May 24, 2019
Walk in the Light: The Times and the Seasons
On May 25, 2019, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Walk in the Light,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “The Times and the Seasons.”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
How They Love to Play with Words to Get Their Own Way!
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
On the website thoughtco, we read: “About 20 percent of the world’s population speaks English as a first or secondary language, about 1.5 billion people. If you include people who use it, that brings the estimate up to about a third of the world, or more than 2 billion of the world’s 7.6 billion people (2017). Only about 360 million people speak it as their first language, though.
“After a certain amount of usage, dictionary editors decide whether a new word has enough staying power to add it to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster notes that its editors spend an hour or two daily reading a cross-section of material looking for new words, new meanings to old words, new forms, new spellings, and the like. The words are logged into a database with their context for documentation and further analysis. Before being added to the dictionary a new word or change to an existing word must have a considerable amount of use over time in a variety of types of publications and/or media (widespread use, not just in jargon).”
The problem is that words can mean different things to different people and can be “massaged” to fit what a person or group want it to mean. Take the word “discrimination” for example. From Wikipedia we read this description of discrimination:
“In human social behavior, discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction towards, a person based on the group, class, or category to which the person is perceived to belong. These include age, colour, criminal record, height, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender identity, generation, general characteristics, marital status, nationality, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation.”
You would think from such a description that discrimination would be understood by most people. However, a new twist has been given to the meaning by adding the word “positive” before it. Merriam-Webster defines positive discrimination as “the practice of improving the educational and job opportunities of members of groups that have not been treated fairly in the past because of their race, sex, etc.” That is certainly fair enough, but it often doesn’t work out that way.
In practice, positive discrimination as “understood” by those who have a particular “diversity” agenda, can certainly mean, in the UK, that members of the indigenous population can be legally discriminated against in their own country.
For example, as reported in the Daily Mail on February 23rd 2019, was the case of a police inspector’s son who tried to join his father’s force but was rejected for being “a white, heterosexual male without disability”. He had applied for his “dream job” as a constable with Cheshire Police, where his father, 52, is a detective inspector. He performed well in tests and at his interview but the force was so desperate for more recruits from ethnic minorities or who were gay or transgender that it refused to hire him.
The article continued:
“He had a degree in particle physics from Lancaster University, and lodged a discrimination claim against Cheshire Police under equality legislation, and won. It is believed to be the first successful case of its kind. In a ruling a judge criticised the force for treating candidates with ‘protected characteristics’ – including those who were gay, transgender, disabled, black or from other ethnic minorities – more favourably than this candidate who was ‘a white, heterosexual male without disability’.”
Interestingly, in spite of this ruling “the case came as the leader of Britain’s police chiefs called yesterday for radical laws to allow police to positively discriminate in favour of ethnic minority candidates.” They can certainly play with words to get their own way!
This case was mentioned in our Update number 866 dated 1st March 2019 with Mr Norbert Link’s comments below the article which stated that “We are told not to discriminate as it is against the law but the police want to discriminate against qualified candidates. Will this kind of nonsense ever stop?“
The playing field should be levelled for all candidates but it patently isn’t working out that way in many other cases of a similar nature. In Deuteronomy 28:43 we read: “The stranger that is among you shall rise up above you higher and higher; and you shall come down lower and lower.” It certainly seems that way as the British, in general, have forsaken the Way of God and are bringing upon themselves destruction on their own country.
Another example of playing with words to get their own way is that of the homosexual/lesbian lobby referring to their “partner” in a way that is ridiculous. For example, with two men, one can describe his partner as his wife even though he is male. Likewise, a lesbian can refer to her partner as her husband with no male in sight! Oh, how they love to refashion the English language to fit in with their perversion.
These are just two of many examples where we can see how long-held meanings are fashioned and shaped to fit in with an ungodly society and “normalise” that which would, not that long ago, have been rejected as abnormal and unacceptable.
It is, in effect, a hijacking of words purely to regulate or enhance specific societal changes and make them acceptable to the prevailing culture!
