Facing the Pain & Adversities of Life; Forgotten Christianity—Overcoming!
On March 23, 2019, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Facing the Pain & Adversities of Life,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Forgotten Christianity—Overcoming!”
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.
We Are to Be People of Joy!
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
God specifies the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. It consists of a number of components which, considered as a whole, make up this fruit, and actually are characteristics that everyone who has God’s Spirit will display in their lives to one degree or another.
The second component of this fruit is joy. So, what is joy? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines joy as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” This implies that when things are going well, or expected to go well, we can be joyful.
There are many examples in the Bible of people expressing joy. Two of them are in the book of Ezra. This was a time when the temple had finally been finished after a great amount of local opposition and around twenty years since King Cyrus had made his decree that the temple was to be rebuilt. It was also a time between a little over a month before the Passover, and just after the Passover. Ezra 6:16 states: “Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.”
As well as that, they had finally received favour from the king of Assyria. Ezra 6:22 tells us: “And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.”
So, after many years of opposition, trials, setbacks and difficulties, things were finally going well for them, and the people were joyful. Just like in the definition above. God had blessed them and made them joyful.
Both the apostle Paul and Titus were also joyful when things were going well in the Church. 2 Corinthians 7:13 reads: “Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.”
The apostle John also repeated this sentiment in 3 John 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
This joy was mainly because of happy events in the present. There is an additional definition of joy that I found on the internet. It is the meaning used many times especially in the New Testament, and explains: “Joy… remains even amidst the suffering… Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful.”
The greatest example of someone having this type of joy would be in Hebrews 12:2, describing Jesus Christ: “… looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Anticipating the beating and crucifixion that He had to endure was not something that would make Christ happy in itself. He had joy because He knew that the suffering He was going to go through would enable God’s Family to be vastly expanded—a great and wonderful result.
At this time approaching the Passover, we are reminded of just how much He suffered, and that this suffering was for us in this age and for all others in the future, and this can help us to be joyful as well as thankful. Following this example of Jesus, the next quote would likewise apply to us. James 1:2-4 states: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Again, trials are not usually pleasant, but when we consider the intended outcome of trials, the patience and perfection (the marginal reading for “perfect” is “mature”), we can have joy because of the end result of those trials. They lead to eternal life as God beings with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
With the knowledge that Jesus went through extreme trials for us, and that we go through trials for our perfection, we can indeed be people of joy. We should remember and be encouraged by Psalm 16:11 in which David tells us: “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures for evermore.”
by Norbert Link
We begin with a stunning revelation about Saudi Arabia’s long-time brutal methods of crushing dissidents through a special barbaric team… under the direct supervision and command of the Crown Prince. We report on violence in the Netherlands and New Zealand through deranged killers under demonic influence; and focus our attention on the ever-growing Brexit debacle with absolutely no deal or solution in sight. We also publish an insightful article about Europe and especially Germany for the time after Brexit.
We report on another Russian step toward autocracy and censorship; speak on the obscure and changing celebration of the Purim festival; speak on anti-Semitic occurrences in Poland and the fragile relationship between Poland and Israel; and address the cowardly and hypocritical conduct of the vast majority of German Parliamentarians towards the Jewish state.
We publish articles which allege anticipated further alienation between Merkel and Trump; which discuss whether Trump really wants to cut Medicare (while pointing out the incredible hypocrisy in politics); and which raise concern that Trump, if cornered, might propagate violence against his opponents.
We conclude with articles about the poisoning of American citizens; contemplated measures by Democrats to make vaccinations mandatory in Oregon; and a lawsuit by a church against Washington state officials, raising the unconstitutionality of a law, enacted by Democrats, forcing churches to provide “health” insurance for those of their employees who may choose to have an abortion.
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
Saudi’s Brutal Crush on Dissidents
The Week wrote on March 18:
“More than a year before Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved a secret — and brutal — plan to crush dissent, using surveillance, abduction, and torture, U.S. officials who read classified intelligence reports on the matter told The New York Times. Saudi citizens were targeted around the world, with a special team — called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group by U.S. officials — involved in at least 12 operations beginning in 2017, the Times reports.
“This is the same team that killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. After being captured and brought back to Saudi Arabia, these people were housed in palaces belonging to the crown prince and his father, King Salman, the Times reports, with many tortured during interrogations.”
The New York Times wrote on March 17:
“Saudi laws prohibit torture and hold accountable those involved in such abuses of power… The Saudi government insists that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi… was not an assassination ordered from Riyadh. The decision to kill him was made by the team on the spot, government officials say…
“Saudi Arabia has a history of going after dissidents and other Saudi citizens abroad, but the crackdown escalated sharply after Prince Mohammed was elevated to crown prince in 2017… [He] locked hundreds of princes, businessmen and former officials in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton in 2017 on accusations of corruption…”
Nothing of such magnitude happens in Saudi Arabia without the Crown Prince at least knowing about it. Clearly, he was behind the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. To deny this FACT because of political motives and “advantageous” considerations is outrageous!
