July 20, 2018
Preparation and Consistency; The Two Witnesses and Christ’s Return
Preparation and Consistency; The Two Witnesses and Christ’s Return
On July 21, 2018, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Preparation and Consistency,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “The Two Witnesses and Christ’s Return.”
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.
How Is Your Perspective?
by Kalon Mitchell
I was talking with my son the other day about how each of our lives are different. We don’t do the same things for work and for fun; we do not have the same friends and there are many other examples which could be stated. Occasionally, things overlap and that is where friendships and shared interests come into play. But everyone’s paths are unique.
For the most part, we are each on our own paths. As a Church, we work together towards the same goals, but as Proverbs 14:10 points out, we are responsible for ourselves: “The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.”
Growing up, I remember hearing about the end coming and all the ins and outs. I remember feeling scared and nervous about the things that were to happen. And then we add the knowledge that we don’t know the exact time of Christ’s return. This has made it tough at times to live with the right perspective. But indeed, it takes the right perspective to live, not swaying to the right hand or to the left (compare Proverbs 4:27; Deuteronomy 5:32; Joshua 1:7; Isaiah 30:21). The choice is ours. That should be the scariest part for us as Christians. God has already decided before time began that He would call us in this day and age. Science has shown us that the odds of you and me being born is 1 in 400 trillion. Think about that for a moment, let it sink in. Is it odd that we were born, in the time and place that we have been? I think not! 2 Peter 1:10 asks us how we are doing in our calling, in our diligence, in our effort to make sure that we don’t fall, that we don’t stumble.
As I stated before, our paths are all unique. We go through the issues in life to learn. Oftentimes, we don’t learn from others’ mistakes, even though we could and should if we were wise enough (1 Corinthians 10:11; Proverbs 1:1-9). Rather, we have to trudge through the trials and learn the hard way (Proverbs 11:2; James 1:2-4; Romans 8:28; Proverbs 24:16). The key is to pick up the pieces, learn, repent and move forward. In Philippians 3:13 Paul had every reason to be regretful and discouraged about his past, but he didn’t dwell on those things. He worked diligently to move forward.
How are we dealing with the fact that we are starting to see how end-time prophecy is being fulfilled? Are we scared? Are we happy? Are we joyful? Are we blasé and indifferent? What is our perspective as we watch the world unraveling?
Do we understand that prophecy in and of itself is very sensational, but yet we should not be seeking prophecy for prophecy’s sake alone? Prophecy should help us to discern the times that we are living in and help us to temper our mindsets and attitudes and to give us additional motivation and zeal to do the Work and the Will of God. Paul was keen to tell this to Timothy, a young minister, in 2 Timothy 3:10-17. Wisdom and salvation are mentioned in verse 15. They are vitally important in keeping us going each day. If we are doing these things, then they help us to decide what we should be doing.
We need to acquire and keep the right and proper perspective at all times. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 warns us to take careful note, think deeply, study hard, and lean in more and more fervently on God. God doesn’t want us to fail. Our own failings take us away. 2 Timothy 2:15 asks us to be diligent in presenting ourselves to God as worthy of the calling given to us.
So what is our perspective in regard to our calling? What are we doing about it? Where do we stand? These types of questions can only be answered truthfully by each Church member. If we find that the answers are not good and promising, then it is high time that we make the necessary corrections while we still can.
by Norbert Link
We begin this special report with the events as they transpired at the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki and the extraordinary backlash Mr. Trump experienced by fellow Republicans and other conservative commentators (and of course from liberal newscasts and Democrats); Mr. Trump’s attempt of damage control and an interesting perspective by Pat Buchanan; and we continue to focus on events in Great Britain pertaining to Mr. Trump’s visit and the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
We address the war of words between America and Europe (especially Germany); the perception of a dying or already dead NATO; and Europe’s concern for their own interest (please note in this regard another thought-provoking article by Pat Buchanan).
We ask the question as to how trustworthy the FBI is in light of FBI agent Peter Strzok’s startling admissions; address China’s desire for world domination; speak on ongoing violence at the Gaza strip in spite of an agreed-upon “ceasefire”; report on Canada’s descent into ungodliness; and conclude with new evidence proving that the “Shroud of Turin” was not the burial cloth of Jesus.
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
The Controversial Putin-Trump “Summit”
Daily Mail wrote on July 16:
“[Putin] denied meddling in the 2016 presidential election but admitted he had hoped Trump would defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton… Trump backed up Putin’s denials, saying he thought Russia had no reason to interfere in the election and contradicting his country’s own FBI which believes Moscow was responsible for hacking during the campaign.
“He said that ‘we’ve all been foolish… we’ve both made mistakes’…
“Putin said Moscow and Washington could jointly conduct criminal investigations into Russian intelligence officials accused of hacking during the campaign. In what Trump described as an ‘incredible offer’ Putin said Washington could use a 1999 agreement to request that Russian authorities interrogate the 12 suspects, adding that U.S. officials could ask to be present in such interrogations.[As Newsmax reported on July 15, “A U.S. grand jury issued an indictment against the agents on Friday, charging them with hacking into email accounts controlled by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The charges stem from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election and any involvement by Trump’s campaign, a probe the president has repeatedly derided as a ‘witch hunt.’…”]
“Trump had said in a CBS interview that he had given no thought to asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers… Extradition is unlikely as the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Moscow and can’t force the Russians to hand over citizens. Russia’s constitution also prohibits turning over citizens to foreign governments…
“… at least in his public remarks at the outset, [Trump] mentioned none of the issues that have lately brought US-Russian relations to the lowest point since the Cold War: Moscow’s annexation of territory from Ukraine, its support for Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, as well as Western accusations that it poisoned a spy in England…”
Many additional important issues were not addressed during the news conference, including Russia’s abominable persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 16:
“… Putin spoke frankly on the topic of Crimea, saying that the US delegation had expressed its view that the invasion was illegal. The Russian president disagreed with Trump on the issue and concluded that ‘the Crimea question is closed for Russia…’”
Trump in League with Putin?
