Update 736


A Growing Relationship With God; You’re Different!

On May 21, 2016, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “A Growing Relationship With God,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “You’re Different!”

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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by Eric Rank

The prospect of suffering loss is something that strikes fear into the hearts of many, if not all of us. The potential loss of a home, job, money, possessions, loved ones, opportunity, reputation, and a volume of other seemingly important things may motivate us to protect ourselves so we can keep those things. We engage in activities like buying insurance, averting risks, and making contingency plans. These are all fine actions to take. But, as we make attempts to keep hold of things that are important to us, there is very little that we can truly control with our own power. While we do whatever we can, we must remember that God is the One who is ultimately in control of the circumstances of our life. Yet, there is one very important matter that we do have control over, and which we cannot survive without.

When we consider the things that we might worry about losing, it is most important that we work to protect our salvation. Our salvation is worth protecting above all. Everything else – everything – is trivial by comparison. This gift of salvation is unique in the manner that it is completely under our control, and, as a result, is something that we alone are responsible for keeping or losing.

Knowing that the gift of salvation is our most valuable possession and that all else is far less important by comparison, it is imperative that we balance our attention and invest our resources accordingly. Do we spend time keeping our relationship with God healthy? Do we spend an unnecessary amount of time, energy, and other resources trying to keep control over those things that we should trust in God to protect? By putting our faith in God to support our needs, and basing our actions on our faith, we free ourselves from the worry of this world and can focus on more important matters. We control our own destiny by the way we manage our conversion.

Paul wrote that his strengths and prior accomplishments, as measured by worldly metrics, were a liability to him relative to his spiritual conversion and growth. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). This perspective should be one that we all share. The possessions and advantages that we might have in this world are useless in the ultimate endeavor we seek—to be part of God’s Family.

This means that we cannot become too attached to the things of this world that we might fear losing, if such attachment causes us to compromise our relationship with God. It hurts to suffer loss in our lives, but most loss that we experience only has a temporary effect. We have to remember that the loss of our opportunity to live an eternal life is the greatest loss and the only thing for which there is no recovery. As Jesus reminds us in Luke 17:33, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

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We begin with the crash of an EgyptAir jetliner bound from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard. Most authorities feel that the crash was caused by terrorists. 

We continue with Boris Johnson’s remarkable comments to the Telegraph, claiming that the EU desires to revive the concept of the ancient Roman Empire under one authority, similar to what Napoleon and Hitler did. Mr. Johnson is the former mayor of London and the “most likely successor” to David Cameron as Prime Minister. He is a strong proponent for the Brexit to be decided by a referendum in June. He was heavily criticized by those who speak out against a Brexit, but Mr. Johnson is basically correct with his assessment. Please view our new StandingWatch program on this issue, titled, “Does the EU Follow Napoleon and Hitler?”

We continue with most recent developments in Austria (and their political closeness to Germany) and with hate laws in Germany; speak about Ethiopia, the “African lion”; and quote a remarkable article, citing startling comments by American presidents (including Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon) and conservative military leaders (including General MacArthur), disagreeing with America’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We speak on renewed and increased tensions between America and Russia due to America’s launch of a new missile defense system in Romania; and on pressure which Vladimir Putin is facing from Russian nationalists; and we address the American President’s power to declare war. We also point out that President Obama, the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, has been a war president for longer than any other American president, according to the New York Times. At the same time, we report that the Senate enacted controversial legislation permitting law suits against the Saudi Arabian government for the 9/11 terrorist attack.

We publish articles from or pertaining to British broadcaster and author Piers Morgan regarding Donald Trump; report on Bernie Sanders’ role in the “Democratic” election process; speak on outrageous comments by Pope Francis regarding Islam and Christianity; address the Catholic church’s position on pets; and quote statements alleging that transgenderism is a “superstitious belief” and a “mental disorder.”

We conclude with an article about Jens Spahn, German deputy finance minister, whom Politico describes as “the young, gay, conservative German Chancellor-in-waiting.”

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“Egyptair Crash Most Likely Terrorism”

Newsmax wrote on May 19:

“It’s still early to say what brought down the Egyptair jet overnight [crashing in the Mediterranean Sea], but ‘if you had to come down on the side of the scale, it would be terrorism,’ and this is a ‘real issue’ with regard to the potential of an insider threat at U.S. airports, Rep. Pete King said Thursday.

“‘It is not official but indicators are in that direction and you know what happened in the past with Egyptair, knowing how ISIS has been talking about it,’ the New York Republican, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and the chairman of the House Counterintelligence Subcommittee [said]…

“‘Certainly when it comes to France and European countries insiders, that is where the real threat I think comes. Obviously you have to check passengers going on board but insider threat is in many ways more difficult to stop and I know the French intelligence has been very concerned about the presence of Islamist supporters, working at airport, being at the airport.’”

The Last European Revival of the Ancient Roman Empire

The Telegraph wrote on May 15:

“The European Union is pursuing a similar goal to Hitler in trying to create a powerful superstate, Boris Johnson says. In a dramatic interview with the Telegraph, he warns that while bureaucrats in Brussels are using ‘different methods’ from the Nazi dictator, they share the aim of unifying Europe under one ‘authority’…

“The former mayor of London, who is a keen classical scholar, argues that the past 2,000 years of European history have been characterised by repeated attempts to unify Europe under a single government in order to recover the continent’s lost ‘golden age’ [of peace and prosperity] under the Romans… ‘The euro has become a means by which superior German productivity is able to gain an absolutely unbeatable advantage over the whole eurozone.’…”

BBC News reported on May 15:

“Lord Bramall, a former head of the British army, said making a comparison between the EU and Nazi Germany was ‘absurd’… But Tory Leave campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg said Mr Johnson’s comments were ‘absolutely true’… Conservative MP Chris Grayling said Mr Johnson’s comparison represented the words of a ‘historian who was doing a piece of historical analysis’. He said: ‘If you look 10 years down the road, there are clear plans to create a federation in the eurozone that is going to dominate. It is going to look like a United States of Europe.'”

