October 26, 2018
Ready at ALL Times; Resist the Devil!
On October 27, 2018, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Ready at ALL Times,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Resist the Devil!”
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.
Don’t Be Late or Unprepared!
by Michael Link
Have we ever been late to an event by not getting there on time and were not able to get in due to their “door closing” policy at a specific time? How did that make us feel? Especially when we thought we had prepared ourselves, giving ourselves enough time? Perhaps we were careless with our time, and something along the way became a distraction, causing us to get there “late” and were then prohibited to get inside. It’s a frustrating feeling and thoughts of what we should have done differently may enter our minds, even though we were aware of the rules stating that we must plan and prepare accordingly and those who were not “on time” would be unable to enter.
Christ spoke about ten virgins, but only the five wise virgins were allowed to enter the wedding. The five foolish virgins were not prepared and ready. And when they finally arrived, the doors were closed.
Or, did we ever experience a situation when we were invited to a special occasion and refused to attend, even though we should have been there, or when we attended, only to find out that we were not prepared for the same? Christ delivered a similar message in Matthew 22 in a parable of the wedding feast where several who were invited to the wedding by the king were unwilling to come. And so the king sent out servants again to remind those who were invited: “‘See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business (verse 4).”
These were guests who were “called” to the wedding. They had some knowledge of the Truth and God’s Way of Life and they had a choice to make, to be at the wedding. The king tried two times to invite them to the wedding and since they didn’t want to come, he stated in verse 8 that “those who were invited were not worthy.” The servants went out and invited others to come to the wedding and they responded.
But one person came for an improper purpose and with dishonest motives, even though he knew better. We read in verse 11, “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Here was someone who didn’t respond in the way that God expected but rather was untruthful and rebellious. God dealt with this person severely. There are many examples in the Bible of people who were rebellious to God’s Law, who knew His Law at first but then decided to take matters into their own hands, thereby forgetting about God (1 Samuel 15:23; Romans 13:2; Isaiah 1:19-20).
The Bible contains many warnings for TRUE Christians today. If we have been called out of this world, responded and made the commitment to live God’s Way of Life FOREVER by CHOOSING to become baptized, then we must understand the absolute importance and responsibility that we have to live righteously or we will lose our crown to eternal life (Revelation 3:11).
The time will come when many will proclaim to Christ that they “knew” Him, “knew” about God’s Way of Life, yet they deceived themselves or they weren’t dedicated enough to LIVE that Way and DO what He commanded on a CONTINUOUS basis. And Christ will respond, “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23). It is for LIFE and we say it over and over again: Be Prepared NOW before it’s too late!
by Norbert Link
We begin with the escalation of relationships between Saudi Arabia and many countries around the world, including Turkey; the fear of another nuclear arms race; explosive devices sent to Obama, Clinton and other liberal public figures; the consequences of America’s sanctions against Iran; and Germany’s warning to its citizens when visiting autocratic Turkey.
We continue with the somewhat silly controversy regarding white people wearing “blackface” in the context of what types of costumes to wear on Halloween (please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “But Isn’t Halloween just Harmless Fun…?”); the “caravan of refugees”; a new [or rather old] definition for transgender; the lack of confidence in America’s governmental institutions; and the major stock market losses in October.
We are addressing the current situation in Germany and Austria, as well as Australia; and speak on the violent disappearance of an Hawaiian island.
We conclude with articles about the Roman Catholic Church, pertaining to homosexuality.
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
Germany Stops Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia; US, UK and France Don’t!
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 22:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday that Germany would put arms exports to the kingdom on hold for the time being, given the unexplained circumstances of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death… German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, of the Social Democrats — junior partner in Merkel’s coalition government — had already called for weapons exports to the kingdom to be halted. Germany is the fourth largest exporter of weapons to Saudi Arabia after the United States, Britain and France…
“Merkel said Germany would discuss further ‘reactions’ to the case with its international partners, though some German companies have already made gestures: on Monday, Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser cancelled an appearance at an investors’ conference in Riyadh that was to begin on Tuesday…
“Amid calls across the world for arms embargoes against Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump has said his country would be ‘punishing itself’ if it halted weapons sales to the country… The US president has repeatedly said he does not want to stop a proposed $110 billion arms sale to the Saudis because too many US jobs depend on it.”
The Washington Post wrote on October 21:
“President Donald Trump… repeatedly displayed a realpolitik way of viewing the Middle East, praising Saudi Arabia for buying arms from the United States, reiterating the importance of oil prices and trashing Iran, saying: ‘We’ve got nobody else over there’ to help protect Israel… If the United States stops selling arms to Saudi Arabia, Trump said China and Russia would benefit.”
The EUObserver added on October 22:
“Germany has announced a unilateral arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, but France, the UK, and the US have not followed suit, posing questions for Western unity in the Middle East.”
Canada’s Justin Trudeau says he is unlikely to cancel Saudi armored vehicles sale.
