Update 693


Corruption & Destruction; What Is the Mark of the Beast?

On June 20, 2015, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Corruption & Destruction,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “What Is the Mark of the Beast?”

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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We Are God’s People

by Robb Harris

Lately, there has been an inordinate amount of media coverage regarding the ways persons identify themselves.  Some men and women are choosing to become their opposites, or somewhere in between.  While ungodly behavior has existed since mankind was created on this earth, modern medical practices are transforming people in perverse ways.

We have a purpose as given to Adam and Eve, to “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Genesis 1:22).  We were created to fulfill God’s Will and increase His Family.  But mankind has rejected most aspects of God’s Laws.  Instead, mankind’s focus is driven inward, towards fulfilling one’s own will and pleasures.

God has always known who His people are and whom He will work with and call. “For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground” (Amos 9:9).  We can live by, and begin to believe in, whatever lie our carnal minds can devise.  But we can’t fool God.  There is only one way.  Only one truth will lead us to God.

It may be hard for those of us with God’s Spirit to perceive why someone would reject the love and ultimate purpose that God gives to His followers.  Yet we know because of Satan’s pervasive influence, when mankind is given a final chance, some will choose to reject God: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Satan cannot be trifled with!  His corruption is complete.  His wisdom in deceit is beyond the ability of carnal minds to combat.  So many in the world think they serve God when they don’t.  Satan didn’t think he was tempting some facet of God when he proceeded to tempt Christ.  Satan knew he was tempting The Logos as a man – a glorious being who emptied Himself of His glory and became fully man, “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).  Satan thought he could overcome Christ by temptation.  Satan assumed like all men, Christ would be subject to, and in fact drawn to his deceitfulness.

But Christ overcame Satan’s temptations, because He was filled with the same Spirit that lives within us.  There is no question who each of us are today! “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).  Focus on pleasing God and it will be His pleasure to give us the Kingdom.

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We begin with an interesting dilemma for Moslems regarding the observance of the fast of Ramadan for 30 days during “daylight hours”; speak on the growing number of British politicians proposing a possible Brexit; discuss Europe’s preparation for and anticipation of a possible Grexit; and point out the unconvincing decision of Germany’s chief prosecutor to drop the probe into NSA’s manifested spying activities.

 We continue with articles warning of America’s future as a Third World country; reporting on Donald Trump’s announcement to run for the Presidency; showing the relationship between America’s deplorable gun violence and lax state laws; and addressing a rather unconscionable decision of the US Supreme Court regarding abortion.

 We report on the growing LGBT movement in Latin America, Israel, Germany and of course the USA, which is strongly condemned in the Bible; speak on the Vatican’s first trial of one of its former Archbishops over sexual child abuse charges; and conclude with Pope Francis’ highly controversial and at the same time quite revealing new encyclical and a claim by the Catholic Church that Mexico is infested with demons.

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Ramadan — an Interesting Dilemma

The Independent wrote on June 14:

“As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches, and British Muslims prepare for four weeks of fasting during daylight hours, a perennial debate on changing the Ramadan observance times in northern regions has sprung up again. Dr Usama Haswan, an Islamic researcher from anti-extremism group Quilliam, has said that it would make more sense for Muslims in the UK to follow Mecca timings, as daylight lasts much longer this far north than it does in the Middle East.

“In Mecca, daylight during Ramadan usually lasts from around 12 to 13 hours. In the southern part of the UK, it typically lasts around 16 hours or more, and the timings mean that observers will have to wake up at around 4am if they want to eat in the morning. As the start of Ramadan is based on the first sighting of the new moon, it comes earlier and earlier each year. For the last few years, however, it has occurred during summer, meaning a much longer fasting time. This year, Ramadan will begin on 18 June.

“… things get worse the further north you go. In Aberdeen, more than 500 miles north of London, daylight will last for around 18 hours during Ramadan. And elsewhere in northern Europe, such as the far north of Sweden, the sun may only set for a couple of hours a day, if at all. In Kiruna, Sweden’s northernmost town, the sun has not set this month – and it’s not going to go down before August…

“There is no agreed-upon standard – some Muslims choose to observe Mecca time, others observe the timings of their own country. Mohammed Kharaki, a spokesman for Sweden’s Islamic Association, said the organisation had this week issued guidelines that said Muslims should fast between the times that the sun was last clearly seen to rise and fall – despite this concession, this could well amount to a 19-hour fast…

“However, even with a lengthy fast for British Muslims, the vast majority are adamant that they will observe it, no matter how difficult it is.”

Of course, the Bible does not prescribe such a fast at all—perhaps for the very reasons which are explained in the article above. The only enjoined fast takes place once a year, during one day, the Day of Atonement (known by Jews today as Yom Kippur), from sunset to sunset, which is always observed in the autumn.

 “Conservatives for Britain” Prefer Possible Brexit

Newsmax reported on June 13:

 “The number of lawmakers in Prime Minister David Cameron’s party to join a group pushing for Britain to leave the European Union unless it obtains major changes to its terms of membership has jumped from 50 to 110 in a week, a newspaper said on Saturday. One in three of Cameron’s 330 lawmakers, including some ministers, have joined ‘Conservatives for Britain’ (CfB), which is also backed by 13 members of the upper house and 12 members of the European Parliament, the Telegraph reported…

“Cameron angered some in his party at the start of the week when he suggested ministers who did not back his EU strategy, which envisions Britain remaining in a reformed EU, would have to quit the government. He later said he had been misunderstood and that his warning to ministers only applied to the EU negotiation period and not the referendum campaign itself where many Conservatives feel they should be allowed to vote according to their own conscience, rather than following the party line…”

Whether David Cameron will be able to reach agreements with the EU which will satisfy Britain’s euro-skeptics remains to be seen.

Europe Prepares for State of Emergency

Reuters reported on June 15:

“Greece and its creditors hardened their stances on Monday after the collapse of talks aimed at preventing a default and possible euro exit, prompting Germany’s EU commissioner to say the time had come to prepare for a ‘state of emergency’.

“Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ignored pleas from European leaders to act fast. Instead he blamed creditors for Sunday’s breakdown of the cash-for-reform talks, the biggest setback in long-running negotiations to unlock aid. He said his government had a responsibility to defend Greece’s dignity and would resist demands for further pension cuts… Athens now has just two weeks to find a way out of the impasse before it faces a 1.6 billion euro repayment due to the International Monetary Fund, potentially leaving it out of cash, unable to borrow and dangling on the edge of the currency area…

“Despite the deepening crisis, Tsipras is going ahead with a planned visit to Russia from Thursday, the day euro zone finance ministers hold a crucial meeting to review the standoff with Greece. He is due to stay till Saturday, attend an economic forum in Saint Petersburg and meet President Vladimir Putin. EU officials said that without improved Greek proposals by Thursday, the Eurogroup session would be very tough and was likely to present Greece with an ultimatum…

“Although some economists still believe that, as in past crises, a last-minute fix will be found to avoid default, European politicians sound more determined than before to resist compromising with demands they consider unreasonable. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis retorted in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper that a deal could be reached quickly if Merkel took part in the talks. ‘I rule out a “Grexit” as a sensible solution,’ Varoufakis said. ‘But no one can rule out everything. I can’t even rule out a comet hitting Earth.’”

And both might strike…

The New York Times wrote on June 17:

“It is the current doomsday scenario for Europe… Although Europe is better positioned to deal with a crisis than it was a few years ago, when Greece last teetered, there is simply no precedent for a country’s leaving the eurozone. And the big test may be only weeks away.

“Relations between Greece and its lenders have descended into a bitter standoff. The impasse is increasing the chances that Greece and its creditors will fail to forge a deal by the end of the month, when a pile of debt comes due and its current bailout expires.

“Many in Europe still believe that some sort of agreement will be reached at the last minute… But the war of words — and the apparent distance between both sides’ positions — is reducing hopes for a breakthrough…

“Optimistic analysts contend that markets would soon steady themselves after the initial shock of Greece’s crashing out of the euro. Much has changed, they say, since 2011 and 2012, when Greece’s problems spilled over into other countries… There are grounds for such confidence. Private investors and banks no longer have large holdings of Greek government debt, meaning their losses would be minimal if the country were to default. Instead, Greece’s debt is now mostly owed to other governments and official entities…

“Perhaps the biggest difference between the last Greek crisis and now is the stance of the European Central Bank…

“Some analysts are looking beyond the immediate financial repercussions of Greece’s leaving the eurozone… If Greece were to fall out of the eurozone, it would establish a dangerous precedent — and show that the euro is only for certain countries…”

… which, of course, it clearly is, showing again the concept of a Europe with two speeds or a core Europe of influential major countries, leading the rest of Europe. In addition, according to a new poll which was published on Wednesday, “58 percent of [German] people would prefer it if Greece simply left the Euro. Just 28 percent of Germans thought that Greece should remain in, while 14 percent had no opinion” (The Local, June 17, 2015).

The Guardian added on June 18:

“Greece is facing a full-blown banking crisis after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers broke down in acrimony and recrimination on Thursday evening, bringing the prospect of Greek exit from the eurozone a step nearer.

“Some €2bn of deposits have been withdrawn from Greek banks so far this week – including a record €1bn yesterday – triggering fears that a breakdown in talks would spark a further flight of funds. The German leader Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to stage an emergency EU summit on Monday as a last critical attempt to prevent Greece going bankrupt. A representative of the European Central Bank told the meeting it was unsure whether Greek banks would have the funds to be able to open on Monday.”

 German Prosecutor Chickens Out

The Local wrote on June 12:

Germany’s chief prosecutor has dropped a probe into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone by US intelligence agencies, his office said Friday… The suspected surveillance and rampant online spying by the US… badly strained US-German relations.

“The German chief prosecutor Harald Range said he had put an end to his year-old probe, citing a lack of hard evidence that would stand up in a court of law. ‘The Chief Federal Prosecutor has closed the investigation over suspected spying on a mobile phone used by the chancellor by US intelligence services .. because the allegation cannot be proven in a legally sound way under criminal law,’ a statement said.

“Media reports in October 2013 said that the NSA had tapped Merkel’s mobile phone – a claim Washington appeared to confirm later when US officials said the cellphone was no longer a target… The German prosecutor’s office on Friday said that the ‘vague’ US comments did not legally amount to proof of past spying activity.”

This was to be expected, of course, but the rationale for the decision not to prosecute appears to be a pitiful, unconvincing and cowardly cop-out. This announcement comes on the heels of a meeting between President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany, with the publication of some friendly smiling faces and the exchange of political niceties… all of this in an effort to portray unity and harmony between them and their two countries.

America’s Future as a Third World Country?

On June 15, the website of creators.com published the following article by Pat Buchanan:

“Over three decades, [the] border [with Mexico] has been a causeway into the USA for millions of illegal immigrants who are changing the face of America… All sides of this quarrel have been using the figure of 11 million people here illegally. In her new best-seller, ‘Adios, America!,’ Ann Coulter makes a compelling case that the real figure is close to 30 million. If that is true, and if the next president embraces amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, that will mean the end to America as the Western nation we have been, and the beginning of America’s life as what Ann calls, unapologetically, a ‘Third World hellhole.’…

“Between 80 and 90 percent of those coming are from Third World nations. On average, they have higher illegitimacy rates than native-born Americans, higher drug use rates, higher rates of obesity, spousal abuse and child abuse, higher rates of disease, lower test scores and higher dropout rates, and higher crime and incarceration rates. Children of immigrants are more gang-oriented. And Third World immigrants consume more per capita in social services than they pay in taxes. Hence they contribute to fiscal deficits at every level of government…

“Among the myths or lies drummed into the heads of Americans is that we have always been a ‘nation of immigrants,’ and ‘diversity,’ i.e., racial, ethnic and religious diversity, ‘is a strength.’ But America in 1970 was a white nation with a black minority of about 10 percent…

“Is ethnic, racial and religious diversity truly a ‘strength’? Why then has the most diverse region of Europe, the Balkans — with its Serb, Croat, Albanian, Slovenian, Macedonian, Turkic peoples, and Catholic, Orthodox and Islamic religions — had the bloodiest history?…

“If diversity is a strength, then why are Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen falling apart? Why are Sunni and Shiite, Palestinian and Israeli fighting?… As racial, ethnic and religious hatreds pull people apart and create terrorists all over our disintegrating world, why would we make ourselves ever more diverse?…”

Trump IS Running After All

Breitbart reported on June 16:

“Real estate mogul and businessman Donald Trump announced he’s running for president at a private event in his own Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York City on Tuesday in front of dozens of reporters and media outlets. Trump took the stage and promised to be a different type of candidate. While other presidential candidates have provided rhetoric, he promised to implement policies. ‘If I’m elected president,’ he announced, ‘we will make America great again.’

