|Live Services||Clearing the Decks; A Better World Now|
|Editorial||Who Is Your God?|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||What is the Difference Between Sinning Willingly and Sinning Willfully?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Clearing the Decks; A Better World Now
On April 6, 2019, Brian Gale will present the sermonette, titled, “Clearing the Decks” and Rene Messier will present the sermon, titled, “A Better World Now.”
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.
NOTE: The Update will not be published next week due to our 2019 Church Conference currently being conducted in Escondido, California.
Who Is Your God?
by Eric Rank
The gods of this world go by many names and they belong to many religions. They have different origin stories and mythologies surrounding them. They each have purported special powers to allegedly influence the lives of their followers, for better or worse. And each of those gods figuratively competes for the top post, positioned above the others. Yet, there is only one true God, who puts all others to shame.
Since you are reading this editorial, there’s a strong likelihood that you proclaim your god to be the one true God; the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and all that lives upon it; the God who blessed Abraham because of his obedience; the God who is a Family, consisting of the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ; the God whose plan involves increasing His Family to include as many of mankind as will obey Him. If this is the one whom you proclaim to be your God, you do well.
However, merely claiming that He is our God is not enough. Do our actions prove it? The question of who our God is can be answered by observing whom we serve. Is the one we serve the same as the God that we proclaim, or do our actions provide contrary evidence? The way that we behave shows how we set our priorities in deed, and points to the God — or false god — in our life.
The first commandment provides us with a very clear instruction. That is, we are to have one God, who is the Eternal, and serve none other. As simple as this commandment is, we need to fully recognize what it means. It is not enough to proclaim that we are Christians who worship the true God. It is not enough to merely claim that we believe the Truth of the Bible. We have to obey God as well. If we choose not to serve God by obeying His commandments, we choose instead to serve someone or something else, and that in turn becomes our god. Any time we prioritize the desires we have above the obedience to God, we break that first commandment to serve the one true God.
Perhaps the one whom we serve is ourselves. Do we allow our own wants to get in the way of following God’s instructions? Do we choose to interpret the Bible in a way that is convenient to us, and ignore the Scriptures that contradict those interpretations? If we fall into these kinds of self-deceptive traps of pride, it can be very difficult to snap out of them and wake up to the Truth. The only way to protect ourselves from the trap of pride is to dedicate our love to God and His Way of Life, and objectively live by His instructions rather than the desires of our own.
Paul provides a warning about people who do not serve the true God in his letter to the Philippians, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19). Clearly, those whom Paul describes have the wrong focus in their lives. By seeking earthly pleasures of an immediate nature, rather than the spiritual fulfillment of righteous living, they choose the way that leads to death. It’s a grim ending for those who choose to turn from God and serve themselves.
Fortunately, if we are called, we can always correct our path by recognizing that we have gone astray and repent of our sins. If we want our God to be the one true God, we must show it through our willingness to serve Him with obedience.
by Norbert Link
We begin with the broken immigration system in the USA; address President Trump’s chances for reelection (please view our recent StandingWatch program, “Does President Trump fulfill a preordained role?”); and speak on gun glorification and the growing acceptance of sex outside marriage.
We continue with recent developments in the ongoing Brexit saga, which are all bad for Britain; and report on deepening tensions between US and Germany and strong criticism against Pope Francis.
We address frightening and deeply disturbing developments regarding the push for mandatory vaccinations. In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “The Dangerous Vaccination Paranoia.”
We also speak on developments in Turkey and President Erdogan’s defeat in local elections, as well as tensions between Turkey and the USA; and we conclude with a report confirming the long-held belief that asteroids killed the dinosaurs.
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
Illegal Immigrants–Entire System Broken
USA Today wrote on March 31:
“Along the Texas border with Mexico – from El Paso to Eagle Pass to the Rio Grande Valley – masses of migrants have been crossing the border in unprecedented numbers, overwhelming federal holding facilities and sending local leaders and volunteers scrambling to deal with the relentless waves of people. Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said… that the border had hit its ‘breaking point’ and urged Congress to come up with legislative solutions to the problem. Border Patrol officials were on pace in March for more than 100,000 apprehensions and encounters with migrants – the highest monthly tally in over a decade, he said. Around 90 percent of those – or 90,000 – crossed the border between legal ports of entry… ‘The surge numbers are just overwhelming the entire system,’ McAleenan said.
