November 3, 2017
You Shall (Not) Desire! (Part 2)
On November 4, 2017, Norbert Link will present introductory comments, followed by the sermon, titled, “You Shall (Not) Desire! (Part 2).”
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.
The Next Level
by Eric Rank
Like many people in my generation, I spent a fair amount of time in my youth playing video games. The continuous challenge was a genuine source of fun. Most of the games I played had levels that needed to be completed, which increased with difficulty as progress was made in the game. The further I advanced, the more challenging it became. I recall many afternoons – probably too many – trying over and over again to finish a level and make it past the hard part in the game that challenged me at that moment. Being tenacious in my nature, I was able to succeed in several games. But, some were too hard and I was never able to overcome the obstacles standing in my way of finishing the level and proceeding to the next. For those games, I resigned myself to give up and move on.
While the consequences for giving up on the attempt to win a video game are insignificant, the same cannot be said for the Christian Way of Life. If the obstacles that we face cause us to turn away from God and our commitment to Christian living, we will be truly defeated. Giving up the Way of Christian life ends in the end of life that can never begin again.
When Jesus was consulted by a rich, young ruler about what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life, the answer He gave became an obstacle. Even though the ruler had worked throughout his life to live in obedience to the law, he had more that was required of him. “Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.’ But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:21-22). This man allowed an obstacle to block his path towards salvation. His desire to continue indulging in worldly abundance prevented him from proceeding. As a result, he turned away defeated, unwilling at that time to overcome his problem.
It is the mission of a Christian to continuously grow in his or her spiritual development. It is unacceptable and unprofitable to God if we learn the Truth, but fail to make improvements in our lives. The knowledge of the Truth needs to be used! It provides guidance to us so we can become perfect in righteousness. We know that we will not actually become perfect until God glorifies us, but we are instructed to work towards the state of perfection until that time. Right now, our spiritual growth requires us to combine our efforts with the spiritual discernment, strength, and grace provided by the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When we commit our lives to that goal, we will find ourselves progressing further and further.
If we choose to dedicate ourselves to overcoming obstacles that stand in the way of our spiritual development, we should expect to encounter new and different challenges along the way. This is evidence of our progress. Step by step, we learn how to commit ourselves ever more to righteousness, making our challenges of the past trivial by comparison. And since we all sin (compare Romans 5:12), there will always be more to overcome. However, if we become stagnant in our efforts, we put ourselves in danger. Hebrews 6:1 obliges us to “go on to perfection”, compelling us to never stop our development. After providing this instruction, a dire warning is pronounced, informing the reader about the death that results from falling away from the Truth (compare Hebrews 6:4-8). A failure to make progress implies an unwillingness to earnestly continue in the way of righteousness, with a dreadful result.
Our commitment to follow in the path of righteousness cannot be hindered by obstacles that we encounter. The sins that we discover in our lives must not block us without a fight to overcome. With this enduring attitude, and with the help of the Holy Spirit provided by God the Father and Jesus Christ, God promises that we will succeed and advance to the next level.
by Norbert Link
In this issue, we concentrate on events in and pertaining to the USA, which show beyond a reasonable doubt that the USA is at the brink of total destruction. It has reached the point of no return, and is facing internal turmoil and “bankruptcy,” as well as the external threat of a nuclear attack. The irony is that the US leadership is not even considering and able to identify the future real enemy. At the same time, God has given the people of the USA and the UK the leadership they deserve. After all, God holds the people accountable for their many sins and transgressions and their unwillingness to change and to turn back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whom they have forgotten and whom they defy on a daily basis.
In this context, we speak on a catastrophe in North Korea and the coming European superpower and Germany’s ongoing struggle to form a viable and workable government; and we address the explosive situation regarding independence-seeking Catalonians, which has plunged Spain into the worst political crisis since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
We conclude with articles showing the utmost confusion of orthodox Christians who do not seem to know anymore what and whom to believe. We especially address paganism and the curse of the demonical “festival” of Halloween, showing WHY God is so angry and FURIOUS with our “Christian” nations. In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Worshipping Satan on Halloween.” We also publish reports on the terror attack in New York on Halloween and attempts to politicize the action of a deranged and demonically influenced terrorist.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
US To Be Wiped Out in a Nuclear War?
Sunday Express wrote on October 29:
“American Pastor Greg Laurie, of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, believes the US could be obliterated in a nuclear war before the end of the world begins. Pastor Laurie says the prophecy was revealed to him after he read the Bible and discovered there was no mention of a ‘reigning superpower’ in the end days, which he has interpreted as the US being destroyed imminently…
“As things stand, it would seem the nation most likely to attack the US with nuclear weapons would be North Korea. But as Pastor Laurie points out, there is no mention of Kim Jong-Un’s nation either – but it does talk about Iran which could assist North Korea by the Pastor’s reckoning…”
The Pastor is right that the USA will be destroyed in a nuclear war, according to the Bible, but he does not understand that it will not happen through either North Korea or Iran. Even though a nuclear war between the USA and North Korea is not unthinkable, America’s total destruction will occur through the United States of Europe which will launch a successful nuclear attack against the USA and the UK.