“To begin with, ‘we have to repeal Obamacare,’ he said… He promised to bring jobs back to the United States, and crack down on illegal immigration from Mexico. Trump promised to ‘immediately terminate President Obama’s executive order on immigration.’ … ‘I would build a great wall on our southern border,’ he added, “and I will have Mexico pay for that wall…’ [He later clarified that he would do so by taxing Mexico heavily for their goods imported into the USA.]

“He also promises to beef up the military by finding ‘the guy, the Gen. Patton or Gen. MacArthur’ to lead it. He also vows to get tough with Iran. Unlike Secretary of State John Kerry, Trump says he knows how to negotiate a good deal.

“He also took a jab at Jeb Bush. ‘Education has to be local,’ Trump said, announcing he’ll staunchly oppose Common Core. Bush, who just announced yesterday, has supported Common Core…

“When his financial statement is filed, Trump says, it will show he has $9.240 billion in assets. His net worth, after all debt, he says, is upward of $8.7 billion…”

He also stated that America has become a Third World country [compare the previous article], and that the American Dream is over, but that he would revive it as the “best jobs President that God ever created.” He would tax American firms heavily, such as Ford, which manufacture their products in Mexico or other foreign countries and then import them into the USA. And he said this:

“They [Mexico and other foreign countries] are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists. Some, I assume are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting. They are not sending us the right people. It’s coming all over South and Latin America and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know because we have no protection and we have no competence. We don’t know what is happening and it has got to stop and it has to stop fast.”

He also stated: “We have people who are morally corrupt. We have people who are selling our country down the drain,” adding that US unemployment has risen sky high, even past 20 percent, challenging government figures that put it at under six percent. “Don’t believe the 5.6 percent,” he said.

The reaction to Trump’s announcement and speech was overwhelmingly negative. As could be expected, Democrats and left-liberal commentators blasted him, being anxious and eager to find “inconsistencies” in his address and his “rambling” and “bizarre” speech and charging him with defamation of the worst kind against American immigrants. Many Republicans blew into the same horn, but a few Republicans [including Sean Hannity] and a few conservative commentators [including Rush Limbaugh] were more reserved, giving him credit for an understanding as to what many Americans are looking for, feeling his comments might “resonate” with the GOP, and stating that he might not be a candidate who could or should be easily dismissed.

CBS commented that “It was a speech that drew immediate scorn online from a series of Republicans, who fear Trump will turn an otherwise serious Republican primary contest into a circus. The Democratic National Committee was just as sarcastic on Twitter…

“Meanwhile, based on guidelines recently announced by the television networks, Trump could play a prominent role in the upcoming nationally televised Republican debate in August. Those who rank in the top 10 in national polls, and Trump currently does, although he’s close to the bottom, will earn a place on the debate stage. That could place Trump in a debate alongside leading candidates such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who formally launched his candidacy on Monday.

“Trump also said he would not renew his contract with NBC for his reality show, ‘The Apprentice.’ He cannot appear on the network and run for president at the same time.”

Newsmax wrote about Trump on June 15:

“Donald Trump has become one of the most well-known Americans… His grandfather Friedrich and grandmother Elisabeth were born in Germany and emigrated to the United States. Their son Fred Trump married Donald Trump’s mother Mary Ann MacLeod, who was born in Scotland and met Donald Trump’s father during a vacation trip to New York… While Donald Trump did inherit wealth from his father, he is personally responsible for accumulating the great bulk of his fortune. Trump’s father built affordable rental housing, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens in New York City. He had a net wealth estimated at between $250 million and $400 million at the time of his death, but his four surviving children were heirs. By 2011, Donald Trump’s business dealings had boosted his fortune to $2.4 billion, according to Forbes… Trump’s parents sent him to a military school, New York Military Academy, when he was 13 years old…  Trump’s oldest sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, served as a federal appeals court judge. She was nominated for the post by President Bill Clinton in 1999 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Prior to that, she had a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.”

Bild Online summed it up this way: “The whole world laughs at Trump’s speech.” At the same time, Trump seems to be serious. Time will tell what this may mean for America, the political landscape and its standing in the world.

Gun Violence in the USA

The Huffington Post wrote on June 12:

 More than two-thirds of all homicides in the United States are gun-related. Of the 16,121 homicides reported in 2013, 11,208 were caused by gun violence. Including suicides, nearly 34,000 people died in gun-related incidents in 2013…

“Suicide is the leading cause of gun-related deaths across the country in recent years. Of the 33,636 firearm deaths in 2013, more than 21,000 were suicides. In fact, suicide accounted for more than half of gun-related deaths in all but one state with the most gun violence. In three states — Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming — suicide accounted for more than 80% of all firearm deaths.

“… states with the highest rates of suicide often have the strongest culture of gun ownership in the country… While federal gun laws are uniform across the country, state regulations vary, offering more lax or more strict approaches to firearm use. Seven of the 10 states with the most firearm deaths in 2013 have enacted stand your ground laws… many states with these laws likely also have laws that make it easier to possess firearms and buy ammunition.

“In fact, none of the states with the most gun violence require permits to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Gun owners are also not required to register their weapons in any of these states. Meanwhile, many of the states with the least gun violence require a permit or other form of identification to buy a gun.

“Gun-related homicides were also relatively frequent in the states with the most gun violence. Nationally, there were 3.61 homicides per 100,000 people. Seven of the 10 states with the most gun violence reported homicide rates higher than the national rate… In 2013, Louisiana reported nearly 10 homicides per 100,000 residents, the highest rate in the country…

“The poverty rate in eight of the 10 states with the most gun violence was above the national rate of 15.8%. Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas, the states with the four highest poverty rates in the country, were among the states with the most gun violence. Educational attainment rates also tended to be lower in states with the most gun violence. The share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree was lower than the national rate of 29.6% in all 10 states on this list.”

A tragic testimony regarding a country which still believes the lie that guns and wars can produce peace and happiness. Only Christ’s return will bring a fundamental change of heart, the abolishment of guns, war and poverty, and the establishment of true education for all.