The Daily Mail wrote on May 15:

“Mr Johnson was defended today by former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith. He told the BBC: ‘I think the whole process of trying to drive Europe together by force or by bureaucracy or whatever other means ultimately makes problems, and that’s what he was saying… And he is using some historical parallels to explain it – the Habsburgs, the Holy Roman Empire. All through his [interview, he points out] this great idea that somehow there is a thing called greater Europe. Whether or not you like the linguistics of this or whatever, my point remains the same.’…

“Mr Johnson’s remarks come amid reports Mr Cameron has acknowledged his long-time rival has become his most likely successor as Conservative leader and Prime Minister. Defeat in the June 23 referendum is thought likely to end Mr Cameron’s time in both jobs…”

Mr. Johnson’s comparison is not absurd at all, but it is true. Napoleon and Hitler (as well as the Habsburgs under Charles V.) did indeed resurrect the ancient Roman Empire under one authority, as did political leaders before them (such as Charlemagne and Otto the Great). What Mr. Johnson failed to mention is the role which the Roman Catholic church played in these European resurrections. Mr. Johnson would obviously know about the church’s role with his education as a keen classical scholar. The reason why Boris Johnson didn’t mention the Roman Catholic church might PERHAPS be that Iain Duncan-Smith, one of his colleagues in the Brexit campaign, is a leading Catholic. For more information, please read our free booklet, The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire.”

Austria: Hofer Against or With Kern?

The EUObserver wrote on May 17:

“The far-right candidate for president in Austria has said he does not want an EU membership referendum and has no plans to exit the euro or Schengen areas… Hofer came top in the first round of the presidential election on 24 April, with 36 percent, and is the favourite to win the run-off on Sunday (22 May)… ‘Austria pronounced itself for [EU] accession. We have adapted our whole system to the EU. Therefore I am not for an EU exit,’ Hofer [said]…

“He did not say whether he supported the euro or not, but said that he would not support a unilateral Austrian exit from the single currency. ‘A euro exit cannot work if Austria is alone in doing it. If there is a problem with the euro, we could go only in unison with Germany,’ he said…

“At a domestic level, the far-right leader reaffirmed that he wanted to maintain the cap on the number of people allowed to file an asylum request… Hofer said he doubted that integration could work in Austria and suggested he could organise a referendum to ban minarets in the country…”

Deutsche Welle reported on May 17:

“Austria’s new chancellor, Christian Kern, said his Social Democrats would continue to govern with their conservative coalition partners. But he also did not categorically rule out future ties with the far-right FPÖ… He said his party would not sell its soul merely to stay in power. ‘If we don’t comprehend that this is our last chance, the two big parties are going to disappear,’ said Kern, criticizing the infighting within the grand coalition in particular. ‘If we continue like this, we only have a few more months until we completely lose the trust of the people.’…

“Kern may soon have to work with a right-wing president, if Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) wins the second round vote… The FPÖ has been a major player in Austrian politics for years, but the recent influx of refugees – and Austria’s position on the so-called ‘Balkan Route’ leading refugees inland towards Germany – has given the populist party a renewed boost…”

Stiff Fines for Online Hate Speech in Germany

The Local wrote on May 18:

“‘Insults and incitement to hatred are almost normality in many public comment sections,’ Stiftung Warentest wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. In an attached image, the consumer organization… illustrates a number of examples, along with the fines their authors eventually received.

“Someone who wrote that ‘these vermin deserve to be stoned and shot up against the wall’ was fined €1,380 by a German court. Another user who wrote ‘I would be for re-opening the gas chambers and shoving the whole brood in there’ had to cough up €4,800. A comment directed at Jews came in for a €5,000 fine (saying that the Jews were also responsible for the Holocaust), while someone calling for Chancellor Angela Merkel to be ‘publicly stoned’ had to pay €2,000.

“All of the fines outlined by Stiftung Warentest fall short of that handed out to anti-Islam group Pegida’s founder Lutz Bachmann, who was ordered to pay €9,600 for describing refugees as ‘cattle’ and ‘scum’ in Facebook posts. ‘Victims of internet hate aren’t powerless,’ Stiftung Warentest explained in their post, which contains links to websites for 11 German state police forces where victims of hate can report abusers…

“But some commenters on Facebook were not so positive. ‘Aren’t you ashamed of supporting the regime in taking away Germans’ basic human right to free speech?’ one man wrote in a post… Others complained that Facebook was still not doing enough to fight hate speech on its platform despite its repeated promises to the German government. ‘Here on Facebook you can even report a Holocaust denier [explicitly against the law in Germany] and get an answer from Facebook that it’s “free speech”’, one person wrote.”

Ethiopia—the African Lion

Deutsche Welle reported on May 18:

“Following its economic success, Ethiopia has been dubbed the ‘African Lion.’…

“For the past five years, Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country and one of the West’s most strategic partners in the continent, has indeed been enjoying rapid growth. Germany enjoys a strong trading relationship with the East African nation, ranking the fifth largest buyer of Ethiopian goods, behind Somalia, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and China. According to official figures, the total value of Ethiopian exports to Germany, mainly coffee and textiles, is set to increase to 185 million euros ($209 million) in 2016. On the other hand, German exports to Ethiopia are worth much more, amounting to 238 million euros ($268 million)…

“However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its recent outlook, said overall growth in Ethiopia was projected to slump to 4.5 percent, down from 10.2 percent the previous year. One of the contributing factors is said to be the drought that has gripped the country. Figures compiled by the Ethiopian government and its humanitarian partners suggest that more than ten million Ethiopian[s] are now critically short of food.

Asked by DW whether the drought affects German investors in Ethiopia, Germany’s Economic attaché to Ethiopia, Patrick Wegner replies: ‘Not so much.’ According to the diplomat, not many German companies are active in the agricultural sector yet, instead mainly sell machinery and vehicles. Michael Frick, CEO of German company INPROCON International, has come to Munich to call on business leaders to invest in Ethiopia. ‘There is huge potential for business opportunities. The country enjoys a very good business environment,’ he tells DW. His company has been active in Ethiopia since 2007. It is among the foreign firms involved in Ethiopia’s ambitious dam construction plans, set to generate much-needed energy for economic growth.

“But critics have time and again pointed to the flipside of Ethiopia’s economic success story. It’s capital is home to the African Union’s headquarters, but political stability in the country remains elusive, as crises in the Oromia and Gambela regions continue to pop up. Political activists are handed harsh penalties for daring to speak out openly, and the parliament is made up exclusively of politicians of the ruling EPRDF coalition (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front), in power since 1991.