Catastrophe in North Korea
The Sun wrote on October 31:
“A TUNNEL at an underground North Korea nuclear site has collapsed with up to 200 people killed… The collapse happened at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the north-east of the country on October 10… The Punggye-ri test site in North Korea is carved deep into Mount Mantap… The disaster has prompted fears of a massive radioactive leak which could spark a Chernobyl- or Fukushima-style disaster…
“The accident is believed to have been caused by Kim Joing-un’s sixth nuclear test which weakened the mountain… It was reported earlier this year that the mountain under which the base is believed to be hidden was at risk of collapsing and leaking radiation into the region. Experts said if the peak crumbles, clouds of radioactive dust and gas would blanket the region…
“Geophysicist Wen Lianxing and his team at the University of Science and Technology of China… said they were ‘confident’ underground detonations were occurring underneath the mountain… Seismic data showed the underground test triggered an earthquake of magnitude 6.3, around ten times more powerful than the fifth test a year ago…
“News of the tunnel collapse comes after it emerged Russia and the US have both flown nuclear bombers near the country as tensions grow over Kim’s nuke threats.”
Obamacare, Trump and the Looming Disaster
Flipboard wrote on October 29:
“Peter Lee, Covered California’s executive director, told Business Insider in an interview that the Trump administration has thrown a wrench into insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act… Already, a study by healthcare consulting firm Avalere Health projected that premiums for the lowest cost silver-level plans on the Obamacare exchanges would increase by 34% in 2018. Benchmark silver plans, which are the second most expensive, went up by only 26% in 2017.
“Avalere said the increase was, in part, due to Trump’s elimination of so-called cost-sharing reduction payments… Lee cited several examples of how the Department of Health and Human Services helped to undermine the market… ‘This is now on President Trump, the healthcare market is not about President Obama anymore,’ Lee said. ‘They are the responsibility of this president, and they have to be owned by this president.’”
President Trump immediately tweeted that the Democrats are to be blamed for the horrendous increase in premiums. But no matter who is to be blamed, the American citizens are the ones who will suffer from the incompetency of the past and present leadership.
It is no coincidence that President Trump’s approval rate hit an all-time low of only 33%, which could also be in part due to the ongoing investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller who indicted two former Trump campaign officials and got a guilty plea from a lower campaign aide for lying to the FBI about his ongoing contacts with the Russians. Deutsche Welle commented on October 30: “But assuming, as the scholars tend to, that this is likely just the first major step in Mueller’s widening probe into Russian election meddling and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow, then President Trump has reason to be worried.”
All of this is just another example as to how the country is heading towards a complete downfall. The next article adds more information about the disastrous prospects of a country beyond repair.
US Government Bankrupt… while Adding $200 Billion Dollars to the Debt in October Alone
Zerohedge wrote on October 30:
“There’s been something happening this month that very few people have noticed. It’s been lost beneath all the other headline-dominating news, from the Las Vegas shooting to Harvey Weinstein to the Mueller investigation. But very quietly behind the scenes there’s been an extremely rapid uptick in the US national debt. In the month of October alone, the US national debt has soared by nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars. This is pretty astonishing given that October is supposed to be a ‘good’ month for the US Treasury Department. Yet despite being flush with tax revenue, the US government still managed to pile almost a quarter of a trillion dollars more on top of its already enormous mountain of debt…
“The only realistic way out is for the US government to eventually capitulate… and default. This could mean selectively defaulting on holders of US debt (for example–the Chinese, Japanese, Federal Reserve, Social Security Trust Funds, etc.); one day Uncle Sam simply stops paying. Or it could mean defaulting on promises made to citizens, like providing a strong national defense, maintaining a stable currency, or paying out Social Security benefits as advertised. Each of these scenarios has its own particular consequences, ranging from steep inflation to a full-blown global financial crisis…”
It seems we are traveling on the Titanic without wanting to see the destructive iceberg.
Coming… European Superstate with an EU Army and One Chancellor for ALL of Europe
Express wrote on October 29:
“BRITAIN’S exit from the European Union has accelerated plans within Brussels to form a giant superstate with its own army, currency and shared rules, as well as a EU Chancellor of the Exchequer, it has been revealed.
“Hardcore Europhiles have plotted to create the new post of Chancellor for the 27 member states, despite all nations having dramatically different financial situations. The Chancellor would have the power to go into member states and make ‘structural reforms’ to their domestic budgets. The plans are revealed in a paper called The Future Of Europe which calls for EU expansion to include Serbia and Montenegro, an EU army by 2025 and an EU-wide work permit…
“Pro-Brexit Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘This is what many of us thought was the plan all along. Now we have the evidence.’
“Ukip MEP Nathan Gill told the Daily Mail: ‘These sweeping new developments, including the EU creating its own Chancellor as well as pushing ahead with plans for a continent-wide army, prove Brussels is hurtling at breakneck speed towards becoming a full superstate. We got out in the nick of time.’
“Pro-Remain Tory MP Anna Soubry told the paper: ‘Brussels can do these things more easily now we aren’t there to make the sensible case and work with those countries who also don’t want the EU to move in this direction.’
“Jo Leinen, a German MEP revealed this month the EU will form its army by offering to save country’s money, if they hand over part control of their military affairs. The MEP said the policy of national armies ‘cannot continue’ for much longer.”
There are more and more talks about creating an EU superstate; a European army; and now a Chancellor for all of Europe. They are truly blind who cannot see that all of this is in line with biblical end-time prophecy which reveals the final and last European revival of the ancient Roman Empire. It is THAT power which will ultimately destroy the USA and the UK… but both nations are totally ignorant about this prophesied future development. This is because God has given them the spirit of slumber.
Coalition Talks in Germany Are Dragging on… and on….
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 30:
“Four German political parties — the Christian Democrats, Christian Social Union, Free Democrats and Greens — are now in their third week of talks to form a government… Germany is now outside its political comfort zone.