The EUObserver added that Spain and Sweden did not follow suit either, stating: “Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s most important export market in the Middle East.”
Deutsche Welle had reported on October 19:
“Saudi Arabia is Germany’s second-best weapons customer… after Algeria…
“Arms sales to Saudi Arabia are also contentious because they may contravene a clause in the coalition agreement signed by Germany’s governing parties stating that no weapons exports may be approved to any country ‘directly’ involved in the war in Yemen. However, the agreement does exempt countries that had made weapons deals with Germany before the current government took power.”
These entire sales of weapons for the sole purpose of killing people are appalling.
USA and Russia to Increase Production of Nuclear Weapons
Newsmax wrote on October 22:
“President Donald Trump said Monday the United States military will ramp up its arsenal of nuclear weapons to pressure both Russia and China to curb theirs… ‘Russia has not adhered to the agreement. This should have been done years ago. Until people come to their senses, we have more money than anybody else by far. We will build it up.’
“The deal was originally signed by former President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev… It ordered the elimination of all short- and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.”
The Week added on October 21:
“NATO has confirmed Russian missile tests in the past decade likely violate the treaty.”
AFP wrote on October 24:
“President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday of a new arms race if America pulls out of weapons treaties, and said Russia would respond ‘in kind’ to any new US missiles placed on European soil… Putin warned that abandoning the treaty… would… put Europe in danger… Putin said any European countries agreeing to host US missiles would be at risk of a Russian attack.”
NATO Launches Big War Games–Germany’s Dubious Role
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 25:
“NATO launched its biggest exercises since the end of the Cold War on Thursday in Norway. The Trident Juncture war games involve around 50,000 troops, 10,000 vehicles, 250 aircraft and 65 ships from all 29 alliance members, plus Sweden and Finland. The maneuvers will take place for two weeks in Norway and the air and sea spaces around the country.
“The goal of the exercises is to test and train NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and follow-on forces. The rapid reaction force is designed to spearhead a defense against an attack on an alliance member within days… [It] was established by the alliance in 2014 as a deterrent in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and Moscow’s support for separatists there…
“The German military is participating in the maneuvers with around 10,000 troops and 4,000 vehicles, as well as Tornado and Eurofighter jets and three ships. That makes it the second largest participant after the United States. At the beginning of 2019, Germany will take over command of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force for a year.”
Explosive Devices Sent to Obama, Clinton and Other Public Figures
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 24:
“US authorities on Wednesday intercepted explosive devices sent to prominent politicians who are often targeted by President Donald Trump. Those targeted included former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, ex-State Secretary Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder and ex-CIA Director John Brennan. The devices targeting Brennan were sent to the New York offices of CNN.
“All of the packages had a return address of the office of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who led the Democratic National Committee, the party’s executive body. Police have also sent in bomb-defusing robots to deal with suspicious packages sent to Schultz.
“Trump immediately issued a statement condemning the ‘acts or threats of political violence,’ saying they ‘have no place in the United States.’ But opposition lawmakers said it wasn’t enough. Democratic leaders accused Trump of fueling politically-motivated violence, saying he ‘condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and actions.’…
“The FBI has warned that the situation may not be over… New York police commissioner James O’Neill described the package sent to Brennan in care of CNN appeared to be a ‘live explosive device.’ Some US media has described the explosives as potentially-lethal pipe bombs.”
Further explosive devices were sent, among others, to former Vice President Joe Biden and actor Robert De Niro. The political climate in the USA becomes more and more divisive. Some have even warned a while back that a new violent civil war could break out in large parts of the country.
Merkel “Defies” Trump, Disagrees with China
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 19:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rebuked the ‘America First’ approach to free trade of US President Donald Trump. [She] defended free trade at a summit of European and Asian leaders in Brussels on Friday, rejecting the protectionist rhetoric and policy of… Trump…
“The German chancellor’s comments directly contradicted Trump’s zero-sum approach to trade and disregard for multilateralism… Fighting back against that doctrine, the EU and Singapore signed a free trade deal later on Friday on the sidelines of the summit…
“Disagreements nevertheless emerged between Europe and China appeared on Friday, with China refusing to admit wording in a final communique that would have called for the end of state subsidies… Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told reporters when it comes to China’s trade practices, Europe expects trade rules to be upheld… The EU and the United States have criticized China for distorting international trade by subsidizing national companies and promoting oversupply in international steel and aluminum markets.
“European leaders also face challenges in [maintaining] good trading relations with Asian countries that have poor human rights records… Merkel acknowledged those difficulties in her speech on Friday, admitting that European leaders would ‘have to bring up questions of human rights and values in bilateral talks.’”
The relationship between Asian countries and the European power bloc will deteriorate.
Trump Pushes Japan into China’s Arms
Deutsche Welle wrote on October 24:
“Japan and China are economic, political and military rivals vying for influence in the Asia Pacific. But US President Trump’s contentious policies are forcing them to put their rivalry aside and cooperate. When Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday, it will mark the first bilateral Sino-Japanese summit since 2011. The meeting comes shortly after the 40th anniversary of the 1978 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two nations. Abe’s three-day China trip is the culmination of a rapid rapprochement between the two sides that began in the spring with the resumption of their economic dialogue.