New US Supreme Court Decision on Abortion Highly Troublesome

The Associated Press reported on June 15:

“The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from North Carolina to revive a requirement that abortion providers show and describe an ultrasound to a pregnant woman before she has an abortion. The justices left in place an appeals court decision that said the 2011 North Carolina law was ‘ideological in intent’ and violated doctors’ free-speech rights. The North Carolina law would have required abortion providers to display and describe the ultrasound even if the woman refused to look and listen — a mandate that the court found particularly troublesome.

“North Carolina is among 23 states, mostly in the South and the Midwest, which passed laws dealing with the administration of ultrasounds by abortion providers, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research institute that supports abortion-rights…

“Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of the NC Values Coalition and a supporter of increased restrictions on abortion, said it made no sense to her that federal judges would block a woman’s access to what she described as life-saving information. ‘In any other medical procedure, doctors would have a duty to disclose all of the relevant information, and, yet, a procedure as destructive and life-changing as abortion is held to a lower standard,’ Fitzgerald said.”

In addition, the court’s finding that the law violated the doctors’ right of free speech does not make any sense at all, in the context.

Gay “PRIDE” Parade in Tel Aviv

 The Times of Israel wrote on June 12:

“Some 180,000 people marched through Tel Aviv’s streets Friday in the city’s 17th annual Gay Pride Parade, the nation’s largest and oldest gay pride event… The event has become one of Tel Aviv’s most popular annual festivals. Streets and stores have been decorated with rainbow flags for days. Thousands of Israelis flocked to the city center to observe the parade, filling cafes and restaurants along the route to capacity.

“‘Welcome to all our guests from abroad to the gay-friendliest city in the world,’ Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai declared at the event’s launch Friday morning. ‘We’ve been through a lot,’ he added. ‘In 17 years, we’ve achieved a different reality in this city, and also in Israel. I want to tell all the politicians, there is still a great deal of legislation that has to be passed to accept the gay community. We will continue to walk this path, and to support the pride parade.’

“The theme of this year’s parade was focused on transgender rights. Events like the parade are key to advancing recognition for the transgendered, Tel Aviv activist Elisha Alexander said earlier this week… This year’s celebration featured Eurovision song contest winner and LGBT rights representative Conchita Wurst, who was to perform at Charles Clore Park after the march.”

Eurovision song contest winner Wurst, appearing as a lady with a full beard, represents the wide-spread recognition and acceptance of the LGBT community with its aggressive agenda. That Tel Aviv is labeled as the “gay-friendliest city in the world” is remarkable.

God says to ancient and modern “Jerusalem” and “Judah”: “… they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves” (Isaiah 3:9).  He also says: “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom; She and her daughter had pride , fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy, And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit” (Ezekiel 16:49-40).

This warning should ring loud and clear in the ears of those who proclaim different standards.

Same-Sex Marriages in Latin America

 The New York Times wrote on June 14:

In ruling after ruling, [Mexico’s Supreme Court] has said that state laws restricting marriage to heterosexuals are discriminatory. Though the decisions have been made to little public fanfare, they have had the effect of legalizing gay marriage in Mexico without enshrining it in law… the Mexican court’s rulings have added the country to a slowly growing list of Latin American nations permitting same-sex unions.

“Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil already allow same-sex marriage. Chile plans to recognize same-sex civil unions this year; Ecuador approved civil unions in April; and Colombia grants same-sex couples many of the same rights extended to heterosexual married couples…

“The shift in Mexico, the second largest country in Latin America after Brazil, is the product of a legal strategy that advocates used to bypass state legislatures, which have shown little inclination, and often hostility, to legalizing gay marriage. In 2009, Mexico City, a large liberal island in this socially conservative country, legalized gay marriage — a first in Latin America. There have been 5,297 same-sex weddings there since then, some of them couples coming to the city from other states… The Supreme Court upheld Mexico City’s law in 2010, adding that other states had to recognize marriages performed there…

“[The Supreme Court’s ruling] allows gay couples who are denied marriage rights in their states to seek injunctions from district judges, who are now obligated to grant them… The Roman Catholic Church, often an influential force socially and politically in a country that is 83 percent Catholic, objected to the ruling, saying the court had flouted two millenniums of convention…”

The Catholic Church’s sincerity is of course being questioned even by many professing and practicing Catholics, since homosexual pedophiles are active within the priesthood and are being shielded from prosecution by the Church hierarchy, even though a few priests allegedly guilty of active misconduct and their superiors who chose to stay silent were urged to resign by the Vatican. One former archbishop will even be tried by the Vatican State for pedophilia… a case of first impression (see article below).

Debate Continues in Germany

The Local wrote on June 12:

Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, voted on Friday in favour of a resolution calling for full marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples. The debate followed a referendum in Ireland in which the population voted massively in favour of allowing same-sex marriage… Although the Bundesrat did not vote for a draft law, the move increases pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to confront more conservative voices in her own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) – and the more strongly religious Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU).

“Currently, homosexual couples can enter a civil partnership (‘Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft’, registered life partnership) in Germany and enjoy most of the same rights as married couples following a series of test cases in the Supreme Court. But there remains stiff opposition in the Bundestag, the lower and more powerful house of parliament.

“The Bundesrat, composed of representatives from the largely left-wing state governments, is easy to bring on side. But the CDU-CSU dominates the Bundestag, and is mostly against ‘marriage for all’. Pro-gay marriage Social Democratic Party (SPD) MPs would also be forced to vote against any bill that came up for debate under their coalition agreement with the CDU-CSU…

“Rheinland-Pfalz minister-president Malu Dreyer and member of the Bundesrat said after the vote ‘nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.’”

Breitbart added on June 13:

“… campaigners [in Germany] say this is not enough and ordinary marriage should be redefined to cover same-sex couples… While the mainland United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and others have redefined marriage in recent years, Germany sits alongside Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and others who have split same sex unions off into a separate idea of a civil procedure. Well behind with Europe’s progressive agenda are nations like Poland and the rump Ukraine, who do not recognise gay marriage at all.”

Will Germany follow suit and recognize same-sex marriages, or will the country stand strongly in opposition? It is to be expected that the German government, in true political fashion, will end up agreeing with those who seem to have the strongest support.