“Although a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens has been run more or less successfully at the state level once before, the Jamaica coalition — so named because of the parties’ respective colors: black, yellow and green — has never been tried at the national level… As things stand, the list of agreements is significantly shorter than the list of disagreements…”
Even if there will be a Jamaica coalition, it won’t last long. Martin Schulz (SPD) already asked for new elections.
Trouble Ahead for Spain
AFP wrote on October 27:
“Spain was plunged into crisis Friday as Madrid seized power from independence-seeking Catalonia, the first curtailment of regional autonomy since the brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco. After regional lawmakers voted to declare a Catalan ‘republic’, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy moved swiftly to dissolve the rebel government and parliament, and called December 21 elections to replace them.
“In an escalating standoff closely watched by secession-wary Europe, Rajoy fired pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont and all his ministers as well as the director of the regional police, and Catalan envoys to Madrid and Brussels, to halt what he termed an ‘escalation of disobedience.’ Secessionist lawmakers voted 70 to 10 in the 135-member parliament Friday to declare Catalonia ‘a republic in the form of an independent and sovereign state’. They take their mandate from the ‘Yes’ result in a banned and unregulated October 1 independence referendum spurned by many more than half of Catalan electors…
“The region of some 7.5 million people accounts for about 16 percent of Spain’s population, a fifth of its economic output, and attracts more tourists than anywhere else in the country. Catalonia´s inhabitants are fiercely protective of their language, culture and autonomy — restored after a long period of oppression during nationalist Franco´s 1936-1979 rule…
“The sweeping measures [by Spain] were approved by the Senate Friday under a constitutional article designed to rein in rebels among Spain’s 17 regions. Madrid’s allies in the European Union and the United States rallied behind Madrid as they voiced alarm over developments in Spain´s worst political crisis in decades… Polls show Catalans themselves are split, pretty much down the middle, on the issue of independence from Spain…
“The UN urged both sides Friday to ‘seek solutions within the framework of the Spanish constitution, and through established political and legal channels.’ But far-left groups have already threatened ‘massive civil disobedience’ if Madrid usurps Catalan autonomy…
“There are deep concerns over the economic impact of the showdown, with nearly 1,700 companies already having moved their legal headquarters out of Catalonia, which has an economic output equivalent to that of Portugal.”
Deutsche Welle reported on October 30:
“Former Catalonian regional leader Carles Puigdemont and five aides went to Brussels on Monday to meet with his lawyers… The revelation came as prosecutors in Madrid charged the 54-year-old and several associates with rebellion, sedition and embezzlement. Rebellion alone carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison… Spain is in the throes of its worst political crisis since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco…”
Deutsche Welle added on November 2:
“Spain’s public prosecutor has requested that an arrest warrant be issued for deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. [Eight] Catalan ministers have been jailed for their role in the independence push.”
The powerful measures used by Spain which are endorsed by most of Europe is just a foretaste of the undemocratic and dictatorial way in which the United States of Europe will conduct their affairs in the future. Russia was rightly condemned for annexing the Crimea peninsula and getting involved in Ukrainian affairs, but why is Spain’s conduct any different? Note the next article.
Why Do Catalonians Want Independence from Spain?
The Telegraph wrote on October 10:
“Catalonia was an independent region of the Iberian Peninsula – modern day Spain and Portugal – with its own language, laws and customs. In 1150, the marriage of Petronilia, Queen of Aragon and Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona formed a dynasty leaving their son to inherit all territories concerning the region of Aragon and Catalonia. This lasted until the reign of King Philip V. The War of the Spanish Succession ended with the defeat of Valencia in 1707, of Catalonia in 1714, and finally with the last of the islands in 1715 – resulting in the birth of modern-day Spain.
“Subsequent kings tried to impose the Spanish language and laws on the region, but they abandoned their attempts in 1931 and restored the Generalitat (the national Catalan government). General Francisco Franco, however, set out to destroy Catalan separatism and with his victory at the Battle of Ebro in 1938 he took control of the region, killing 3,500 people and forcing many more into exile.
“The region was granted a degree of autonomy once more in 1977, when democracy returned to the country…
“The Catalan region… is one of the wealthiest regions of Spain… Secession would therefore cost Spain almost 20 [percent] of its economic output, and trigger a row about how Catalonia would return 52.5 billion euros of debt it owes to the country’s central administration.
“It would have a gross domestic product of $314 billion (£195bn)… which would make it the 34th largest economy in the world. That would make it bigger than Portugal or Hong Kong. Its GDP per capita would be $35,000, which would make it wealthier than South Korea, Israel or Italy. And Catalonia’s contribution to the Spanish economy is twice that of Scotland’s to the UK.”
So, it appears, it’s all about money and power.
No Apology for Balfour Declaration
Times of Israel wrote on November 2:
“British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday said she would ‘absolutely not’ apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration which paved the way for the establishment of the ‘most extraordinary’ State of Israel, while noting that the document’s vision of Jewish-Arab coexistence remained ‘unfinished business.’
“In a speech marking the centenary of the declaration, May was glowing in her praise of the Jewish state, describing it as a ‘true start-up nation’ and ‘a symbol of openness, as a thriving democracy; and a beacon to the world in upholding the rights of women and members of the LGBT community’…
“Signed on November 2, 1917 by the UK’s then foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, the declaration announced his government’s intention to establish ‘a national home for the Jewish people’ in the Land of Israel… In recent weeks, the Palestinians have vehemently protested the British government’s decision to mark the Balfour Declaration with pride, calling on London to apologize for the document and recognize a Palestinian state…
“In her address, the British prime minister… voiced support for a two-state solution, underlining that the Israelis and Palestinians would need to make compromises, on settlements and incitement, respectively…”
May also said that Israeli settlements were a “barrier” to peace.