“China is Japan’s biggest trading partner and many Japanese companies have invested large sums in China… the Chinese leadership for years… showed little interest in revitalizing the relationship between the world’s second and third-largest economies. Beijing has heaped scorn on Abe’s attempts to strengthen and reform the Japanese military. China also distrusts Japan’s foreign policy… Abe’s efforts to draw a line under Japan’s horrific World War II legacy and pull a veil over the brutal war crimes have repeatedly drawn consternation from Beijing…
“But China’s ongoing trade dispute with the US, with both sides imposing tariffs on each other’s products, prompts the leadership in Beijing to reconsider their approach toward Tokyo. Fearing international isolation, President Xi has sought to join forces with the European Union, Russia and, also, Japan… Trump’s approach to global trade has put tremendous pressure on not just China, but also Japan…
“Defense is likely to be another field of Sino-Japanese cooperation. The chief of the Japanese armed forces is expected to visit China for the first time since 2008. In addition, Japan is considering receiving high-ranking Chinese military officials. Both sides are also working on the details of setting up a hotline between their militaries…”
The Bible predicts close economic and military cooperation between Far Eastern countries, including Russia, China and Japan.
US Sanctions and Europe’s “Response”
Lobelog wrote on October 19:
“This week, the Trump administration announced a new set of sanctions against some of Iran’s major industrial companies and financial institutions… The designations signal the onset of a far broader economic war against Iran… and are intended to show that all business with Iran… carries with it the risk of sanctions…
“Europe has… signaled its intent to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to facilitate permissible trade between Europe and Iran. Europe has also invited other JCPOA participants—such as China and Russia—to use the SPV on an as-needed basis… Enforcing its sanctions against the will of the international community, the United States risks engendering alternative payment channels over which Washington has little leverage…
“But none of these items establishes a line in the sand that the Trump administration must not cross—or else… Right now, the Trump administration is winning the battle over Iran. It is creating just enough risk to foment an ongoing exodus of international companies from Iran and rendering the country a commercial pariah… [Europe] must make clear to the Trump administration that there will be severe consequences for any sanctions imposed on European companies.
“… Otherwise… Europe will stand humiliated on the world stage, and a new war in the Middle East will begin to rage.”
The bold language regarding what Europe must do towards the USA is quite interesting, and would not have been heard several years ago.
Germany Warns Its Citizens Visiting Turkey
The Algemeiner wrote on October 24:
“Germany has warned citizens visiting Turkey to be extra cautious about their social media feeds in response to a spate of cases of Germans arrested for online criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. The updated travel advice, published by the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, highlights how Berlin’s attempts to repair relations with Ankara have so far delivered little for dozens of German citizens imprisoned there since the failed coup in 2016…
“With Germany home to 3 million people of Turkish background, relations [between] the two countries have always been complicated, but they hit rock bottom in the wake of the post-coup round-up. A flurry of diplomatic activity, including a state visit by Erdogan to Germany, has so far yielded little in the way of reduced tensions, with Berlin deeply concerned at Ankara’s influence over Germany’s Turkish community.
“The ministry added that even private comments could be risky. ‘Non-public comments on social media can be forwarded to Turkish authorities via denunciations,’ it said. ‘A conviction for “insulting the president” or “spreading terrorist propaganda” can lead to many years’ imprisonment.’
“Social media have become the primary platform for political opposition in Turkey, where traditional media are saturated with positive coverage of Erdogan and his ministers. Turkish authorities have detained people who criticized a military operation in Syria on social media and those who posted comments about the economy ‘in a provocative way,’ as the lira tumbled against the dollar this year.
“Germany… has a large and growing community of exiled critics of Erdogan, many of whom Ankara wants to see extradited on terrorism charges. Some complain they are subject to surveillance by Turkey’s intelligence services.”
Erdogan’s dictatorship vs. Saudi Arabia’s dictatorship. Which one is worse? This may be difficult to say.
Halloween’s Costumes Controversy
The Huffington Post wrote on October 24:
“NBC host Megyn Kelly issued an on-air apology Wednesday after she defended white people who wear blackface while discussing Halloween costumes on her show a day earlier. ‘I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry,’ Kelly said at the start of ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ on Wednesday. ‘You may have heard yesterday that we had a discussion here about political correctness and Halloween costumes. And that conversation turned to whether it is ever OK for a person of one race to dress up as another.’
“She continued: ‘I defended the idea, saying as long as it was respectful and part of the Halloween costume, it seemed OK. Well, I was wrong and I am sorry.’ The former Fox News host drew heated backlash after questioning what is racist about white people darkening their skin while dressing up for Halloween or the reverse…
“Kelly apologized for her comments in an internal email to NBC staff, stating that she had rethought her views after ‘listening carefully’ to her friends and teammates. ‘I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry,’ Kelly wrote in the email. ‘The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.’”