“Wegner stresses that the German government is ‘in a close reform dialogue with the Ethiopian government,’ and is ‘attempting to improve the investment climate in the country.’ Investors speak positively about the relative absence of corruption in comparison to neighboring countries, but echo concerns of IMF and World Bank about red tape in the telecoms and banking sectors. In investment as in marriage, it takes two to tango, as the saying goes. Only then will the Ethiopian ‘lion’ be ready to jump.”

“We Did Not Need to Drop the Bomb”

Salon.com wrote on May 11:

“We didn’t need to drop the bomb — and even our WW II military icons knew it… When President Obama visits Hiroshima later this month, he might do well to reflect on the views of another President who was also the five-star general who oversaw America’s military victory in World War II. In a 1963 interview on the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima, President Dwight D. Eisenhower bluntly declared that ‘…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.’

“Eisenhower was even more specific in his memoirs, writing that when he was informed by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson the bomb was about to be used against Japan ‘…I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…’

“Eisenhower was not alone. Many of the top military leaders, mostly conservatives, went public after World War II with similar judgments. The President’s chief of staff, William D. Leahy–the five-star admiral who presided over meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff…  declared in his 1950 memoir: ‘It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender….My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted [an] ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children…’

“Just a few weeks after the bombing, the famous ‘hawk’ who led the Twenty-First Bomber Command, Major General Curtis E. LeMay, stated publicly that ‘… the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.’”

“… Many of those who had access to secret intelligence showing Japan’s desperate attempts to end the war were deeply disturbed by the bombing. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet stated publicly two months after Hiroshima: ‘The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war… The atomic bomb… played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan….’…

“As the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima approached in 1985, former President Richard Nixon reported that ‘[General Douglas] MacArthur once spoke to me very eloquently about it, pacing the floor of his apartment in the Waldorf. He thought it a tragedy that the bomb was ever exploded. MacArthur believed that the same restrictions ought to apply to atomic weapons as to conventional weapons, that the military objective should always be limited damage to noncombatants… MacArthur, you see, was a soldier. He believed in using force only against military targets, and that is why the nuclear thing turned him off…’”

Some, like Breitbart in their article of May 14, argue that dropping the bombs on Japan was necessary because “the alternative to using the two atomic bombs was a US Army invasion of the Japanese homeland beginning in October 1945. It would likely have extended well into 1946… The atomic bomb saved over two million lives, Japanese and American.” However, the above-quoted article shows that this common perception is erroneous.

USA Launches Missile Defense System in Romania

CNN reported on May 12:

“The U.S. launched a new ground-based missile defense system in Romania Thursday, sparking fresh tensions with Russia…

“The U.S. has long insisted that the shield is directed against rogue states like Iran and not intended to target Moscow’s missiles, but Russian officials have slammed the move as an ‘attempt to destroy the strategic balance’ in Europe…

“The system is to be turned over to NATO command and will be housed at a U.S. naval support facility in Deveselu, Romania, the site of a Romanian military base. Construction will begin on an additional anti-missile platform in Poland on Friday…

“The Romania installation is the first land-based defensive missile launcher in Europe and will join other elements of the NATO defensive shield, including a command-and-control center at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, a radar installation in Turkey and four ships capable of identifying enemy missiles and firing their own SM-3s based in Rota, Spain…

“Heather Conley, the director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told CNN that Russia has previously suggested that it could retaliate for the missile defense system by stationing S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in Crimea and Kaliningrad, its European enclave located between Poland and Lithuania.

“Obama had previously drawn criticism from politicians in the U.S. and Europe for canceling the Bush-era plan to station land-based interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic in 2009. Obama was further criticized for announcing the change on the day of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland during World War II… Obama’s posture made the Poles and Czechs ‘very concerned’ that the entire missile defense project would be abandoned by his administration…

“Conley said that the Obama administration might have switched gears on the Bush plan in part because it may have been trying to ‘buy time in order to make the case’ to Russia that the new system was not directed against them… But she added, ‘Despite an incredible amount of consultations with Russia, the Russians never bought the argument that the system was not directed at them.’

“Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have increased in recent years following the Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and intervention in Eastern Ukraine. In recent months, Russian military aircraft have flown within 50 feet of U.S. planes and ships, actions which Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, said had ‘the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between the two countries.’”

Even though there are increased tensions right now between Russia and the USA, these two nations will not go to war against each other prior to Christ’s return, but biblical prophecy reveals that dangerous tensions between Russia and Europe WILL lead to war between those two power blocs.

Putin Under Pressure to Become Ready for War

The Huffington Post wrote on May 17:

“Something significant happened in the last few days of April, but it seems the only person who noticed was Stephen Cohen, a professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University… Cohen notes that a section of the Russian leadership is showing signs of restlessness, focused on President Vladimir Putin’s leadership.

“… the issue coming to a head in the Kremlin is whether Russia is sufficiently prepared for further Western efforts to ensure it does not impede or rival American hegemony. Can Russia sustain a geo-financial assault, if one were to be launched? And is such a threat real or mere Western posturing for other ends?

“What is so important is that if these events are misread in the West, which is already primed to see any Russian defensive act as offensive and aggressive, the ground will already have been laid for escalation. We already had the first war to push back against NATO in Georgia. The second pushback war is ongoing in Ukraine. What might be the consequences to a third?…

“General Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee (a sort of super attorney general, as Cohen describes it) [said] that the West is preparing for war against Russia and that Russia’s leadership does not appear to be aware of or alert to the danger the country faces… Then, Cohen notes, a retired Russian general entered the fray to confirm that the West is indeed preparing for war — he pointed to NATO deployments in the Baltics, the Black Sea and Poland, among other places — and underlines again the unpreparedness of the Russian military to face this threat. ‘This is a heavy indictment of Putin,’ Cohen says of the revelations from this analysis. ‘It is now out in the open.’