Donald Trump and the Evangelicals at the Crossroad?
NPR wrote on October 29:
“When Donald Trump announced he would be running for president, he didn’t seem like the obvious candidate for evangelical voters, given his multiple divorces, use of crass language and one-time admission that he had never asked God for forgiveness. Nonetheless, he did manage to coalesce 81 percent of white evangelical voters behind him in November.
“Almost a year since Election Day, President Trump’s unlikely marriage with the religious right seems to have only strengthened, as seen at the Values Voter Summit earlier this month. Trump administration officials peppered the speaker list, and attendees praised the president as having been chosen by God to lead the country at this time… many prominent faith leaders — including Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell Jr. and First Baptist Dallas’ Robert Jeffress — didn’t just endorse Trump, they gave him their most full-throated blessing and defense.
“But that fervent support from evangelicals may have come at a cost… There have been growing racial and generational divisions within the church… and Trump’s election seems to have brought some of those simmering tensions to the surface, putting evangelicalism at a potential crossroads.”
The mixture of religion and politics has always been a lethal potion.
Most Brits Reject Four of the Ten Commandments
Christian Post wrote on October 26:
“Most Britons believe that only six of the Ten Commandments are relevant today, and Christians are split over whether some, like the Commandment to not worship other gods, are essential to their faith… A YouGov research poll released on Wednesday found that 93 percent of Britons still find the Commandments against murder and stealing to be fundamental.
“Another 87 percent agreed that ‘you shall not bear false witness against other people’ is still relevant, along with 73 percent who agreed with the Commandment against adultery. Sixty-nine percent said that honoring one’s father and mother is important, along with 61 percent who said the same for not coveting other people’s possessions.
“But only 31 percent said that not worshiping idols is still essential, and 23 percent agreed with not using God’s name in vain. Only 20 percent agreed with not worshiping other gods, and only 19 percent said that keeping the Sabbath day holy is paramount.”
On top of that, we are certain that most of those who still believe in the sanctity of the Sabbath are confused about the identity of the day and may erroneously believe that they ought to observe Sunday, instead of the biblical seventh-day Sabbath.
Court Decision in the UK: You Must Not Post your Christian Views on Facebook
Christian Concern wrote on October 27:
“Felix Ngole was studying for an MA in Social Work at Sheffield university. In 2015 he made comments using his personal Facebook account on the story of the American registrar Kim Davis who was imprisoned after conscientiously refusing to register same-sex marriages. Felix expressed his Christian beliefs on the issue and argued that: ‘same sex marriage is a sin whether we like it or not. It is God’s words and man’s sentiments would not change His words’. He was asked where in the Bible it says that same-sex marriage is wrong, and he quoted various passages to demonstrate this.
“… Felix [was] subsequently removed from his course by a panel chaired by Professor Marsh, an LGBT rights campaigner. Felix, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, sought to challenge the university’s decision in a judicial review which was heard in the High Court over two days. The court ruled that the university acted lawfully in removing Felix from his course…
“The university held that it was not Felix’s views that were at issue, but his public posting of these views. They held that this expression of his views ‘may have caused offence to some individuals’…”
When will this ungodly nonsense of liberal and Bible-defying universities and judges stop?
Pope Francis—a Dilemma for the Catholic Church
The Guardian wrote on October 26:
“Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today. Those who hate him most are not atheists, or protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers. Outside the church he is hugely popular as a figure of almost ostentatious modesty and humility.
“From the moment that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became pope in 2013, his gestures caught the world’s imagination: the new pope drove a Fiat, carried his own bags and settled his own bills in hotels; he asked, of gay people, ‘Who am I to judge?’ and washed the feet of Muslim women refugees. But within the church, Francis has provoked a ferocious backlash from conservatives who fear that this spirit will divide the church, and could even shatter it. This summer, one prominent English priest said to me: “We can’t wait for him to die. It’s unprintable what we say in private. Whenever two priests meet, they talk about how awful Bergoglio is…’
“This mixture of hatred and fear is common among the pope’s adversaries. Francis, the first non-European pope in modern times, and the first ever Jesuit pope, was elected as an outsider to the Vatican establishment, and expected to make enemies. But no one foresaw just how many he would make… To judge by the voting figures at the last worldwide meeting of bishops, almost a quarter of the college of Cardinals – the most senior clergy in the church – believe that the pope is flirting with heresy…
“The crunch point has come in a fight over his views on divorce. Breaking with centuries, if not millennia, of Catholic theory, Pope Francis has tried to encourage Catholic priests to give communion to some divorced and remarried couples, or to families where unmarried parents are cohabiting. His enemies are trying to force him to abandon and renounce this effort. Since he won’t, and has quietly persevered in the face of mounting discontent, they are now preparing for battle.
“Last year, one cardinal, backed by a few retired colleagues, raised the possibility of a formal declaration of heresy – the wilful rejection of an established doctrine of the church, a sin punishable by excommunication. Last month, 62 disaffected Catholics, including one retired bishop and a former head of the Vatican bank, published an open letter that accused Francis of seven specific counts of heretical teaching. To accuse a sitting pope of heresy is the nuclear option in Catholic arguments. Doctrine holds that the pope cannot be wrong when he speaks on the central questions of the faith; so if he is wrong, he can’t be pope. On the other hand, if this pope is right, all his predecessors must have been wrong…”
Prophecy reveals that the conservative branch within the Catholic Church will prevail. At the same time, Pope Francis might not be as liberal as he pretends to be.