Even though we are living in this world, we are not to be of this world and its evil practices—and this includes that we are not to fall for the deceptive practices of using words which, upon reflection and scrutiny, refashion the clear meaning to fit in with concepts which are opposed to God’s specific instructions.
by Norbert Link
We begin with most spectacular events in Austria and its uncertain future in light of the collapse of the Austrian coalition government following the publication of a secretly-taped video just prior to the European elections, picturing Vice-Chancellor Strache and others in a very compromising light; Strache’s resignation and the subsequent resignation of all FPO ministers in protest to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz; the appointment of “apolitical” experts as a temporary new caretaker government; an announcement that new elections would be held in September; and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz facing a no-confidence vote next week.
We also report on the ongoing Brexit disaster and the anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party.
Please see in this regard our new StandingWatch program, “Are Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism Connected?”
We continue with the European elections; increasingly strained relationships between the USA and Europe, due to stalled or failing tariffs negotiations; and the conflict between the USA and China, as well as Iran.
We speak on America’s worldwide fight against abortion (please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “When Does God Allow Abortions?”); a somewhat surprisingly controversial stance by President Trump regarding same-sex marriages; and his unfortunate desire to change the immigration system to the detriment of parents of US citizens.
We speak on India’s and Pakistan’s military contacts with Russia; India’s election results; challenges in Ukraine; the unexpected victory of Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison; and the challenge to prevent the near-extinction of the Koala bear. We also publish a warning against the consumption of pork.
This Week in the News
Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache Resigns
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 18:
“Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has accepted the resignation of Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache in the wake of the release of a video showing Strache discussing the possibility of exchanging friendly media coverage for lucrative state business deals. In a statement delivered from his office at noon, a visibly angry Strache said he was stepping down to protect the work of the government, but added that he had been the victim of illegal entrapment and a concerted ‘dirty campaign’ to discredit him. He also rejected any suggestion he had committed any crimes. … ‘This was a targeted political assassination,’ he added…
“But the vice chancellor also admitted the video released on Friday showed him in a compromising situation… ‘Yes, it was stupid, it was irresponsible, and it was a mistake,’ he said. ‘It was typically alcohol-induced macho talk, in which, yes, I was probably trying to impress the attractive hostess. I behaved boastfully, like a teenager, and acted embarrassingly over the top.’ He went on to apologize to his wife, ‘the most important person in my life.’…
“The video was reportedly filmed on the Spanish island of Ibiza in July 2017… According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the meeting lasted several hours, with Strache and [FPÖ parliamentary group leader Johann] Gudenus (whose wife was also present) discussing with [hostess] Makarova and a male companion about how indirect donations and friendly media coverage could help the far-right party…”
According to Bild Online, Strache said he had hurt and libeled people with his inconsiderate statements, including allegations about the present chancellor (Sebastian Kurz). He stated that he had passed on “unconfirmed dirty rumors.“ Bild continued:
“How dirty, ‘oe24’ explains: Strache had boasted about alleged information in his possession that Kurz was conducting sex orgies in drug backrooms.”
Austrian Government on Verge of Collapse—Kurz Faces No-Confidence Vote
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 21:
“Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, after consultations with President Alexander Van der Bellen on Tuesday, announced he would appoint a new caretaker government to be in place for three months. Kurz, who faces a vote of no-confidence on Monday, was forced to call for new elections in September after his government’s coalition partner, the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), was wiped out…
“Should Kurz lose Monday’s vote, President Van der Bellen would then appoint a new interim chancellor.
“… after [Strache resigned and] Kurz fired Interior Minister Herbert Kickl on Tuesday the remainder of the FPÖ’s members resigned in protest…”
The Times added on May 22:
“Austria’s centre-right chancellor may be driven out of office within days as opposition parties marshal their forces for a parliamentary showdown. In the midst of a scandal that has broken his coalition, Sebastian Kurz could become the first leader in Austrian history to be ejected by a vote of no confidence.
“Yesterday Mr Kurz, 32, was forced to replace the ministers in charge of the civil service, the armed forces, the justice system and the security apparatus with apolitical experts after Mr Strache’s far-right Freedom party (FPO) walked out of the cabinet…”
The European press is wondering: How long will the “apolitical experts” be in office? If Kurz were to lose the non-confidence vote on Monday, they would be discharged as well. Although most feel that the political career of Strache is over, Strache announced in tweets that he will continue to fight. Former FPO deputy Norbert Hofer, who replaced Strache, but then resigned in protest to Kurz, was almost elected as Austrian President in 2016, had a near-fatal paragliding accident in 2013, relying now on a cane to walk, and is wearing a silver-black cross for good luck. He is also a devout and deeply religious Roman Catholic, although he is in his second marriage. According to AFP, dated May 19, 2019, “sceptics say that behind the grin lurks a steely, dyed-in-the-wool ideologue.” The question remains, who will ultimately emerge out of Austria’s ashes as its leader?