“President Donald Trump recently declared a national emergency at the border to secure funding for a proposed wall, despite Congressional opposition. On Friday, the president in a tweet threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border if Mexico didn’t stop undocumented migrants from coming. But not even Trump’s proposed wall could stop the wave of migrants overflowing shelters in the Rio Grande Valley, where the vast majority are turning themselves in to apply for asylum, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said. A wall would go up on levees about a mile from the winding Rio Grande, which is the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants will just have to cross the river to be in U.S. territory and seek asylum, he said…
“Once in the U.S., the migrants – mostly families from Central America – are crowding into facilities designed to hold single adult men… Increasingly, smugglers are bringing larger numbers of families together and delivering them across the Rio Grande, knowing they’ll overrun facilities and be released until their immigration court date… Under U.S. law, Border Patrol is not supposed to hold any migrant for longer than 72 hours. Usually, Border Patrol hands them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which can detain families for up to 20 days. But all of those facilities are overcrowded…”
Breitbart wrote on March 31:
“… at current projections of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, Catch and Release levels, and visa overstays, the nation is set to admit and resettle about one million to 1.5 million border crossers and illegal aliens this year.
“… Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian compared the flood of illegal immigration to the European migrant crisis, which remains ongoing, where the continent saw nearly 2.5 million illegal crossings into the Mediterranean in 2015 and 2016. ‘We are seeing an Angela Merkel-style disaster on the border caused by loopholes in our laws that the Democrats refuse to even consider changing,’ Krikorian told Politico.”
For decades, the USA has been struggling unsuccessfully with its broken immigration system. This will not change.
Trump on Track for Huge Landside Victory in 2020
Politico wrote on March 26:
“U.S. President Donald Trump has a low approval rating…
“But if the election were held today, he’d likely ride to a second term in a huge landslide, according to multiple economic models with strong track records of picking presidential winners and losses. Credit a strong U.S. economy featuring low unemployment, rising wages and low gas prices — along with the historic advantage held by incumbent presidents.”
The Sun wrote on March 29:
“Millennials are flooding Instagram with snaps of themselves brandishing deadly guns… The trend follows an alarming rise in gun violence and mass shootings, with latest figures revealing there were 39,773 gun deaths in the US in 2017 – the highest on record in the country – and more than 2700 this year alone. Last year there were 340 mass shootings, including a spate of bloody school gun attacks.
“The grim statistic prompted CNN to claim that at one stage in 2018, there was the equivalent of one school shooting per week… Yet despite the gun violence epidemic, a growing number of young Americans are ‘glorifying’ firearms by posting ‘countless’ pictures and videos to hundreds of thousands of followers… Thousands of people post gun snaps each day…”
There will come a time when people’s fascination with guns will cease, and when they will destroy their guns or beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Sex Outside Marriage Just Fine?
npr wrote on March 29:
“Until this week, sex between unmarried people in Utah was technically illegal, a vestige of earlier times. That changed Wednesday, when Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill that decriminalizes sex outside of marriage in the state… Utah’s 1973 fornication law designated sex outside of marriage as a class B misdemeanor. The act carried a possible penalty of up to six months in jail or a maximum fine of $1,000. Utah was among only a few states that retained these laws.
“State Senate Minority Leader Karen Mayne sponsored the bill… ‘You hear all over the U.S. how you have antiquated laws about horses in the streets and all kinds of things, so we wanted to make them modern-day, in the now,’ Mayne says… State Rep. Paul Ray called the 1973 fornication law unenforceable…”
We are not addressing here the aspect of criminal prosecution, but it is clear that God condemns fornication and sex outside marriage, including adultery. Even though a sin is a sin and every sin can be forgiven upon genuine repentance, fornication in all its different forms and adultery are not light transgressions or petty offenses, but serious and destructive violations of God’s law.