One can take sensitives too far, for sure. Megyn Kelly might have even lost her job over this “discussion.” But the real issue is not as to what costumes to wear or not to wear on Halloween, due to real or imagined insensitivities and political correctness, but as to whether we should keep Halloween in the first place. And the answer is a resounding, “NO!” Please view our new StandingWatch program, entitled, “But Isn’t Halloween just Harmless Fun…?”
The Caravan of Refugees
On October 18, 2018, Patrick J. Buchanan wrote the following on Buchanan.org:
“Our mainstream media remain consumed with the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and how President Donald Trump will deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Understandably so, for this is the most riveting murder story since O.J. Simpson and has strategic implications across the Middle East.
“Yet far more critical to the future of our civilization is the ongoing invasion of the West from the Third World… a caravan of 4,000 refugees without visas [on Monday, it had grown to 7,000 or 8,000 people] had crossed from Honduras into Guatemala and was heading toward Mexico… Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.
“As these migrants are almost all poor, not highly skilled, and do not speak English, most will join that segment of our population that pays no income taxes but qualifies for social welfare benefits like food stamps, medical care and free education in our public schools. They are thus a net drain upon the resources of a nation that is already, at full employment, running a deficit of $779 billion a year…
“If Donald Trump was elected on any one issue, it was immigration and his promises to secure the border, build the wall and halt the invasion…”
The Editorial Board of the Washington Post wrote on October 22:
“… the president seems more inclined to exacerbate the problem — by cutting off U.S. aid to Central America, thereby deepening insecurity and misery there. Those are the very factors that have driven the recent spike in migration, especially by parents and children… That’s a prescription for more migration, not less. Even in war-torn and impoverished places, people leave their homes and communities reluctantly, abandoning their property, familial roots and sense of belonging only under extreme economic or physical duress… The cuts would diminish economic opportunity and reduce the ability of ordinary people to feel safe in their neighborhoods from drug gangs and crime… rest assured: Many more Central Americans will seek a better life in the United States.
“An additional severe blow is the administration’s decision to cancel temporary work permits and legal status for about 250,000 Salvadorans and Hondurans living in the United States, forcing many of them to leave or be deported over the coming year, thereby stanching the flow of funds they send home to their families. A more rational policy would double down on U.S. aid programs, with a focus on crime-fighting and security, while allowing would-be migrants to apply and be screened for asylum in their home countries…”
Migration is truly a serious problem for the USA, and there is really no human solution in sight.
Narrow Definition of Gender by Trump Administration
The Seattle Times wrote on October 21:
“The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth… A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs… The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas… Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed….
“‘Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,’ the department proposed in the memo… ‘The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.’
“The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into… Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Texas, a George W. Bush appointee… has held that ‘Congress did not understand “sex” to include “gender identity.”’
God created humans as male and female… and there is no room for a designation in between. Please read our free booklet, “God’s Teachings on Sexual Relationships.”
No Confidence in Washington and Governmental Institutions
CNBC wrote on October 23:
“Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who has reached legend status in the world of central banking, isn’t optimistic about current conditions. When Volcker looks around now, he sees ‘a h… of a mess in every direction,’ including a lack of basic respect for government institutions, a current Fed that seems to be following a completely arbitrary benchmark and a ‘swamp’ in Washington run by plutocrats…
“‘There is no force on earth that can stand up effectively, year after year, against the thousands of individuals and hundreds of millions of dollars in the Washington swamp aimed at influencing the legislative and electoral process,’ he writes… He said the Fed is just one of the institutions in which people have lost confidence.”
The Fed Could Bankrupt America
Mike Burnick’s Wealth Watch (a division of Agora Financial, LLC) wrote the following on October 24:
“The Federal Reserve has set out on a dangerous course that could bankrupt the U.S. in a few years if they’re not very careful… Minutes from the Fed’s September meeting, released last week, made it crystal clear they intend to keep raising rates well into 2019… Also, the Fed confirmed its intent to unwind the central bank’s balance sheet by unloading $600 billion per year worth of Treasury bonds and mortgage backed securities. This adds more upward pressure on long-term interest rates in the U.S., which are already the highest of any developed nation…
“Total U.S. national debt is a staggering $21.6 trillion today and growing fast. That’s a debt burden of $177,499 per U.S. taxpayer. The Federal budget deficit is now $824 billion and also growing. This thanks to the fact government spending is up 132% since 2000, or more than $4 trillion today.
“The problem is as interest rates rise so do the debt service payments on all that debt. In fact, during the last fiscal year American taxpayers shelled out more than half-a-trillion dollars to service the national debt alone. If government debt continues to rise as it has the U.S. debt burden will reach $25 trillion in a few years. If interests rates also continue to rise too. [A]s The Fed has indicated, the 10-Year Treasury yield could easily reach 4%. That means $1 trillion in yearly debt service payments alone.