More and More Students Turn to Paganism, Astrology and Wiccanism
The College Fix wrote on October 31:
“As millennials continue to leave traditional Christian religions, interest in Wiccan and pagan practices have seen increased interest in recent years, a trend also spotted among young people and on college campuses…
“25 percent of Americans now identify with no religion… Underscoring that, a 2014 National Science Foundation poll found nearly half of all Americans say astrology is either ‘very scientific’ or ‘sort of scientific’… Today a number of universities around the country have officially recognized Pagan or Wicca student groups…
“In 2010, Syracuse University appointed its first ‘Pagan Chaplain’ of Hendricks Chapel, its interdenominational place of worship. Others, like [the] Air Force, have followed suit, including designating specific areas on campus for pagan or spiritual worship. In 2014, Loyola University Chicago — a Catholic institution — christened a new pagan student club. Also that year, the University of Washington’s student newspaper launched a column dedicated to delving into Wiccanism…”
Human Craziness Might Spread the Black Death
The Sun wrote on November 1:
“Madagascans have been told to call a halt to the ceremony as it is feared to have contributed to the outbreak that has left 120 dead from pneumonic plague – an even deadlier strain of the lethal disease than bubonic plague. Madagascans have been told to stop the traditional practice of Famadihana – which sees locals dig up deceased relatives and dance with them before they are re-buried…
“The medieval disease notoriously wiped out one third of Europe’s population in the 13th and 14th centuries in one of the most devastating pandemics in human history known as the Black Death. Dr Ashok Chopra, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas, told The Sun Online the crisis in Madagascar had yet to peak.”
The stupidity of man knows no bounds.
The Curse of Halloween
ABC News wrote on October 30:
“Halloween dates back to the Celtic farming festival Samhain [pronounced “sah-win”]. The holiday marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. As the crops died, farmers believed there was a day when spirits could rise from their graves. During Samhain, Celtic people would dress in disguise to fool and ward off the spirits, hoping to protect their land through the upcoming winter.
“In the eighth century, Christians sought to transform the pagan holiday. Pope Gregory III declared Nov. 1 to be the feast of All Saints’ Day. The night before became known as All Hollow’s Eve…
“Modern Halloween traditions and folklore first came to America in the 19th century with the influx of Irish immigrants. The practice of carving and decorating jack-o-lanterns [pronounce: “jahck-o-lantern] is an Irish custom that honored the souls stuck in purgatory. Legend has it that Stingy Jack roamed the Earth, unable to enter heaven or hell, with only a piece of burning coal in a carved out turnip to light his way. Since pumpkins are easier to carve than turnips, this ritual adapted into jack-o’-lanterns as All Hollow’s Eve celebrations took shape in America.
“Today, Halloween has grown into a nationally recognized festival. Over 179 million Americans plan to partake in festivities in 2017… The top children’s costume is an action hero or superhero while adults are most likely to choose a witch…”
The Telegraph wrote on October 30:
“Gaels believed that it was a time when the walls between our world and the next became thin…, allowing spirits to pass through, come back to life on the day and damage their crops. Places were set at the dinner table to appease and welcome the spirits. Gaels would also offer food and drink, and light bonfires to ward off the evil spirits… Many dressed up as souls of the dead and were understood to be protecting themselves from the spirits by impersonating them…
“Celts dressed up in white with blackened faces during the festival of Samhain to trick the evil spirits that they believed would be roaming the earth before All Saints’ Day on November 1st.
“By the 11th century, this had been adapted by the Church into a tradition called ‘souling’, which is seen as being the origin of trick-or-treating. Children go door-to-door, asking for soul cakes in exchange for praying for the souls of friends and relatives. They went dressed up as angels, demons or saints. The soul cakes were sweet, with a cross marked on top and when eaten they represented a soul being freed from purgatory…
“In Czech culture, chairs for deceased family members are placed by the fire on Halloween night alongside chairs for each living one. In Austria some people leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before going to bed. It is believed that this will welcome dead souls back to Earth. Meanwhile in Germany, people hide their knives to make sure none of the returning spirits are harmed – or seek to harm them!…”
There is absolutely nothing “Christian” about this Satanic festival. Even the attempts by the Catholic Church to make it “Christian” are all based on unbiblical superstition (“souls stuck in purgatory”) and pagan beliefs (“wearing terrible costumes to ward off evil spirits”; “spirits of the dead come back to life”). A true Christian must have NOTHING to do with Halloween, as in His due time, God will severely punish those who do.
Halloween and Islamic Terrorism in New York
JTA wrote on November 1:
“At least eight people were killed and about a dozen injured when a truck rammed into a crowd on a bike path in downtown Manhattan in what Mayor Bill de Blasio called ‘an act of terror.’…
“The suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, an Uber and commercial truck driver from New Jersey, was identified as a Uzbek national who is a permanent U.S. resident. He arrived in the United States in 2010 and has a green card, according to reports. Police shot Saipov after he exited the rented truck he was driving and ran through the street waving pellet guns… Saipov reportedly left a note in the truck saying he committed the attack for the terrorist group ISIS… Witnesses said the suspect had yelled ‘Allahu Akbar,’ which means ‘God is great’ in Arabic, law enforcement sources told CNN…”
NBC San Diego wrote on November 1:
“Roused by the first major ISIS-inspired attack on U.S. soil since he took office, President Donald Trump… insisted Wednesday that Congress must end the visa lottery program under which Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov entered the country, and he ordered still tighter scrutiny of immigrants already subject to what he calls ‘extreme vetting.’ But the White House offered no indication of what new steps the president might be planning…
“Trump’s swift political response to the New York attacks contrasts with his wait-and-see approach after the October massacre of 59 people by a Las Vegas gunman… The two responses offer the latest suggestions of how the culture wars that defined Trump’s campaign may be coloring his actions…”
Those who receive green cards through the lottery program are extremely vetted before entering the country. It seems clear that the idiotic and deranged “lone-wolf”-terrorist was radicalized by ISIS after coming to the USA. He stated that he became radicalized after watching an ISIS video. He obviously became demon-influenced, if not possessed. No prior vetting could have prevented his demonical deed.