“For some time there have been indications that a key faction within the Kremlin, one that very loosely might be termed ‘nationalist,’ has become deeply disenchanted with Putin’s toleration of the Washington Consensus and its adherents at the Russian central bank and in other pivotal economic posts. The nationalists want them purged, along with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s perceived Western-friendly government. Putin may be highly popular, but Medvedev’s government is not. The government’s economic policy is being criticized. The opposing faction wants to see an immediate mobilization of the military and the economy for war, conventional or hybrid. This is not about wanting Putin ousted; it is about pushing him to wield the knife — and to cut deeply.

“What does this faction want apart from Russia preparing for war? They want a harder line in Ukraine and for Putin to reject U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s snares in Syria. In short, Kerry is still trying to force Assad’s removal and continues to push for further U.S. support for the opposition… the Obama administration is acting to weaken Putin and Lavrov’s hand, and therefore strengthening the hand of those in Russia calling for a full mobilization for war…”

Unlimited War Powers for the President

The Huffington Post wrote on May 15:

“Congress Is OK With Unrestrained War Powers…

“President Barack Obama launched his war against the self-described Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, nearly two years ago. Rather than go to Congress to seek approval within the 60 days required by the War Powers Act, his administration relied on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force that was passed to attack Al Qaeda. The authorization specifically grants authority to pursue the culprits behind the Sept. 11 attacks as well as their supporters. ISIS did not exist then.

“Obama did request new authority last year, but Republicans never brought it up for consideration, saying it was too limited and would tie the hands of future presidents… In the meantime, the 2001 AUMF, which has no end date, remains effective…”

 To give such unlimited war powers to ANY President is indeed very dangerous.

Obama—THE War President

The New York Times wrote on May 14:

President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president. If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

“Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.

“Granted, Mr. Obama is leaving far fewer soldiers in harm’s way — at least 4,087 in Iraq and 9,800 in Afghanistan — than the 200,000 troops he inherited from Mr. Bush in the two countries. But Mr. Obama has also approved strikes against terrorist groups in Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, for a total of seven countries where his administration has taken military action…

“Publicly, Mr. Obama acknowledged early on the contradiction between his campaign message and the realities of governing. When he accepted the Nobel in December 2009, he declared that humanity needed to reconcile ‘two seemingly irreconcilable truths — that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.’…

“On Oct. 21, 2011, he announced that the last combat soldier would leave Iraq by the end of that year, drawing that eight-year war to a close. ‘Our troops will definitely be home for the holidays,’ Mr. Obama said at the White House. Less than three years later, he told a national television audience that he would send 475 military advisers back to Iraq… By last month, more than 5,000 American troops were in Iraq.

“A furious firefight this month between Islamic State fighters and Navy SEALs in northern Iraq… harked back to the bloodiest days of the Iraq war. It also made the administration’s argument that the Americans were only advising and assisting Iraqi forces seem ever less plausible.

“Afghanistan followed a similar cycle of hope and disappointment. In May 2014, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would withdraw the last combat soldier from the country by the end of 2016… ‘this is how wars end in the 21st century.’

“Seventeen months later, Mr. Obama halted the withdrawal, telling Americans that he planned to leave more than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan until early 2017, the end of his presidency. By then, the Taliban controlled more territory in the country than at any time since 2001. Taliban fighters even briefly conquered the northern city of Kunduz. In the bitter battle for control, an American warplane mistakenly fired its missiles into a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 42 people and prompting accusations that the United States had committed a war crime…”

The human carnal mind does not know the way to peace. Wars, fought by humans cut off from God, are ALWAYS wrong and NEVER necessary. Unless man learns this bitter lesson, wars will not end.

Senate Approves Bi-Partisan Legislation Allowing Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia for 9/11 Terror Attack

Breitbart wrote on May 17:

“On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Senate unanimously approved bi-partisan legislation that would allow for families of the victims of the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. The move stands in stark defiance to veto threats and opposition from President Barack Obama’s White House, which is concerned about America’s relationship with the Sunni-dominated Kingdom.

“Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) co-sponsored the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act and are calling upon the House of Representatives to follow suit… Despite bipartisan ownership of and support for the bill, the Obama administration has threatened a veto. Also on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest echoed the administration, warning of ‘unintended consequences’ and saying, ‘It’s difficult to imagine the president signing this legislation.’

“At a recent press conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also voiced skepticism about the legislation, saying, ‘I think we need to review it to make sure we are not making mistakes with our allies and we’re not catching people in this that shouldn’t be caught up in this.’ Fox News notes that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who serves as the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, also warned that the legislation, if passed, would alienate the kingdom and undermine America’s relationship with their longstanding ally in the Middle East.

“In spite of the reservations and veto threats from President Obama, Schumer said he believes the power of the Senate will be greater than the president’s. ‘I think we easily get the two-thirds override if the president should veto,’ Schumer reportedly said…

“Last month… Saudi Arabian and other Gulf press lashed out at President Obama prior to his visit to Riyadh over the potential passage of the bill, accusing a ‘schizophrenic’ Congress of being in cahoots with Iran in holding the kingdom responsible for involvement in the attacks. Similar to sound bites coming out of the White House, they said the move will likely cause irreversible damage to U.S.-Saudi ties.

“Iran’s role in the 9/11 attacks has been the subject of great debates over the past 15 years. The 9/11 Commission Report stated that some of the hijackers went through Iran but did not have their passports stamped there, suggesting the regime may have had knowledge about the attacks. Additionally, the report suggests that Hezbollah, which is a terrorist organization sponsored by Iran, had provided ‘advice and training’ to al-Qaeda members.

“Although none of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attack were Iranian, this past March U.S. District Judge George Daniels in New York ordered Iran to pay over $10 billion in damages to families of victims who died that day. According to Russian television, that same judge had cleared Saudi Arabia earlier of culpability in the attack. Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudi Arabian citizens, two were from the United Arab Emirates, and one each were from Egypt and Lebanon.”

Piers Morgan: Donald Trump—the Next US President?