Violence in the Netherlands
Reuters wrote on March 18:
“A gunman shot dead three people and wounded nine on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday and police said they were hunting for a 37-year-old Turkish man in an apparent terrorist attack. Dutch authorities raised the terrorism threat to its highest level in Utrecht province… Prime Minister Mark Rutte [said] he was deeply concerned about the incident, which came three days after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.”
Daily Mail added on March 18:
“[The] Turkish ‘terror’ suspect is arrested after ‘shooting a relative on Dutch tram “for family reasons” and then firing at anyone who tried to intervene‘ … [The suspect’s] family members in Turkey say the person targeted on the tram was a relative of the 37-year-old.”
npr wrote on March 18:
“A motive for the shooting remains unclear; police have said they were investigating a ‘possible terrorist motive’ for the attack, but reports have also emerged that the shooting might have its roots in a family dispute.”
Tighter Gun Laws in New Zealand
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 18:
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday that her Cabinet had agreed ‘in principle’ upon tighter gun laws for New Zealand. The proposed changes… were spurred by Friday’s Christchurch terror attacks, in which a shooter used multiple weapons, including military-style semi-automatic ones, to open fire on worshippers at two mosques… In the meantime, she encouraged individuals to surrender weapons similar to the ones used in the attacks to the authorities…
“Ardern also announced that her government would launch an inquiry into the country’s intelligence services. The suspect charged in relation to the attacks, a self-declared white nationalist who had posted a racist manifesto online, was not on the security services’ radar…”
These senseless mass murders in the Netherlands and in New Zealand are committed by deranged individuals who are obviously under demonic influence, if not possession.
Third Brexit Vote Illegal unless Substantial Change in Brexit Deal
The Guardian wrote on March 18:
“The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has said the government cannot bring the meaningful vote back to parliament again unless there has been substantial change to the Brexit deal. In a shock move likely to infuriate the prime minister, the Speaker said the House of Commons was ‘being repeatedly asked to pronounce’ on the same question…
“Quoting from the guide to parliamentary procedure, Erskine May, Bercow said that by convention, the question ‘may not be brought forward again during the same session’ and that it was a ‘strong and longstanding convention’ dating back to 1604. He said the convention had been confirmed again many times, including in 1864, 1870, 1882, 1891 and 1912…
“He said the change must make the deal ‘fundamentally different’, rather than just a unilateral reinterpretation…”
UK Asks for Short Brexit Delay
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 20:
“The United Kingdom has requested delaying Brexit until June 30 in a letter to European Union leaders, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday. ‘As prime minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30th of June,’ May told MPs in Parliament… In the letter she says that she intends to hold a third vote on the twice-rejected Brexit deal, but will need more time to do so…”
Daily Mail wrote on March 20:
“The EU will give Britain a ‘short’ Brexit delay but only if MPs back Theresa May’s deal next week, European Council President Donald Tusk said today – setting up a dramatic political showdown days before the UK is due to leave…
“If no delay or deal is agreed with the EU before Friday, the law says Britain will leave without a deal – despite years of dire warnings about its impact on Britain. If May’s deal fails, the EU has not ruled out offering a longer delay but this would likely come with preconditions such as a second referendum.”
Still Shorter, If At All
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 21:
“The European Council on Thursday agreed to offer the UK two different Brexit extension options…
“Option 1: If the UK parliament accepts the withdrawal agreement, it can delay exiting until May 22 to ratify the text.
“Option 2: If it does not accept the deal, the EU will offer a shorter extension until April 12.
“If it rejects the deal and takes the shorter extension, it can decide whether to seek a much longer delay and vote in the European elections…
“British Prime Minister Theresa May… called on British MPs to accept the deal, saying it would be wrong to participate in the European elections.”
What to Know about Brexit
Axios wrote on March 18:
“On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom shocked the world and voted to ‘Brexit,’ or leave the European Union. More than two years later, with divisions sowing within and between political parties — and with the March 29 withdrawal date approaching rapidly — the country seems no closer to negotiating the terms of its exit…
“At the time of Brexit, the Conservative Party held a majority in Parliament. The party lost its majority in a snap election called by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017 and was forced to form a coalition party with the Democratic Unionist Party.
“David Cameron [was] Prime Minister from 2010-2016. He called the referendum, campaigned for ‘Remain,’ and resigned after losing the vote. Theresa May [is] U.K.’s current prime minister. May supported remaining in the EU before winning the leadership election to replace Cameron. She has managed to keep the job, but has failed to win much support for her approach to Brexit. Boris Johnson [is one] of the most vocal proponents of leaving the EU from within the Conservative Party.
“[The] Labour Party [is the] opposition party in Parliament, which overwhelmingly supports remaining in the EU. Jeremy Corbyn [is the] hard-left leader of the Labour Party. He opposed Brexit (at least officially) but after the vote said the results must be respected. He’s been accused of failing to take a firm line on the issue.