Portland “Pride” Parade 2015

This week, Oregon Live reported the following:

“Pride Northwest chose recently appointed Gov. Kate Brown as grand marshal of the 2015 Pride Parade, a fitting honor for the nation’s first openly bisexual state leader. It won’t be Brown’s first time in the parade, and she wasn’t invited just because of her LGBTQ identification. Pride Northwest President Debra Porta said organizers have always invited Oregon governors to the parade, but Brown will be the first to participate…

“This year’s parade is expected to be the biggest ever in Portland, she added, shattering the attendance records set in previous years. The two-day Pride Festival will bring vendors, live music and representatives from local organizations to the waterfront…”

Is this a “ fitting honor” for the nation’s first openly bisexual state leader to participate as grand marshal? Fitting? Yes! An honor? That is the question.

Vatican to Try Former Archbishop over Child Abuse Charges

Deutsche Welle reported on June 15:

“Former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski is to stand trial on accusations of paying for sex with minors and possessing child pornography. The case is the first of its kind in the Vatican… The former priest [is] the first person to be tried after Pope Francis introduced anti-paedophilia laws in the Vatican penal code in July 2013.

“The 66-year-old former Polish archbishop was the Vatican ambassador… in the Dominican Republic for five years until 2013, when local media accused him of pedophilia. Wesolowski allegedly dressed in casual clothes, including a baseball cap and visited a beach area where he picked up poor child prostitutes. The former clergyman was then recalled from his position as the Vatican’s ambassador in 2013 and defrocked by a Vatican tribunal. He was convicted last year. The pope then ordered a criminal investigation, following which police found material indicating child pornography on his computer. Officials at the Vatican said at the time that Wesolowski could face up to 12 years in jail.

“If convicted, he would most probably not spend time in the Vatican’s prisons, which consist of only a few rooms. There was a chance the accused would be sent to Italy, which, according to an agreement with the Vatican, houses the holy city’s prisoners. Wesolowski could also be sent to his native country Poland or extradited to the Dominican Republic, Vatican officials told journalists.

“The case is the first high-profile incident since the 2012 trial of Paolo Gabriele, a papal butler accused of stealing and leaking former Pope Benedict XVI’s private papers. Gabriele was later pardoned.

“The Vatican also announced the resignation of two senior US clerics on Monday. Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche stepped down after they were accused of failing to act on repeated warnings that a priest in the archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minnesota was a danger to children…

“Abuse victims’ network SNAP welcomed the Vatican’s initiatives, but remained apprehensive about the future. ‘After centuries of abuse and cover up done in secrecy…evidently one pope has seen fit to oust one archbishop for complicity in clergy sex crimes….But it’s only a very tiny drop of reform in an enormous bucket of horror,’ SNAP’s Southern Minnesota chief Frank Meuer told the AFP news agency.”

Pope’s New Encyclical Leaked to the Public… Pope Speaks of Unprecedented Worldwide Destruction and Paints Apocalyptic Picture

The Independent wrote on June 15:

“The Pope warned that the world is heading for ‘unprecedented destruction’ unless mankind confronts climate change and reforms the way it treats the planet, as the most eagerly anticipated papal document in living memory was leaked.

“In a 192-page encyclical on global warming that looks set to define his tenure, the Pope paints an apocalyptic picture in which the world’s poorest are the biggest victims of a web of environmental, human, financial and ethical degradation that puts the entire planet at risk. In an extraordinarily frank document, the Pope lambasts rich countries for ‘looting’ the world and takes aim at bankers and climate sceptics for accelerating its decline. He warns that the world is facing widespread crop failure, economic ruin, mass migration and the destruction of entire eco-systems. ‘If the current trend continues this century we could witness climate change unlike anything seen before and the unprecedented destruction of eco-systems, with serious consequences for all of us,’ he writes.

“Pope Francis has spent months working on the encyclical, the contents of which has been the subject of eager anticipation in the Vatican and environmental circles. It is the encyclical, or papal letter, aimed at everyone in the world, regardless of religion. Environmentalists hope his strident warnings will encourage right-wing climate sceptics – particularly US Christians – to rethink their position.

“The Vatican reacted with fury to the leak on Monday night, accusing the magazine responsible [of a] ‘heinous act’ that amounted to ‘sabotage against the pope’. [In the meantime, the final version of the encyclical was published, and no discrepancy between the leaked draft and the final version has been pointed out so far.] In the encyclical, titled  ‘Laudato Sii’, or ‘Praised Be’, the Pope quotes Patriarca Bartolomeo of the Eastern Orthodox Church as saying: ‘A crime against nature is a crime against ourselves and a sin against God’.

“And he is withering about the financial system… ‘The economic powers shall continue to justify the current world system, in which speculation and the aim for financial returns to prevail that tend to ignore each context and the effects on the environment and on human dignity. So clearly it reveals that environmental, human and ethical degradation are intimately connected,’ he wrote.

“Although the first ever encyclical on the environment concentrated heavily on the natural world, the pope repeatedly linked climate change with the plight of the poor. Pope Francis is also extremely concerned about the prospect of mass migration of animals, plants and humans as global warming means they cannot function in their traditional habitat.

“He calls for a new global political authority tasked with tackling the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions. Although he accepts that there may be some natural causes of global warming, the pope lays most of the blame for climate change squarely at the feet of mankind… The pope is very critical of anybody who stands in the way of tackling the problem of global warming – whether they are merely indifferent or actively sceptical. ‘The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions,’ he wrote.

“The letter to the world’s 1.2bn Catholics is aimed at influencing the debate ahead of crucial United Nations talks in Paris in December at which world leaders have pledged to agree [on] decisive action to curb global warming. The pope hopes that adding a moral dimension to the scientific arguments – together with the support of the huge number of Catholics around the world – will raise the ambition of world leaders to agree [on] a meaningful deal at the talks.

“The encyclical is likely to anger some sections of America, who are sceptical about the presence of climate change and mankind’s role in it…”

The New York Times wrote on June 15:

“Bishops around the world have been sent instructions on how to spread the pope’s message to the world’s more than one billion Catholics. Journalists accredited with the Vatican are supposed to receive official copies on Thursday morning so they can review the contents before the embargo is lifted at midday, after a news conference…

“In one section, Francis writes: ‘Numerous scientific studies indicate that most of the global warming of the past decades is due to the concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and others), emitted especially because of human activities.’… In other chapters, Francis… pointedly disputes the idea that population control and contraception are solutions to the planet’s limited resources…

“He also calls for assertive government action, as well as better cooperation between governments, while saying progress has been too slow in addressing climate change… Massimo Faggioli, an associate professor of theology and the director of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic college in St. Paul, Minn., said Francis ‘has always been very consistent that there is a role for citizens, but there is also a role for government in solving problems, and even for global governance.’ He added: ‘This will be particularly difficult for American Catholics,’ referring to those Catholics who believe that the church teaches against relying on governments to solve social problems.”