“That’s unsustainable debt burden! Financial stress like that would make the 2008 crisis look like a picnic in comparison.”
CNBC wrote on October 24:
“Stocks plummeted on Wednesday as a sharp drop in tech shares and worries about corporate earnings added fuel to this month’s steep pullback. The [Dow Jones] dropped 608.01 points… and erased all of its gains for 2018…
“Stocks have taken a beating this month… Worries about a slowing economy under pressure from rising interest rates grew after the Commerce Department said new home sales fell to a two-year low… Bank shares fell on fears of slowing growth for mortgage and other loans.”
The Week added on October 24:
“October has brought major losses; it has been the worst month for the S&P since May 2010. Technology, media, and communications stocks accounted for much of the selling on Wednesday.”
Bringing Back Sigmar Gabriel and Martin Schulz?
Focus wrote on October 19:
“SPD Member of Parliament, Florian Post, sees his party in a deep crisis and demands that former SPD leaders Sigmar Gabriel and Martin Schulz should be given again leading functions, stating that it was a mistake to send the most popular Social Democrats into the desert, and that they are needed now more than ever.”
No Conclusions from Defeat?
Handelsblatt Global wrote on October 23:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against drawing any conclusions about her future from the state elections in Hesse later this month, where her Christian Democrats are likely to suffer losses. ‘You can’t turn every state election in a mini-federal election,’ she said.”
Whether Angela Merkel likes it or not, her upcoming defeat in Hesse will most certainly lead to drastic conclusions about her and the current government. Please view our recent StandingWatch program, “New German Leadership Coming—Merkel’s Days Are Numbered!”
Sebastian Kurz and Austria’s Position of Power
Newsweek wrote on October 17:
“For the first time in 100 years, since the end of the Habsburg Empire—when Austria ruled much of Europe for close to 500 years—the country finds itself in a position of power. The economy is growing, and unemployment is down. In September, the neoliberal daily Die Presse praised Kurz’s appearance at the United Nations as a show of strength ‘from the new small superpower.’…
“Kurz sees a chance to fill the void on the world stage. And notably, Austria seems united behind him, regardless of age… Kurz’s supporters refer to him as a bridge builder. But he might just be the consummate poker player, adept at flipping back and forth between ultra-conservative and conservative opinions… liberals… fear the worst, accusing Kurz of ‘expertly using a putsch to come to power’ and eroding parliamentary democracy…
“The rise in far-right extremism has effectively fueled Kurz’s political career. One of his immigration policies, for example—forcing migrants to hand over valuables and cellphones—has uncomfortable echoes of Nazism. Kurz has also joined Hungary’s Orbán in rejecting Germany’s proposal of distributing refugees across the EU. Refugee relocation, he has said, ‘isn’t working,’ and Europe must protect its ‘Christian culture.’…
“Just a few days before the summit in June, he staged provocative army exercises at the border of Slovenia to show he was ready for any migrant-related activity. It was a highly irregular move for a country ostensibly aligned with Germany, a champion of open borders and averse to military action…
“Vienna did not begin to question the Nazi leaders remaining in power until 1986, when it was discovered that former U.N. Secretary-General and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim had been an intelligence officer for Nazi Germany’s armed forces, the Wehrmacht. Instead of reckoning with being the birthplace of Adolf Hitler or welcoming the arrival of his troops in Vienna, Austria embraced the opinion of the Allied powers in the late 1940s… The Allied powers called Austria a victim, and the country obviously accepted that because no one wants to be one of the perpetrating countries…
“All signs suggest the Kurz administration is just getting started… Like many in Britain who oppose the looming Brexit, or Americans enraged by the populism of the Trump administration, the feeling among anti-populist Austrians is one of helpless consternation.”
Austria was most certainly not just a victim, and Kurz is someone we should watch.
No Freedom of Speech to Call Mohammed a “Paedophile”
The Daily Mail wrote on October 25:
“The European Court of Human Rights has ruled a woman convicted by an Austrian court of calling the Prophet Mohammed a paedophile did not have her freedom of speech rights infringed. The woman… was said to have held two seminars in which she discussed the marriage between the Prophet Mohammad and a six-year old girl, Aisha… the marriage was consumated when Aisha was just nine years old, leading Mrs S. to say to her class Mohammad ‘liked to do it with children’. She also reportedly said ‘… A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? … What do we call it, if it is not paedophilia?’…
“Mrs S. was later convicted in February 2011 by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court for disparaging religious doctrines and ordered her to pay a fine of 480 euros plus legal fees. After having her case thrown out by both the Vienna Court of Appeal and Austria’s Supreme Court, the European Court of Human rights backed the courts’ decision to convict Mrs S. on Thursday…
“In a statement on Thursday the ECHR said: ‘The Court found in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.’
‘It held that by considering the impugned statements as going beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate, and by classifying them as an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam which could stir up prejudice and threaten religious peace, the domestic courts put forward relevant and sufficient reasons.’