The Week wrote on July 16:
“… it is simply beyond question that Trump is really deferential to the Russian president… This is a terrible development for many reasons. First and most importantly is that it’s bad for the hugely powerful American executive branch to be even partially in league with a man like Putin…”
Trump Strongly Criticized by Republicans
The Huffington Post wrote on July 16:
“President Donald Trump’s performance during a press conference after a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday left critics of all stripes howling… Trump’s comments drew fierce criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike…
“On Fox News Business, several guests reacted by saying that Putin outmaneuvered Trump during the summit. On the channel, the network’s Neil Cavuto termed Trump’s performance ‘disgusting.’ George W. Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer… said he can understand why some Democrats believe Putin must have compromising information on Trump… Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a Republican, said Trump ‘failed America today’…
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell… said succinctly: ‘The Russians are not our friends. I’ve said that repeatedly, I say it again today. And I have complete confidence in our intelligence community and the findings that they have announced.’…”
The Guardian wrote on July 16:
“House speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, said: ‘… There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.’
Deutsche Welle added on July 16:
“Top Republican Senator John McCain called Trump’s summit in Helsinki a ‘tragic mistake,’ lamenting that the US president was ‘unable’ to stand up to Putin. ‘Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency,’ McCain’s statement read. ‘No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant,’ McCain said…”
Newt Gingrich and Bret Baier Strongly Criticize Trump
Newsmax wrote on July 16:
“President Donald Trump choosing not to endorse the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election is ‘the most serious mistake of his presidency,’ former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted Monday: ‘President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin… [It] must be corrected—-immediately.’”
Fox News (Bret Baier) wrote on July 16:
“President Trump left many deeply disappointed in his approach to his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin… For a sitting U.S. president to say publicly that he believes a foreign leader over his own intelligence team is shocking and admonishable. At a time when our democracy faces grave threats, it is deeply troubling that the president would side with the very country who attacked us… Crucially, there were no concessions from Russia on any of the issues that needed to be addressed…
“Despite each nation backing different sides in the Syrian conflict, Trump suggested he and Putin would begin working in conjunction to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Syria, regardless of the fact that the need for humanitarian aid largely stems from Putin’s unabashed support for Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. Additionally, Trump also failed to address the concerns of our NATO allies Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the Baltics regarding the territorial threats they persistently face. Trump, throughout the entire press conference, failed to condemn or even acknowledge the illegality of Putin’s actions in Crimea and Ukraine…”
When Trump supporter Newt Gingrich and moderators on Fox News disapprove of Mr. Trump’s conduct, then this is worthwhile contemplating.
BBC News wrote on July 16:
“Washington’s Nato allies and many seasoned observers on Capitol Hill must have been watching in horror…”
While many Russian papers approved the summit, most German papers overwhelmingly condemned Mr. Trump’s behavior.
Trump’s Attempted “Damage Control”
Huffington Post wrote on July 17:
“President Donald Trump on Tuesday responded to the widespread condemnation of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that he believes the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. His words came a day after he sided with Putin in an extraordinary press conference. ‘I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,’ he said Tuesday, appearing to read from prepared remarks, before suggesting that it ‘could be other people also. A lot of people out there.’
“During Monday’s press conference with Putin, he refused to condemn Russia’s interference, saying that he accepted the Russian president’s denial and took Putin’s word over the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, which he has continually attacked during his presidency. ‘President Putin just said it’s not Russia,’ Trump said. ‘I don’t see any reason why it would be.’
“But on Tuesday, Trump claimed that he misspoke, explaining that he meant to say that he saw no reason why it would not be Russia. ‘I would like to clarify, in a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word “would” instead of “wouldn’t.” The sentence should have been: “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,”’ he said.”
Fox News added:
“It’s unclear whether the clarification will calm the backlash in Washington, as Trump also said following his meeting with Putin that the Russian leader gave a ‘strong and powerful’ denial.”
Whether this “clarification” will satisfy most of the Republican critics will indeed have to be seen. After all, here is the exact quote: “They (the US intelligent agencies) said they think it’s Russia. President Putin just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. I have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” (Compare The Daily Mail, July 17.)
No One Is Buying
nzherald.co.nz wrote on July 18:
“In a shocking revelation, no one is buying Donald Trump’s latest backflip… Trump said it was ‘sort of a double negative,’ adding, ‘I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.’ That didn’t go down too well online.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 18:
“Maas criticized the US president once again on Wednesday… Asked to assess Trump’s reversal of remarks, Maas was quoted as saying: ‘This is apparently an attempt at damage limitation. It doesn’t appear particularly convincing.’
“Germany’s foreign minister went on to say he regretted that Trump didn’t backtrack on his most recent criticisms of the European Union — which he described as a foe — shortly before setting off for Helsinki…”
Another Viewpoint by Pat Buchanan
On July 17, Newsmax published the following commentary by Pat Buchanan who has been an adviser to three presidents and a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination:
“Beginning his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump declared that U.S. relations with Russia have ‘never been worse.’ He then added pointedly, that just changed ‘about four hours ago.’ It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in U.S. foreign policy that may determine the future of this nation…
“He has rejected the fundamental premises of American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and blamed our wretched relations with Russia, not on Vladimir Putin, but squarely on the U.S. establishment. Looking back over the week, from Brussels to Britain to Helsinki, Trump’s message has been clear, consistent and startling.
“NATO is obsolete. European allies have freeloaded off U.S. defense while rolling up huge trade surpluses at our expense. Those days are over. Europeans are going to stop stealing our markets and start paying for their own defense… We are not going to let Putin’s annexation of Crimea or aid to pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine prevent us from working on a rapprochement and a partnership with him, Trump is saying…
“America is coming home from foreign wars and will be shedding foreign commitments…
“When Trump spoke of the ‘foolishness and stupidity’ of the U.S. foreign policy establishment that contributed to this era of animosity in U.S.-Russia relations, what might he have had in mind?
“Was it the U.S. provocatively moving NATO into Russia’s front yard after the collapse of the USSR? Was it the U.S. invasion of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have that plunged us into endless wars of the Middle East? Was it U.S. support of Syrian rebels determined to oust Bashar Assad, leading to ISIS intervention and a seven-year civil war with half a million dead, a war which Putin eventually entered to save his Syrian ally?