On May 4, 2016, the Daily Mail published the following article by Piers Morgan, British broadcaster and former CNN moderator:

“The Trump Train has decimated 17 Republican opponents… Now it has the Clinton Chariot in its sights… It’s going to be the greatest collision since Muhammad Ali climbed into the ring with George Foreman in Zaire 42 years ago for the Rumble in the Jungle…

“But the more immediate story today is how Donald Trump has waged one of the most maverick campaigns in political history to storm to a place in this race which barely anyone thought possible. Regardless of whether you agree with him or not… there can be no doubt that he has electrified U.S. politics in a way nobody has ever seen…

“He’s the ultimate outsider. Trump’s not a politician and he doesn’t speak or behave like a politician… He’s direct… Trump’s appeal comes from his natural aversion to political correctness, and his willingness to speak his mind even if it upsets people… He knows how to close a deal… The way he’s seen off 17 candidates so far has been extraordinary to observe… He’s owned the media… It’s comical to watch American’s finest journalists now competing to beat themselves up over who most ‘underestimated’ the Trump Train. They all spent months and months gleefully handing over their airspace and newspaper pages [to Trump]…

“He’s been very tough on the key issues about which many millions of Americans crave toughness from their current leaders but don’t feel they’re getting it: immigration, terrorism, jobs and China. Trump hasn’t mucked about, he’s gone straight for the rhetoric jugular; screaming for his Wall to stop illegal Mexicans entering the country, a short-term Muslim ban ‘to figure out what’s going on’ with Islamic fundamentalists, a ‘devastating’ blitz to ‘wipe out’ ISIS, and new trade deals to stop China’s ‘rape’ of the U.S. economy and labor markets. His messages are short, simple, explosive and eye-catching. That, whatever your view of his comments, is good politics…

“Someone attacks him, he attacks them so hard back they wish they’d never started. Trump’s campaign is littered with the political corpses of those who tried to dance with the Donald. Just ask Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush. Both went to war with their conventional political weapons, only to find Trump was deploying the nuclear equivalent and they got instantly vaporised…

“He cracked social media. I loved Trump’s tweets long before he ran for president because they were so outrageous, amusing and provocative. I assumed he’d tone them down once he entered the race, but if anything he’s been even more controversial. With nearly 8 million followers now, Trump’s got the perfect platform to vent his wrath, humour and political beliefs. That number dwarfs any other candidate and gives him a powerful voice that’s resonated with many Americans…

“He exudes chilling confidence. This has been incredibly infectious. Love him or loathe him, Trump’s truly astonishing self-belief makes even his many enemies sit back in wonderment. Nothing seems to shake him or his implacable belief that only he can ‘Make America Great Again’. Americans like that in their leaders…

“Behind every good man is an even better woman, so goes the saying. Trump has a veritable army of them now standing around him at public events… led by his daughter Ivanka and wife Melania. They’re all beautiful, independent females who look smart and sound smart. That’s a major electoral plus for Trump who’s had to counter relentless allegations that he’s sexist. The Trumps are a walking, talking, impossibly glamorous First Family in the making. Optics matter in an election and they LOOK the part…

“He’s a winner. Now, there’s no denying it. The critics poured scorn when he first entered the race last summer, most saying he’d be ‘gone in three weeks’. The same critics then claimed in December that he had ‘no chance’ of winning the Republican nomination. Now, as it’s clear that he has, they’ve all trebled-down to insist he ‘cannot possibly’ beat Hillary Clinton in a general election. Really? In England, a small soccer team called Leicester City just won the elite Premier League at odds of 5000-1. Nobody gave them a chance but a combination of strong leadership, high energy, sharp focus and sheer determination allowed them to beat off all-comers and pull off one of the greatest shocks in sporting history. How? The establishment teams just never thought it could happen…until it was too late.”

It appears more and more likely to many observers that Trump will become the next US President.

Being at Odds with UK’s David Cameron and London’s Sadiq Khan

Deutsche Welle added on May 16:

“Donald Trump… fired back at the UK’s prime minister on Monday morning, after David Cameron had called the real estate mogul ‘divisive, stupid and wrong.’ Cameron’s comments were made in reference to an earlier statement by Trump that the US should ban all Muslim immigrants, and the prime minister suggested that a visit from the candidate would unite all of the Britain against him. ‘It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows,’ Trump said in an interview with Piers Morgan for British broadcaster ITV…

“Cameron doubled down on his sentiments after the piece aired. ‘The prime minister has made his views on Donald Trump’s comments very clear. He disagrees with them,’ said a Downing Street spokesman.

Trump also addressed comments made by London mayor Sadiq Khan, who has criticized the controversial candidate as ignorant about Islam. Initially, Trump had said he would consider a visit from Khan ‘an exception’ to the Muslim ban. ‘He doesn’t know me, never met me, doesn’t know what I am all about. I think they are very rude statements. Frankly, tell him I will remember those statements. They are very nasty statements,’ Trump told Piers Morgan. ‘It is ignorant for him to say that.’

“Morgan then asked Trump about his thoughts on the upcoming referendum over British membership to the European Union. ‘I’ve dealt with the European Union. It’s very, very bureaucratic; it’s very, very difficult. In terms of Britain, I would say, “What do you need it for?” But again, let people make up their own mind,’ Trump replied.”

These comments are interesting because Trump admitted that he will never forget when people attack him personally. However, on May 17, Trump changed his tune again, as Newsmax reported:

“Donald Trump appeared to change tack on Tuesday about his future ties with British Prime Minister David Cameron, saying he expects them to have ‘a good relationship’ if he becomes the U.S. president, after predicting the opposite in an interview aired just the day before in response to criticism from the UK leader.”

Bernie Sanders Accused of Inciting Violence and Becoming “Divisive”

 The left-liberal pro-Clinton and anti-Trump paper, The Washington Post, wrote on May 18:

“Bernie Sanders won yesterday’s Democratic primary in Oregon by 8 points, and Hillary Clinton has declared victory in Kentucky. The AP says the Bluegrass State remains too close to call. The front-runner leads by about 2,000 votes out of half a million cast, less than one-half of 1 percent… Sanders pulled no punches as he celebrated the returns in California last night. He blamed his losses on closed primaries and called on the Democratic Party to ‘open the doors’ and ‘let the people in.’…

“The comments came at the end of a long day, during which Nevada’s Democratic Party filed a formal complaint accusing Sanders of inciting ‘actual violence’ among his supporters at last weekend’s state convention… Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN that Sanders’s response to the chaos has been ‘anything but acceptable.’ The Vermonter dismissed the claims as ‘nonsense,’ detailing grievances about how Nevada and other states have handled their delegate selection processes. ‘At that convention, the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place,’ Sanders said, casting the episode as just the latest example of the national party trying to silence the grass roots.