“‘Leave’ [is the] pro-Brexit campaign focused on cutting immigration, gaining sovereignty and slashing payments to Brussels. ‘Remain’ [is the] opposing campaign emphasized economic harm if Brexit went ahead…
“A hard Brexit is the preferred exit strategy of hard-line Brexiteers. It would include a full withdrawal from the EU customs union…
“A soft Brexit, as outlined by Theresa May’s plan, includes keeping closer economic ties to the EU.
“No deal Brexit [is the] case in which the U.K. leaves the E.U. with no formal exit agreement, which would be bad for Europe and disastrous for the U.K. There is an overwhelming consensus on both sides of the aisle that a no-deal Brexit cannot be allowed to happen…
“A backup solution… would avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland until the EU’s future relationship with the U.K. is resolved…
“We are less than a month away from Brexit Day, when the U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU, and nowhere close to a deal. Now, May will have to get the EU to sign off on the proposal to push the Brexit deadline back. Getting the EU to agree to an extension will be tricky, though, and pushing back the deadline won’t get May any closer to a parliamentary majority.”
Brexit will happen in God’s due time. What is going to happen afterwards?
Europe after Brexit
spiked online wrote on March 15:
“As Britain prepares for Brexit, what will happen to the EU that we leave behind? To understand the EU and its direction of travel, you have to understand Germany – the bloc’s richest, most populous and most powerful nation. Sir Paul Lever has worked in the Foreign Office and the European Commission [and] he was the British ambassador to Germany between 1997 and 2003.”
The article quoted Sir Paul Lever as follows:
“I’d hesitate to say the EU won’t change at all when Britain leaves because the UK is a major state. But it won’t change fundamentally. The two things that currently matter in the EU, and the things that most matter to Germany, are the Euro and immigration. Since we’re not in the Euro and we had opted out of Schengen, Britain’s voice hasn’t been relevant for years on the two most important issues… Brexit won’t have an existential effect on the EU…
“If you look at the actual structures of the EU, there’s the Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Court. That is exactly the same way that Germany is governed. The Bundesregierung, or federal government, is like the Commission, the Bundestag, or German parliament, is like the European Parliament, and the Bundesrat, the council of the German Länder (the federal states), is like the Council of Ministers, and both the EU and Germany have very powerful constitutional courts, too. So for a German politician moving into the EU, it’s a very familiar world, which is precisely why the Germans find it so easy to operate in Europe… The EU is Germany writ large. And this is how it has been from the beginning. It is not some recent German plot to subvert the EU – it is how it was set up…
“When the Euro was originally set up, the rules were ones which the old Bundesbank (the German central bank) insisted on: it wasn’t going to be a transfer union, there was going to be a big budget, and there would be strict obligations on debt and deficits. In the first few years, those rules weren’t always adhered to. In recent times, during the Greek crisis, for instance, the Germans started to insist on a strict application of these rules. In fairness, every country did sign up to them. And the Germans weren’t reneging on any obligations when they first refused to bail out Greece, for instance. They had never implied that they would accept responsibility for the debts of other member states – it would have been political suicide in Germany to promise this…
“Germany has been a huge beneficiary from the euro. A study was published recently by the Centre for European Policy Studies in Germany, which estimated that Germany had earned €1.9 trillion from adopting the euro in its first 20 years. But it had cost France €3.6 trillion and Italy €4.3 trillion. German politicians don’t like to admit this…”
Germany is destined to become and remain THE leading nation in Europe. It is also destined to bring much pain and misery to the world, when the end-time leader of core Europe arrives—a person of German or Austrian descent, who is called the beast in the Bible.
Another Step Towards Russian Autocracy
Axios wrote on March 18:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a set of controversial measures into law Monday that criminalize the dissemination of information online that ‘exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia,’ the Washington Post reports…
“Russian lawmakers say the bills are intended to combat fake and abusive comments online, but critics have labeled the legislation ‘direct censorship’ and yet another step toward autocracy. Online publications and users that repeatedly spread ‘fake news’ will ‘face fines of up to 1.5 million rubles, or $22,900.’ Repeat offenders that publish information deemed insulting to Russian authorities — including Putin — could face 15 days in jail.”
It will of course be the Russian government and its judges who will decide what is fake news and what constitutes insults to Putin and other Russian authorities.
USA to Recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over Golan Heights
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 21:
“On Thursday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that ‘after 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,’ calling the area important to regional stability…
“Israel took control over the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights, which was previously part of Syria, during the Six-Day War in 1967. The eastern portion of Golan remained under the control of the Syrian Arab Republic. The western section of the Golan remained occupied by the Israeli army from 1967 until December 14, 1981, when the Israeli government passed the Golan Heights Law, essentially annexing the area.