“Was it George W. Bush’s abrogation of Richard Nixon’s ABM treaty and drive for a missile defense that caused Putin to break out of the Reagan INF treaty and start deploying cruise missiles to counter it? Was it U.S. complicity in the Kiev coup that ousted the elected pro-Russian regime that caused Putin to seize Crimea to hold onto Russia’s Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol?… Russia annexed Crimea bloodlessly. But did not the U.S. bomb Serbia for 78 days to force Belgrade to surrender her cradle province of Kosovo? How was that more moral than what Putin did in Crimea?”
May: “My Deal [Soft Brexit] Is the Only Brexit Deal”
Theresa May Prime wrote the following on July 14 for The Mail On Sunday:
“Our Brexit deal for Britain seizes the moment to deliver the democratic decision of the British people and secure a bright new future for our country outside the European Union… If we don’t [accept it], we risk ending up with no Brexit at all. This is a time to be practical and pragmatic – backing our plan to get Britain out of the European Union on March 29 next year and delivering for the British people…
“… we can get a good deal and that is what is best for Britain. But we should also prepare for no deal… Our Brexit deal is… a complete plan with a set of outcomes that are non-negotiable.
“People voted to end free movement. So free movement will end. People voted to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in our country; and we are going to deliver that too. We will leave the Single Market and customs union, and get out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. We will have that independent trade policy and a new UK-EU free trade area with a common rulebook for industrial goods and agricultural products. And we will maintain close co-operation with the EU on security to keep our people safe while ensuring we have our own independent foreign and trade policy. None of these things is up for debate…”
May Compromises on Brexit Deal
Deutsche Welle reported on July 16:
“British Prime Minister Theresa May gave in to demands from her party’s hardliners on Monday, accepting four amendments that would limit the government’s ability to set up customs arrangements with the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019… Monday’s vote once again exposed deep divisions within the Conservative Party over Brexit…”
May’s Soft Brexit Gives Germany What It Wants
Handelsblatt Global wrote on July 13:
“Theresa May’s long-awaited White Paper aims to keep manufacturing in Britain, and is willing to surrender London’s financial access to the EU in return… Berlin would surely prefer that Britain simply stay in the European Union. But as alternatives go, London’s latest proposal for the post-Brexit relationship suits Germany just fine…
“The paper aims to jump start the process of reaching an ‘association agreement’ with the European Union to govern relations after Brexit. With Britain formally leaving the European Union in March 2019, time for a deal between London and Brussels is quickly running out…
“That deal would effectively keep Britain’s rules and regulations aligned with those of the European Union, allowing trade in goods to flow freely and the Irish border with Northern Ireland to remain open. It’s almost like still being in the EU’s single market and customs union, which is what has Brexit supporters so outraged…”
It does not appear that this will be the deal to which all sides agree.
“EU Urges No-Deal Brexit Preparation”
The EUObserver wrote on July 19:
“Four million UK and EU citizens stuck in a legal limbo, border checks re-installed, transportation severely disrupted, trade and supply chains breaking down… This gloomy scenario would kick in the day after Brexit, if no divorce deal is agreed by the EU and the UK, the EU Commission warned on Thursday…
“The commission urged citizens, businesses and member states to take action on preparing for 30 March 2019 now, highlighting the rising concerns of a no-deal exit in European capitals…”
Trump Wants to Run Again; Reveals Details of Conversation with the Queen on Brexit
Newsmax republished the following article by Reuters on July 14:
“President Donald Trump said in an interview that he intends to run for re-election in the 2020 election, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported. When asked by Piers Morgan in an interview given on Friday in Britain whether he was going to run, Trump said: ‘Well I fully intend to. It seems like everybody wants me to,’ the newspaper said. Trump said he did not see any Democrat who could beat him…
“In the interview with Morgan, Trump took the unusual step of disclosing details about his conversation with British Queen Elizabeth. When asked if he had discussed Brexit with the monarch, Trump said: ‘I did. She said it’s a very – and she’s right – it’s a very complex problem, I think nobody had any idea how complex that was going to be… Everyone thought it was going to be “Oh it’s simple, we join or don’t join, or let’s see what happens.”’…
“When asked about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said: ‘… Sure he is, he’s ruthless, but so are others.’”
As we have announced for a long time, in case of elections in 2020, Donald Trump will be re-elected.
Charles and William Refused to Meet with Trump
The Hill wrote on July 15:
“Prince Charles and Prince William refused to meet with President Trump during his visit to the United Kingdom, according to London newspaper The Sunday Times… It’s a very, very unusual thing for the queen to be there on her own. Usually she is accompanied by somebody. Prince Charles has been substituting for Philip a lot recently.’ Prince Philip, who, at 97, has officially retired from royal duties, ‘goes to what he wants to go to,’ the source said, adding that ‘if he had wanted to be there he could have been.’…
“Charles reportedly attended a board meeting for his company and an event with Gloucestershire police, while William participated in a charity polo match and Prince Harry attended other private engagements, according to the Times.”
NATO Dying or Dead?
Euractiv wrote on July 13:
“‘There is no longer confidence in NATO,’ a diplomat told EURACTIV. Fewer and fewer European countries trust that the US would defend them if they were invaded by Russia. Under Trump, NATO will soon be as dead as the proverbial dodo. The EU needs to overcome its internal divisions fast and make sure NATO is replaced by a real European defence alliance.”
And that is exactly what will happen.
The Washington Post wrote on July 12:
“Trump has been calling NATO a waste of money for decades. ‘America has no vital interest’ in Europe, he wrote in 2000: ‘Their conflicts are not worth American lives. Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually. The cost of stationing NATO troops in Europe is enormous. And these are clearly funds that can be put to better use.’ During his election campaign, he refused to reaffirm any commitment to NATO’s Article 5 security guarantee. During his first NATO summit last year, he again refused to reaffirm Article 5, though an administration official had promised he would…”
The Huffington Post wrote on July 18:
“President Donald Trump on Tuesday once again threw cold water on NATO… Trump expressed skepticism over the decades-old defense pact, which obligates member countries to defend any other member country that comes under attack, during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
“When Carlson asked why the U.S. should protect a country like Montenegro, which joined NATO last year, Trump said he has asked himself the same question. ‘Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people,’ Trump said. ‘They’re very aggressive people, and they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in World War III. But that’s the way it was set up.’”