“There are growing fears that the July convention in Philadelphia could be chaotic, perhaps even violent.  Sanders is quickly becoming a figure every bit as divisive and polarizing among Senate Democrats as Ted Cruz is in the eyes of his Republican colleagues…

“We’ve reached another pivot point in the race. The donnybrook at the convention has been a wake-up call for many liberal commentators, who have viewed Bernie positively because of his success at pulling Hillary to the left. But a new mindset has begun to take hold: If Trump becomes president, Sanders will deserve a big share of the blame…”

Bernie Sanders has no realistic chance of winning the Democratic nomination, largely due to the rigged system within the Democratic Party and the undemocratic role which “Super-Delegates” are playing within that party. But Sanders is in fact forcing Clinton (who has a hard time winning against Sanders) to focus on him, while presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is virtually assured of the Republican nomination.

Pope Francis—“Conquest Is Integral Part to Islam as a Religion”

Breitbart wrote on May 17:

“Choosing his words carefully, Pope Francis recognized that the idea of conquest is integral to Islam as a religion, though he was quick to add that some might interpret Christianity in the same way… Asked point blank what he thought of the widespread fear of Islam in the West, Francis replied that his impression is that most people don’t fear ‘Islam as such’ but rather ‘Daesh [the Islamic State] and its war of conquest, drawn in part from Islam.’

“The Pope went on, however, to acknowledge that the ‘idea of conquest is inherent to the soul of Islam,’ while immediately adding that ‘one could also interpret the end of Saint Matthew’s gospel, where Jesus sends out his disciples to all nations, as the same idea of conquest.’

“It wasn’t clear whether the Pope actually believes that Jesus’ mandate to his disciples to evangelize the nations was truly equivalent to violent Islamic jihad, or whether he merely said this in order to appear balanced and self-critical…

“The Pope expressed his fundamental belief that ‘coexistence among Christians and Muslims is possible.’ ‘I come from a country where they live together in good familiarity,’ Francis said. ‘The Muslims venerate the Virgin Mary and Saint George. In a country in Africa, I’ve been told that for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Muslims wait in a long line at the cathedral to pass through the Holy Door and pray to the Virgin Mary…’’

To suggest that Christ preached the idea of a violent conquest of Christianity is ludicrous. Christ told Peter: “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).  It is true, however, that many times, the Roman Catholic Church abused the concept of true Christianity and engaged in violent crimes and torturous conduct.

The Catholic Church and Our Pets

Breitbart wrote on May 16:

“In his jubilee audience over the weekend, Pope Francis said that Christians should be careful not to confuse feeling sorry for animals with love for one’s neighbor. ‘How many times we see people who are attached to cats [and] dogs, and then ignore their neighbor in need, and that’s not right’ the Pope lamented… Francis said that the Christian virtue of piety and mercy shouldn’t be confused with the compassion we feel towards our pets. It sometimes happens, he said, ‘that we have these feelings toward animals, and yet remain indifferent in the face of the suffering of our brothers and sisters.’

“This isn’t the first time the pontiff has expressed concern that people pay more attention to animals than to human beings. A year ago, the Pope expressed his bewilderment when he read about what people spend their money on, saying that it reflects how twisted people’s values are. ‘After food, clothing and medicine,’ he said, ‘the fourth item is cosmetics and the fifth is pets. That’s serious.’…

“Pope Francis is also on record for counseling married couples not to have pets instead of children. At a special Mass for 15 couples in the Vatican in 2014, the Pope cautioned couples against substituting cats and dogs for children, saying it will only lead to solitude and the ‘bitterness of loneliness’ in old age. During his homily, the Pope said that owning pets may be ‘more comfortable’ than raising children, but did not offer the same opportunities for love and godliness.

“For its part, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that ‘animals are God’s creatures… men owe them kindness…’ The Catechism also states, however, that it is ‘unworthy’ to spend money on animals that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. ‘One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons,’ it says.”

Transgenderism a Superstitious Belief and Mental Disorder

Newsmax wrote on May 16:

“A tweet by a Princeton professor has questioned the very idea of transgenderism, dismissing it as superstition without any basis in fact… Robert P. George, the McCormick professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, wrote on Twitter: ‘There are few superstitious beliefs as absurd as the idea that a woman can be trapped in a man’s body (and vice versa)…”

“George, who is the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, warned that ‘with Obama’s bathroom edict, the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of children is in graver peril than ever.’ The tweet comes after the Obama administration’s letter on Friday instructing educators nationwide to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their chosen gender, stating that federal statutes bar discrimination against such students.

“The Obama order escalated an already hotly debated political issue that has led North Carolina and the Justice Department to sue each other over a new law in that state that requires those using public bathrooms to do so according to their gender at birth…

“George’s opinion is not only that of an individual professor. The American College of Pediatricians has issued a statement that children who consider themselves a different gender than they are have a mental disorder called ‘gender dysphoria’ and should not be treated as if they are making a healthy decision, as the Obama ruling does. Although the doctors put out the statement a few months ago, it reads as if it is a direct and very severe criticism of the administration’s directive to educators.

“‘Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,’ the doctors stated. ‘Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs.’

“The American College of Pediatricians statement made clear that ‘a person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such.’”

Newsmax added on May 17:

“The state of Texas is fighting against President Barack Obama’s directive ordering public schools to allow students to use the bathroom matching their gender identities because the order is just another example of the president turning ‘the Constitution upside down,’ the state’s Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday. ‘By him issuing this directive, it is totally against what Congress chose to do,’ Abbott [said]…

“‘Congress is the branch of government in charge of making policy. Congress voted on this very issue. Congress voted not to add transgender to the Civil Rights Act, or to Title 9.’ However, he continued, Obama is acting as a king, acting as a dictator, by imposing this as absolutely contrary to what the Constitution allows.”