Austria’s Ties with Russia
Der Spiegel wrote on May 17:
“All three Austrian intelligence services [were] overseen by ministries under leadership of the FPÖ, a party that has been affiliated with [Putin’s] United Russia [party], which currently controls the Kremlin, since the signing of a cooperation agreement in 2016. Concerns that Moscow may have access to Austrian intelligence has led Western intelligence agencies to limit what they share with Vienna…”
CNN wrote on May 18:
“Strache is an opponent of sanctions on Russia, which were imposed by the EU and the US over Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014… Austria was also one of the few EU countries not to expel Russian diplomats in response to British allegations of Kremlin involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March 2018.”
Russian Media Reacts
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 19:
“The Russian tabloid KP described Strache as a ‘promising politician,’ before emphasizing that there is no evidence of any illegal transactions by the far-right politician. ‘This type of trolling will undoubtedly weaken those politicians who call for rapprochement with Russia,’ the paper wrote in a commentary, adding that ‘the constant search [by the West] for a Russian link [including over the Trump administration’s alleged collusion with the Kremlin] is nothing but a joke that citizens can only laugh about.’
“The Russian government-published Rossiyskaya Gazeta, meanwhile, cited colleagues of Strache who complained that the former vice-chancellor had been ‘filled up’ with alcohol before being asked about possible illegal activities. ‘Behind this provocation are secret services that have secretly recorded everything,’ it wrote…
“Russian leading liberal business daily Kommersant pointed out that Strache insisted he had met a Latvian, not a Russian… ‘But German media says the opposite,’ it said in a commentary, adding that the timing of the release of the video was likely ‘deliberately planned to keep Strache out of the upcoming European Parliament elections’ on May 23-26. Kommersant also emphasized that Strache’s far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) actively supported Austro-Russian relations.”
These observations might very well have some bearing.
No Brexit Deal between May and Corbyn
Breitbart wrote on May 17:
“Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to stitch-up a Brexit deal with hard-left Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have ended in failure…
“The Prime Minister’s own preferred treaty with the European Union would have locked Britain into a lengthy ‘transition period’ with the bloc in which it would have remained an EU member-state in all but name — minus British representation in EU institutions — possibly followed by an indefinite ‘backstop’ relationship in which Brussels would have retained control over British trade policy and swathes of its regulations, with no power to end this relationship unilaterally.
“Labour had initially been seeking to water down this version of ‘Brexit’ even further by establishing a full customs union with the EU, which the Remainer-dominated Tory leadership seemed ready to consider — but subsequent attempts to force May into accepting a ‘confirmatory vote’ (second referendum) as well appear to have been a bridge too far…
“Mrs May’s government is a minority administration, reliant on Northern Ireland’s Brexit-supporting Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to get legislation through Parliament — but it does not back her deal, and nor do a large number of Brexiteer Tory MPs known as ‘The Spartans’… the Prime Minister has reportedly been forced to agree she resign by the end of June...”
Teresa May’s Final New Deal and Push for Second Referendum Rejected
The Guardian wrote on May 21:
“Theresa May’s final attempt to patch together a parliamentary majority for Brexit appears to have backfired after her 10-point ‘new deal’ was rejected by MPs from across the political spectrum… the prime minister laid out a series of promises… including an offer of a binding vote on a referendum if the deal passes.
“But, after a stormy cabinet meeting… more than 20 Conservatives who backed the deal last time rejected it… The referendum pledge sparked a backlash almost immediately, with several Tories who have supported her in the past… saying they could not back a bill that appeared to open the door to reversing the 2016 vote [in that first referendum, the majority of Brits voted for the UK leaving the EU]…”
Theresa May Faces Mounting Pressure to Quit in Brexit Backlash
The Week wrote on May 23:
“British Prime Minister Theresa May faced mounting calls to resign in a backlash against her latest Brexit plan… The resignation of the leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, on Wednesday night appeared to have left May with no remaining options.
“Leadsom was scheduled to introduce May’s new Brexit plan on Thursday but she said she could not support it because it could pave the way for a second referendum on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union at all, which she said would be ‘dangerously divisive.’”