The Guardian added on June 16:

“Francis… called for a new global political authority tasked with ‘tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions’. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.

“At the start of the draft essay, the pope wrote, the Earth ‘is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her…’ He immediately makes clear, moreover, that unlike previous encyclicals, this one is directed to everyone, regardless of religion…

“Francis is likely to want to influence Republicans in Washington with his remarks. Most Republicans on Capitol Hill deny climate change is a man-made phenomenon and have staunchly opposed regulatory efforts by the Obama administration. The encyclical will make for awkward reading among some Catholic Republicans… While many Republicans have praised the pope, it will not be unprecedented for them to make a public break with the pontiff on the issue of global warming.”

The Huffington Post wrote on June 17:

“GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush criticized Pope Francis on Tuesday after a draft of his encyclical on climate change was leaked by an Italian newspaper… ‘I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,’ Bush said…

“Other Republicans came out against the pope after he first spoke on climate change in January… Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) told a radio station earlier this month the church shouldn’t weigh in on scientific matters. ‘The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists…’, he said.

“… several Republican presidential hopefuls have question[ed] climate change and its origin. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has said ‘humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe.’ Business mogul Donald Trump has called global warming a ‘hoax.’ Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has compared climate change activists to ‘flat-Earthers.’”

The Catholic Church has always cooperated with worldly governments and it has many times—far more often than not—influenced them to do its bidding. This collaboration has brought much more harm than good, and the Pope’s proposed human “global governance” is a very dangerous affair, no matter what the circumstances, “justifications” or intentions might be. Please note also the Church’s unchanged unbiblical stance on population control and contraception.

Mexico—a Country Infested with Demons?

 CNA wrote on June 16:

“Can a country with deep Christian roots like Mexico find itself at the mercy of demons? Some in the [Catholic] Church fear so. And as a result, they called for a nation-wide exorcism of Mexico, carried out quietly last month in the cathedral of San Luis Potosí. High levels of violence, as well as drug cartels and abortion in the country, were the motivation behind the special rite of exorcism… the first ever in the history of Mexico.

“But how can an entire country become infested by demons…?  ‘To the extent sin increases more and more in a country, to that extent it becomes easier for the demons to tempt (people),’ Fr. Fortea told CNA. The Spanish exorcist warned that ‘to the extent there is more witchcraft and Satanism going on in a country, to that extent there will be more extraordinary manifestations of those powers of darkness.’”

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Are Babies Guilty Because of “Original Sin”?

In our previous Q&A, we pointed out that babies are conceived and born with human nature. We referred to David’s saying in Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” We explained that this was not a reference to any illicit acts of David in his mother’s womb, nor of his mother and his father; rather, that David described here HIS human nature with which he was conceived and born.

We also stated, however, that this must not be “confused with the WRONG concept of the ‘original sin,’ which holds that Adam and Eve’s sin was ‘imputed’ to all of mankind, and that because of the sin of Adam and Eve, everybody is guilty. This negates personal and individual responsibility and accountability. But it IS true that due to Adam and Eve’s sin, access to the Tree of Life and God’s Holy Spirit was disallowed, leading to the kind of world under Satan’s influence which we experience today (Romans 5:12)—a world cut off from God and being held captive by Satan. The point is that even an unborn baby has human NATURE, which would have led to sinful CONDUCT following birth (compare Job 13:26; 14:1-4; 25:4; Psalm 25:7).”

Before we address in more detail the difference between human nature and original sin, let us further explain the concept of human nature.

We stated in the above-mentioned Q&A:

“We need to understand that we do not only have to repent of what we DO, but also, of what we ARE. The Bible shows us that apart from God’s Spirit within us, NOTHING good dwells within us (Romans 7:18)… all are born with HUMAN NATURE or, as the Bible puts it, with SINFUL FLESH. Christ never sinned, but He came into sinful flesh (Romans 8:3). He had human nature passed on to Him through His mother Mary, and He needed God’s help to overcome sin in the flesh. He had the fullness of God’s Spirit within Him without measure, and that from conception (John 3:34, Authorized Version), which enabled Him to stay sinless.

“… Even though an unborn baby who dies prematurely in his or her mother’s womb or who is aborted, does not commit sinful ACTS, they are still human beings with human nature, which CANNOT be subject to God’s law (Romans 8:7)…  Adam and Eve… refused to eat from the Tree of Life which would have granted them the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. God did not create Adam and Eve with wicked hearts and rebellious minds; however, He did not create them with a divine nature either, but with human nature, susceptible to the temptations of Satan the Devil. Since they were free moral agents, they could choose, and they chose to follow Satan—falling for his temptation—and to disobey God. Mankind has been following Satan ever since, but many times, man follows Satan without realizing it.

“Satan has control over the whole world. He rules over this world… and he does so often by sending feelings, impulses and emotions, which are contrary to godly love and promote instead unrealized selfish ambitions. We might call this human nature… but in reality, it is SATAN’S NATURE which he instills into human beings. And in that sense, Satan has tempted everyone, to one degree or another… We read in Ephesians 2:1-3 that we all were once targets of Satan, the ‘prince of the power of the air,’ ‘fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were BY NATURE children of wrath.'”

Christ was not in any way guilty or sinful because of an “original sin” which had been passed on genetically to Him when He was conceived in Mary’s womb, but Christ was conceived with human nature. As mentioned, Romans 8:3 tells us that Christ came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” to overcome and condemn sin in the flesh.

