more than a curse: because it plainly discovers a base design, and is a high reflection upon him, as if he either did not understand such gross and palpable flattery, or were so ridiculously vain-glorious as to be pleased with it.”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible agrees and adds:

“… ‘it shall be counted a curse to him’… either to the flatterer, by his friend whom he blesses, and by all wise men that hear him, who will despise him all one as if he cursed him…  such an one differs [nothing], or nothing seems to differ, from one that curses: or else to the person blessed, whom others will curse or however detract from his character, because of the profuse praises bestowed upon him; nay, sometimes God himself curses such a man, who listens to, is fond of, and receives the fulsome flatteries of wicked men, as in the case of Herod, Acts 12:22.”

In regard to the above-quoted comment that a “blessed” person may be “cursed” by others, we might think of Jacob’s concern when his mother persuaded him to trick and deceive his father Isaac to receive a blessing from him. He said to his mother Rebekah: “Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing” (Genesis 27:12). His mother persuaded him to carry out his deception and stated that Jacob’s curse should be on her. Jacob acquiesced, but as a consequence, he had to flee from his twin brother Esau and stayed away for twenty years (Genesis 31:38, 41), while being deceived repeatedly by this uncle Laban (Genesis 29:24; 31:7). When he returned, his father Isaac was still alive, but it appears that his mother Rebekah had died in the meantime (she is not mentioned anymore after Genesis 27:46), which means that she never saw her son again.

In conclusion, the Bible does not speak against truly thanking or blessing our friend at any time. What is addressed here is the motive and the manner of the ones who bestow and receive the “blessing”—the insincere flattery of a person who acts with a loud voice to be heard by others, while he might harbor feelings of animosity towards his “friend,” and who acts early in the morning to be the first in line and before others have the opportunity to bless his friend and may receive appreciation and benefits instead of the flatterer. Again, we might think of Jacob who was able to get to his father Isaac with the savory food that had been quickly prepared by his mother, before his brother Esau arrived with his savory food.

Proverbs 27:14 addresses the insincere person who does not act because of genuine love, but because of sinister motives. For his conduct, he will either be punished by God directly or his friend will see right through him and reject his flattery, treating it as the utterance of a curse. Proverbs 27:14 might also include the warning for his friend not to accept such a “blessing” which might have been encouraged to some extent by his own improper conduct (compare Jacob’s behavior), and which might turn out to become a curse for him—including the admonition not to embrace and enjoy the hypocritical loud and boisterous flattery bestowed upon him in the presence of others (compare Herod’s behavior), as this might lead to his downfall.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our annual Church Conference will be conducted in San Diego, California, beginning March 20, and continuing through March 24, 2015.

A new Member Letter to our German brethren has been sent. In it, Mr. Link reminds everyone of the approaching Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread and includes information about the Feast of Tabernacles, which will be observed in Templin, Germany. In addition, two new German booklets dealing with the Sabbath and the Holy Days have been translated and are offered in this letter.

“The Pope Has No Answer!” is the title of a new StandingWatch Program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

During his travel to the Philippines, Pope Francis made some startling and unsettling comments. He warned Catholics not to breed like rabbits; admitted that he has no answer to the question of a little girl why children suffer; and said in response to the terrorist attack in France that one cannot make fun of faith without expecting a punch, and that every religion has its dignity. Why are all these comments deeply disturbing? We are offering our free booklet, “Human Suffering–Why… and How Much Longer?”

“Der Papst Hat Keine Antwort!” is the title of the German language AufPostenStehen program covering the same topic as above.

“Neu! Die Fehlenden Jahre im Wirken Christi,” is the new German sermon. It addresses the false concept of an end-time “7-year-contract” and discusses Christ’s public ministry for the remaining 3 1/2 years after His return. Title in English: “The Missing Years in Christ’s Ministry.”

“The Helper,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

In the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He told His disciples that a Helper would be sent after He left them. What is the Helper that Jesus talked about? How can It work in your life?

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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

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