“Macron Wants to Avoid Brexit ‘Polluting’ EU after 31 October”
The Guardian wrote on May 22:
“France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has said he wants to avoid Brexit ‘polluting’ the EU after 31 October, and that European leaders need to know when the UK’s prolonged departure will come to an end. In April, Macron stood alone at a meeting of the EU27 in championing a short Brexit extension in opposition to those willing to give the UK until next year to complete its withdrawal.
“The October deadline for the British government to have ratified the withdrawal agreement or face a no-deal exit was a compromise position brokered with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.”
According to the Bible, Britain will keep trying to get help from Germany, but ultimately, Germany will be unable and/or unwilling to provide that help.
Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn’s Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism
The Algemeiner wrote on May 20:
“They are not quite conjoined twins, but it’s often the case that where you find antisemitism, you will also find an associated anti-Americanism. Scholars who have studied these two forms of prejudice side by side have remarked on the common patterns of thought and belief. The distinguished sociologist and Professor Paul Hollander… explained that ‘anti-Americanism’ as a political phenomenon should not be confused with ‘being critical of specific aspects or attributes of American society, culture, or American foreign policy.’
“Instead, said Hollander, anti-Americanism should be seen as ‘a particular mindset, an attitude of distaste, aversion, or intense hostility, the roots of which may be found in matters unrelated to the actual qualities or attributes of American society or the foreign policies of the United States.’ Much of the same observation can (and has) been made about Jewish people in relation to antisemitism.
“Anti-Americanism also raises similar allegations against American society and culture that antisemitism does with Jews and Judaism. America is held up as a crass, materialistic society, where money rules politics, and where the most anarchic aspects of capitalism — a system that was disdained as essentially ‘Jewish’ by many Europeans well into the last century — run riot. Look at the standard-bearers of anti-Americanism over the last century and in this one (Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Máduro, for example), and you will see that they project a similar hostility to Jews, often couched in denunciations of ‘Zionism’ or ‘Israeli crimes.’…
“Many supporters of the opposition Labour Party in Britain subscribe to this broad worldview. So it should not come as a shock, then, that party leader Jeremy Corbyn — a man who can credibly claim to be Europe’s best-known antisemite — is leveraging his visceral anti-Americanism into his country’s internal conflict over Brexit, its departure from the European Union.
“Earlier this month, Corbyn delivered a speech in which he renamed the option of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ (whereby the United Kingdom would cease being a member of the European Union without a deal setting out the divorce terms) a… ‘Donald Trump Brexit leaving us at the mercy of a reckless and bellicose US administration.’
“Corbyn… has said the same thing about every US administration, whether Democratic or Republican. He has worn his anti-Americanism proudly, whether the incumbent in the White House was President Carter or President Reagan, or President Clinton, President Obama, or either President Bush. In his view, cemented by the pro-Soviet, Third Worldly sensibilities of the Western anti-war movement, America is by its very nature ‘reckless and bellicose.’…”
Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism are indeed connected. In fact, the Jews and many Americans are descendants of Jacob or Israel, the grandson of Abraham, and the world hates them all.
Last Chance for Europe?
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 23:
“Four days of voting in European Parliament elections are underway in a poll that will decide the EU’s future course: a return to nationalism or more integration to increase its global strength?… ‘The elections taking place on 26 May will decide the destiny of this continent,’ the leader of the Christian Democratic bloc in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, declared at a plenary session last month.
“Weber heads the list of candidates for his political family, the European People’s Party (EPP), and he is not alone: Many politicians from all camps have been using the same terms to describe the upcoming European elections. Weber intends to run for president of the European Commission. He sees the vote as a straight fight between pro-Europeans and nationalists. ‘This Europe that we’re living in today is a good Europe’’ he says. ‘We won’t let today’s nationalists destroy it for us.’…
“Opinion polls are indicating that [nationalists] could get more than 20% of the seats… The Hungarian premier has allied himself with German, French, Danish and Italian right-wing parties. He claims that liberal democrats want to… ‘Islamicize’ it with an influx of migrants. ‘We have to understand that Europe has reached a historic crossroads,’ Orban said in a speech on Hungary’s national holiday…
“The established, Europe-friendly parties say the issues the EU needs to address over the coming years are migration, climate protection, trade policy and establishing a strong international role for Europe…
“Decisive question, crossroads, turning point, last chance: Some dramatic imagery is being used in the run-up to the elections, which will take place between 23 and 26 May…”
European Parliament Elections under Suspicion
The Guardian wrote on May 23:
“A nationwide picture is emerging of EU citizens in the UK being denied their democratic right to vote in the European parliament elections… Reports are coming in from across the country of EU nationals turning up at polling booths and finding their names crossed out and being told by officials they are not eligible to vote…
“7am Polls opened on voting for the European elections across the UK and the Netherlands…”
A European Islam?