David recognized that he was conceived and born with human nature. His statement in Psalm 51:5 (quoted above) does not refer to his parents (even though it is true, of course, that his parents had human nature as well), but David was referring to himself. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown agrees, stating: “In sin did my mother conceive me… not referring to the sin of his mother, but of himself…”

The old Luther Bible translates Psalm 51:5 [Psalm 51:7 in the German Bible] as follows: “Look, I am born in [or as] a sinful nature [or being]” (“in suendlichem Wesen”), pointing at the sinful nature of human beings.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains that David’s statement (“I was brought forth in iniquity”) describes himself, not his mother and his father, stating, “This cannot be understood of any personal iniquity of his immediate parents; since this respects his wonderful formation in the womb, in which both he and they were wholly passive, as the word here used is of that form; and is the amazing work of God himself, so much admired by the psalmist… the sense is, that as soon as ever the mass of human nature was shaped and quickened… , sin was in him, and he was in sin, or became a sinful creature…”

Gill went on to explain that David’s second thought (“And in sin my mother conceived me”) does not refer to a sinful action of his mother or his father, either:

“… Nor does the sin in which he was conceived intend any sin of his parents, in begetting and conceiving him, being in lawful wedlock; which acts cannot be sinful, since the propagation of the human species by natural generation is a principle of nature implanted by God himself… Marriage is the institution of God in paradise; and in all ages has been accounted ‘honourable in all, when the bed is undefiled’, Hebrews 13:4.

“Nor does it design his being conceived when his mother was in ‘profluviis’, of which there is no proof, and is a mere imagination, and can answer no purpose; much less that he was conceived in adultery, as the contenders for the purity of human nature broadly intimate; which shows how much they are convicted by this text, to give into such an interpretation of it, at the expense of the character of an innocent person, of whom there is not the least suggestion of this kind in the Holy Scriptures; but on the contrary, she is represented as a religious woman, and David valued himself upon his relation to her as such, Psalm 86:16.

“Besides, had this been the case, as David would have been a bastard, he would not have been suffered to enter into the congregation of the Lord, according to the law in Deuteronomy 23:2; whereas he often did with great delight, Psalm 42:4. Moreover, it is beside his scope and design to expose the sins of others, much less his own parents, while he is confessing and lamenting his own iniquities…  Nor is the sin he speaks of any actual sin of his own, and therefore he does not call it, as before, ‘my’ iniquity and ‘my’ sin… it being common to him with all mankind. Hence we learn the earliness of the corruption of nature…”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible agrees, stating:

“Of course, the idea here is not to cast reflections on the character of his mother, or to refer to her feelings in regard to his conception and birth, but the design is to express his deep sense of his own depravity…”

At the same time, the commentary points out that David is in no way expressing the concept of “original sin,” stating:

“There is no statement that the sin of another was ‘imputed’ to him; or that he was ‘responsible’ for the sin of Adam; or that he was guilty ‘on account of’ Adam’s sin, for on these points the psalmist makes no assertion. It is worthy of remark, further, that the psalmist did not endeavor to ‘excuse’ his guilt on the ground that he was ‘born’ in iniquity; nor did he allude to that fact with any purpose of ‘exculpating’ himself. The fact that he was thus born only deepened his sense of his own guilt… The points, therefore, which are established by this expression of the psalmist… are

“(1) that people are born with a propensity to sin; and

“(2) that this fact does not excuse us in sin, but rather tends to aggravate and deepen our guilt.

“And in sin did my mother conceive me – … This language simply traces his sin back to the time when he began to exist… The idea is… ‘as soon as I began to exist… I had then a propensity to sin – a propensity, the sad proof and result of which is that enormous act of guilt which I have committed [i.e., his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah].'”

But being conceived or born with human nature is not the same as being condemned to death because of Adam and Eve’s “original sin” which was allegedly transferred to all of mankind.

In a Q&A on “original sin,” we stated the following:

“Simply put, the concept of the original sin holds that we all ‘inherited’ guilt or transgression from Adam and Eve who ‘originally’ sinned. According to that concept, we inherited eternal death–which is the penalty for sin (compare Romans 6:23)–even though we ourselves did nothing to deserve this penalty. In other words, Adam and Eve’s original sin was somehow arbitrarily transmitted to all, down to the last baby born before Christ returns…

“Romans 5:12, 19 is used as the proof verse of original sin. It reads, ‘… through one man sin entered in the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men… by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners…’ However, this passage does not tell us that we are guilty of eternal death, just because of Adam’s sin, and without any personal responsibility. Rather, an important part of the Scripture was left out in the above quote. Romans 5:12 reads, in its entirety: ‘Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death [the penalty for sin] spread to all men, BECAUSE ALL SINNED…’

“This passage… says that all have sinned, individually. Romans 5:14 says that ‘death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the LIKENESS of the transgression of Adam.’ But, they DID sin. Verse 13 says that sin is not imputed when there is no law. Since death reigned from Adam to Moses, and beyond, there WAS a law, and sin WAS imputed. Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, Authorized Version), and the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23)…”

But does this not contradict God’s statements in numerous places that He will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation (compare Exodus 20:5; 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 5:8-10; Numbers 14:18)? We addressed this question in a previous Q&A, stating this:

“Exodus 20:5 speaks of those ‘who hate [God].’ Soncino points out that the phrase, ‘of those that hate Me,’ applies to the children, i.e. God will punish the children if they [the children] hate Him. Soncino comments, too, that the punishment will be brought upon the children, ‘when they retain the evil deeds of their fathers.’…

“… parents must consider the consequences of their actions – not just for their own sakes, but also for the sakes of their children, grandchildren, and future generations (A wrong lifestyle might very well affect the parents’ offspring – even in physical ways). For instance, as long as even one parent is in the Church, his or her children are sanctified (1 Corinthians 7:14), that is, they can and do have access to God. If both parents leave the Church, their children’s access to God is no longer guaranteed and may in time totally disappear. We note that because of Lot’s righteous conduct, God saved his daughters, while David’s adultery caused the death of his child (2 Samuel 12:13-14, 19-23). It should be pointed out here, however, that God did not consider David’s child to be guilty in any way and worthy of punishment. God punished David. The innocent child will be brought back to life by God at a time of peace and happiness, when prejudice and the hatred towards illegitimate children (compare Judges 11:1-2), who did nothing to deserve their fate, will be a thing of the past.

“When Adam and Eve sinned, the penalty imposed on them affected all mankind. Through their sin, they cut themselves – and man – off from God. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and since all have sinned, all have incurred the death penalty for sin (Romans 5:14). One might say that the sin of Adam and Eve affected, at the very least, the third and fourth generation, but since Cain sinned, his sin affected the next four generations, and so on. The effect of sin is cumulative. Finally, sin had become so all-encompassing that God decided to destroy the entire world in a flood…”

The point is that the sins of our parents are not imputed to us, but we are responsible for our own conduct.