Deutsche Welle wrote on March 29:
“The Conservative government lost its Brexit vote in the House of Commons on Friday by a margin of 58 votes, on the day the UK had been scheduled to leave the EU… The result means the UK has failed to meet a 2300 UTC deadline and thus loses the automatic extension of the Article 50 negotiating period until May 22, which the EU had offered last week. The British government now has to propose a new way forward to the EU by April 12 — or revoke the Article 50 it triggered to leave the bloc. Otherwise, the UK will have left the EU without a deal…
“The European Commission [stated] a ‘No-deal scenario on 12 April is now likely,’ adding that the benefits of the Withdrawal Agreement would not be replicated under such circumstances. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas echoed the Commission’s comments: ‘We are running out of time to prevent a disorderly Brexit,’ he wrote on Twitter on Friday. ‘The British must decide before April 12 how to proceed. Otherwise, it is a No-deal Brexit, as tough as that would be. Germany and the EU are well prepared in any case.’”
No More Brexit Delay?
Daily Mail wrote on March 30:
“Theresa May faces an insurrection after more than half of Conservative MPs demanded that Brexit should not be delayed by more than a few months. A letter calling for Britain to leave the EU soon, even if it means a no-deal Brexit, was signed by 170 of the 330 Tory Members of Parliament and sent to the Prime Minister after her withdrawal deal was rejected for a third time on Friday. As many as 10 Cabinet ministers… and 20 other members of the Government are believed to have signed the letter…”
Brexit Disaster Deepens
The Sun wrote on April 2:
“BRITAIN’S squabbling MPs tonight plunged the country into further Brexit chaos by voting against every possible way forward – AGAIN. The House of Commons rejected four different Brexit options leaving the UK more deadlocked than ever…”
Newsmax added on April 1:
“The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, warned that a no-deal Brexit was looming unless Britain changed course. ‘The House of Commons again votes against all options,’ he tweeted. ‘A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable…”
In Case of a No-Deal Brexit
The EUObserver wrote on April 3:
“EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday (3 April) ruled out another short extension to the Brexit deadline in a speech to MEPs, if the Brexit withdrawal agreement is not adopted by British lawmakers by 12 April. Juncker said that British MPs – if they want to have another short extension – first need to vote to pass the deal already negotiated between the UK government and the EU.”
The EUObserver wrote on April 4:
“MEPs Thursday approved a law allowing British citizens visa-free travel to the EU’s Schengen passport-free zone for 90 day trips, under a no-deal Brexit. The waiver will depend on Britain providing the same rights to EU travellers. The bill was passed after EU countries, supporting Spain, pushed the EU parliament to remove a British MEP from the file, which describes Gibraltar as a ‘colony of the British crown’…
“[All EU-27 members agreed that the] EU will immediately introduce customs checks and collect import duties [for incoming goods] in the event of Britain leaving the bloc without a withdrawal agreement on 12 April…”
Brexit and Merkel as Holy Roman Emperor?
The Week wrote on March 29:
“What if there are not enough votes for an extension, though? Or if the E.U., which has already granted a delay till April 12, refuses to play ball? (I for one hope for the latter, if only to imagine German Chancellor Angela Merkel triumphing once more in the autumnal twilight of her reign as the greatest Holy Roman Emperor since Frederick II.)
“What would a no-deal Brexit actually look like? Who knows. It is to this unknown country that many Brexit hardliners wish to venture and never return. It is difficult to believe all the metropolitan liberal horror stories about food shortages and the end of air travel and mobs of St. George Cross-waving thugs roaming the streets burning cafés and gelaterias… It is also difficult to believe that the whole thing will not be a logistical nightmare…”
Even if we were to accept the concept of Merkel fulfilling the role of a Holy Roman Emperor, she would not have been the first since Frederick II, as Napoleon and Mussolini fulfilled that role as well… and the last personification and manifestation of a Holy Roman Emperor will arise soon on the world stage.
Trump Can’t Wait
Breitbart wrote on March 29:
“President Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton has offered some words of assurances to the British people… ‘We’re standing here waiting to make a trade deal with a United Kingdom independent of the European Union,’ Mr Bolton continued, in an optimistic note… ‘President Trump is eager for the will of the British people to be carried out and he is even more eager to do a trade deal…’
“At the time of the historic 2016 vote, and since, President Donald Trump has been a supporter of Brexit and the prospect of a strong U.S.-UK bilateral trade deal… ‘He thinks that the EU rules discriminate against American trade, and he wants a free, fare, and reciprocal trade with Great Britain.’… ‘Britain had a referendum, the Leave vote won in what everybody agrees was a free and fair election; doesn’t the will of the British people get to be carried out?’”
It would be interesting to see if the prophesied Brexit will lead to a closer collaboration between the USA and the UK against the wishes and interests of the EU.
The Humiliation of Britain
The New Statesman America wrote on March 27:
“We are reduced to this. A humiliated, supplicant British prime minister sitting alone in a Brussels side room for six hours while the rest of the European Union discusses our fate. A government no longer capable of governing. A country that has become a byword for chaos and dysfunction.
“A sundered ‘United Kingdom’. Hundreds of thousands of Britons seeking citizenship in other EU states. Industry howling in rage and frustration. MPs needing police protection. People stockpiling food and medicines. The public discourse poisoned. Families split. Friends riven. The military on standby in case of civil unrest…
“It is… an epic act of self-harm brought about not by some war or disaster but by our own stupidity. And the true ‘enemies of the people’ are… those whose lies, zealotry, and political recklessness have all but broken Britain…”
Ongoing and Deepening Tensions between US and German Relationship
Deutsche Welle wrote on April 1:
“The news that Germany won’t meet defense spending targets set by NATO plays badly in the US, even among friends of the country. It is just the latest in a string of issues fueling tension between Berlin and Washington.
“There arguably would never have been a good moment for Berlin to renege on its planned increase in defense spending. But to do it in the run-up to NATO celebrating its 70th anniversary in Washington is particularly bad timing. Germany’s latest projection that it now won’t even meet the 1,5 percent mark it set itself was met with dismay.
“‘There is very little understanding in the United States, quite frankly — whether among Republicans or Democrats — for the German government’s reluctance to meet the 2 percent of the GDP spending target,’ said Jeff Rathke, president of the American Institute for Contemporary Studies at Johns Hopkins University, ‘and even less understanding for the current wobbliness with respect to the 1.5 percent of GDP target which Chancellor Merkel and other German leaders just a few months ago affirmed.’
“Republican Senator Rand Paul, a member of the foreign relations committee, lashed out on Twitter at Berlin’s projected military spending, writing that ‘Germany expects the US to pay for their defense.’…
“[Germany’s] move threatens to chip away at the public perception that Germany is a reliable player at a time when trans-Atlantic ties are challenged by a US president who is deeply skeptical about Washington’s European allies and especially Germany…
“Complicating matters further, Berlin’s defense spending is only the latest among a range of contested issues between the US and German governments: President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on German cars, US opposition against the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline and against allowing Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to build Germany’s new 5G network — all have increased the friction between Washington and Berlin…”
These tensions will continue.
Germany’s Lacking Defense Spending
Deutsche Welle reported on April 4:
“Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen repeated the government’s pledge to spend more on defense, albeit in smaller increments than Washington would like. Germany plans to increase its defense spending to 1.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024 and will then try to hit NATO’s 2 percent target at an unspecified point in the future… The comments came… amid hefty criticism from US President Donald Trump and others in his administration over Germany’s contributions. ‘It is simply unacceptable for Europe’s largest economy to continue to ignore the threat of Russian aggression and neglect its own self-defense and our common defense,’ Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday.
“Despite attempting to dispel doubts about Berlin’s commitment to the military alliance, the German government suffered an embarrassing slip-up on Thursday when a NATO motion [calling for strengthening the military alliance as the backbone of European and trans-Atlantic security] barely passed through parliament…
“Germany is hurting its credibility by not holding to its pledge to significantly increase defense spending, said Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who took over from Merkel as the head of the Christian Democrats in December. The low rate at which Germany has upped its defense spending is ‘one of the biggest political open flanks that we have in debates with the United States,’ Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Heilbronner Stimme newspaper.
“Germany’s opposition, on the other hand, is reluctant to hold to the 2 percent spending target…”
Bild Online reported on April 4 that more and more Germans are against Germany’s membership in NATO. In 2019, only 54 percent of Germans are in support of membership in NATO, while 68 percent expressed support in 2017. In addition, only 31 percent of Germans would be in favor of defending the USA, while 41 percent would be against it. Finally, the EUObserver wrote on April 4 that “Turkey and Germany have defended their ties with Russia following strident criticism by the US at a Nato event in Washington.”