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 23:
“[German] Health Minister Jens Spahn and Schleswig-Holstein State Premier Daniel Günther published the appeal Thursday in a guest contribution for the Rheinische Post regional daily. ‘Instead of tolerating symbols of a reactionary, misogynistic form of Islam, we must promote the development of a European Islam, which shares our values, in order to preserve our free European way of life,’ penned the two Christian Democrats.
“The topic of burkas is one of particular concern for both Spahn and Günther. ‘When women and girls appear fully-veiled at universities and schools, then we do not just have the option to resist, we must resist,’ they wrote… Both men are members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party. Spahn, who failed in a bid to become Merkel’s successor, is seen as a conservative, while Günther is on the liberal wing of the party…”
Ambassador Grenell Right or Wrong?
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 17:
“US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell was the subject of German consternation once again on Friday, this time for posting an out-of-context quote from Chancellor Angela Merkel on social media… His misstep on Friday began with a Newsweek magazine summary of an interview with Merkel, a summary that incorrectly implies that the chancellor ‘lumped in the US’ as a global rival that, along with China and Russia, ‘Europe must unite against.’
“However, in the interview that Newsweek is quoting, which is from the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, it is the interviewer and not Merkel who places Washington alongside Moscow and Beijing, asking how Europe is approaching the ‘global challenges from China and Russia, as well as the USA.’
“Merkel responds by saying that these global challenges ‘are forcing us, time and time again, to find common positions.’ She went on to say that the EU does not always manage to do this as well as she would like, arguing that the bloc’s ‘political power’ still does not match its economic clout…
“Grenell has previously upset the German public and politicians alike by saying in a Fox News interview that Chancellor Merkel’s refugee policy ‘fell apart’ and unfavorably comparing her administration to the far-right government in Austria. He was also criticized by the former leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), Martin Schulz, for his perceived overreach as a foreign diplomat.”
Even though Chancellor Merkel might not have used the phrase in question, the interviewer did in his question, and Angela Merkel did in no way repudiate or “clarify” the statement contained in the question.
German and Japanese Cars Security Threat for USA?
Deutsche Welle reported on May 17:
“The president had previously threatened to raise import tariffs on foreign cars as a matter of national security on May 18. It was announced that the decision over the hikes will be delayed for 180 days… In February, the US Commerce Department presented the president with a report arguing that foreign automobile imports represented a threat to US national security. A White House press release on the president’s Friday proclamation made repeated mention of the issue of national security throughout…
“Germany’s minister for economic affairs, Peter Altmaier, reacted to the announcement by saying, ‘We regret the fact that the US side has now categorized automobile imports as a threat to national security.’ EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malstrom also took umbrage with US national security claims, tweeting, ‘we completely reject the notion that our car exports are a national security threat.’ …
“The tariffs would hit Japanese and European automakers. German carmakers feel particularly threatened by the prospect of such tariffs. Although they export vehicles to the United States, many have major production facilities in the US as well. From there, they export cars to China. Due to Chinese retaliatory tariffs on imports arising from the escalating trade war between the US and China, companies such as VW, Daimler and BMW see themselves caught in a double bind.
“Trump has argued that the EU is unfairly ‘ripping off’ the US by charging higher tariffs on US automobiles than the US does on cars imported from the EU. The WTO says that EU import tariffs on US cars average 5%, whereas the US average on EU cars is 3.4%.”
The tariffs problem and the associated hostility between the USA and Germany will not go away any time soon. As the Express reported on May 18, in conjunction with Mr. Trump’s announcement to delay his decision for six months whether or not to impose tariffs on foreign cars, he “accused the European Union of treating the US ‘worse than China.’ He said: ‘The European Union treats us, I would say, worse than China, they’re just smaller. They have trade barriers. They don’t want our farm products, they don’t want our cars. They send Mercedes-Benzes in here like they’re cookies. They send BMWs here. We hardly tax them at all.’”