Deuteronomy 24:16 states that children are not to be put to death for the sins of their fathers. The same is expressed in 2 Kings 14:6 and 2 Chronicles 25:4. Also, Ezekiel 18:4, 17, 19-20 tells us, “(4) Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son are Mine; The soul who sins shall die… (17) [The righteous son] shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live… (19) Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of his father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. (20) The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son.'” (Compare, too, Exodus 32:31-33, as well as Jeremiah 31:29-30).

Passages such as Matthew 23:29-36; Luke 11:44-51; or Acts 7:51-52 do not teach something different. Even though all these passages speak about the sins of the fathers or previous generations, it is also emphasized that the sons or descendants committed the same sins themselves, following their forefathers’ bad example. The sins of the fathers were not imputed to the sons; rather, we read: “… as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51). At first glance, it might appear that the terrible sins of the fathers might be “imputed” to their descendants who were alive at Jesus time, because Jesus said: “… you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets” (Matthew 23:31). But the very next verse negates this, because Jesus goes on to say: “FILL UP, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.” And even though He says in Luke 11:50-51 that the blood of the prophets “shall be required of this generation,” He condemns that very generation for their terrible deeds and actions, showing that they were sinful themselves, having followed the unrighteous deeds of their ancestors.

The opposite does not follow from Lamentations 5:7, which reads: “Our fathers sinned and are no more, But we bear their iniquities.” The entire book of Lamentations shows the recognition of personal sin (Lamentations 1:5, 18; 3:39-42). So, people bear the iniquity of their fathers because they have engaged in the same kind of conduct and thinking… not because the sins of their fathers were “imputed” to them.

A baby in his or her mother’s womb is not guilty because of “original sin,” nor has he or she committed any sinful acts in the mother’s womb. When Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb, He was not guilty because of any “original sin,” nor did He commit any sinful act in the womb of His mother. But as a human being conceived with human nature, a baby has the propensity of and proclivity for sin, and it would have sinned following birth. (The only exception was the Man Jesus Christ—even though He, too, was conceived with human nature, God the Father’s Holy Spirit dwelt within Him from inception without measure, enabling Him to overcome sin in the flesh—including His own human nature—so that He NEVER sinned.)

In the Great White Throne Judgment period, resurrected human beings (including those who died through abortion or miscarriage) will be given their opportunity to recognize and overcome their human nature, so that they can acquire a divine nature and ultimately be born into the Kingdom of God as immortal God beings.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“What Is the Mark of the Beast?” is the second of three new sermons dealing with “Prophecy – How to Understand It”—to be presented by Norbert Link on June 20, 2015. This will be followed by the final presentation on June 27. In addition, we are promoting this series through press releases, Facebook and our own webpage, www.eternalgod.org.

“Controversial Political Involvement of the Catholic Church,” is a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Pope Francis and the Vatican exert tremendous influence on the world’s political scene–the most recent leaked encyclical is just one more example. Is the Catholic Church’s involvement in politics a good thing? Many don’t realize that the Vatican is a state, patterned after the governments of this world. But it is not just a religious institution, but also a mighty political force. The Bible shows where it will all lead. We are offering our free booklet, “The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!”

“Sind Babies Schuldig wegen der Erbsünde?” is the new German sermon for this coming Sabbath. The title in English would be: “Are Babies Guilty because of Original Sin?”

Change,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Mike Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

The world is experiencing a lot of change: change in the environment, in the way we live, and with society. Trust in God and faith in His laws are not a factor anymore as attempts to make this world we live in are becoming “more acceptable” in the eyes of man. God makes it clear what He prohibits and how we can be saved, before it’s too late.

666–The Number of the Beast,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

In this first installment of our three-part series on biblical prophecy, we are discussing the famous number of the beast’s name, which is mentioned in Revelation 13. Many have tried unsuccessfully to identify the beast and to calculate its number. But who or what is the beast, and why is it described with seven heads and ten horns? Is the beast a kingdom, a human leader, or both? Is its number 666 or 616? Will the end-time beast receive a deadly wound, which will be healed? Could the beast be a woman? Is the beast the Antichrist?

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Danger in the Movement

by Ben Agbayani

Many of my friends and acquaintances know that my wife and I were at one time part of a Pentecostal movement. After we left that organization, my wife and I have been continuously comparing the differences between the true Church of God and the Pentecostal movement. I’d like to share here one particular experience.

When I got sick, I continuously sought God’s help, wherever I thought possible. One of the teachings in the Pentecostal church is the so-called “Holy Laughter,” which is allegedly manifested by the Holy Spirit. Some friends and I attended a church service one afternoon, and we moved to the very middle and up front. As I gazed to my left and to my right, I saw two pastors praying for the people, and as soon as they touched the foreheads after the prayer, people fell down and started laughing. I thought to myself that this might be a very interesting experience for me.

When it was my time for the prayer, I was waiting for that moment of the so-called “slain in the spirit” experience, thinking that beginning to laugh would perhaps cure me in the process. I did not fall and there was NO laughter. The pastors took time to do everything to bring it about, but to no avail. I even felt that one pastor pushed my forehead several times, hoping for me to fall. But I didn’t fall. This got me thinking. Was my faith strong enough? Was it that my intentions were not in line with God’s plan for me? I started to doubt myself. In short, I kept the event to myself, hoping to get an answer one day.

For a period of time I studied and looked for references in the Bible about the phenomena, but I could not find any passage that supports “Holy Laughter.” Years later, my wife and I became members of the Church of God. Yes, I have evaluated what had happened. I was not able to recognize that at the time, we were witnessing a direct demonic possession of the people, and we understand now that the spirit that came to them did not come from God. It was very dangerous. God had prevented me from experiencing such demonic influence.

Being a member of God’s Church, we attended our first Feast of Tabernacles in Vail, Colorado, and it was the most memorable experience my wife and I have had. My first night and day was very difficult, because the altitude affected my spine very badly. I asked for anointing with the laying on of hands by the Church elders. I started feeling relief from that agonizing pressure, due to the altitude. God allowed me to enjoy the Feast and extended the care until we were back home. It was the best time of our lives.

I had to reflect on the fact that a person will never know that he has been deceived until God opens his understanding for the truth. Knowing what I know now, I feel very sorry for those who left the faith and joined instead a Pentecostal movement

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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

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