Fox Business wrote on November 1:
“Halloween has lived up to its reputation in New York… No one could have foreseen Tuesday’s sinister mission to turn a vehicle into a deadly weapon. We stroll our streets without paying attention to what’s around us, intent on reading or sending text messages, or watching videos on our phones…
“The problem is that terrorists – those whose perverted view equates God’s greatness with acts of bloodshed – know how clueless we are, and exploit our assumption that nothing bad can happen to us. And it is that careless confidence that makes us easy prey, soft victims for determined evildoers.”
It is very true and a biblical command that we must pay attention to our surroundings.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
What Does the Bible Mean When it Speaks of “Eternal” Concepts and “Eternity”?
These words can have a variety of meaning, depending on the context.
We addressed a related question in a Q&A, titled, “When the Bible uses the term ‘forever,’ does this always mean the same as ‘everlasting’ or ‘eternally’?
There, we pointed out the following:
“While ‘forever’ may indeed convey an absolute sense of being perpetual or interminable, ‘forever’ is also used metaphorically and in a conditional sense. The Hebrew word that is translated many times as ‘forever’, is ‘owlam.’ It can be found in Daniel 12:2. In this case, the English word ‘everlasting’ is used to translate the Hebrew word ‘owlam’: ‘And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to everlasting contempt.’ [The Revised English Bible says: “… some to everlasting life and some to the reproach of eternal abhorrence.”] This prophesied occurrence speaks of a future time when the fate of many humans will be decided on a perpetual and eternal basis.
“Jesus also taught about life that would be endless. In John 6:51, He states: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ The Greek word ‘aion’ translated as ‘forever’ in this passage is used by John in a similar context as he contrasted that which is temporary to that which is permanent: ‘And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever’ (1 John 2:17).
“In numerous instances the eternity of God is revealed through the use of the word ‘forever.’ One such example… appears in Revelation 4:9-10: ‘Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever…’
“In this context, consider these parallel concepts about God’s existence–His life–being forever: Deuteronomy 33:27: ‘The eternal God is your refuge…’ Psalm 90:1-2: ‘LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.’ Isaiah 57:15: ‘For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy…’”
We see from the foregoing that the concepts of “forever,” “everlasting” and “eternal” are used in a synonymous way. In all the passages quoted, they confer the concept of “without end.” But we will now see that these words can also have the meaning that something will end. We explain in the above-quoted Q&A:
“Look at this statement that appears in Exodus 21:6: ‘… then his master shall bring him to the judges, He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, AND HE SHALL SERVE HIM FOREVER’ (Compare Deuteronomy 15:17). Does this verse mean that a servant in this circumstance will continue serving the same master for all of eternity [that is, without end]? Obviously not, as both the servant and his master eventually died! The word translated here in Exodus 21 as ‘forever’ is the same Hebrew word ‘owlam’ that we have already seen used in earlier examples about living forever…
“Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible offers definitions for ‘owlam’ that include ‘eternal’ and ‘perpetual’ but also includes the idea of ‘lasting.’… the service of a particular individual was a life-long commitment—lasting as long as either the servant or master lived. In another place where ‘owlam’ is translated ‘forever,’ the obvious intent is for a lifetime. In this example, the mother of Samuel is quoted: ‘But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the LORD and REMAIN THERE FOREVER”’ (1 Samuel 1:22). But we know that Samuel died—that he is not NOW still before the LORD! (Compare 1 Samuel 25:1). [Also, 1 Samuel 1:28 explains that “forever” means in that context, “as long as he lives.”]
“In biblical usage of the word ‘forever,’ we see that the context and application MAY be for something that will come to an end… When studying the concept of ‘forever’ in context, we see a variety of intended meanings. The word can express a never-ending condition or situation, but it can also refer to a certain limited period of time, based on the life of the parties involved and also dependent on relevant conditions.”
The same must be said about the terms “everlasting” and “eternal”. For instance, we read in Isaiah 60:15 that God will make “Zion” “an eternal excellence”, which is defined here as “many generations.” The Hebrew word is “owlam.”
Hebrew 6:2 speaks of “eternal judgment.” As we saw in a previous Q&A on Matthew 25:31-46, the meaning does not convey that God’s judgment will continue for all eternity; that is, that He will judge and judge without end. Rather, the term refers to God’s judgments with eternal consequences.
In addition, we read in Matthew 18:8 that people may be thrown into the everlasting fire (the RSV writes: “eternal fire.”). The warning that some will be thrown into the everlasting fire is repeated in Matthew 25:41 (the NIV, the RSV and other translations say, “eternal fire”; the Greek word is “aionios”; see below for an explanation of this phrase), and that they will endure everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46; NIV and RSV: “eternal punishment”). The Bible tells us that some will be punished with everlasting destruction when Christ returns (2 Thessalonians 1:9; RSV: “they shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction”).