Fox Business Network Critical of Pope Francis
Newsmax wrote on April 1:
“Fox Business Network host Elizabeth MacDonald took a sharp jab Monday at the spiritual leader of more than 1 billion Catholics, chastising Pope Francis as ‘weak’ on communism, socialism, and border walls… [It] came a day after the pope told reporters that those who build border walls would ‘become prisoners of the walls they put up,’ adding: ‘This is history’…
“Fellow Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney interpreted the pope’s Sunday admonition as a shot at President Donald Trump, with MacDonald calling it an example of the pope getting ‘political.’ MacDonald later added that her point was the pope is failing to criticize ‘the governments that cause these migrant outflows.’…
“During the 2016 presidential election, Pope Francis said it was ‘not Christian’ for a person to think ‘only about building walls.’ And Trump responded by calling the remarks ‘disgraceful.’”
Anti-Semitism Outbreak because of Measles Outbreak
The New York Times wrote on March 29:
“A measles outbreak in this suburban New York county… has also intensified long-smoldering tensions between the rapidly expanding and insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and secular society… Hasidic leaders said they feared not only a rise in anti-Semitism but an invasion of their cloistered community by the authorities under the guise of public health. On Tuesday, county officials took the extraordinary step of announcing a state of emergency, barring unvaccinated children under 18 from public places, including restaurants, shopping centers, houses of worship [including churches and synagogues] and schools…
“About 31 percent of the population is Jewish, according to the state, and includes one of the largest concentrations of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the country… fear of vaccines has spread around the world in recent years, with childhood vaccination rates reportedly declining in several countries as a result. Nothing in the belief system of Orthodox Jews makes them any more likely to oppose vaccines, and several Orthodox rabbinical organizations have called on parents to vaccinate their children. But Hasidic Jews… and some ultra-Orthodox rabbis have come out against vaccines…
“Steve Gold, the chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council for the Jewish Federation of Rockland [was] saying the move by county officials risked exacerbating the anti-Semitism that already existed in the area before the measles crisis…
“The anxiety over the outbreak has spread from the aisles at the kosher supermarkets where women in head-coverings pushed shopping carts laden with babies and goods for the coming Passover holiday, to the ritual bathhouses or mikvahs. In children’s clothing shops, mothers buying Sabbath finery traded stories about friends with sickened children. Near a strip mall that sold religious candelabra and fur hats, a group of teenage boys tugged at the prayer threads that hung at their waists, discussing whether they would hang out with unvaccinated friends…
“The anti-vaccine movement is rooted in a belief that the inoculations are linked to autism… A group called Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health, or Peach, has also released an anti-vaccination handbook directed at Hasidic Jews… Fault lines have appeared within the Orthodox community as well, where its leadership has been struggling not only to push those who fail to immunize their children to get vaccinations, but against the false perception that Hasidim as a whole are against vaccination…”
We have purposefully omitted quoting from the article the typical stereotype but unfounded support for vaccinations and the polemic against those refusing vaccinations. But the hype and hysteria advocating vaccinations have led to mean antagonism against those who refuse to do so. Note the next article.
Frightening–Arizona’s Violation of Parent’s Rights
The Independent wrote on March 30:
“With guns drawn, the police officers broke down the door of the suburban Phoenix home in the early hours of a February morning. ‘Come out with your hands up!’ an officer yelled, with the dark front porch and foyer inside suddenly flooded with light from the officers’ flashlights. The target of the raid: an unvaccinated 2-year-old boy with a high fever. Video from the officers’ body cameras that was released on Thursday shows that moments later, the child’s father emerges, walking out backward with his hands over his head. The boy’s mother then comes out, too, cradling her young son in her arms. The boy was whisked away to a hospital, and since that raid on 25 February, he and the couple’s two other children, aged 4 and 6, have been in the state’s custody. The parents have been charged with child abuse…
“Under Arizona law, parents may decline vaccinations for their child based on personal, religious or medical exemptions. But that law is in opposition to the ‘parens patriae’ theory, a centuries-old principle that empowers the state to look after the interests of children and others unable to care for themselves… Police records show that on 25 February, Ms Beck had taken her 2-year-old boy to a clinic, where his temperature was recorded at above 100 degrees. The child’s doctor became concerned that he could have meningitis, after learning that he was lethargic and had not been vaccinated. Ms Beck was told to take him to an emergency room. ‘I called the doctor back and said, “Hey, I’m not sure how you got this 105 reading, my son’s acting fine,”’ Ms Beck told a local TV station. ‘”This doesn’t really seem like a medical emergency.”’
“The child’s doctor, after learning Ms Beck had ignored the recommendation to take the child to the hospital and having follow-up phone calls to the family go unanswered, then contacted the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Asked to do a welfare check, police officers later arrived at the family’s door, but were not allowed in… An emergency court order was issued, allowing police to take the child into custody…
“The boy was eventually found to have a respiratory illness. A judge has told the child’s parents that the state wants them to regain custody of their children, but it was unclear when that would happen.”
So, the overzealous doctor whose pride had been hurt, was wrong; the overzealous welfare department was wrong; the overzealous court was wrong; the overzealous police, following the court’s decision, were wrong; and the overzealous prosecution was wrong. Still, the children were taken away from the parents who have been charged with child abuse. Now, a judge, after recognizing the error of the state’s ways, wants the parents to regain custody, but it is unclear whether and how the state will cooperate.
We should remember that this is even happening in a state which allows refusal of vaccinations (which had really nothing to do with this case anyhow, except for the overzealous players in this affair) for personal, religious and medical exemptions. Please view our most recent StandingWatch program, “The DangerousVaccination Paranoia.”
Erdogan Suffers Defeat in Ankara and Istanbul
BBC wrote on April 1:
“The party of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lost control of the capital, Ankara, in local elections, in a blow to his 16-year rule. The main opposition is also slightly ahead in the contest for mayor of Istanbul. But the president’s AKP party is challenging the result in both cities…
“With most media either pro-government or controlled by Mr Erdogan’s supporters, critics believe opposition parties campaigned at a disadvantage. Mr Erdogan’s rallies dominated TV coverage.
“The opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said the elections were unfair and refused to put forward candidates in several cities. Some of its leaders have been jailed on terrorism charges, accusations they reject.”
US Halts Delivery of Equipment for Fighter Aircraft to Turkey
Reuters reported on April 1:
“The United States has halted delivery of equipment related to the stealthy F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, marking the first concrete U.S. step to block delivery of the jet to the NATO ally in light of Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian missile defense system… Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has refused to back down from Ankara’s planned purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system that the United States has said would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft.
“The disagreement over the F-35 is the latest of a series of diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey including Turkish demands that the United States extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, differences over Middle East policy and the war in Syria, and sanctions on Iran…”
It was also stated in the press that this development represents a major escalation in the relationship between Turkey and the USA.
Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs
The Washington Post wrote on March 29:
“Sixty-six million years ago, a massive asteroid crashed into a shallow sea near Mexico. The impact carved out a 90-mile-wide crater and flung mountains of earth into space. Earthbound debris fell to the planet in droplets of molten rock and glass.
“Ancient fish caught glass blobs in their gills as they swam, gape-mouthed, beneath the strange rain. Large, sloshing waves threw animals onto dry land, then more waves buried them in silt. Scientists working in North Dakota recently dug up fossils of these fish: They died within the first minutes or hours after the asteroid hit... ‘You’re going back to the day that the dinosaurs died,’ said Timothy Bralower, a Pennsylvania State University paleoceanographer who is studying the impact crater…
“The killer asteroid most famously claimed the dinosaurs. But the T. rex and the triceratops were joined by hordes of other living things. Freshwater and marine creatures were victims, as were plants and microorganisms, including 93 percent of plankton…
“Four decades of research buttresses the asteroid extinction theory, widely embraced as the most plausible explanation for the disappearance of dinosaurs. In the late 1970s, Luis and Walter Alvarez, a father-son scientist duo at the University of California at Berkeley, examined an unusual geologic layer between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods. The boundary was full of the element iridium, which is rare in Earth’s crust but not in asteroids…
“After the asteroid struck, seismic waves from a magnitude 10 to 11 earthquake rippled through this sea…”
The Daily Mail added on March 30:
“… a paleontologist has finally confirmed something he’s long suspected – in the heart of North Dakota lies a prehistoric ‘killing field’ that may be the best evidence yet of the events that occurred during Earth’s most notorious mass extinction. Fossilized fish, vegetation, mammals, insects, marine reptiles, and even part of a Triceratops lay piled atop one another, preserving for eternity the moment a 30-foot wall of water pummelled the landscape and buried all living creatures in its path… it’s the first ‘mass death assemblage’ of large lifeforms that’s ever been found from the dinosaur extinction event.”