NATO Hits Back at Trump’s Montenegro World War III Remarks
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 18:
“NATO officials on Wednesday scrambled to reassert the alliance’s collective defense clause— commonly referred to as Article 5 — after US President Donald Trump appeared to suggest NATO’s newest member Montenegro could instigate World War III. A NATO official told Germany’s DPA news agency that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty was ‘unconditional and iron-clad,’ reaffirming that ‘an attack on one is an attack on all.’…
“According to reports in Montenegro, Russia… attempted to organize a coup in a bid to derail Montenegrin accession. Fourteen people are on trial for attempting to assassinate then-Prime Minister Milo Djukanovicduring the 2016 election…”
Buchanan Coming to Trump’s Defense
On July 13, Newsmax published the following commentary by Patrick Buchanan:
“Of President Donald Trump’s explosion at Angela Merkel’s Germany during the NATO summit, it needs to be said: It is long past time we raised our voices. America pays more for NATO, an alliance created 69 years ago to defend Europe, than do the Europeans. And as Europe free-rides off our defense effort, the EU runs trade surpluses at our expense that exceed $100 billion a year. To Trump, and not only to him, we are being used, gouged, by rich nations we defend, while they skimp on their own defense.
“At Brussels, Trump had a new beef with the Germans, though similar problems date back to the Reagan era. Now we see the Germans, Trump raged, whom we are protecting from Russia, collaborating with Russia and deepening their dependence on Russian natural gas by jointly building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea. When completed, this pipeline will leave Germany and Europe even more deeply reliant on Russia for their energy needs…
“Germany spends 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, while the U.S. spends 3.5 percent. Why? Why — nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the crackup of the Soviet Union and the overthrow of the Communist dictatorship in Moscow — are we still defending European nations that collectively have 10 times the GDP of Vladimir Putin’s Russia?… Trump is not bluffing. He is visibly losing patience.
“… it could be the beginning of the end for NATO. And not only NATO. South Korea, with an economy 40 times that of North Korea, spends 2.6 percent of its GDP on defense, while, by one estimate, North Korea spends 22 percent, the highest share on earth. Japan, with the world’s third-largest economy, spends an even smaller share of its GDP on defense than Germany, 0.9 percent. Thus, though Seoul and Tokyo are far more menaced by a nuclear-armed North Korea and a rising China, like the Europeans, both continue to rely upon us as they continue to run large trade surpluses with us.
“… We are giving the world a lesson in how great powers decline. America’s situation is unsustainable economically and politically, and it’s transparently intolerable to Trump…”
And so, the final break between America and Europe will occur very soon.
EU Bad for USA and America’s Foe?
The Sun wrote on July 15:
“Theresa May has finally revealed the explosive Brexit advice Donald Trump gave to her… The Prime Minister said the US President told her not to even enter into a negotiation with Brussels at all, and just to start a legal war instead. She made the startling revelation while speaking to the BBC this morning, but said she did not take Mr Trump’s ‘brutal’ suggestion on board.”
The Sun wrote on July 13:
“[Mr. Trump] suggested Mrs May’s plans for a soft Brexit was a hostile move towards the US because ‘the European Union is very bad to the United States on trade’…”
CBS News reported on July 15:
“In an interview with ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union… when asked to identify his ‘biggest foe globally right now.’ ‘Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is [a] foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe…
“I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills… EU is very difficult… Maybe the thing that is most difficult — don’t forget both my parents were born in EU sectors okay? I mean my mother was Scotland, my father was Germany. And — you know I love those countries. I respect the leaders of those countries. But — in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills and, you know, as an example a big problem with Germany…”
The EUObserver wrote on July 16:
“Trump… designated the EU as an enemy while talking about a trade war with Europe… To add insult to injury, the state department said that it would impose sanctions on EU firms doing business with Iran, the NBC network also reported… The refusal to exempt EU firms comes despite the fact Russia is to invest $50bn in Iran’s energy sector. Russia also sold Iran high-tech anti-aircraft systems, with no Trump objections. That US messaging turned the world upside down for the European Union.”
Wars begin with words. To call an ally one’s foe is a further step. So are Germany’s responses. Note the next article.
Germany on the Attack Against Trump
The Local wrote on July 13:
“Berlin was still reeling on Friday from US President Donald Trump’s attacks on the NATO military alliance, with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warning that the US President was willfully damaging western security. ‘Europe can’t accept that which has been built up over many decades being damaged willfully out of a desire to provoke,’ Minister Maas wrote in a Tweet on Friday…
“Meanwhile, Minister Maas’ predecessor had stronger words for the US President. Former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Europe should stand up to Trump, warning that the US President is pushing for ‘regime change’ in Germany… ‘We must no longer have any illusions,’ added the Social Democrat (SPD) politician. ‘Donald Trump only understands strength. So we have to show him that we are strong. If he demands billions back from us for the USA’s military spending, then we should demand billions back from him for the refugees produced by failed US military interventions, for example, in Iraq.’”
Bloomberg wrote on July 16:
“Germany’s foreign minister urged the European Union to ‘readjust’ its relationship with the U.S. and said the bloc can no longer fully rely on the White House after President Donald Trump identified America’s long-term ally as a ‘foe.’… ‘If the American president identifies the European Union as a “foe,” this unfortunately shows once more how wide the Atlantic has become in political terms since Donald Trump has been in office,’ German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group in an interview.
“The comments reflect those of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has reinforced her statement from May 2017 that Europe’s full reliance on relations with the U.S. since World War II is ‘to some extent over’ — and that the bloc must take its destiny more into its own hands…
“Maas, a member of Germany’s Social Democrats, the junior partner in Merkel’s ruling coalition, said that nations must stand together ‘in a self-confident and sovereign Europe.’ EU member states mustn’t allow themselves to be divided, ‘no matter how harsh the verbal attacks and how absurd the tweets may be.’”
Due to current developments, Europe feels that it must unite militarily… and it will.