Ending Tariffs on Metal Imports and Exports
The Guardian wrote on May 17:
“The Trump administration moved to cool the simmering trade war with its major trading partners on Friday, ending tariffs on metal imports from Canada and Mexico… ‘I’m pleased to announce we’ve just reached agreement with Canada and Mexico,’ Donald Trump said. ‘We’ll be selling our product into those countries without the imposition of tariffs.’ The US imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium last March, arguing cheap imports were an ‘assault on our country’ that was leading to the ‘decimation of entire communities’.
“The tariffs have sparked the largest trade war in a generation and set the US against all its major trading partners including the European Union, China, Canada and Mexico. In a statement, the Canadian government said agreement had been reached for US tariffs to be lifted on Canadian steel and aluminium imports. Retaliatory tariffs imposed on American products will be lifted by Sunday…
“While Friday’s news appeared to signal a breakthrough, China and the US are still locked in an escalating trade war. CNBC reported on Friday that the next round of US-China negotiations were ‘in flux’, with both sides refusing to compromise. US markets have wobbled wildly in the wake of trade news. On Friday all the major US markets ended down – the second straight week of losses.”
Interesting how every side tries to take credit for the outcome of the agreement. The fact of the matter is, there will be no tariffs either way… at least for now.
Freezing Out China’s Giant Company?
npr wrote on May 16:
“A Trump administration decision to restrict the sale of U.S. technology to Chinese telecommunications company Huawei will disrupt global supply chains, say analysts, ramping up pressure on U.S. allies reluctant to join in efforts to shut out Huawei from advanced 5G mobile networks… New Zealand, Australia and Japan have joined the U.S. in freezing out the Chinese company from future 5G plans. But Germany and France have not followed suit. Last month, the U.K. decided to allow Huawei restricted access to its 5G networks…
“If interpreted broadly, the controls on U.S. sales to Huawei could prove the biggest move yet to thwart the Chinese telecom company’s ambitions to build the hardware underpinning its global 5G network…”
Trump Threatens Iran but Shows Reluctance to Go to War
The New York Post wrote on May 19:
“President Trump threatened to destroy Iran in a tweet sent in the wake of reports that a rocket was fired into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone less than a mile away from the US Embassy. ‘If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!,’ Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. It’s unclear exactly what promoted Trump’s posting, but news outlets reported explosions in Iraq’s capital and that a rocket launcher was discovered in eastern Baghdad, an area that is home to Iranian-backed Shiite militias…
“Amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran there have been concerns that Iraq, where Iranian forces and about 5,000 American troops are stationed, could become entangled in the standoff… Tensions have been heightened between Washington and Tehran after reports said Iran was planning to carry out attacks on American troops and ships in the region.”
Fox News wrote on May 19:
“President Trump vowed, in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News, not to let Iran get nuclear weapons – but reiterated his reluctance to go to war… Trump, during the interview, continued opposing military intervention — something that separated him from others in the 2016 campaign — but indicated Iranian nuclear development would constitute an urgent exception. ‘I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons — you just can’t let that happen,’ he said.
“… he recounted the costs of war which he said he wanted to avoid. ‘With all of everything that’s going on, and I’m not one that believes — you know, I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly — by far most importantly,’ he said.”
Very true. And no war, fought by humans, has ever brought lasting peace, nor will it ever do so.
US Worldwide Fight against Abortion
The Guardian wrote on May 17:
“The Trump administration has taken its war on abortion worldwide, cutting off all funding to any overseas organisation or clinic that will not agree to a complete ban on even discussing it. The Mexico City policy, dubbed the ‘global gag’ by its critics, denies US federal funds to any organisation involved in providing abortion services overseas or counselling women about them. It was instituted by the then US president Ronald Reagan and has been revoked by every Democrat and reinstated by every Republican president since.
“But, under Trump, the net has been thrown wider and pulled tighter than ever… In March, the US [stated] that any organisation counselling women on abortion and using funds from elsewhere… will no longer be eligible for any US funding. The diktat applies to all global health organisations…”
Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “When Does God Allow Abortions?”
Are Same Sex Marriages “Absolutely Fine, Great and Good”?
npr wrote on May 19:
“Pete Buttigieg isn’t giving President Trump much credit for saying the South Bend, Ind., mayor’s marriage to a man is ‘absolutely fine’ and ‘good.’ ‘That’s nice,’ Buttigieg said dismissively… ‘I’m more interested in policies that affect LGBTQ people.’… Trump… added, ‘I think it’s great… I have no problem with it whatsoever.’
“Buttigieg, who married his husband, Chasten Glezman, last June, has gone from a relatively unknown millennial mayor of a small Midwestern city to a top-tier Democratic presidential candidate in a historically large field…
“Trump has long expressed openness to gay people and said in 2016 that same-sex marriage is settled law. But his administration’s policies have favored religious freedom over gay rights, and early in his presidency he moved to ban transgender service members from the military…”
The Bible disagrees. In our Editorial this week, “How They Love to Play with Words to Get Their Own Way!,” Brian Gale has something to say about this issue.
Trump Wants to Change Immigration System now after His Wife’s In-laws Had Benefitted from It
Express wrote on May 17:
“On Thursday Trump announced a new policy which will give greater priority to highly skilled migrants. Correspondingly the number of immigrants allowed in for family reasons will fall. Melania Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, moved to America at some point after their daughter married Trump in 1996. By the end of 2007 Melania’s father was listed as living at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private Florida club.
“It is widely believed they came over via a family unification process, as both were retired. On Thursday Trump announced plans to give 57 percent of US green cards, which allow permanent residence, to highly skilled workers with only a third going to family members… Trump has vowed to protect green cards for the spouses and children of US nationals… It’s been suggested that this would leave very few, if any, free cards for parents…
“Melania’s parents became US citizens last year. David Leopold, formerly president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, claimed Trump is shutting down a route that had benefitted him personally. He said: ‘… Melania has benefited from the immigration system; his in-laws are here because of the immigration system. For them to talk about the immigration system is an absolute joke and it’s shameful.’”
We agree that this is shameful indeed.
India and Pakistan Buy Russian Tanks and Military Machines – “Alarm Bells Ring”
Express wrote on May 9:
“INDIA has acquired 460 Russian tanks to bolster its ‘shock and awe’ capabilities on its western front as Pakistan continues talks to strike a deal with Moscow for an order of 360 of the military machines…
“The Indian army already has around 1,070 T-90 tanks as well as 124 ‘Arjun’ and 2,400 older T-72 tanks in its 67 regiments. The first set of 657 T-90 tanks, now to be upgraded to improved models, were imported from Russia in 2001… The move comes as the 1.3million-strong army seeks to re-format its entire war machinery… Pakistan has plans to upgrade its existing mechanised forces, which includes over 50 armoured regiments of Ukrainian T-80UD and Chinese-origin tanks…
“India and Pakistan are not alone in seeking Russian military weaponry.
“NATO has issued a chilling warning after the US said it would impose sanctions on Turkey if it went ahead and purchased missiles from Russia… Turkey admitted it would never bow to the US over its agreement to purchase the Russian S-400 surface to air missile defence system. The deal, which was confirmed by the country’s vice president Fuat Oktay, has increased already strained ties between Turkey and Washington…”
The paradox is that India and Pakistan will ultimately combine their weaponry, together with Russia, China and other Far Eastern nations, in opposition to the Western world, while the relationship between Turkey and the USA will continue to deteriorate.
Modi Reelected as India’s Leader
The Huffington Post wrote on May 23:
“Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Thursday won a second consecutive five-year term as prime minister of India, months after bringing India to the brink of war with Pakistan, its nuclear-armed neighbor…
“[Modi believes in] majoritarianism [which] means Hindu nationalism or Hindutva, an ideology that envisions over 170 million Indian Muslims accepting that they are, in effect, second-class citizens…
“Modi’s victory appeared far from assured earlier this year ― the opposition’s efforts to highlight his gross economic mismanagement, as well as public anger over rampant unemployment and agrarian distress, were gathering steam…
“Two days before the final day of polling on May 19, he donned the saffron robes of a Hindu priest and headed to a shrine in the Himalayas with a phalanx of cameras in tow.
“The carefully crafted images of an ascetic Modi ‘meditating’ were faithfully beamed into millions of homes by the media, and lapped up by his followers…
“India’s 172 million Muslims are left wondering how much worse it could get… With the existing political parties trying to boost their Hindu credentials and no party or leaders of their own, Indian Muslims today are practically without a voice…”
The Guardian added on May 23:
“As India’s opposition Congress party went down to a landslide defeat on Thursday, its leader, Rahul Gandhi, was also convincingly beaten in his own parliamentary seat – a north Indian constituency that had sent three of his family members to parliament in the past half-century.