Without addressing the accuracy or inaccuracy of the estimated time of the crash, it is clear that huge catastrophes caused the extinction of ALL animals on earth, making it “void and empty,” followed by the recreation of the surface of the earth and the creation of man. Please read our free booklets, “The Theory of Evolution—a Fairy Tale for Adults?” and “Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man.”
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
What is the Difference Between Sinning Willingly and Sinning Willfully?
First of all, let us get some definitions.
WikiDiff gives the following explanation of these terms:
“As adverbs the difference between willingly and willfully is that willingly is of one’s own free will; freely and spontaneously while willfully is in a willful manner. It often means ‘purposely disobeying; purposely being contrary; purposely doing something wrong’.”
As we will see, this definition is close, but not close enough. Every day, true Christians wrestle against sin and the pulls of the flesh and Ephesians 6:12 also gives further information about our struggles: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
A spiritual giant in the New Testament, the apostle Paul, struggled as we do, as we read in Romans 7:19-20: “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
One website makes these incorrect comments: “Because of the sin nature that dwells within us, there’s a very real sense in which we often sin against our own wills (Romans 7). But we shouldn’t take this idea too far. It’s equally true that every sin is a ‘willful sin.’ If it weren’t, we wouldn’t be responsible. And if we’re not responsible for our own actions, a sin can’t be a sin at all. As James says, ‘Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death’ (James 1:14, 15).”
This can’t be a correct assertion “that every sin is a willful sin” because as we will see, a willful sin is one that is committed because of rebellion, spite and hatred for God’s Way of Life, and depending on one’s understanding, could lead to or constitute the unpardonable sin. Every sin needs to be repented of and a sin is a sin. But there is a difference between a willing sin and a willful sin – both are sins but have different meanings.
A sin which is committed through ignorance or neglect or a sin which is committed intentionally and willingly (because of weakness, temptation, lack of strength or will power or even because of neglect) is not a sin that is committed willfully—but as will be shown, it can become a willful sin.
As stated above, a sin that is committed because of rebellion and spite and hatred for God’s Way of Life is a willful sin and could well lead to committing the unpardonable sin. For example, in Hebrews 10:26 we read about the unpardonable sin: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” Note that Paul addresses the situation where someone has received the knowledge of the Truth through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In our Q&A “Would You Please explain James 1:14-15,” we read the following:
“‘But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.’ When and how does sin start? Does death only await us when sin is ‘full-grown’?
“Vincent’s Word Studies explains that the terms ‘drawn away’ and ‘enticed’ ‘are metaphors from hunting and fishing.’ It continues: ‘Drawn away, as beasts are enticed from a safe covert into a place beset with snares. Note the present participle, as indicating the progress of the temptation: “is being drawn away.” Enticed– As a fish with bait. Also the present participle.’
“‘Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. After sin is brought forth in actual commissions, the finishing of it… is its being strengthened by FREQUENT ACTS and SETTLED INTO A HABIT. And, when the iniquities of men are thus FILLED UP, death is brought forth… the wages of sin is eternal death…’
“We see, then, that a PROGRESSION is described and settled into a habit.”
A progression can be defined as “a continuous and connected series, a sequence.” We all sin on a regular basis because we are not perfect but God sees the heart of each and every one of us. As previously mentioned, we can and do sin which can be committed unintentionally, intentionally and willingly (because of ignorance, weakness, lack of strength or will power, and neglect) but the heart is not set to sin in a way that is committed because of rebellion and spite and hatred for God’s Way of Life.
When we sin willingly, we can still realize that we have done wrong, repent of it and obtain forgiveness. We are truly sorry for what we did. When we sin willfully, we don’t feel any remorse over what we did. We don’t repent because we don’t want to repent. We have set our hearts on doing what is wrong, and we don’t care about it. We hate it when we are confronted with the need to repent. We absolutely refuse to repent. This describes the concept of sinning willfully. There is quite a difference and we should be aware of the differences.
On the E-sword website, the following observations are made:
“Sins of ignorance may be forgiven, Num[bers] 15:22-29. They are sins. Debts of shortcoming need pardon equally as do trespasses. But, as Paul teaches us, we may confidently count on forgiveness for evil things done unwittingly. See 1 Ti[mothy] 1:12-14; Heb[rews] 5:2. It is quite otherwise with sins of presumption, Num[bers] 15:30-36. If persisted in, these induce death. See 1 [John] 5:16.”
Let us review a few Scriptures which are revealing about willful sins, and let us begin with Numbers 15:30: “‘But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people.”
A presumptuous sin is committed defiantly, literally with a high hand. The Berean Study Bible says: “He shall certainly be cut off, because he has despised the word of the LORD and broken His commandment; his guilt remains on him.” A high hand denotes going deliberately against God.
This Old Testament example is not to be understood as describing a person who committed the unpardonable sin, because one usually has to have God’s Holy Spirit to be able to commit the unpardonable sin, and in all likelihood, the person mentioned in the Old Testament had not received the Holy Spirit. Most people in ancient Israel were not offered the Holy Spirit at that time. Their opportunity for salvation will come later, in the Second Resurrection. He was to be cut off physically; that is, he was to either be disfellowshipped or killed. But it serves as a good example for those who do receive God’s Spirit. If they act presumptuously and willfully against God’s Way of Life, they are in danger of losing God’s Spirit, thereby committing the unpardonable sin.
The same can be said about Ezekiel 14:3-4, which reads: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols.”’”
The Soncino commentary explains: “More lit. ‘have brought up their idols to their hearts,’ an idiom for ‘have set their mind upon their idols.’ The phrase does not imply that they were worshipping idols, but that their thoughts were influenced by pagan ideas, such as believing in magical spells and divination. This has been a stumbling block to them willfully placed by themselves in their way and leading them into iniquity.”
On the other hand, Hebrews 6:4-6 addresses clearly a Christian who has received God’s Holy Spirit and who has lost it because of willful sin: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away (some other translations add “or have fallen away”), to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
2 Peter 2:20 is another Scripture that sheds light on true Christians who depart from God by sinning willfully:
“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.”
One commentator wrote: “Therefore a believer cannot continue in sin. We no longer live in the realm of sin, under its reign and practical dominion. We have, to use Paul’s words, died to sin. We indeed do sin and even our best deeds are stained with sin, but our attitude toward it is essentially different from that of an unbeliever. We succumb to temptations, either from our own evil desires (James 1:13), or from the world or the Devil (Ephesians 2:1-3), but this is different from a settled disposition… our sin is a burden that afflicts us rather than a pleasure that delights us.”
When true Christians begin to depart from and hate God’s Way of Life and settle it in their minds that they want to do the wrong and reject the right, even though they had at one time fully understood, embraced and practiced the Truth, then they are in grave danger. They might develop an attitude of hatred towards God and ultimately refuse to repent and lose God’s Holy Spirit. Filled with hatred towards God and towards true Christians, they sin willfully—they become guilty of the unpardonable sin. They may have started with sinning unintentionally and even intentionally and willingly, because they were not diligent enough in their struggle to avoid and strive against sin, but they ended up sinning willfully and presumptuously. They reached the point in their life that they cannot repent anymore, because they don’t want to repent anymore.
Other Q&A’s which are worth reviewing in respect of the unpardonable sin are:
Also, please read our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?” addressing the unpardonable sin on pages 29-32.
We must be very careful that we don’t fall into the trap of becoming lackadaisical about sin, as this can lead to sinning willfully.
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“The Dangerous Vaccination Paranoia,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
The fascination with mandatory vaccinations has reached unparalleled levels of paranoia in the USA, with incredibly dangerous and blatantly unconstitutional measures by fanatic governmental officials and doctors who are supported by a gullible and uneducated mass media. What are the real dangers of the vaccination hype for life, liberty and freedom; and are vaccinations really as harmless and effective as many uninformed reporters postulate?
“Wie verhalten Sie sich bei Rückschlägen?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “How Do You React to Set-Backs?”
“Easter in the Bible?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Does the Bible have anything to say about Easter? What do the worldly customs of this festival have to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? What does God command us to do instead of keeping this man-made holiday?
“The Fulfillment of the Passover through Jesus Christ and His Church,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
In ancient Israel under Moses, blood of the Passover lambs was put on the doorposts and the lintel of the houses of the Israelites in Egypt in order to protect those inside from physical death. But still more was necessary for the quality of the Passover lambs and their preparation and consumption through the congregation. This sermon shows that all these requirements and characteristics were fulfilled by Christ and that they are being fulfilled today by His Church.
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.
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