The Young, Gay, Conservative German Chancellor-in-Waiting”

Politico wrote on May 12, 2016:

“Jens Spahn is positioning himself, with no apologies, to take Angela Merkel’s seat… Jens Spahn is a walking contradiction who just might be the answer to Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats’ biggest and mostly unspoken problem: What to do the day that Angela Merkel passes from the scene. As a young, openly gay man who has built up credibility on serious policy areas such as finance and health, the 35-year-old Spahn has the potential to rejuvenate the aging party and broaden its appeal — while keeping its conservative core satisfied…

“Spahn, who is currently deputy finance minister, certainly doesn’t lack the ambition to one day make a bid for the top job. He joined the CDU youth wing at the age of 15 and ran for the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) seven years later, telling an interviewer at the time that he planned to ‘to crawl all the way up to the front in Berlin.’ He won a seat. Asked 14 years later about that youthful display of raw ambition, he told POLITICO: ‘As (post-war chancellor Konrad) Adenauer allegedly once said: “Sometimes, you have to make yourself really unpopular before being taken seriously.”’

“CDU insiders say the chancellor finds Spahn loud and self-confident to the point of impudence. Wolfgang Schäuble, the 73-year-old finance minister, doesn’t care for Spahn’s bumptious nature, according to party members — but made him his deputy last year anyway, and appreciates how well-prepared he is for meetings and his willingness to tackle budget offenders head-on…

“There was a moment, after the 2013 elections, when Spahn appeared to have peaked too soon. Convinced after Merkel’s reelection victory that he would be named health minister, Spahn was left to stew in the position he had already had for four years, as the conservatives’ spokesman on health policy in the Bundestag. He bounced back in spectacular style: By the CDU national convention in December 2014, he had built enough backing to bid for a seat on the executive committee, the decision-making inner circle of the CDU.

“His speech began like those of the other candidates, reeling off conservative clichés about ‘the party of hard-working people,’ and the applause was suitably tepid. Then he took a breath. There must be no compromising of Germany’s central values, he said… ‘I don’t ever want to experience another attack or insults when I walk through Berlin hand-in-hand with my boyfriend.’ The speech won loud applause and helped secure Spahn one of the seven seats on the executive committee, ousting, of all people, the man who had beat him to the health ministry job.

“Spahn appeals to both conservatives and progressives by insisting that immigrants embrace values like tolerance… Spahn’s homosexuality makes some older CDU politicians squirm, as they grasp for euphemisms to describe his ‘family situation’ or speak of him, like one delegate at the last party congress, as ‘a pleasant homosexual.’ This isn’t a role Spahn wants to be reduced to, but he sees no contradiction in being a gay conservative, recalling David Cameron’s celebrated remark that he defended same-sex marriage not despite being a Conservative, but ‘because I am a Conservative.’…

“Other leading CDU politicians of his generation are also putting themselves forward as modern conservatives. Julia Klöckner, a popular party vice-chairperson, has criticized feminists for what she considers misconstrued tolerance of misogyny among Muslims. Paul Ziemiak, head of the CDU’s youth organization, is one of the loudest critics of Merkel’s open-doors policy on refugees while emphasizing his own immigrant background as the son of two Poles…

“‘Never underestimate how conservative he is, including in ethical questions and when it comes to societal issues,’ said Daniel Bahr, a friend and contemporary of Spahn and a former health minister from the Free Democrats (FDP). Spahn is still something of a dark horse when it comes to talk about the CDU succession, with more frequent mention of the 57-year-old Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and 43-year-old Klöckner, though she blotted her copybook by failing to win an election in her home state in March…

“Spahn’s relative youth means he’ll only be a contender once Merkel steps aside… He is quite capable of criticizing the chancellor directly, while not wanting to fall out with her completely. When Europe’s refugee problem became an overwhelming crisis last fall, and hundreds of thousands of refugees flocked to Germany alongside would-be economic migrants, Spahn was one of the loudest advocates within the CDU for taking a tougher stance than the chancellor. He hosted the presentation last November of a book of essays by 22 conservative authors, which was followed by a panel discussion that produced a torrent of criticism of Merkel’s refugee policy. The headline in the conservative daily Die Welt afterwards was: ‘Angela Merkel needs to be afraid of this book.’”

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January 16, 1986–No Further Understanding or Change? (Part 2)

Since you believe that Mr Herbert W Armstrong had the ministerial rank of “apostle,” what is your response to those who believe that there is to be no further understanding or change after he died on January 16th 1986?

Our original Q&A on this subject, as quoted in the first part of this series, covered 1 Corinthians 11 v 1: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”   In some other translations “imitate” is translated as “follow” and so the words follow and imitate seem to be interchangeable – but are they?   Dictionary definitions are as follows:

Follow: go after as an admirer; strive after; aim at

Imitate: mimic; try and get as close to the real thing as possible; impersonators

“Mimetes” is the Greek word translated imitate (see Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries).   So we need to know – and be sure – what Scripture says and imitate any leader only according to revealed Scriptural instruction and not to add on any unnecessary, unwanted, unwarranted or personal opinions or baggage.

The Christian life, as revealed in the Bible, is one of overcoming and growing spiritually toward the goal of being spiritually mature like Christ.   God expects us, as Spirit-begotten Christians to be developing more and more of the very character of Christ as we learn to follow His Way of Life.

Imitate is to get as close to the original as possible, not just following which is a much looser term.   It indicates being skin-tight.   To follow is a much looser term and whilst it can be correct in many ways, the word imitate is much more all-encompassing.   Imitate is to do everything Christ did and wants us to do according to His perfect example.   So this is not striving after words but making sure that we fully understand the difference and take to heart the original meaning of “mimetes” which is to imitate.   And that is much more important than just following and so we can only follow those who faithfully and loyally preach and teach the way of God as revealed in His Word and as we have seen, some of the original apostles’ writings have been incorporated in the Word of God which cannot contradict itself.    Any apostles since then have not been unique as were the original ones and, therefore, we must not follow them as if their writings were holy writ.

One such proponent of “nothing can be changed after 16th January 1986” states the following:  “We see in chapter 4 (1 Corinthians 4:14-16) above, that Paul clearly instructed the Corinthian Church to follow him – as he was their apostle, sent to them by Christ. However, many people try to use another passage, also found within First Corinthians, to justify a position of not following the apostle sent to them and through whom they were enlightened. The passage is: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ” (I Cor 11:1). Such people claim that this verse implies only following someone in so far as they follow Christ, and rejecting any aspect or teaching that does not comply.”