Europeans Seeking Their Own Interest
Handelsblatt Global wrote on July 17:
“We saw a new world order loom like an iceberg at the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The Russian leader emerged victorious at a press conference which was historic for all the wrong reasons…
“Trump also ignored Europe… Mystifyingly, Trump elevated Russia, an enemy, to an equal, despite the major disparity in their economies and powers. That insistent support will have done lasting damage to trans-Atlantic relations… eastern European countries close to Russia… have to wonder whether they [can] count on support from Washington in the future…
“Meanwhile European leaders are busy defending their countries’ interests. Today they sign JEFTA, the trade pact between the EU and Japan… It’s the biggest deal negotiated by the bloc so far and creates the world’s largest open area for trade.
“And in Beijing, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk found a new rapport as both blocs fend off US tariff disputes. The two sides said they are seeking to uphold a ‘free trade and multilateral order.’ That embrace is all the more surprising given that, at last year’s summit, the EU and China had so little in common they didn’t even issue a joint statement. How much has changed in a year.”
Soon, America will become totally irrelevant on the world scene in just about every respect.
Trump Defends Google Against EU
The Telegraph reported on July 19:
“Donald Trump hinted that he may block trade routes with Europe after its lawmakers hit Google with a record £3.9bn fine over its smartphone business.
“The US president took to Twitter to lash out at the European Union, which handed the penalty to the search giant over its Android operating system. ‘I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!,’ he wrote on the social network.”
The Week published an article on July 19, with the headline: “Europe’s Idiotic War on Google.”
Most Germans Fear Trump More than Putin, but Don’t Trust Either…
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 15:
“… two-thirds of Germans think that the US president is more dangerous than his Russian counterpart… When asked which world leader was the greater threat to world security, 64 percent of respondents chose US President Donald Trump over his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin… And the German antipathy for Trump doesn’t end there: 56 percent of respondents thought that Putin was more competent than Trump, with only 5 percent preferring the latter on that score. Thirty-six percent of Germans find Putin more likable than Trump, while 6 percent say the opposite — although most respondents refused to indicate a preference on that question.
“And, perhaps most surprisingly, 44 percent said Putin was more powerful than Trump, compared with only 29 percent who thought the US president has more power… German… conservative voters were slightly more likely (66 percent) to class Trump as the bigger threat than people overall in the poll…
“‘The world’s two most powerful men have one thing in common,’ Bild’s lead story on Sunday reads. ‘They want to weaken Europe.’ That’s a widespread view around Germany, where many people fear that Trump’s occasional hostility to NATO, for instance, plays into Putin’s strategic aim of dividing the West and increasing Russia’s influence in the world…
“The distrust of Trump’s motivations and leadership capabilities is apparent in how Germans see the United States as a whole. In a YouGov poll published earlier in July, Germans were asked whether they had a generally positive or negative view of the United States. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they viewed the US negatively, compared with only 29 percent who chose positively…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 13:
“Germans are under no doubts that Putin, for his part, is pursuing… a long-term aggressive, anti-European policy… and is trying to drive a wedge between the US and its European allies… [Moscow] has an interest in America withdrawing from Europe…”
The Bible indicates that this is exactly what America will do.
CBN wrote on July 12:
“Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing featuring testimony from embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok erupted into absolute chaos shortly after opening statements. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was the first to question the agent, asking Strzok how many people had been interviewed in the Russia probe from July 31-Aug. 8. Strzok declined to answer, saying that FBI counsel instructed him not to answer questions about an ongoing investigation. This set off pandemonium, as lawmakers exchanged heated barbs and bickered over hearing rules…
“Strzok’s anti-Trump text messages took center stage and caused congressional leaders to question Strzok on his partisan bias over the course of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Hillary Clinton’s use of her email server. Strzok exchanged troubling text messages with FBI attorney, Lisa Page. Page and Strzok both worked on the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails and, later, on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation…
“Strzok said that while the texts reflected his personal beliefs at the time, they did not ‘ever enter into the realm of any action I took.’ Strzok noted that there are numerous procedures and guidelines in place at the FBI to stop such instances of agents who are acting in any way other than an official capacity…
“Strzok says a text message suggesting that he would stop then-candidate Trump from being president was written late at night, and ‘in no way suggested that I or the FBI would take any action’ to intervene in Trump’s election…”
However, there can be no doubt that such bias may very well influence decisions being made in the course of official business.
China’s Challenge to US Naval Supremacy
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote on July 14:
“China’s biggest challenge to the supremacy of the US Navy will come within the year, a well regarded Australian strategic analyst predicted in Washington this week. It will come in the form of the announcement that China’s armed forces will hold exercises in the international waters of the South China Sea and that, to protect public safety, it will close the air and sea space in the area, he said. Even though this would be presented as a temporary measure – a few days, perhaps a week – it would be the end of freedom of navigation and overflight if it went unchallenged.
“Seventy years of American dominance would be over. The US Navy effectively would have been pushed back from China’s coastline by more than 1000 kilometres, right out to the limit of China’s nine-dash line marking its disputed claim to the South China Sea. Beijing would have asserted de facto control of the world’s most valuable commercial artery and 3.6 million square kilometres of ocean. The other six countries with claims to parts of the South China Sea would have been sidelined. Other countries would be permitted to use it only with China’s consent. ‘The question is, what are we going to do about it?’ posed the director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings, a former head of strategy for the Defence Department…
“The question was an uncomfortable one for many in the audience, which included senior officials, politicians and others from both countries… Australian and American representatives… agreed that the Jennings scenario was plausible; some said it was likely. None thought it implausible.
“What would Donald Trump do? Would Trump’s America be steadfast in a crisis? Or would the administration be too distracted, too confused, or too compromised by its other negotiations with China to stand its ground?… While the US has dithered, China’s President Xi Jinping has been clear and purposeful. ‘Like clockwork,’ says Jennings, ‘every three to four months they take another step to consolidate their gains in the South China Sea’, where Beijing has constructed man-made islands in contested waters and equipped them with runways, reinforced hangars, and batteries of anti-ship and anti-air missiles. A Chinese heavy bomber recently touched down on one of the islands for the first time…
“If China presses its case and the US fails to act, does the Royal Australian Navy have the option of trying to crash through any new Chinese exclusion zone? Australian and American experts were unanimous on this, best summed up by a former US official: ‘Try that without us, you’re screwed.’… Australia needs to be more active, more robust and more assertive than it has ever been. It has the advantage that its main political parties are so far united in confronting the dawning reality of frontline responsibility. If Jennings is right, there’s no time to waste.”