“Despite the fact that Israeli settlements had been built in the area, the move was roundly condemned in the United Nations Security Council when it passed UN Resolution 497 on December 17, 1981, declaring the annexation ‘null and void and without international legal effect.’ The United States is the only country that has signaled a willingness to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
The Obscure Celebration of Purim
JTA wrote on March 12:
“On [Palma de Mallorca, a Spanish] island south of Barcelona, Jews celebrate Purim these days pretty much as they do most anywhere else in Europe [that is, without deep contemplation for the events described in the book of Esther]… 50 years ago, Purim was the holiest day of the year — comparable to Yom Kippur — for this island’s unique Jewish community. Persecuted for centuries during the Spanish Inquisition, the forcibly converted Jews of Mallorca had exploited their persecutors’ relative ignorance of Purim to mourn their situation and sustain their faith and culture. ‘Purim wasn’t celebrated in Mallorca, it was sorrowfully observed in secret,’ said Rabbi Nissan Ben-Avraham… Celebrating any of the major Jewish holidays — including Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot — would have been too risky… Those holidays were too well-known and featured too many distinctive customs to be practiced safely…
“In previous centuries, [Purim,] a holiday that celebrates the Jews’ triumph over people who conspired to annihilate them in fifth-century B.C. Persia was far less joyous than its carnival-like character today. Jews only began dressing up [that is, wearing costumes] on Purim in the 16th century. Before that, the holiday’s essence was primarily in the daylong Fast of Esther, which comes immediately before the actual holiday and is meant as a sign of gratitude to God for the survival of Jews in Persia… The fast aligned comfortably with Lent, a 40-day period in early spring during which Catholics abstain from certain indulgences, including meat. Many Christians would fast on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, thereby providing a handy alibi… observing the Fast of Esther at around the same time…
“Some… fasted on Purim as recently as 30 years ago.
“… after the fall of the pro-Catholic dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1975, anti-[Jewish] sentiment declined [on Mallorca] and with it the need for secrecy around the Purim customs. By then, thousands of tourists to Mallorca had transformed the remote island into a European party capital…”
Today, many Jews keep Purim in the form of carnival celebrations and worldly parties. This year, Purim will be held by the Jewish community from the evening of March 21 to the evening of March 22. It is not a biblically-commanded festival for neither Jews nor Christians.
“Front Page in Polish Paper: ‘How to spot a Jew'”
Fox News wrote on March 15:
“A right-wing newspaper in Poland sparked widespread criticism after running an anti-Semitic article on its front page instructing readers ‘how to spot a Jew.’ The Polish-language weekly, Tylko Polska, or ‘Only Poland,’ includes a list of supposed markers [such as ‘names, anthropological features, expressions, appearances, character traits, methods of operation’] and ‘disinformation activities.’… The newspaper’s front page – which also included a headline that read ‘How to defeat them? This cannot go on!’ – ran an article, which read, ‘Attack on Poland at a conference in Paris’ – in reference to a Holocaust studies conference at the French capital last month that sparked criticism over alleged anti-Polish speakers…
“It included a photo of Jan Gross, a Polish and Jewish Princeton scholar who wrote ‘Neighbors: The Destruction of [the] Jewish Community in Jebwabne, Poland,’ which is about the massacre of the Jewish people in Jebwabne by their non-Jewish neighbors during the Nazi occupation in Poland… The newspaper was first spotted at the lower house of the Polish parliament – the Sejm – on Wednesday, as part of the weekly package of publications sent to lawmakers…
“Opposition lawmaker Michal Kaminski called for prosecutors to investigate, as it’s a crime in Poland to incite hatred based on race or religion. A lawmaker from the ruling right-wing party called for the paper to be banned altogether. The director of the Parliament’s information center initially said his office could not take action because the paper was being sold from kiosks inside the Sejm, which was responsible for the choice of newspapers. Andrzej Grzegrzolka also suggested that a court could look into the front page to decide whether ‘Only Poland’ should be suspended under Polish law, the [Washington] Post reported. He later relented and announced his office would request that ‘Only Poland’ be removed from the set of periodicals delivered to the Parliament…
“According to JTA, the newspaper is published by Leszek Bubl, a fringe nationalist political candidate. In the past, he has sung anti-Semitic songs about ‘rabid’ rabbis. Poland, which was home to Europe’s largest Jewish community before the 1939 occupation by Nazi Germany, has a history of anti-Semitic speech and actions. The government has also been accused in the past of trying to rewrite history by banning any suggestion of Polish complicity in the Holocaust.”
Fragile Relationship between Poland and Israel
The Washington Post also wrote on March 14:
“Poland’s collective historical memory over treatment of Jewish people and Polish-Jewish relations have been fraught issues in the past few years. In 2018, the Polish government backed a law that made it punishable by jail time to refer to Poles as complicit in Nazi atrocities, sparking an international outcry, largely from Israeli and U.S. lawmakers. The law was later watered down, removing the prison terms. Then last month, Polish-Israeli relations were tested again when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was misquoted on his return from a Middle East summit in Poland as saying that ‘the Poles’ collaborated with Nazis during World War II. The paper that quoted him, the Jerusalem Post, later added a correction to make clear that Netanyahu meant to say ‘Poles,’ not ‘the Poles.’
“But then Israel Katz, on his first day as Israel’s acting foreign minister, reiterated that Poles collaborated with Nazis during World War II and quoted former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir by saying that Poles ‘sucked anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.’ Poland pulled out of a summit between Israel and the Visegrad Four countries (the other three being the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia), and the summit was replaced with bilateral meetings between Israel and the other three.”