It would appear that this is written to emphasise the need to follow Mr Herbert Armstrong at this end-time.   However, we read in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 a section of Scripture that implies exactly the opposite.   It states: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?  For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”   We can read from this passage that partiality was not to be countenanced and yet it appears that, as written above “that Paul clearly instructed the Corinthian Church to follow him – as he was their apostle” which would negate the instruction on non-partiality.   There appears to be somewhat of a contradiction here.

It is also worth noting that Mr Armstrong said just before his death that the church membership should follow the Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God after his death.   Mr Joseph W Tkach was appointed and, along with Mr Tkach’s son and some others, led the Church in a completely different direction.   That organisation, now called Grace Community International, is part of mainstream Christianity with just about every teaching understood during Mr Armstrong’s tenure of office being changed.   Mr Armstrong undoubtedly said this in good faith, but had his instruction been followed the true Church of God would have been destroyed.   However, Jesus said that He would guide His Church, be with it always, and that the grave would never prevail against it (Matt. 16:18; 28:20).   To have followed this instruction would have been an unmitigated disaster, but as this would have been Mr Armstrong’s instruction at his death, it could not have been changed according to those who feel that everything that was in place on 16th  January 1986 would have to have complied with that instruction to their great detriment.   Just this one issue shows what a disaster it would have been to adopt such a faulty instruction and reasoning even though it was given in good faith.

God will use His ministry as He sees fit and if there is greater understanding of a particular doctrine, then we should embrace that.   Being stuck in a time warp (whatever date that may be) can only stunt personal growth which we are charged to pursue.

Ephesians 4:11-15 is quite clear in delineating the offices that God has in His Church and how those so ordained have the responsibility to speak only the truth:

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ…”

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers opines on 2 Peter 3:18 as follows:  “The Apostle ends, as he began, by exhorting them to that sound knowledge which he sets forth as the sure basis of all Christian activity, whether the knowledge be full and mature, as in 2 Peter 1:2-3; 2 Peter 1:8; 2 Peter 2:20 or to be acquired and increased, as in 2 Peter 1:5…” (which is about fruitful growth in the faith”).

Some claim that nothing can be changed after the death of an apostle, and since Mr Armstrong was an apostle, nothing can be changed after his death in 1986.

Even though we need to realize that the Bible speaks about more apostles than just the original twelve apostles who followed Christ during His lifetime, we also need to observe important distinctions.

An apostle is someone who is being sent out to proclaim the gospel. In Matthew 10:1-5, the names of the original twelve apostles are given. Compare also Luke 6:12-16. The list includes Judas Iscariot who was later disqualified and replaced by Matthias–one of two candidates who had accompanied the other apostles “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1:21-26).

The Bible mentions additional apostles after the New Testament Church was founded–including Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:4 with Acts 13:50) and James, the half-brother of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:5-9).

As we stated before, we read that the Church was founded on the apostles and prophets, with Christ being the chief corner stone. But the apostles, mentioned therein, are foremost the original twelve apostles (with Matthias having replaced Judas), because we read that the Heavenly Jerusalem has “twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The apostle Paul was later chosen to become the apostle to the uncircumcision, as Peter was the apostle to the circumcision. And he was used powerfully by God to write inspired and sacred texts which were included in the Bible, and which were recognised by Peter as inspired and holy writings.  But ultimately, it was one of the original apostles, John, who canonised the Bible, after the death of Paul and Peter, as we explain in our free booklet, “The Authority of the Bible.” 

We read in Acts 12:1-2 that one of the original twelve apostles, James, the brother of John, was killed by Herod. But later, in Acts 15 (AFTER the death of one of the original apostles), important changes were made in the Church, holding that physical circumcision was no longer necessary.  The discussion followed teachings by Paul and Peter regarding the need for circumcision, and it was James, the half-brother of Christ and the apostle over the Church in Jerusalem, who pronounced the final decision. The idea that no changes can be made in the Church after the death of an apostle (James, the brother of John) is therefore clearly wrong.

Some claim that Herbert W Armstrong was the end-time Elijah who restored all things and since everything was restored, nothing can be changed. This erroneous concept has been thoroughly disproved in our Q&A on “The Mission of the End-Time Elijah.” 

Some claim that Mr Armstrong’s book “Mystery of the Ages” deserves the status of an inspired writing equal to the Bible. This false claim has been disputed by Mr Armstrong himself who stated, when he passed out copies of his book to Ambassador College students, that his book was written to help with understanding the Bible better, but that it was in no way to be viewed as holy Scripture.

With this latest information and all of the previous material mentioned earlier in this Q&A (and all of the others), we feel that these cover this subject comprehensively and answers the views held, no doubt sincerely, by those who may feel otherwise.

Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

The Member Letter (May 2016) has been mailed and is now posted.

Comment from a subscriber to our publications:

“Please send me the new booklet “Punishment for Our Sins“.  Of all the booklets that have been put out by the churches of God, your booklets are the best!  I’ve been a long time member of the Church of God… and I’ve read just about everything that has been published by a Church of God. Thank you so much for the comprehensive work that is put into the booklets that you publish!”

“Does the EU Follow Napoleon and Hitler?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Boris Johnson, former major of London and presumptive successor of David Cameron, claimed that the EU is pursuing a similar goal to Hitler and Napoleon in trying to revive the ancient Roman Empire and to create a powerful superstate. While he was severely criticized for this comparison, the Bible shows that he is absolutely correct.

Glauben Sie an Engel und Dämonen?” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. This features our new German booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.” Title in English: “Do You Believe in Angels and Demons?”

“Verstehen Sie Endzeit-Prophezeiungen?” is the title of this week’s new German sermon. It uses the theme of last week’s sermonette, but with much more information. Title in English: Do You Understand End-Time Prophecies?

“A Successful Marriage,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

In what way is the physical marriage a copy or pattern of our spiritual marriage with Christ? What does this mean for our prophetic understanding? Can we say that our marriage covenant with Christ is successful if we are lacking in prophetic knowledge and engaging in unwarranted and unbiblical speculations? After all, the Holy Spirit of Christ is a Spirit of prophecy.

“Testing Faith,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

How is our faith being tested? There are many examples of individuals in the Bible who have had their faith tested many times, but how did they respond? What about second chances? What does the Bible have to say about that?

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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

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