As we will see, these expressions do not mean that the everlasting or eternal fire will burn “without end,” or that people will be tortured and punished without end. Rather, these expressions refer to eternal or everlasting consequences. But in regard to 2 Thessalonians 1:9, the expression of “everlasting” or “eternal” destruction only refers to a certain time span, because most of those mentioned in this passage will be brought back to life in a second resurrection. Their “everlasting” or “eternal” destruction “only” lasts during the time of the Millennium.
In chapter 18 of our free booklet, “Is That In the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” we address the “torment of the wicked,” stating this: “Does the Bible, particularly a passage in Revelation 14:9–11, teach that the wicked will be tormented forever in hell fire?”
In that passage, we read that “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever.” We explain in this chapter that the Bible does not teach an ever-burning hell fire, but that the wicked will be burned up in the THIRD resurrection—that is, after the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment period (compare Revelation 20:4–15).
We continue: “One key point is to realize what it says and what it does not say. It DOES say that the torment of their SMOKE will ascend forever and ever. It DOES NOT say that THE WICKED will be tormented forever and ever. Rather, the wicked will be burned up in fiery plagues, and it is their smoke—evidence that the fire has done its work—which ascends forever and ever. Smoke results from something burned. This indicates that they were consumed and that all that remains is smoke. We also read in Malachi 4:3 that the ASHES of the wicked will be under the feet of the righteous. Psalm 37:20 tells us that the wicked shall ‘perish’—‘into smoke they shall vanish away.’ It is not the punishment of the fire, but the result of that punishment, which is being addressed in Revelation 14:11.”
We continue to state in our booklet:
“We also need to understand that the biblical expression ‘forever’ does not have to mean ‘for all eternity’ [that is, without end]. The words are often a translation from the Hebrew ‘olam’ [or ‘owlam’] and the Greek ‘aion’ or ‘aionios,’ meaning ‘age,’ or ‘age-lasting’ (compare Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible). In Revelation 14:11, the Greek words translated as ‘forever and ever’ mean, according to Young’s, ‘to ages of ages.’ The Englishman’s Greek New Testament translates this verse as follows: ‘And the smoke of their torment goes up to ages of ages…’
“In Jonah 2:6, the term ‘forever’ describes the time span of ‘three days and three nights,’ as made clear in Jonah 1:17. Jonah, when in the belly of the sea monster, prayed about the earth with her bars being about him forever. What he was actually saying here is that as long as he was in that particular situation, the earth was about him.”
In addressing the use of the word “eternal” in this context, we state this:
“Jude 7 speaks of the vengeance of eternal fire that burned Sodom and Gomorrah, though these cities are not still burning nor are the people still suffering that vengeance. The fire only burned for a while. An ‘aeonian fire’ does not refer to a fire that never goes out. After it completely destroyed and obliterated those ancient cities, it burned itself out when there was nothing else left to consume. The smoke from that fire ascended for a while. It is not still ascending today. Jesus shows that the people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be resurrected in a period of judgment yet future (compare Matthew 10:15).
“The people worshipping the political and religious leaders of the end-time Babylonian system will be tormented ‘forever’—that is, until they die. They ‘have no rest day or night,’ as long as they are alive and remain part of that system falling under God’s wrath; that is, before they are destroyed by the fiery plagues of God’s last seven bowls judgment (Revelation 16:1–21)… The smoke of their torment will ascend for a while—as long as the necessary conditions exist to allow smoke from burned bodies to ascend… We read that the smoke from the Babylonian system… will rise up ‘forever and ever’ (Revelation 19:3—based on the Greek, it should say, according to Young’s and the Englishman’s Greek New Testament, ‘to the ages of the ages’)… This is a reference to the smoke from buildings, but the fire won’t burn for all eternity [that is, without ever ending]…
“Likewise, we read in Isaiah 34:9–10, that the smoke from the land of Edom will ‘ascend forever’—that is, until the fire has burned up all consumable material. As in the case of the burned cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that fire of Edom will not burn for all eternity [without end].”
When speaking of eternity, we also need to realize that there are all kinds of spirits. There are Spirit BEINGS. God is a Spirit Being. And so, there is God’s Holy Spirit—emanating from both the Father and Jesus Christ. It is through the Holy Spirit of God that both the Father and the Son dwell in us (John 14:23). That Spirit, although not a person, is clearly eternal and immortal, because it emanates from GOD—and GOD is immortal and eternal, that is, He will never cease to exist. As God cannot die, so His Spirit cannot be extinguished. We read that we can quench the Holy Spirit WITHIN US (1 Thessalonians 5:19)—but that does not mean that somehow God’s Holy Spirit would cease to exist. This is just referring to the dwelling of His Holy Spirit IN US. When a person loses the Holy Spirit—that is, when God withdraws from that person by removing His Holy Spirit from such a person—then of course THAT portion of the Holy Spirit does not “die”—since it was part of GOD all along.
When we become immortal Spirit beings in the Family of God, we too—everything that we will be—will be eternal, in the sense that there will be no end for us. That is, our “human” spirit will become eternal as will be our “bodies”—they will be spiritual or Spirit bodies—and we, as eternal beings without end, will have God’s eternal Holy Spirit abiding in us forever. We will be GOD—full-fledged members of God’s Family.
There are other spirit beings—angels and demons. And they too, possess a spirit. But again, their spirit is eternal, without end, if you please, as THEY are immortal beings. They cannot die, and neither can their spirit, which is emanating from them, be destroyed.