That anti-Semitic Poles collaborated with the Nazis in the persecution and murder of Jews is a well-known and undisputable fact.
Shocking! “Germany’s Parliament Favors Anti-Israel U.N. Voting Pattern!”
The Jerusalem Post wrote on March 16:
“Political representatives in Germany’s Bundestag overwhelmingly rejected a resolution by the Free Democratic Party to urge Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to reverse its anti-Israel voting record at the United Nations. The Free Democratic Party (FDP)… introduced the pro-Israel resolution calling on the federal government… ‘to dissociate [in the UN] from unilateral, primarily politically motivated initiatives and alliances of anti-Israeli Member States, and protect Israel and legitimate Israeli interests from unilateral condemnation’…
“Merkel, who said in Israel in 2008 that its security is ‘non-negotiable’ for her administration, voted with authoritarian regimes, like the Islamic Republic of Iran, 16 times in 2018 to condemn the Jewish state… from a total of 21 anti-Israel resolutions… Germany abstained from four anti-Jewish state resolutions.
“The vote in the Bundestag was from a total of 626 MPs participating. An eye-popping 408 voted to reject the pro-Israel resolution while 155 urged its acceptance. A total of 63 MPs abstained. The depth of anti-Israelism in the Bundestag sparked criticism from a tiny number of German politicians and journalists. The FDP and the largely anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany, supported a reversal of Merkel’s anti-Israel voting record at the UN.
“The Social Democrats, the Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Democratic Party, The Left Party, and the Green Party lined up behind targeting Israel for punishment at the UN. The Green Party abstained, but German critics viewed the abstention as a cowardly escape hatch… Green Party politician Volker Beck wrote on his Twitter feed that ‘This was not a glorious chapter for foreign policy and national interests of the German Bundestag. And it will not be the last word. I am angry, also about my parliamentary group.’
“When asked on Twitter why the Social Democratic politician Frank Schwabe voted against the pro-Israel resolution, he declined to answer. The Post also questioned the Christian Democratic Union MP Andreas Nick who declined to respond about his anti-Israel vote. The German journalist and author, Alex Feuerherdt, who is an expert on the UN and Israel, wrote that the vote shows the lack of solidarity for the Jewish state in Germany. ‘Dead Jews are always capable of solidarity in Germany, especially on days such as 9 November or 27 January,’ he wrote. ‘The living and her state [Israel], on the other hand, are maximally in Sunday sermons, but not when it matters. What a lousy hypocrisy.’
“The Israeli security and defense expert Arye (ARO) Sharuz Shalicar tweeted: ‘I was born in [Germany]. I grew up in Berlin. I have a German high school diploma. I even served in the armed services. But today I am ashamed of German politics!’”
Was this just an exceptional cowardly behavior by most German Parliamentarians… or is there much more to it? The underlying anti-Semitism in Germany, which has ALWAYS been prevalent, cannot be denied. Bild Online chastised the main parties in Parliament and congratulated the FDP and the often-maligned AfD for their pro-Israel stance, stating that the AfD puts parties like the CDU and the SPD to shame. The Bible shows that very soon from now, Germany will align with Arab states against Israel.
Will Germany Renege?
The Wall Street Journal published the following article on March 18:
“The German government is poised to renege on its pledge to raise military spending, the latest gesture of defiance by Chancellor Angela Merkel toward President Donald Trump.
“… the move would mark a fresh step in the gradual estrangement between the U.S. and its erstwhile loyal European ally and comes after Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders for not meeting a 2% military-spending target.”
US Ambassador Should Be Expelled from Germany
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 19:
“US ambassador Richard Grenell is acting like ‘a high commissioner of an occupying power,’ the deputy leader of the Free Democrats (FDP) has said. Grenell has also drawn rebuffs from Germany’s two governing parties.
“Wolfgang Kubicki, the deputy chairman of the opposition Free Democrats (FDP), said Richard Grenell’s repeated interference in German sovereignty should prompt Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to immediately declare Grenell persona non grata. ‘Any US diplomat who acts like a high commissioner of an occupying power must learn that our tolerance also knows its limits,’ said Kubicki, who is also one of five deputy speakers of Germany’s Bundestag parliament.
“Grenell had on Tuesday criticized Germany’s military spending plans within NATO as insufficient, prompting Kubicki to accuse the envoy of ‘interfering’ repeatedly in political issues of a sovereign country.
“Grenell’s criticism of Germany’s defense spending came weeks after he demanded that Berlin halt Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline being laid across the Baltic Sea to deliver gas from Russia to Germany, and threatened firms involved in the project with sanctions.
“Carsten Schneider, caucus manager of the Social Democrats (SPD) within the parliament, told the German news agency DPA on Tuesday that ‘Mr Grenell is a complete diplomatic failure,’ adding that ‘Mr Grenell damages transatlantic relations with his repeated clumsy provocations.’…
“Michael Grosse-Brömer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance (CDU/CSU), urged Grenell to show restraint…”
Once an ambassador is declared to be “persona non grata,” he has to leave the country. German media pointed out that this episode will further alienate the two countries.