“Mrs S. had complained to the European court that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.”
Mrs. S., who held the seminars on behalf of Austria’s coalition party FPÖ, can appeal this clearly political judgment within 3 months.
Australia’s Move of Embassy to Jerusalem in Doubt
JTA wrote on October 21:
“Australia’s potential move of its embassy to Jerusalem was left in doubt after the Liberal government lost its one-seat majority following a defeat in a special election for Parliament.
“Dave Sharma, the former ambassador to Israel, was beaten Saturday in the vote to fill a vacant House of Representatives seat near Sydney. Independent Party candidate Kerry Phelps, a convert to Judaism, won the Wentworth seat…
“Days before the election, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had announced that he was considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian Embassy there. Morrison had credited Sharma with suggesting the embassy move, a major departure from Australia’s foreign policy on Israel.”
Hawaiian Island Erased by Powerful Hurricane
The Guardian wrote on October 24:
“A piece of the United States has been dramatically wiped off the map after an island in Hawaii [East Island, a remote spit of gravel and sand that sat atop a coral reef] was washed away by a powerful hurricane. Scientists have confirmed the disappearance of the 11-acre island…
“East Island was, at about half a mile long and 400ft wide, the second largest island in the French Frigate Shoals, an atoll in the far western reaches of the Hawaiian archipelago. Until 1952, it hosted a US Coast Guard radar station.
“Despite its size, the island played an important role for wildlife, including the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, a species that numbers just 1,400 individuals, with many of the seals raising their young on East Island. Green sea turtles, which are also threatened, and seabirds such as albatrosses, which often had their young preyed upon by circling tiger sharks, also depended on the island….”
Homosexuality in Catholic Priesthood Responsible for Sex Abuse?
The Daily Mail wrote on October 19:
“The Vatican ambassador who accused Pope Francis of rehabilitating a disgraced ex-American cardinal is doubling down on his attack, claiming that the ‘scourge of homosexuality’ in the priesthood is responsible for sex abuse and that the Vatican is being hypocritical in refusing to acknowledge it.
“Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano… has accused Francis of effectively rehabilitating [ex-cardinal] McCarrick, 88, from restrictions imposed during Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy because of allegations he pressured seminarians to sleep with him. He has called for Francis to resign over the McCarrick scandal, which has sparked a crisis of confidence in the U.S. and Vatican hierarchy.
“Francis has responded to the McCarrick allegations by removing him as a cardinal, over an allegation he molested a minor, and by ordering a Vatican investigation into its archives to determine how McCarrick rose through the ranks despite allegations he also molested adults. Pre-empting the outcome, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who heads the Vatican’s bishops’ office, penned a letter on October 4 saying he had gone through his archives and found no evidence of any formal canonical sanctions signed by any pope.
“In his new missive, Vigano accurately noted that Ouellet actually confirmed the core of his allegations: that McCarrick was placed under some form of restriction – not necessarily formal sanctions – because of alleged sexual misconduct. Refuting Ouellet’s claim that the Vatican only had heard rumors about McCarrick, Vigano listed all the letters that had reached the Vatican starting in 2000, when a priest from a New Jersey seminary first wrote relaying concerns from seminarians invited to McCarrick’s beach house and into his bed.
“Vigano said he was shocked that Ouellet omitted any reference in his letter to McCarrick’s victims, or to what he said was the ‘principal cause of so many sexual abuses: homosexuality.’ ‘It’s hypocrisy to refuse to admit that this scourge is due to a grave crisis in the spiritual life of clergy, and to not take measures to remedy it,’ he wrote.”
Pope Francis Wearing a Rainbow Cross?
Life Site News wrote on October 19:
“Pope Francis’ Vatican invited another public relations debacle Wednesday when photos came out in Vatican News of the Pope wearing what many thought to be a ‘Pride’ cross decorated in the colors of the rainbow. The rainbow cross promptly garnered reaction on social media as a nudge-and-a-wink endorsement of the LGBT movement…
“The photo of Francis wearing the rainbow cross was also provocative given its timing amid widespread apprehension that the Youth Synod is being used to advance the normalization of homosexuality within the Church.”
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.
How seriously should we take the Third Commandment today?
In the weekly Update No. 146 on June 6th 2004, we printed an editorial, entitled “The Third Commandment”. Last week, we printed a Q&A, entitled “How do we need to apply the 3rd Commandment about not using the LORD’S name in vain?”. Also, on May 24, 2008, in a StandingWatch program, Evangelist Norbert Link presented a program titled, “Corrupt Communication–Why Not?” It is appropriate to emphasise this matter as it now seems that blasphemy is used by the youngest to the oldest in our nations, with virtually no consideration given at all to how serious a matter this is.
In Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11, we read “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
It is best to define what “taking the name of the LORD your God in vain” (or blasphemy as it can also be defined) really means. We could look at many definitions, but the bottom line is that we simply should not, and must not, use the name of God in any irreverent way because that would be disrespectful. When we look at God’s creative power and the awesome size, beauty and majesty of His creation, it really is something wonderful to behold, and to denigrate the name of the Creator of it all is simply unacceptable.
Wikipedia gives this definition: “Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity, or sacred things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable.”
It is interesting to read the following in Leviticus 24:16: “And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death.” It was certainly something to be taken very seriously in those times, unlike today.
But why would God, the greatest Being in the universe, be so concerned about His Name? Isn’t He, as some have observed, able to look after Himself? For anyone to make such an observation shows that they have no understanding at all about what is involved.
Some may think that they can hurt God by taking His Name in vain or rejecting Him. God can certainly be very disappointed when this happens but we have to remember that He is the Creator of all things, He sustains life, He has provided salvation for us through Jesus Christ. God is a Family, consisting of God the Father and Jesus Christ , the Son of God, and they are both God… the only true God Beings. Therefore, God deserves our worship and we are hurting ourselves when we go contrary to His way. It is not about ego and the feeling of importance but God knows that we lose out when we don’t honour His precious Name. By so dishonouring Him, we are also showing disrespect and that doesn’t have any rewards attached to it, quite the reverse. Revelation 4:10-11 is instructive in this regard: “… the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.’” Honouring God’s Name as per the third Commandment is truly one way of showing our love for the One who will always be the greatest Being of all.
In a well-ordered, God-obeying family, the relationship that children have with their parents is the same relationship that a begotten son or daughter of God has with his or her heavenly Father. In the human family, there are rules, regulations and behaviour that children are expected to act upon and the same applies to God the Father who gives His begotten children commandments and standards that must be part of a true Christian’s way of life. We read in Colossians 3:8: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”
We also have to make sure that by our actions, God’s Name is not disrespected outside the true Church of God, and Romans 2:21-24 is instructive in this regard: “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, as it is written.’”
We are to set an example as expressed in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If we blasphemed God’s great name, we wouldn’t be setting the example that we are commanded to so do.
It is interesting to note that, whilst God’s Name is taken in vain by so many people around the world, other “deities” don’t seem to suffer in the same way and we know how Muslims revere “the prophet Mohammed” who was just a human being anyway. None of these names are used as an expression of surprise, frustration or anger as the name of the true God so often is. Satan is doing everything he can to upset true Christians as he knows that he has but a short time left.
An interesting and, it seems, not a very well-known fact, is that the blasphemy law in some parts of the UK was abolished a few years ago. Wikipedia notes that in the UK “on 5th March 2008, an amendment was passed to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales. The peers also voted for the laws to be abandoned during March. The Act received royal assent on 8 May 2008, and the relevant section came into force on 8 July 2008.”
On the Humanists UK website, they state the following: “Outdated and discriminatory blasphemy laws are still far too common all around the world. But the English and Welsh blasphemy laws were abolished in May 2008. The offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were common law offences which were contrary to the principle of free speech and probably contrary to human rights laws adopted by the UK, which protect freedom of expression. The law fundamentally protected certain, Christian, beliefs and made it illegal to question them or deny them.”
In 2016, a Pew Research Center analysis found out that, as of 2014, about a quarter of the world’s countries and territories (26%) had anti-blasphemy laws or policies.
In August 2018 the BBC website had this very unusual story about an Italian footballer (soccer player):
“Former Juventus midfielder Rolando Mandragora has been suspended for one Serie A game after he was caught on television cameras shouting “Porca Madonna, Vaffanculo, Dio Cane”, an insult to the Virgin Mary, while also referring to God as a dog. The outburst from the Italy international came after Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Eudero saved his shot in a game which Mandragora’s side, Udinese, won 1-0.
“‘After acquiring and examining the relevant television images, the player, while cursing without referring to anybody around him, was nevertheless clearly seen by the television images to make blasphemous remarks, visibly identifiable from reading his lips without any margin for reasonable doubt,’ a disciplinary report from the Lega Serie A said. There is a strict ban on taking God’s name in vain in Italy, and since 2010, the country’s football association has disciplined players and coaches heard doing so.”
“Taking the name of the LORD your God in vain” is all a part of the erosion of biblical standards that there are organisations which exist in their bid to remove, if it were possible, all traces of the way of God from society. Of course, we understand that Satan, the arch-deceiver is behind all of this and his time is now very limited but, in the meantime, much damage can be done to decent standards that served communities well for a very long period of time. It involved the historical position that Christianity has had within the establishment – the monarchy, Parliament and the law.
It would appear that freedom of speech trumps just about everything else and that penalties for blasphemy, however that is defined, would be in contravention to the right of free speech. Along the same lines is the fact that quoting the Bible about the sin of homosexuality can be viewed as hate speech and therefore punishable in law which means that the legal provisions and requirements of man trump the Word of God.
In short, the third of God’s Ten Commandments is seen as an anachronism in today’s “more enlightened” society!!
In a newspaper article in 2018, details about social media speech were given showing that there are 60 new abbreviations that are dominating the way young people communicate with one another and the second most common one is “OMG,” and we all know that this is an abbreviation for “Oh my God.” It is now a marketing tool as the advertising industry, it seems, will do anything they can to promote products or services at any cost. The fact that God’s name is used irreverently doesn’t seem to matter one iota to those who use such language.
We should realise that the names of God the Father and Jesus Christ are so important. We know that in the model prayer in Matthew 6:9 Jesus told His disciples to pray: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” We also read in Philippians 2:10 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” No one should use the great name of God in a harsh and irreverent way today, but so many do. The name of Jesus Christ is so important: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), and this is another reason why the 3rd Commandment must be taken very seriously.
In our weekly Update, Number 77, on 23rd January 2003, we had a Question and Answer, entitled “Is it Wrong to Use Slang such as ‘gosh’ or ‘gee’?,” and this clearly showed that such euphemisms were also clearly wrong. You may wish to review this Q&A.
King David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), and he had great respect for God’s name. In Psalm 145:1-2 we read: “I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.” We would do well to emulate this example.
One internet commentator made these observations:
“We are not to use God’s name as a curse word. We are not to use His name lightly. If we study who God is, we understand a bit more why this is such a grave sin. God is holy, sovereign, unchangeable, omnipotent, omniscient, faithful, patient, and merciful. This is just a short list of the adjectives that could be used to describe God, the One who made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. If He is so awesome and so wonderful (and He is!), then we can understand why it is so important for us not to use His name when we are angry or surprised.”
Another writer summed it up well and succinctly when he wrote:
“The name of the Lord is holy, as He is holy. The name of the Lord is a representation of His glory, His majesty, and His supreme deity. We are to esteem and honour His name as we revere and glorify God Himself. To do any less is to take His name in vain.”
It was interesting to read what a teaching assistant with no religious views wrote about the use of the phrase “Oh my God”:
“I work as a teaching assistant with kids aged 8-10 and so many of them say this whenever they are frustrated, stroppy or feeling argumentative. I’m not religious but I certainly consider it an inappropriate phrase for children to use. I had a chat with a couple of the girls today after one of them said it. Neither of them had any concept that this was anything other than normal, as it’s a phrase used by all the family. I suggested that they might like to think of other things to say that won’t sound so offensive or rude.”
A prominent American preacher was interviewed on British television during 2018. He was asked how he felt after receiving an invitation to a particular function in the UK and he said, slowly, deliberately and with feeling “Oh my God” three times consecutively in order to express his surprise. If those in mainstream Christianity don’t find it necessary to keep the 3rd Commandment, what example does that send out to those who are members of those churches? This example was appalling and showed a complete lack of understanding how important it is to revere God’s Holy Name.
We should only use God’s name in a reverential way, showing Him the respect that He deserves, and anything less is not acceptable to Him.
Let us remember that Jesus never took His Father’s name in vain. So many people today use God’s Name in vain when they have trials, difficulties and pain and we must remember that even when Jesus was crucified, in His final hours on the stake, suffering with agonising pain and distress, He never resorted to such an approach. His approach to the third Commandment was perfect, and we are to follow Him in every way and that includes honouring, not disrespecting His Father’s Name.
God’s Name should not be blasphemed today and the third Commandment makes this quite clear. But what about the future? We read in Ezekiel 39:7: “So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.” During the Millennium, taking God’s Name in vain will not be tolerated, nor will it be tolerated for eternity after that time.
Yes, we really should take the third Commandment very seriously today!
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
We are in the process of reprinting several booklets: Are You Already Born Again?; Is That In the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation; The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days; and The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today!
Sermonettes and sermons from the 2018 Feast of Tabernacles in the US and Germany continue to be posted on our website—viewable at www.eternalgod.org.
“But Isn’t Halloween just Harmless Fun…?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Not, if you consider its origin and the fact that today’s Halloween is THE most important RELIGIOUS feast for Satanists and witches. Do you really want your children to observe this festival together with worshippers of Satan? This program should open your eyes.
“Ist denn Halloween nicht nur ein harmloser Spaß?” is a new AufPostenStehen program which is in German and covers the same topic as described above and which is also presented by Norbert Link.
“Dem Teufel Widerstehen!” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Resist the Devil.”
“What God Has Done For Me!” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We are each called, specially and uniquely. We each are given amazing opportunities in this life. We are each forgiven of our sins, upon repentance and it is an incredible thing that we each should dwell upon. Where would we be without God’s mercy, His loving kindness, His great foresight and His master plan? Really the question ends up, what HASN’T God done for me?
“Can Biblical Fasting Really Help?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The Bible commands us to fast on occasion. But why? And how can we make sure that God accepts our fasting and that He does not reject it as useless? How can we distinguish between correct and wrong fasting? And what could be the result of proper fasting in our lives and the lives of others?
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
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