Watch China’s Desire of World Dominion
Project-Syndicate wrote on July 13:
“The contrast between the disarray in the West, on open display at the NATO summit and at last month’s G7 meeting in Canada, and China’s mounting international self-confidence is growing clearer by the day…
“Since 2014, China has expanded and consolidated its military position in the South China Sea. It took the idea of the New Silk Road and turned it into a multi-trillion-dollar trade, investment, infrastructure, and wider geopolitical/geo-economic initiative, engaging 73 different countries across much of Eurasia, Africa and beyond. And China signed up most of the developed world to the first large-scale non-Bretton Woods multilateral development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
“China has also launched diplomatic initiatives beyond its immediate sphere of strategic interest in East Asia, as well as actively participating in initiatives such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. It has developed naval bases in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Djibouti, and participates in naval exercises with Russia as far away as the Mediterranean and the Baltic…”
Israel Strikes Hamas During Gaza Ceasefire
The Times of Israel, July 15:
“The strike came hours after a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, following the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 war. Over the weekend, Palestinian terrorists fired some 200 rockets and missiles at Israeli communities near the Gaza border…
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reiterated that Israel would not tolerate the continued kite and balloon arson attacks that have burned thousands of dunams of forests and agricultural land adjacent to the Gaza border in recent months, including fresh fires started on Sunday… Netanyahu denied reports that said the ceasefire brokered by Egypt did not include the cessation of the arson attacks… Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also warned Hamas they would ‘pay a heavy price’ if it did not cease hostilities…
“Domestic pressure on the military to halt the burning flying objects has intensified, leading to Israel carrying out warning airstrikes and increasing the possibility that violence could escalate.”
JTA wrote on July 16:
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Sderot, where at least two rockets from Gaza caused serious damage and injured a family of four… [He said:] ‘There is an exchange of blows here. It is not over in one go… and I cannot comfort those who have taken the most difficult losses. This is very hard to take, but we know that we are in a prolonged Zionist struggle.’
“In a warning to the terrorist organization that runs Gaza, Netanyahu said: ‘It is important that Hamas understand that it faces an iron wall and this wall is comprised, first of all, of a determined government, of strong local leadership and Zionist settlement, and that we will continue to strengthen it… I do not want to tell anybody that it is over.’”
New Legislation: Israel the Nation-State of the Jewish People
JTA wrote on July 19:
“The Knesset passed controversial legislation making Israel the ‘nation-state of the Jewish people’ … It passed early Thursday morning after hours of contentious debate by a vote of 62-55, with two abstentions.
“Much of the bill, sponsored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, deals with obvious signs that Israel is a Jewish state, such as affirming the symbols on the flag and shield, setting the Hebrew calendar as the country’s official calendar, recognizing Jewish holidays and days of remembrance, the national anthem and naming Jerusalem as the capital.
“Other parts of the law, however, have raised the hackles of segments of Israeli society and the Jewish Diaspora. These include clauses relegating Arabic to a ‘special’ status instead of an official language [declaring Hebrew as Israel’s only official language], promoting the establishment of Jewish communities throughout Israel and addressing the state’s relationship with Diaspora Jewry.
“Netanyahu called the passing of the law ‘a defining moment… This is our state — the Jewish state’…
“The chairman of the Arab Joint List party, Ayman Odeh, said in a statement that Israel has ‘declared it does not want us here,’ meaning its Arab citizens, and that ‘we will always be second-class citizens.’”
Canada’s Troubling Journey Towards Ungodliness
LifeSitenews.com wrote on July 13:
“Last month the Supreme Court of Canada decided in the Trinity Western University case that the right to freedom of religion, entrenched in Section 2 of the Charter, can be infringed by the rights of the LGBTQ community… This was the most recent example of a troubling situation that has developed since the Charter came into effect in 1982.
“The Court in the Trinity case concluded that the Law Societies of British Columbia and Ontario had the right to decide on the admission policies of a private religious university in British Columbia that wanted to obtain accreditation for a law school. The law societies objected because of the university’s Covenant that, among other matters, upheld that sexual relationships be only within marriage between a man and woman. The Court concluded that the law societies were permitted to raise objections based on vague and undefined concepts of ‘public interest’ and Charter ‘values’.
“This decision confirms that judges are making decisions… based on their own policy preferences. Examples of other such decisions include the legalizing of prostitution; the striking down of the abortion law; the prohibitions against physician-assisted suicide; the right to strike granted to essential services such as firemen, policemen, ambulance workers (which puts public safety at risk); legalization of drug injection sites; the redefinition, and narrowing of the interpretation of pornography; and that sex clubs for couples and single individuals meeting each other for group sex are not illegal nor indecent. There have been many other decisions as well that have profoundly changed Canadian society.
“Whether one agrees with any or all of these decisions is not the point. There is a much deeper and more profound aspect to these decisions. It is whether nine appointed, unaccountable judges should be making such decisions isolated from the public – the latter having no input into the formation of such public policy decisions… There is no longer any doubt that the Supreme Court of Canada decisions are not impartial and objective, but are based not on law or precedent, but rather on the personal policy preferences of the judges.”
Shroud of Turin NOT Burial Cloth of Jesus
Express wrote on July 16:
“For centuries, Christians had believed the Shroud of Turin was used to wrap Jesus Christ’s deceased body in after he had died. Many even thought you could still see the imprint of his face. However, new evidence has emerged which would suggest the Shroud of Turin is fraudulent.
“Forensic evidence revealed the blood stains on the cloth came from a vertical position as if someone were standing over it. This would mean the stains are not consistent with someone who had just been crucified.
“John Moores University, Liverpool, forensic expert Matteo Borrini and his team had been hoping to see if the blood stains were consistent with someone who had been executed on a T-shaped or Y-shaped cross. Instead, the research found the blood splatter came from neither.
“The study says: ‘The two short rivulets on the back of the left hand of the Shroud are only consistent with a standing subject with arms at a ca 45 degree angle… The BPA of blood visible on the frontal side of the chest (the lance wound) shows that the Shroud represents the bleeding in a realistic manner for a standing position while the stains at the back — of a supposed post-mortem bleeding from the same wound for a supine corpse — are totally unrealistic.’
“… Previous research also suggests the Turin Shroud is a fake. If it were the real burial cloth of Jesus, it would date back to around 2,000 years ago. However, carbon dating shows that the Turin Shroud also only goes back to the Middle Ages…”
Please read chapter 8 of our free booklet, “Do you know the Jesus of the Bible?”
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.
Did Joseph practice divination?
The question relates to two passages in the book of Genesis. When Joseph met his brothers in Egypt who had sold him into slavery, he did not make himself known and tried them instead to see whether they were willing to leave one of their brothers, Benjamin, behind in jail, while enjoying their own freedom and escape from the Egyptian court. Joseph ordered that money and his special cup be placed in the sacks of his brothers upon their departure, but then to pursue them.
In this very context, we read in Genesis 44:4-6: “When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his servant, ‘Get up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? Is not this the one from which my lord drinks, and with which he indeed practices divination? You have done evil in so doing.’ So he overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words.” The Authorized Version (AV) reads: “Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth?”
Also, in Genesis 44:15, we read that Joseph told his brothers, after the cup was “discovered” in Benjamin’s sack: “Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”
In Genesis 44:6 and 15, the Hebrew word for the English expression “practice divination” or “divine” is nachash. Young’s defines it as, “use enchantment.”
It is clear that the word can describe demonic divination or enchantment.
We read in Deuteronomy 18:10: “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft [AV: that useth divination], or a soothsayer [AV: observer of times], or one who interprets omens [AV: enchanter, Hebr. nachash], or a sorcerer [witch], or one who conjures spells [charmer], or a medium [consulter with familiar spirits], or a spiritist [wizard], or one who calls up the dead [necromancer].”
Also, note the following passages in the Authorized Version:
Numbers 23:23: “… [There is] no enchantment [nachash] against Jacob, no divination [Hebrew: qesem] against Israel.”
Numbers 24:1: “… to seek for enchantment [nachash; New KJB: sorcery].”
2 Kings 17:17: “[The evil Israelites] used divination [qesem] and enchantments [nachash].”
2 Kings 21:6: “[The evil king Manasseh] used enchantments [nachash].”
2 Chronicles 33:6: “[Manasseh] used enchantments [nachash].”
Leviticus 19:26: “… neither shall ye use enchantment [nachash] nor observe times.”
From this, some commentaries conclude that Joseph used demonic enchantment or divination.
For instance, the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states:
“The word shews that the silver cup was a sacred one, by means of which Joseph sought and obtained oracles. Some have inferred that he must have been admitted into the priests’ guild, in order to be able to practise divination. It appears that water having been poured into a vessel or cup, gold or silver or precious stones were thrown into it, and the oracle or divination was derived from the rings, ripples, or sparkles, which appeared. The name given to this class of magic was ‘hydromancy.’”
Similarly the Broadman Bible Commentary, which expresses the hope, however, that Joseph did not do so:
“The silver cup was used for divining. Small objects were placed in the cup so that veiled references could be seen in their configurations. Von Rad cites a custom in Germany of pouring lead into water on New Year’s Eve as ‘a final vestige of the custom.’ Did Joseph really divine in this manner? Or was he just playing a game with the brothers? The cup was certainly a part of the paraphernalia of his office, and he was probably expected to use it. One could hope that he had not substituted this method of determining the future for the spiritual insight he had formerly known…”
Other commentaries leave the question unanswered as well:
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes:
“Divining by cups… was a common custom in Egypt (Herodotus ii. 83). It is here mentioned to enhance the value of the cup. Whether Joseph really practised any sort of divination cannot be determined from this passage.”
The concept that Joseph practiced demonic divination is difficult to accept. Joseph is mentioned as one of the faithful patriarchs who will receive the promise of eternal life (Hebrews 11:21-22, 39-40).
Therefore, many commentaries conclude that in order to test his brothers, Joseph did not practice divination, but that he pretended to do so, or that he did not dispute the superstition attached to his cup.
The idea seems to be that “Joseph may have allowed them to think he practiced divination with this cup to instill more fear in them—as it would look to them like they would be charged with the theft of something of great importance in Egypt.” In other words, as some put it, “Joseph may have claimed he used it to divine matters in order to raise the stakes and incite more fear in his brothers’ hearts.” Some say that “Joseph was representing himself as an administrator of a pagan land. He adapted himself, his actions, and his language to the character of such an administrator, as it would appear in the eyes of his unsuspecting brothers.” It is alleged that he acted in this way, including the possession of a valuable cup from which he could divine, to “keep up the appearance of being thoroughly Egyptian” and a great and powerful Egyptian, as such.
For instance, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary writes:
“Divination by cups, to ascertain the course of futurity, was one of the prevalent superstitions of ancient Egypt, as it is of Eastern countries still. It is not likely that Joseph, a pious believer in the true God, would have addicted himself to this superstitious practice. But he might have availed himself of that popular notion to carry out the successful execution of his stratagem for the last decisive trial of his brethren.”
The Geneva Study Bible states:
“Because the people thought he could divine, he attributes to himself that knowledge: or else he pretends that he consults with soothsayers: which deceit is worthy to be reproved.”
The Ryrie Study Bible states:
“It is unlikely that Joseph used divination; rather, this statement (made in order to attach specific significance to the cup) was part of the situation Joseph contrived in order to test his brothers.
The German Schlachter Bibel comments:
“The cup was a holy vessel, which symbolized the authority of his office as the Egyptian vice-king. The reference to superstition does not have to mean that Joseph engaged in such pagan-religious rites. He later allowed his brothers to assume such.”
“Actually, it was a bowl… a silver bowl. The master of the house in Egypt in those days, if judged a sage, a seer, had a special bowl from which he and he alone drank. But, it was also used for the purpose of divining messages from the gods. One can only imagine how Joseph came by this ‘diviner’s bowl’… likely it was a gift from the Pharaoh, because Joseph was undoubtedly, after accurately interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, determined the highest and best sage, diviner, in all the land. Typically, the bowl was filled with water, and then gold or silver objects, amulets, sometimes with magic inscriptions written on them, were put into the water, and from the reflections the seer would attempt to see the future. It is unimaginable that Joseph actually used the bowl for anything except to drink from… but to keep up the appearance of being thoroughly Egyptian, he used the common knowledge of the bowl as an implement of divination to continue to test his brothers.”
However, even the concept that Joseph wrongfully pretended to practice divination to “test” his brothers is difficult to believe. Some argued that “Joseph did not order his steward to tell a direct lie—rather, he simply told him to ask a question. The real answer would have been no. But the brothers didn’t know this.” But this conclusion is not convincing and does not agree with the plain context of the passage.
Another interpretation has been proposed, that “this is one of the few cases in which God permitted the use of objects to discern His will. Other examples include the casting of lots (Leviticus 16:7-10), the priest’s use of the Urim and Thummim (Numbers 27:21), and Gideon’s use of the fleece (Judges 6:36-40). If Joseph did practice divination with the silver cup, it was not divination in the pagan sense but seeking God’s will through a particular method.”
However, the examples, cited above, never use the Hebrew word nachash to describe these godly practices. Even though some, such as the Eastons’s Bible Dictionary, speak of these godly activities as “divination by lot”, “divination by dreams” and “divination by Urim and Thummim,” these are just human descriptions, since the Bible nowhere refers to these acceptable methods as “divination” or “enchantment.”
However, a much more acceptable and compelling understanding evolves when we consider that the Hebrew word nachash can also have a different meaning than “divination” or “enchantment.”
Strong’s defines it as: “to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; gen. to prognosticate, certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) enchantment, learn by experience, indeed, diligently observe.”
And so, the Benson Commentary explains:
“Genesis 44:5. Whereby indeed he divineth — The original word may be rendered, For which he would search thoroughly…”
The Commentary on the Bible by Adam Clarke agrees, stating:
“I take the word… nachash here in its general acceptation of to view attentively, to inquire…”
Based on this evaluation, the following commentary in Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible makes interesting reading:
“Joseph never practised any thing of this kind, so neither would he… make as if he did… but the words… may signify to tempt, to try, to make an experiment, and by experience to know a thing… and so the Arabic version, ‘and indeed he hath tried you by it’: so Aben Ezra interprets it of his trying of them by it, whether they were thieves or not… it seems best of all to understand this not of the cup as the instrument by which he tried, searched, and inquired into things, but as the object searched after and inquired of; for the word signifies to inquire, and make a strict observation of things, and thereby make shrewd guesses and conjectures… diligent inquiry would be made after it, and it would be at once conjectured that it was taken away, not by any of the household, but by those strangers that had dined with Joseph…”
We find the use of the Hebrew word nachash in the following two passages which do not refer to divination at all. Genesis 30:27 is translated as: “I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me”; and 1 Kings 20:33 states that “the men were watching closely to see whether any sign of mercy would come from him.”
Also, Joseph’s statement in Genesis 44:15 is rendered in the Living Bible as: “Didn’t you know such a man as I would know who stole it?”
Some German translations render Genesis 44:15 in the way that Joseph would be able to “discern” (“durchschauen”; Hoffnung fuer Alle); “certainly find out” (“gewiss erkunden”; Zuercher); or “figure it out” (“erraten koennte”; Luther 1891).
An additional interesting parallel has been proposed regarding Joseph’s cup of great financial value and the partaking of the cup of wine at the time of Passover. A write-up by Aletheia Bible College points out:
“The Hebrew for ‘divineth’ means literally ‘to make trial’; their taking of the cup was their trial / judgment. Thus we drink either blessing or condemnation to ourselves by taking the cup. The word used by the LXX for ‘divineth’ in Gen. 44:5 occurs in the NT account of the breaking of the bread [and drinking of the wine] service: ‘everyone should examine himself, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup’ (1 Cor. 11:28)…”
In conclusion, it does not appear that Joseph practiced demonic divination or that he lied to his brothers by pretending that he was engaged in divination or enchantment; nor, that that type of divination by using his cup would have been acceptable in God’s eyes. Rather, Joseph had his valuable cup of prestige placed in Benjamin’s sack to test the bothers thereby whether they would forsake Benjamin (as they had forsaken and even sold Joseph into slavery) or whether they would stand by him. The cup was not a cup through or by which Joseph “divined” or “searched” the future–but it was the object which was “lost” and for which Joseph was searching, and it was the object by which the brothers were being tested or examined as to whether they would be loyal to Benjamin and their father Jacob.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Could America Be Attacked Soon?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Preposterous? Unimaginable? Don’t dismiss this possibility out of hand, because the BIBLE tells you that it IS going to happen! Recent events give unmistakable signs for those who understand God’s Holy Word. Will you ignore them or even scoff at them, at your own peril? Will you belong to those who will be caught unawares, when the day of destruction overtakes the USA and other countries like a thief in the night?
“Die zwei Zeugen und Christi Wiederkehr,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The two Witnesses and Christ’s Return.”
“Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians,” is the title of a new Global Trailer, presented by Pastor Brian Gale. Here is a summary:
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of the most comprehensive letters written by Paul to explain to us the nature of God and God’s great plan and purpose for His creation, especially the future of mankind. Sadly, it has been greatly misunderstood by almost everyone who reads it.
“Truth or Legend?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
How do we know that the Bible is true and that the many stories within this book are in fact the truth? Is there proof? Do we believe the Bible and how can we truly understand it?
“The Prophet Elijah in the Past, the Present and the Future, Part 2,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Why did Elijah ask for fire from heaven to consume the soldiers of King Ahaziah? How are we to understand Elijah’s ascension to heaven? What connection exists between Elijah and John the Baptist? What is the explanation for Christ’s transfiguration on the mount when He spoke to Moses and Elijah who appeared in glory? Finally, what do biblical passages mean to tell us about the coming of Elijah just prior to Christ’s return?
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