Is Trump Really Proposing to Cut Medicare?
The Week wrote on March 12:
“President Trump… promised [in 2015] to ‘save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts.’… Trump’s new national budget proposal was released [this week]. Democratic presidential contenders… are all pouncing on the president for supposedly including $845 billion in cuts to Medicare in his budget’s 10-year window. Meanwhile, Trump’s budget director is firing back that it isn’t true.
“Which is it? Does Trump want to cut Medicare or not? The answer is complicated.
“Usually, what people imagine when politicians talk about ‘cuts to Medicare’ is benefit reductions: Seniors getting less coverage, fewer drugs and procedures, or having to pay more money out of pocket. For the most part, those kinds of cuts aren’t in Trump’s proposal. Instead, his budget looks to reduce what Medicare pays to doctors and hospitals and private insurers for all those things…
“Specifically, Trump’s budget would cut the payments that Medicare sends to hospitals to reimburse them for unpaid bills, as well as payments to the outpatient care that hospitals provide. Payments to nursing homes and home health-care providers would be reduced. And Trump’s budget also includes a bunch of different policies aimed at lowering prescription drug prices…
“The funny part is that the two parties found themselves in opposite roles over the exact same issue several years ago. When they passed ObamaCare, the Democrats… [cut] Medicare’s payments to providers… Republicans at the time accused Democrats of cutting Medicare and endangering seniors… Democrats shot back that these attacks were unfair, because the cuts were to provider payments, as opposed to benefit reductions… the GOP made no effort to rollback ObamaCare’s cuts after they took the presidency and both houses of Congress in 2016. That’s politics for you…
“America’s total spending on health care is through the roof: almost 17 percent of the economy in 2015. That’s 5, 6, or even 7 percentage points higher than most other advanced Western nations. Most of what drives that gap is prices: What American health-care providers charge for drugs, services, procedures and everything else is just way higher than in those other countries. There are definitely enormous savings to be found here.
“Ironically, what makes it harder for Medicare to get those savings is that it doesn’t cover the entire population. Which gives providers an out. If nothing else, that’s a point in favor of Democrats’ plans for a Medicare-for-all system: It would finally allow us to get our arms around the entire health care pricing system. For providers, there would finally be no escape from the government’s payment terms.”
This would be an area where the government could do some good, in keeping greedy pharmaceutical companies in check. The article shows once again the lying and deceptive manner with which politicians operate.
Is Trump Threatening with Real Violence?
The Guardian wrote on March 16:
“In an interview with Breitbart News published on Wednesday, Trump noted: ‘I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough – until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.’ In case you missed it, ‘they’ are Trump’s political opponents, including House Democrats and the mainstream media…
“It is impossible to know what bizarre scenario is playing out in Trump’s head. But another hint came on Friday, when, in the wake of the horrific shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, Trump told reporters he didn’t believe white nationalism was on the rise… ‘I think it’s a small group of people.’
“… the facts are otherwise. The number of hate groups in the US increased 7% last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hate crime reports increased 17%, according to the FBI… 11 people were murdered at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on 27 October, at the hands of a white supremacist. A few days earlier, a white supremacist murdered two black people at a grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky…
“At a rally for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley in September, Trump said his opponents ‘were lucky that we’re peaceful’. He continued: ‘Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump … They travel all over the country … They’ve been great.’ But, he warned, ‘these are tough people … they’re peaceful people, and antifa and all, they’d better hope they stay that way.’ In February, the White House Correspondents’ Association called on Trump to make it ‘absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable’. To date, he has not. Meanwhile, Steve Bannon [former White House Chief Strategist in the Trump administration during the first seven months of Trump’s term] … predicted that ‘2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the civil war’.”
Trump: Tariffs against China Will Stay for Now
Axios wrote on March 20:
“President Trump said he plans to keep tariffs in place on Chinese goods for a ‘substantial period of time,’ possibly even after a trade deal is forged to ensure Beijing’s compliance…
“China has been pushing the Trump administration to eliminate tariffs in any forthcoming deal, so the president’s comments are certainly not a carrot for China’s end of the bargain…”
How America Poisons Its Citizens
The Guardian wrote on March 20:
“About 70% of fresh produce sold in the US has pesticide residues on it even after it is washed… strawberries, spinach and kale are among the most pesticide-heavy produce, while avocados, sweetcorn and pineapples had the lowest level of residues.