Then there is the human spirit which distinguishes man from the animals (1 Corinthians 2:11). But there is also an animal spirit (compare Ecclesiastes 3:19). We read in Genesis 7:21-22 that all flesh outside Noah’s Ark died in the Flood—birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing, AND every man; that is, “ALL in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on dry land, died.”
But neither the spirit in man nor the animal spirit are conscious “entities,” nor are they the same as the Holy Spirit of God or the spirits of angels. The unrepentant and incorrigible wicked will be destroyed and totally annihilated. It will be as if they had never existed. The soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4)—and unless the soul repents of its sins, it will die the second, final and eternal death. This includes their spirit in man—it too will be destroyed.
In our Q&A, “What will happen to the spirit in man of those who die the second death?”), we stated this:
“Isaiah 42:5 says that God, after having created the heavens and the earth, gives breath to the people on it, and ‘spirit to those who walk on it.’ But there is no breath in a particular person prior to his existence, and by extension, there would not be any spirit either. That is, neither the breath nor the spirit of man exist prior to the ‘creation’ of that particular person. We also read in Zechariah 12:1 that God FORMS the spirit of man within him. Again, this seems to imply that God actually creates in man the human spirit when man comes into existence. The connection between God’s breath and the spirit in man is also expressed in Job 32:8. The New Jerusalem Bible translates Job 32:8, ‘There is, you see, a spirit residing in humanity, the breath of God conferring intelligence.’ …
“Paul prayed that God would preserve blamelessly spirit and soul and body of a converted Christian (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Paul wished that God would preserve blameless the Christian’s human spirit, his temporary physical life and his physical flesh. All of these ‘components’ are mentioned together, to describe the entire being. In addition, 1 Corinthians 5:5 says about a Christian who sinned gravely to ‘deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’… The fact that Paul prayed to God to ‘preserve blameless’ the body, soul AND spirit of a person shows that it is possible that body, soul AND spirit may not be preserved ‘blameless’—or not at all. And if they are not preserved, then they cease to exist…”
We continued to address Isaiah 57:16, which says: “For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.”
“The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown explains correctly that the ‘spirit’ in the passage refers to the spirit in man—not the Holy Spirit of God… In referring to a passage of Numbers 16:22, where God is referred to as ‘the God of the spirits of all flesh,’ the commentary states that the word ‘spirit’ in Isaiah 57:16 refers to ‘the human spirit which went forth from Me (Numbers 16:22).’… The Hebrew word [for “fail”] is ‘ataph’ and has a variety of meanings… German translations point out that the word ‘ataph’ can also mean ‘cease to exist, get destroyed, become annihilated.’ For example, the German Luther Bible [Revised 1984]; the Elberfelder Bible; the Menge Bible; the Schlachter Bible and the Pattloch Bible all use the expression, ‘verschmachten,’ which is a word describing the death of a person in the desert, who is dying of thirst… [The Revised Luther Bible 2009 says, “vergehen,” meaning, “pass away” or “die.”]
“The Amplified Bible renders Isaiah 57:16 as follows (brackets in the original): ‘… for [where it not so] the spirit [of man] would faint and be consumed before Me, and [My purpose in] creating the souls of men would be frustrated.”
“Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible comments regarding Isaiah 57:16: ‘The simple meaning seems to be, that if God should continue in anger against people they would be consumed. The human soul could not endure a long-continued controversy with God. Its powers would fail; its strength decay; it must sink to destruction.’”
In conclusion, the foregoing shows that the expressions “eternal” or “eternity,” when applied to God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Christians made immortal, angels and demons, do in fact describe an eternal, everlasting existence which will never end. On the other hand, those who have committed the unpardonable sin will be destroyed in the lake of fire. They will not be tormented forever in an eternal never-ending hell fire. Rather, their existence will cease. Even though they will be burnt up in the “everlasting” and “eternal” Gehenna fire which will burn “forever,” these words do not mean here, “without end,” but they describe a state of affairs which will endure as long as certain conditions prevail. Once the conditions do no longer exist, the “eternal” fire will cease to burn. At the same time, the eternal fire will have eternal or never-ending consequences for those human beings who will be thrown into it. Their punishment (not punishing) will be of eternal consequence, as they will cease to exist and never come back to life.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (October 2017) has been written by the ministry which features reports from our Feast sites in the US and Germany. Along with this letter, our newest booklet, “How to Find the True Church of God,” is included for those who have not yet received a copy. Both the letter and booklet have been mailed to our subscribers.
“Worshipping Satan on Halloween,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Most Brits don’t believe anymore that they must refrain from worshipping idols or other gods. The Vatican is in uproar over the liberalism of Pope Francis. What do these developments have to do with Halloween? What is the origin of Halloween? Is there a connection between Halloween and All Hallows Eve? Pope Gregory III tried to transform Halloween, and evil Samhain practices were adapted by the church into a tradition called “souling.” But can you make something “Christian” which is thoroughly Satanic?
“Satanische Verehrung an Halloween ,” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. This covers the same topic as described above.
“Lehrt die Bibel wirklich eine zweite Auferstehung?” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Does the Bible Really Teach a Second Resurrection?”
“Germany Recap,” is now posted. Kalon Mitchell and Michael Link presented a review last Sabbath of what they experienced during the Feast in Templin, Germany.
“You Shall (Not) Desire,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The Bible tells us that we must not “desire”, “lust” or “covet.” But what, exactly, do we need to avoid or fight against, and what can we do so that we do not become or remain to be victims of evil, deceitful, worldly and fleshly lusts, which enslave us?
This week, several more sermonettes and sermons given in the USA during the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day observances have been posted on our website: www.eternalgod.org.
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom