March 29, 2019
Easter in the Bible?; The Fulfillment of the Passover through Christ and His Church
On March 30, 2019, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Easter in the Bible?” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “The Fulfillment of the Passover through Christ and His Church.”
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.
by Norbert Link
Is everything going well in your life? Or do you encounter trials and do you struggle with problems and obstacles? I dare to say, you do! And you would not be alone! The question is, How do you deal with setbacks? Do you view them as just being temporary and passing, or permanent and lasting?
When God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush and announced that He would use Moses to free Israel from Egyptian slavery, Moses did not believe him. So God convinced him through a set of miracles that it would happen as declared, and finally Moses reluctantly followed God’s command and returned to Egypt. God told Moses very clearly that there would first be obstacles—Pharaoh would not let Israel go until he was forced to do so by a mighty hand. God even told Moses that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart and multiply His signs and wonders in the land of Egypt (Exodus 7:3).
When Moses still doubted that the Israelites would believe him, God also told him that the elders of Israel would listen to Moses (Exodus 3:18), and this is exactly what occurred at first (Exodus 4:29-31).
But then things did not go too well, it seemed. When Moses and Aaron demanded of Pharaoh to let Israel go, Pharaoh’s response was to plague the people even more severely. The people were not prepared for this setback, and so they complained to Moses (Exodus 5:20-21), and Moses was likewise caught off guard and complained to God (Exodus 5:22-23). God gave him encouragement, which he passed on to the people, but now they did not listen “because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage” (Exodus 6:9). And so, Moses, being frustrated, told God that Pharaoh would not listen to him either (verse 12). But God commanded him to carry out his pre-ordained task of bringing Israel out of Egypt (verse 13).
Moses, under inspiration, announced to Pharaoh that terrible plagues would be poured out if he were to refuse to let Israel go. They would even culminate in the death of Pharaoh’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:23). But as God had predicted, Pharaoh hardened his heart time and again, and God allowed it (Exodus 7:3, 13-14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 34-35; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10). As a consequence, God did pour out plagues on the land, as He had announced through Moses and Aaron. This God did because of three reasons, which He clearly revealed to Moses: The Egyptians would recognize that He was God (Exodus 7:5); God’s name would be declared in all the earth (Exodus 9:16); and Israel would also know that “I am the LORD” (Exodus 10:2).
After the initial “setbacks,” it seemed that now everything would run smoothly. Didn’t Israel just have to wait until Pharaoh would give in? Not so! First, the people were still enslaved and they still had to suffer because of their cruel affliction; and then, they too were affected by the first three plagues. Only beginning with the fourth plague, God would protect Israel so that His plagues would not come near them (Exodus 8:22-23; 9:26; 10:23). God’s protection culminated of course during the Passover night when He would not allow the destroyer to touch the Israelites in their houses when He saw the blood on the doorposts, while all the firstborn in Egypt would be killed.
Finally, Pharaoh relented and allowed Israel to leave. They did so full of joy and boldness and thankfulness. But right afterwards, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart once again so that he pursued Israel with a huge army (Exodus 14:4, 8). Israel’s reaction to this new setback was telling: “So they were very afraid… and said to Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?” For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness’” (Exodus 14:10-12).
Moses responded that God would fight for them (Exodus 14:14), and He surely did. When the Red Sea opened, Israel “went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground” (verse 22), but when Pharaoh and his army followed them, the waters of the sea returned and drowned them all (verses 27-28, 30; Psalm 136:14-15).
NOW, when the people of Israel saw the great work which God had done, they feared and believed God and His servant Moses (Exodus 14:31). Sadly, it did not last long. A few days afterwards, the people did not find water in the wilderness, or only bitter waters which could not be consumed (Exodus 15:22-24). And so, they started complaining again about this new setback and their misery. God helped them and made the bitter waters sweet, but the same pattern would continue throughout their journey. When obstacles or setbacks occurred, the people forgot God’s mighty hand, which works miracles, and only focused on their seemingly hopeless condition.
Are we that different today? If things do not work out right away or in the way we expect or hope, are we falling into despair? Do we take into consideration that God may work things out in a very special way, which we do not quite understand yet, for HIS glory?
It is human to become frustrated in the face of setbacks. But notice how the sons of Korah addressed such a set of circumstances in their lives: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God… My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?’… When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me… Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance” (Psalm 42:2-5).
Let us have the same mindset, knowing that when we go through fiery trials, we are never alone, and that God will intervene for us in HIS due time. Whatever setbacks we may encounter—they are temporary, and God knows about all of them. Let us have faith in Him and His doing, and let us allow Him to fight our battles in His unique way, and He will!
by Norbert Link
We begin with the Mueller report vindicating Trump and his team while politically–motivated Democrats are unhappy, and we are discussing the incredible costs and waste of time for the Mueller investigation. We report on interesting developments pertaining to the Golan Heights and Jerusalem; and address the inconsistent stance of Europeans towards Israel. In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Does President Trump fulfill a preordained role?”
We also report on the renewed never-ending battle (it seems) regarding healthcare insurance without any tangible results, and we speak on the defeat of the Islamic State “caliphate,” but not necessarily of ISIS.
We continue with Theresa May’s isolation and an incredible attack of the British government on the Bible; a dark day for the Internet due to a highly controversial newly-enacted European law; and the desire to build a strong relationship between China and Europe.
We conclude with outrageous comments by Barbara Streisand about child abuse; and a new push by the pharmacy and politicians to make measles vaccinations mandatory in Germany, as well as incredible measures in the USA.
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
The Mueller’s Report
The Independent wrote on March 22:
“Special counsel Robert Mueller did not recommend any further charges as he submitted his long-awaited report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election…”
The Associated Press wrote on March 24:
“Attorney General William Barr declared Sunday that Mueller’s long investigation found no evidence that Trump’s campaign ‘conspired or coordinated’ with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller also looked into whether Trump tried to obstruct the inquiry, but did not provide a definitive answer on that point.”
In particular, Axios wrote on March 24:
“After taking the weekend to pore over the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr has sent Congress his summary of the ‘principal conclusions’ from the special counsel’s 675-day investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia:
“‘… [T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.’
“On the question of obstruction of justice, Barr writes that while Mueller’s report ‘does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’
“Barr says he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the evidence ‘is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense,’ noting that the government would have to prove such a case ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’” [To this point, Deutsche Welle added on March 24: “The report also ‘did not draw a conclusion — one way or another’ on whether Trump’s actions had obstructed justice…”]
Deutsche Welle also wrote: “In the meantime, a series of investigations into potential illegal activity and irregularities in Trump’s business dealings are underway, both in Congress and in his home state of New York. None of these will likely remove the US president from office…”
This is undoubtedly a huge win for President Trump and his team. Not surprisingly, politically-motivated Democrats, not stopping at anything in trying to “get” Trump, declared that the fight will go on, indicating to subpoena Barr and Mueller to testify before Congress, amongst other contemplated measures. As if this superfluous and distracting “witch hunt” did not cost Americans more than enough in terms of money and waste of time. Note the next article:
The Guardian wrote on March 22:
“Mueller was appointed on 17 May 2017, to serve as special counsel for the Department of Justice. The appointment was prompted by the firing of the FBI director, James Comey, eight days earlier; the recusal of the then attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from matters pertaining to the Russia investigation; and a perceived need to protect and advance open investigations into Russian election tampering and the Trump campaign…
“Mueller turned in his report 650 days after his appointment. By the end of last December, the investigation had cost about $27m… Mueller’s duties connected with his appointment as special counsel are now complete, and he is not expected to take on a further public role. Before agreeing to the special counsel appointment, Mueller, 74, was in private practice, after having served for 12 years as director of the FBI, as a US attorney, and as a marine…”
Time for Reckoning?
Breitbart wrote on March 25:
“Wall Street Journal assistant editor James Freeman and Sen. Rand Paul are on the same page: the Mueller report confirms it is now time for the Obama administration toaccount for its flagrant abuse of the surveillance powers of the federal government…
“Freeman wrote: ‘… This historic abuse of executive authority was either approved by President Barack Obama or it was not. It’s time for Mr. Obama, who oddly receives few mentions in stories about his government’s spying on associates of the 2016 Trump campaign, to say what he knew and did not know about the targeting of his party’s opponents.’
“Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, similarly tweeted it is ‘time to investigate the Obama officials who concocted and spread the Russian conspiracy hoax!’”
Another costly and time-consuming investigation?
The War on Healthcare which Won’t Go Away
Newsmax republished the following article by The Associated Press, dated March 27:
“President Donald Trump is calling on Republicans to revive the effort to quash the Affordable Care Act, handing Democrats an opportunity to unite in defense of the law… Trump’s administration [over the objections of Attorney General William Barr and others] is asking a federal appeals court to strike down the entire healthcare law…
“The Supreme Court has twice upheld President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, known as ‘Obamacare.’ Five justices — a majority — who upheld the law in 2012 are still on the bench. Trump’s effort to repeal Obamacare narrowly failed in the Senate in 2017… there’s no indication that GOP senators want another fight over repealing Obamacare — particularly not those up for re-election next year. The GOP also lost control of the House, which means any attempt to dismantle the law could not pass Congress…
“As the debate plays out on Capitol Hill, the White House made a surprising legal argument for eliminating the healthcare bill. In a Monday court filing, the administration said the entire healthcare law should be struck down as unconstitutional after Congress repealed fines [the individual mandate] on people who remain uninsured. That’s at odds with previous statements by leading congressional Republicans who said they didn’t intend to repeal other parts of the law when they cut out its fines, effective this year…
“Repeal of Obamacare in its entirety would risk making more than 20 million people uninsured. That includes some 12 million low-income people covered through its Medicaid expansion and some 11 million purchasing subsidized private health insurance through HealthCare.gov and state-run insurance markets… Several GOP senators said Tuesday that Trump told them to ensure those with pre-existing conditions stayed protected as they work on an Obamacare replacement…”
However, they won’t stay protected without legislation to that effect. And Republican Senators confirmed that presently no legislation exists replacing Obamacare. If Obamacare was to be repealed without a replacement, millions of people, including those with pre-existing conditions, might find themselves without any healthcare insurance.
Recognizing the Golan Heights
JTA wrote on March 21:
“Last week, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, called on the U.S. to recognize Israel’s claim to the Golan. Trump himself followed suit on Thursday, breaking with half a century of U.S. policy… it makes clear that peace between Israel and Syria isn’t happening anytime soon, even when the civil war ends. If Israel’s hold on the Golan was tight before, it’s airtight now…
“It’s also a big deal for Netanyahu, who is facing a credible challenge to his premiership in the election a couple of weeks away. Trump’s statement is a huge boost in a tight race…
“After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel took control of five territories. In the ensuing 52 years, it’s withdrawn from two — the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, both in the south… Israel has also annexed two — eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Trump recognized the Jerusalem annexation in 2017…
“The fifth territory is the West Bank, which is way more complicated. Israel hasn’t withdrawn from nor annexed it… If Trump recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan and eastern Jerusalem, could he recognize a West Bank annexation, too? The answer to that question used to be ‘no.’ Now it’s ‘maybe.’”
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 24:
“The decision has been criticized by many US allies — Germany, Britain, France and the EU have all said they still consider the Golan Heights to be ‘occupied’ by Israel.”
The Independent added on March 28:
“The 28 member countries of the European Union have unanimously declared that they do not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights region, despite a change in policy by the United States.”
JTA wrote on March 25:
“With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking on, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. ‘Our relationship is powerful,’ Trump said Monday at the White House ceremony… ‘We will confront the poison of anti-Semitism through our words and more importantly our actions.’
“Trump’s formal recognition comes four days after he said on Twitter that it was time to do so and two weeks before elections in Israel. The proclamation is one of several actions taken by the Trump administration to boost Netanyahu, perhaps the international leader Trump is closest to, ahead of the April 9 vote…
“The United States is the first country to recognize Israel’s sovereignty. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moved the U.S. Embassy there last year.”
Trump Like Queen Esther?
The Independent wrote on March 22:
“Donald Trump may have been sent by God to save the Jewish people from any threat posed by Iran, his secretary of state has claimed. In an interview in Jerusalem with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Mike Pompeo was asked whether the US president was a latter-day Queen Esther, a figure who appears [in] both Christian and Jewish stories as a person who halted an attempt to wipe out the Jewish people. Mr Pompeo claimed that because of the president’s hardline stance against Iran, Mr Trump may indeed fit such a role.
“‘Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace,’ CBN’s interviewer asked Mr Pompeo. ‘As a Christian I certainly believe that’s possible,’ replied the US secretary of state. ‘It was remarkable. So we were down in the tunnels where we could see 3,000 years ago, and 2,000 years ago — if I have the history just right — to see the remarkable history of the faith in this place and the work that our administration’s done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state remains.’ He added: ‘I am confident that the Lord is at work here’…”
Trump’s role for the USA, Israel and the world is indeed providential.
Romania to Move Embassy to Jerusalem?
The EUObserver wrote on March 25:
“Romania will move its embassy to Jerusalem [“the capital of Israel”], its prime minister has said… Her announcement broke the joint EU and UN line that Israeli-occupied Jerusalem ought to be shared by Israel and Palestine in a future two-state solution. It made Romania the first EU state to follow the example of US president Donald Trump, who moved America’s embassy to Jerusalem last year. And it did extra damage to EU policy because Romania currently holds the six-month EU chairmanship…
“[Prime Minister Viorica] Dancila’s embassy move was put in doubt by Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, however, who said on Sunday: ‘The final decision about moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem rests with me’. ‘The prime minister shows complete ignorance regarding foreign affairs,’ he added, in a sign of internal turmoil in Bucharest…
“Dancila’s announcement marked a broader split in EU Middle East policy. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary are also opening lower-level diplomatic missions in Jerusalem in echoes of Trump’s move. Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Romania declined to join the EU line on [and opposing] Trump’s embassy move at the UN last year…”
Ultimately, ten leading European anti-Israeli core nations or groups of nations will arise out of the present EU. Note the interesting next article as well.
Europeans Reject UN Anti-Israel Resolution
JTA wrote on March 22:
“In a major policy reversal by Western members of the United Nations Human Rights Council, all its European Union member states voted against a permanent item singling out Israel. The vote Friday was the first time that EU members states, plus Brazil and Japan, have voted against Item 7 — a recurrent draft resolution that is the only permanent item on the agenda singling out any one nation.
“The EU states currently on the council are Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom. The draft resolution passed, despite the Western opposition: while 16 opposed it, including Australia, 26 were in favor. Whereas European nations in recent years have abstained by and large in votes on Item 7 at Human Rights Council sessions, this year they made a joint stand against the item, citing its ‘imbalance,’ as the representative of Bulgaria said in a statement representing the bloc…
“Item 7 comprises four resolutions. One states that the Council is ‘deeply concerned at the suffering of the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan due to the systematic and continuous violation of their fundamental and human rights by Israel since the Israeli military occupation of 1967.’ It does not mention the slaughter of Syrians by their government and other forces involved in fighting in Syria…
“Another part of Item 7 ‘Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately end its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.’ The third expresses ‘grave concern at the continuing violations of international humanitarian law and the systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power.’ The fourth, titled ‘Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories,’ does mention terrorism, but only by ‘extremist Israelis.’
“A total of five critical but nonbinding resolutions, including one supporting an arms embargo on Israel, were passed about the Jewish state during the 40th session of the Council. It was the highest number of negative resolutions passed about any individual country during the session.
“In an earlier vote, all EU countries on the Council except the United Kingdom voted against adopting a U.N. report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza. The British delegate abstained… the resolution… passed with a majority of 23 yes votes and 15 abstentions…
“Last year, the United States pulled out of the Human Rights Council. Nikki Haley, then the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, called the council a ‘cesspool of political bias.’”
In light of Germany’s embarrassing and hypocritical conduct in its Parliament (see our Current Events in previous Update #869), we wonder how Germany would have voted if they had been a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. While some of the present EU Council member states will be part of the prophesied ten nations or groups of nations, others won’t be.
“Islamic State ‘Caliphate’ Defeated, Yet Threat Persists”
Reuters and the Algemeiner wrote on March 23:
“US-backed forces proclaimed the capture of Islamic State’s last territory in Syria on Saturday, eliminating its rule over a self-proclaimed ‘caliphate,”’ but the jihadists remain a threat from sleeper cells around the world. Originally an offshoot of al-Qaeda, IS took large swathes of Iraq and Syria from 2014, imposing a reign of terror with public beheadings and attacks by supporters abroad — but it was eventually beaten back to the village of Baghouz…
“Some IS fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert, and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging shootings or kidnappings. The United States believes the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq… jihadists in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and elsewhere show no sign of recanting allegiance, and intelligence services say IS devotees in the West might plot new attacks…
“Still, the fall of Baghouz is a big milestone in a fight waged against the group by numerous local and global forces… for more than four years. France and Britain, which also back the SDF, both welcomed Saturday’s developments, though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned: ‘We still have work to do.’…”
We agree. ISIS is still a terrible threat to life, liberty and freedom.
Theresa May Isolated?
AFP wrote on March 24:
“Accused of presiding over an unprecedented national humiliation in her chaotic handling of Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May has all but lost control of her party and her government… her approach to the endgame, refusing to accept MPs’ opposition to her divorce deal and agreeing to delay Brexit to try for a third time to get it through, has prompted frustration and anger on all sides… And this weekend, after yet another bruising Brussels summit for the prime minister, British newspapers were full of moves by her colleagues to oust her.
“In an editorial, Conservative-supporting Spectator magazine suggested May was the ‘worst prime minister in our history’… although it also accused the ruling party itself for failing to find a better leader.
“May’s former director of communications, Katie Perrior, wrote in The Times newspaper that the prime minister was ‘a passenger at the time when the country needed a rally driver’… The top selling The Sun tabloid [said] it was ‘time to move on… She has lost the backing of much of the country and now her party’…
“However, May has been written off before… May’s critics are deeply divided, and their inability to unite behind a rival candidate has foiled previous attempted coups. Her finance minister, Philip Hammond, condemned any talk of replacing May… ‘This is not about the prime minister or any other individual, this is about the future of our country,’ he said.”
Newsmax wrote on March 25:
“British lawmakers voted on Monday to wrest control of Brexit from Prime Minister Theresa May… The move underlined to what extent May has lost her authority… Monday’s vote… came after the prime minister admitted that the deal she had agreed with the EU after two years of talks still did not have enough support to pass…”
Express wrote on March 27:
“Mrs May said she will stand down before the next stage of Brexit negotiations. She told MPs: ‘I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.’ The Prime Minister’s offer comes after a string of MPs said they would back her divorce deal in return for her promising to go.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 28:
“The EU has agreed to put Brexit on hold until May 22 if the deal is approved this week. If parliament cannot agree upon any kind of deal, the UK would crash out of the EU with no deal on April 12…
“The German papers shook their collective heads following the latest round of voting in the British Parliament, which saw the House of Commons vote against eight different proposals for a way out of the UK’s Brexit crisis…
“Bild, Europe’s biggest mass-circulation newspaper, began its top story with the line: ‘The next act in the Brexit drama — and the chaos has become even more confusing!’… Die Zeit’s Matthias Krupa… laid much of the blame for the debacle on May for failing to consult Parliament for a majority in the past two years of negotiations with the EU. But he added that Wednesday’s events showed that ‘the parliament isn’t any cleverer [than] the prime minister.’… Der Spiegel… noted that even May’s offer to resign once her deal had been passed by parliament could not guarantee the Commons’ approval…
“House Speaker John Bercow said on Thursday that MPs would vote on a motion to approve the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which sets the divorce terms. Unlike the two meaningful votes already held, it will not cover the political declaration which deals with the future relationship between the UK and the European Union. Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said that the vote on Friday would not count as a meaningful vote on the whole Brexit deal… it is still a question if the government has the numbers.”
Incredible Attack of British Government on the Bible
Daily Mail wrote on March 24:
“The Home Office turned down a Christian convert’s bid for asylum in an ‘unbelievably offensive’ letter quoting bloodthirsty passages from the bible to prove Christianity is not a religion of peace. The Iranian national claimed asylum in 2016, but was turned down, with Home Office officials saying his conversion from Islam was ‘inconsistent’ with his claim Christianity was a peaceful religion – by highlighting violent passages from the bible.
“In the refusal letter six passages are listed and a claim is made that Revelations is filled with ‘images of revenge, destruction, death and violence.’… The refusal letter also quotes parts of The Book of Leviticus from the old testament.
“The full statement below the verses says: ‘These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a “peaceful religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence, rage and revenge.”’”
It is truly shocking that such unqualified Home Office officials, being hostile to the Bible, are allowed to make important decisions based on nonsensical and ignorant reasoning.
“‘Dark Day for Internet Freedom’: EU Lawmakers Approve Controversial Copyright Reform”
The Drudge Report linked to the following article by RT, on March 26:
“The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections. Tuesday’s move will update the EU’s 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern audiovisual content, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online…
“MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain. Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a ‘dark day for internet freedom.’… The onus will now be on tech companies to clamp down on content-sharing on their platforms, which will likely ensure yet more draconian policing of speech and content.
“EU member states now have two years to pass their own laws putting Article 13 into effect. Tens of thousands marched in protest across Germany ahead of the vote, decrying what they viewed as severe online censorship. Tech giant Google said that… the directive… will… lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies. Critics have argued that the only way for Article 13 to be effectively enforced would be through the use of upload filters which automatically check content to see if it’s copyrighted or not, at least in theory. However, the exact mechanics of such a system have yet to be fully debated and the potential for abuse is immediately clear.’”
Deutsche Welle added on March 26:
“The draft law… means:
“Social media platforms would have to ensure uploaded content is not in breach of copyright rules. Companies will need licensing agreements with rights holders such as musicians, performers and authors to use their content. The likes of Google News would have to pay publishers for press snippets shown in search results (whatever that means). Non-profits and encyclopedias such as Wikipedia will still be able to use data for research and educational purposes (whatever that means). Fledgling companies with an annual turnover below €10 million ($11.3 million) are exempt…
“European consumer organization BEUC also opposed the reform. ‘We fully support the aim of ensuring fair remuneration for creators, but this should not happen to the detriment of consumers,’ said Monique Goyens, head of BEUC. ‘There is a very high risk that the new law will do more harm than good.’”
Of course it will. As can clearly be seen from these articles, this is a most ridiculous and at the same time ambiguously worded and extremely dangerous law for consumers. Depending on how this law is implemented, it could also adversely affect God’s Church, which would have to be seen as a clear attempt of Satan to destroy God’s commission to His Church. But as usual, the majority of ignorant European parliamentarians did not care a bit.
A New World Order?
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 26:
“The leaders of China, Germany, France and the EU have held ‘unprecedented’ talks on building a new global governance. The challenge for Europe is how to balance ties in the face of Beijing’s growing global influence. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker joined French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping for talks in Paris on Tuesday… Macron urged his Chinese counterpart to ‘respect the unity of the European Union and the values it carries in the world.’…
“A prosperous Europe corresponded with China’s ‘vision for a multipolar world,’ Xi said, adding that the EU and China were ‘advancing together’ despite ‘suspicions.’… France wants to engage China as a closer partner as Washington becomes more isolationist under Trump’s ‘America First’ policy. A full China-EU summit is due to take place in Brussels on April 9.”
However, this “close” cooperation between the EU and China will not last.
Streisand under Fire for Outrageous Comments
New York Daily News wrote on March 22:
“Barbra Streisand is under fire for comments she made about two men accusing Michael Jackson of sexually assaulting them as children. The legendary singer and actress said that [the alleged victims] — ‘were thrilled to be there’ and that what allegedly happened to them ‘didn’t kill them.’… she also said that Jackson’s ‘sexual needs were his sexual needs.’ She says she ‘absolutely’ believes the allegations of abuse… but puts more blame on their parents than [Jackson]…
“‘You can say “molested,” but those children, as you heard say [the grown-up alleged victims] they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.’”
Subsequently, Streisand issued a somewhat contradictory, convoluted and rambling “clarification” and “apology,” stating that “there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone” and that “It’s clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy.”
First Fox Moderator Tucker Carlson’s damnable comments about abused minor school boys by female teachers (see Current Events in Update #868), now these damnable (initial) comments by Barbara Streisand. Where is decency and what is this world coming to?
And Now Germany? Measles Vaccinations to Become Mandatory?
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 25:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), are considering the measles vaccination compulsory for children nationwide, according to media reports on Monday… [German] parents are increasingly opting not to vaccinate their children…
“Opposition parties in Germany are split over the move, with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) backing mandatory vaccinations for children up to the age of 14… Pushback came from the Greens, who say they support vaccines, but are skeptical about requiring them…”
Also, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAAP) leaders have called for the elimination of non-medical exemptions to vaccination to be the top priority for the year. Maybe governmental officials should consider as to why so many parents are opposed to vaccinations. Obviously, the attempts by pharmaceutical “scientists” to deny clearly-established side effects and to “convince” parents of the “need” for highly dubious vaccinations did not produce the desired results. Governmental hysteria, combined with an ill-informed and manipulated mass media and autocratic governmental measures, have never been a good combination.
When You Thought It Could Not Get Any Crazier…
CNN wrote on March 26:
“Unvaccinated people under age 18 are banned from public places in Rockland County, New York, as of midnight Wednesday… The declaration is an effort to contain an outbreak of measles that began in October… Public places include synagogues, churches, schools, restaurants, stores and public buses. ‘Public places are defined as: a place where more than 10 persons are intended to congregate,’ the news release says… the penalty is six months in jail and/or a $500 fine…”
It was pointed out on Fox News that this is almost impossible to enforce and that the ban is likely to be unconstitutional, but when there is paranoia, who cares? In addition, some are claiming the quarantine to be anti-Semitic because Rockland County has a high number of unvaccinated Orthodox Jews. Quarantine is to be applied during Passover season, so Jews with unvaccinated children won’t be able to attend services.
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 2)
In the first part, we began with explaining as to why we are quoting New Testament writings primarily from the New King James Bible (the modernized rendition of the old King James Bible or Authorized Version). These renditions are both based on Greek manuscripts commonly referred to as the Textus Receptus. We also explained that basically two more sets of Greek manuscripts exist—the Alexandrian text and the Majority Text. Many feel that greater emphasis should be placed on especially the Alexandrian text, as the copies we have are allegedly older than those used for the Textus Receptus.
The Church of God has, for many decades, concluded for important reasons that the manuscripts based on the Textus Receptus are most reliable.
First, we need to understand that we have today about 5,000 Greek manuscripts, but no original copies. Almost 4,500 of these are based on the Byzantine text [the Textus Receptus], stemming from the fourth and fifth century A.D. They are pretty much consistent. Whatever differences exist are in spelling or wording.
In “The Inspired Text of the Bible,” the late Dr. Herman L Hoeh, a long-time Evangelist, historian and biblical scholar, set forth in 1969 the position of the Church of God, as follows:
“The first and fundamental principle is very simple: God has told us in the Bible that He has indeed revealed His will to man by (1) inspiring men to write or say certain things; and (2) to have it preserved. In short, the concept is that all scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Tim. 3:16)…
“Now, with these two basic premises in mind, we would logically expect that the Old Testament would have been preserved by those people in whose language it was originally given! This is the simplest, most logical, and most likely result: The people to whom the revelation is given, who understand the language, are the people who will preserve it. You really cannot preserve something like the Hebrew Bible [the Old Testament] intelligently when it comes to copying if you can’t understand the LANGUAGE. Try to copy a language you don’t understand and see how many errors will immediately creep in!
“The point is that God did choose a particular people to whom He revealed His will. These are the people about whom we read in the Bible that ‘unto them were committed the oracles of God’ (Romans 3:2)…”
In other words, God entrusted the Jews with the preservation of the Old Testament Scriptures. Continuing:
“Now we also read that God was going to commit this information to the Gentiles. The Jews had turned aside and therefore, Paul said, ‘I go to the Gentiles.’ He did give the message to the Gentiles and God inspired the New Testament to be written in Greek! So we would logically and consequently expect the Greeks to preserve it. If the Jews preserved what was written in Hebrew, why should not the Greeks have preserved what was written in Greek? That is exactly what happened!
“What text have the Greek people preserved for the New Testament? – the ‘Byzantine.’ In the Western world the Protestant form of that text is called the Textus Receptus, which is essentially the same as the Byzantine except for a little Latinization here and there and late Greek spellings. The Greeks as a people have within their national and religious body, a whole series of manuscripts that is available to the scholarly world.
“If the Greeks had not preserved it, there would not even have been a Greek Bible available until Tischendorf and Griesbach and others uncovered manuscripts. In fact, if the Greek Bible is not the New Testament God inspired to be preserved in Greek, then the New Testament in Greek was lost, and we only had the Latin. And only when Tischendorf, for instance, went to Sinai and was looking in the waste basket, could the Western world have recovered the Greek New Testament – which doesn’t make sense!”
Dr. Hoeh went on to explain why the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered by Tischendorf) should not be the standard as they were not publicly preserved but hidden for almost two centuries and as the Essenes and other heretical sects were not a part of the mainstream of the Jewish community and did not accurately preserve the Greek text to begin with.
Dr. Hoeh continued:
“Now, in what community do we find the inspired Greek text has publicly been preserved? Answer: In the Greek community in general… [at] Mount Athos… Athens, or Constantinople. Mount Athos was… a center of the multiplication of the text of the Greek world…
“There are two major areas of deviation from the Byzantine text. The one used by the scholars to replace the Byzantine is the Alexandrian…”
To interject, the Alexandrian text consists of ancient Greek manuscripts, and three of them date from the third century A.D., while it is claimed that the earliest manuscripts in our possession on which the Textus Receptus is based, are, as mentioned above, from the fourth and fifth century. Even though this may be true, ancient versions in other languages have been found following the reading of the Textus Receptus, which include manuscripts from as early as AD 120.
In any event, does this mean that the older Alexandrian text is more reliable than the younger Byzantine text?
Dr. Hoeh went on to explain:
“The Alexandrian text, though Greek, was preserved in Egypt – named after the city of Alexandria. What does God say about Egypt?… Egypt is a type of sin and we’re to flee from it! Christ came out of Egypt; Moses fled Egypt; The Children of Israel left Egypt. You can go on and on and you will note how many people have had to come out of Egypt! This should have been a warning to the scholars. The Greeks in Egypt, unlike any other place in the world, were the most important grammarians and hence their approach to the text was critical. The Alexandrian text gives every evidence of suffering more from a critical analysis of the various readings. Alexandria was the center of critical scholarship of that day! Therefore it was… the unsafe area for preserving Scripture.
“The Greek Septuagint was the first translation of the Hebrew text. It was done by Hellenized Jews in Alexandria, Egypt! The Jews themselves recognized in their day that the Septuagint represented an early form of the Bible but, a heretical form with false readings…”
To elaborate, while the scribes who copied the Byzantine manuscripts in Asia Minor were extremely diligent, this was not the case for those copying manuscripts in Egypt. This explains why there are even several differences between the three most ancient Alexandrian manuscripts. Also, thousands of words seem to be missing from the Alexandrian texts, again indicating that the copying was somewhat sloppy. Others claim that these missing texts were added in the Byzantine manuscripts, but for the most part, there is no proof for such an allegation. Exceptions exist, of course; note our discussion in our previous Q&A on the fraudulent addition of a portion in 1 John 5:7-8.
Dr. Hoeh went on to explain:
“What other name is applied to non-Byzantine [Greek] readings other than Alexandrian? The Western! Why do scholars use the Alexandrian and not the Western as the standard text type in competition with the Byzantine? Because they saw clearly themselves that there were so many variations within the Western that they couldn’t produce a text. The Western text was not a critical solution trying to resolve problems of divergent reading…
“… there are many variations in the Alexandrian… but sufficient uniformity that it entertains the scholars. There are a sufficient number of variations in the Alexandrian that you can never arrive at the right answer, but you can always get something that is an approximation – and scholars like that! That’s the ‘scientific’ approach. It must not be exact, but it must be potentially resolvable – ‘enough to keep us employed!'”
Dr. Hoeh also made the point that for a long time, the variants in the Greek text, that is, the Alexandrian and the Western texts, were not publicly circulated. He stated: “They have not been available, but rather unused, forgotten, unknown, uncirculated!”
On the other hand, it must be stated that the differences between Alexandrian texts and Byzantine texts (Textus Receptus) are very small. It has been estimated that they involve less than one tenth of 1 percent of the text of the New Testament. Almost none of them includes a significant change in meaning. They may be interesting to textual scholars, but the overall spiritual content is maintained in both sets of manuscripts. That is to say that someone who is honest in reading and understanding texts based on Alexandrian or Byzantine manuscripts will not conclude that the doctrines of Scriptures have been altered—including the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath, the Holy Days, unclean meats, tithing, and many other salvational matters.
In conclusion, we must empathize again that God has determined to preserve His Word, and He has seen to it that this was done. The following statement in this regard must be taken very seriously:
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
Technically, this passage refers specifically to the book of Revelation, but the overall application relates to the entire body of Scriptures. Moses gives the same admonition in Deuteronomy 4:2 which specifically refers to God’s words as related by Moses, but which clearly applies to all Scriptures: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it…”
God gave His true Church the ability to determine what was added and what was deleted in certain manuscripts. It boils down to a matter of faith and conviction that God IS true to His Word.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
The 2019 Church Conference will be conducted in Escondido, California, next week. Arrival will be Wednesday, April 3, 2019, and departure is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
“Does President Trump Fulfill a Preordained Role?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Why will President Trump stay in power beyond 2020? Why will he continue bringing about important developments in Israel? Why will the relationship between the USA and an anti-Israeli Europe under German leadership continue to deteriorate? You might be surprised to learn the answers from your Bible.
“Der Sabbat und Gottes heilige Jahresfeste” is a new German trailer presented by Michael Link which features two German booklets about the weekly Sabbath and the annual Holy Days.
“Erfüllt Präsident Trump eine vorherbestimmte Funktion?” a new AufPostenStehen program presented by Norbert Link, covers the same topic as described above, in German.
“Was die Tage der Ungesäuerten Brote für Christen bedeuten?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “What Do the Days of Unleavened Bread Mean for Christians?”
“Allgemeine Missverständnisse—Ostern” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermonette, presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “Common Misconceptions—Easter.”
Max Busse from Alberta Canada died peacefully in his home on Saturday March 23, 2019. Max was one of the oldest church members at 90 years of age. He is survived by his wife Carol and his son Ron. Max exemplified generosity towards the church and others even with his limited income. At the feast which he was able to attend a few times he would eat pancakes in the morning and at noon to save money so he could treat others at supper. He had a great sense of humour and will be greatly missed. Anyone wishing to send cards, the address is
PO Box 47, Strome, Alberta, Canada, T0B 4H0
“Facing the Pain & Adversities of Life,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Frank Bruno, is now posted. Here is a summary:
One need only listen to announcements during Sabbath Services to understand that Church Members may be in pain each and every day, or face other adversities that could crumple those without hope—hope for a future with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. In this Sermonette we will together consider the scriptures that prove to us that our suffering is a trial that can prepare us for what God requires from us, and what He has in store if we overcome, as Christ overcame.
“Forgotten Christianity—Overcoming!” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Beyond our calling, repentance and baptism, is there more that we, as Christians, should be doing? Do we grasp the tremendous challenges before us—things we must be overcoming?
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