“More than 92% of kale tested contained two or more pesticide residues… Dacthal – the most common pesticide found, which was detected in nearly 60% of kale samples, is banned in Europe and classified as a possible human carcinogen in the US…
“Other foods on the group’s ‘dirty dozen’ list include grapes, cherries, apples, tomatoes and potatoes. In contrast, its ‘clean 15’ list includes avocados, onions and cauliflower…
“A… Harvard study found that for women undergoing fertility treatment, those who ate more high-pesticide fruits and vegetables were less likely to have a live birth…
“The Environmental Protection Agency… is fighting a court order to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that is associated with development disabilities in children…”
Oregon on its Way to Mandate Vaccinations
Portland Tribune wrote on March 14:
“A legislative proposal that would ban nonmedical exemptions for required vaccinations passed out of committee on a party-line vote Thursday, March 14, the committee’s seven Democrats voting in favor… it would still need to survive votes in the House and Senate and be signed into law by [Democratic] Gov. Kate Brown, who supports the proposal… unvaccinated children could still attend an online school, though they would not be able to participate in organized school activities, such as field trips. It also added a grace period, giving parents until August 2020 to comply with the law, if it were to pass…
“The proposal has been controversial, as more than 100 showed up to oppose the bill… People who opposed the bill said they went to committee members’ offices to distribute flowers representing injuries they say their children incurred when vaccinated. Some lawmakers’ staff declined the flowers, deeply upsetting some citizens…”
The Bulletin added on March 14:
“Oregon is [at this time] one of 17 states that allow students to attend school if they are not inoculated for personal, philosophical or religious reasons… Several Republican opponents of the bill spoke during the debate over the final committee vote. ‘I find this bill to be far overreaching,’ said Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Roseburg. ‘I have five children who are vaccinated. But I believe in parental rights.’
“Rep. Denyc Boles, R-Salem, said she was disappointed the legislation appeared on its way to approval. ‘I did not expect to be part of something I think is a complete disregard to the individual freedoms we have,’ she said.”
Some “liberal” Democrats become more and more a driving force for totalitarianism in this country. Also note the next article.
David vs. Goliath—the Fight against Abortion
news ag org wrote on March 11:
“Cedar Park Church, an Assemblies of God congregation in Bothell, Washington, filed a federal lawsuit on March 8 against Washington state officials to challenge a newly implemented law that forces all employers — including churches that already provide maternity coverage — to pay for abortion and abortifacient contraceptives in health insurance plans. ‘We’re standing for the rights of people of faith to not be forced into being complicit with something inconsistent with our faith,’ says [a] senior pastor of the Seattle-area church. ‘Abortion is the antithesis of who we are as an organization, what our beliefs are, and how we live out our faith.’…
“The suit contends Washington’s law is an intentional attack on people of faith. No abortion exemptions are allowed for churches or religious organizations that provide insurance coverage for maternity care. Cedar Park currently provides comprehensive coverage as part of its employee package. ‘Cedar Park’s deeply held religious belief is that abortion is the ending of a human life and is a grave sin,’ the suit declares.
“The bill… [signed by Democratic governor Jay Inslee] requires employee health plans to also ‘provide a covered person with substantially equivalent coverage to permit the abortion of a pregnancy.’… The suit contends that Cedar Park cannot use tithes and offerings for purposes deemed to be religiously and morally repugnant to its members… under the current law church leaders would face not only fines, but also prison time for noncompliance. ‘Cedar Park believes and teaches that abortion violates the Bible’s command against the intentional destruction of innocent human life,’ the suit states.”
This law is truly catastrophic in that it is trying to, in effect, force churches which are biblically opposed to abortions, to tolerate or even encourage abortions by demanding financial support for those of their employees who, in violation of church teaching, choose an abortion. Churches would thereby have to compromise their religious beliefs and become complete hypocrites, or they would face severe punishment from ungodly governmental agencies.
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.
Why do you quote from and use New Testament translations based on the Textus Receptus and not, for example, the Alexandrian text? (Part 1)
As a standard, we commonly use the New King James Version of the Bible, which presents current English usage along with some modified points of translation as compared to the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible (1611 edition and 1769 revision). In some instances, we may refer to other translations for better clarity of a particular word or verse in the Bible. Our ultimate goal for Bible translations we use is to convey the most accurate meaning of the truest translations available to us.
Quoting from the 1996 edition of the New King James Bible (Holman Bible Publishers):
“There is more manuscript support for the New Testament than for any other body of ancient literature. Over five thousand Greek, eight thousand Latin, and many more manuscripts in other languages attest the integrity of the New Testament. There is only one basic New Testament used by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox, by conservatives and liberals. Minor variations in hand copying have appeared through the centuries, before mechanical printing began about A.D. 1450” (Preface, page v)…
“In light of these facts, and also because the New King James Version is the fifth revision of a historic document translated from specific Greek texts, the editors decided to retain the traditional text in the body of the New Testament and to indicate major Critical and Majority Text variant readings in the center reference column. Although these variations are duly indicated in the center-column notes of the present edition, it is most important to emphasize that fully eighty-five percent of the new Testament text is the same in the Textus Receptus (the “received text”), the Alexandrian Text, and the Majority Text” (Preface, page vi).
Erasmus produced a Greek New Testament which was printed in 1516, and his work, following subsequent editing, became known as the “Textus Receptus” and the basis for the King JamesVersion (KJV), the New King James Version (NKJV) and other versions. The Alexandrian Text finds support from translators who believe that this collection of Greek manuscripts (which are older than those supporting the Textus Receptus) is a closer representation of the original writings. However, none are dated before 200 B.C. The New International Version (NIV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) are among modern Bible translations based on the Alexandrian Text. Few modern English Bibles are based on the Majority Text, which is simply a compilation of New Testament Greek manuscripts relying on the frequency of particular texts to establish authenticity.
Understand that the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, has been handed down over time based on copies of the various texts. There is no “original” writing—no etched stone, no preserved papyrus or vellum as first inspired by God—to which we can refer. Over time, modern translators have developed a better understanding of Hebrew and Greek. As well, more copies of old manuscripts have surfaced to serve as references in the process of translating—especially, in comparison to the time of the 1611 edition of the King James Bible.
Translations in understandable languages are easily available all over the world, and these can provide a comprehensive presentation of God’s written Word. In a coming Q&A, we will be discussing in detail why we believe that the King James Bible, which is based on the textus receptus, is the most reliable translation, even though it is not without mistakes. Having said this, we do use other translations when they convey an intended meaning more clearly, because there is an added dimension which is critical to this process—understanding of what is written!
Jesus confronted the so-called experts of the Law because they did not really understand the written Word of God. When challenged by the Sadducees about the resurrection, for they rejected that belief, Jesus said, “‘…You are [deceived], not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God’” (Matthew 22:29). The Sadducees were those who were leading members of society at that time—including the priesthood and even the office of high priest (compare Acts 5:17).
Even the disciples of Jesus did not understand the Scriptures about “the Christ” until He revealed the Truth so that they could understand:
“Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25-27).
Jesus did not give the Sadducees, the Pharisees or the scribes special, revealed understanding. Rather, He gave it to His chosen disciples—note:
“Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45).
God communicates through His written Word—a process that is dynamic and interactive! God inspires our understanding, and that understanding is given in accordance with our willingness to obey Him:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).
The Bible is one book. It includes the Old Testament (originally written primarily in Hebrew) and the New Testament (originally written primarily in Greek). The Bible is the inspired written Word of God. Paul addressed the need for Timothy, a minister in the Church of God, to be “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
This remains our challenge, today! The Bible is unique in that various parts of it must be considered to get a true and complete understanding:
“‘Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little’” (Isaiah 28:9-10).
Without God’s revelation, the Bible remains closed to people! During the first decades of the Church of God, the time when the New Testament was being written and the original copies were extant, people still argued over the meaning:
“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:14-16).
There were false teachers during that time who wrote to deceive the brethren, and Paul warned of this:
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).
God calls His Church the pillar and ground or foundation of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). He has instructed His truly ordained ministers to teach the Truth (Romans 10:14-17; John 17:20). To be able to do this, God gives His Church an understanding of the Truth, which includes a proper discernment for accurate and inaccurate translations of His Word. Since God’s Word cannot be broken or contain contradictions (John 10:35), God’s ministers, growing in Christ’s knowledge, as all members must do, can readily determine whether one particular rendering in whatever translation is not correct or legitimate, or whether another translation conveys the intended meaning of a particular passage more accurately.
For example, some translations include a passage in 1 John 5:7-8 which purports to teach the Trinity. The Authorized Version and the New King James Bible contain this passage (stating, “…there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one”), while most modern translations do not include it. However, this passage is clearly a hoax—a fabrication by the Catholic Church which was added much later. It appears first in the 4th century in some Latin versions and only in the 15th century in some Greek versions. We discuss this whole matter more thoroughly on pages 14 and 15 of our free booklet, “Is God a Trinity?” God’s true ministers, given to understand the Truth about the Family of God—and that God is NOT a Trinity—know that this passage is not and cannot be part of the original writings, and they can therefore declare dogmatically that it must not be viewed as a genuine passage.
What, then, is the solution? How can one understand the Bible or be confident that a particular translation is the true Word of God? It is as it has always been—seek God! Seek God’s true Church which explains the Truth boldly and without compromise (Please review our free booklet, “How to Find the True Church of God?”). Turn to God and ask for understanding! Most importantly, when you do understand what the Will of God is—that is, what He commands you to do—do it (compare John 7:17).
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (March 2019) has been written by Michael Link in which he addresses the upcoming spring Holy Days and their importance to Christians.
Our new booklet on Christ’s Return, titled, “How Can We Know that Christ’s Return is Near?” has been sent to Phyllis Bourque for initial review. Written by Norbert Link, this is based on the recent 10-part series of Q&A’s which we ran in the Updates.
Two new booklets have been translated from English into German—“How to Keep the Sabbath” and “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.” These have been sent to our printer in Germany.
“Sollten Sie die Tage der Ungesäuerten Brote halten?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Should You Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?”
“Sharpening the Ax,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
When urgency takes all of our attention, our actions take the form of reaction. It is critical in the life of a Christian to dedicate time to meditate on transforming our lives and choose our actions intentionally.
“Is Our Trust Aligned with Our Goals?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
It is easy to state that we “trust in God” but do our actions acknowledge that fact? Trust isn’t demonstrated by statement, it is proven by action. Our belief in God must fundamentally be ingrained in every part of our lives. It is in that state that we confirm what it really means to have trust in God.
The 2019 Church Conference will be conducted in Escondido, California. Arrival will be Wednesday, April 3, 2019, and departure is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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