“The loss of the family bastion seat of Amethi underscored the dwindling relevance of south Asia’s most famous political dynasty in Narendra Modi’s ‘new India’, alongside the decline of the pluralistic vision of India that has been synonymous with the Nehru-Gandhi family for the past seven decades…
“Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi’s great-grandfather, fiercely opposed Hindu nationalism and sought to establish India as a secular country, a vision the modern party continues to uphold. Under Modi, the staunchest Hindu nationalist ever to occupy the office, that tradition has been recast as a long national nightmare, blaming it even for the breakup of the subcontinent.”
Challenges in Ukraine
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 20:
“Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old comic with no political experience, announced [and carried out the next day] the dissolution of parliament in his inaugural speech as the president of Ukraine on Monday. By… calling early elections, the new head of state is hoping to win the support he needs to tackle a raft of challenges, including a struggling economy and the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine…
“Zelenskiy… said his first task was to end the separatist conflict in the country’s east near the border with Russia… He added that dialogue with Russia could only happen after the return of Ukrainian territory and prisoners of war…
“Zelenskiy begins his term in office without a parliamentary majority, a fact that will make it difficult for him to pass reforms. His party currently has no seats. Dissolving parliament and calling snap elections ahead of the scheduled date in October could boost support in a chamber currently dominated by Poroshenko allies. Lawmakers have attempted to block these plans — last week, the governing coalition collapsed after a group of MPs from the People’s Front pulled out.”
New elections are scheduled to take place on July 21.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison Will Stay in Power after Surprise Election Victory
The Daily Mail wrote on May 18:
“Scott Morrison will stay on as Prime Minister after the Coalition secured an election win on Saturday night. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has conceded defeat and confirmed he would resign as Labor Party leader. Labor and Mr Shorten went into the night as favourites to win, but suffered unexpected losses in Queensland…
“At the stroke of midnight, following the Labor leader’s concession speech, the Prime Minister delivered a midnight victory speech praising God and the Australian people. ‘I have always believed in miracles and I’m standing with the three biggest miracles in my life tonight (he was referring to his wife and his two children) and tonight we’ve been delivered another one,’ he said…
“In a result which opinion polls and betting markets had failed to predict, the Liberal and the National parties recorded strong swings to them… granting them a possible slim majority or a minority with the support of pro-climate change action independents.”
Saving the Koala Bears
The New York Post wrote on May 16:
“Koala bears have been declared ‘functionally extinct,’ the Australian Koala Foundation reports. The fluffy marsupial is down to just 80,000 wild species members, meaning there aren’t enough breeding adults left to support another generation of the pouched mammals… ‘I know the Australian public are concerned for the safety of koalas and are tired of seeing dead koalas on our roads,’ says AKF chairman Deborah Tabart. ‘I am calling on the new prime minister after the May election to enact the Koala Protection Act (KPA) which has been written and ready to go.
“… The Koala Protection Act is based on the US’s Bald Eagle Act, which was successful in rescuing America’s national symbol from the threatened species list. ‘The Bald Eagle Act was successful because there was political motive to ensure their icon did not go extinct,’ says Tabart. ‘It is time for the koala to be afforded the same respect.’”
Stop Eating Bacon and Pork Sausages
The Sun wrote on May 20:
“A group of campaigning doctors have warned that eating bacon is ‘as likely to cause cancer as asbestos’… Anaesthetist Dr Charlotte Houltram… told the Mirror: ‘Bacon is in the same category as asbestos as far as its potential to cause cancer’… It comes after a new study found that bacon and sausages fuel cancer twice as much as previously thought… Tobacco is also classified in the same group…
“In the UK, more than 23,000 cases of cancer every year are caused by eating processed meats such as bacon, salami, hot dogs and ham.”
God has been telling us in His Word to avoid eating pork and pork products.
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 are the fiery stones mentioned in Ezekiel 28:14, 16?
Ezekiel 28:14, 16 states:
“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones… And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.”
Many commentaries completely misunderstand this entire passage and wrongfully assume that a human king is being addressed here. Based on this false assumption, their interpretation of the fiery stones is equally wrong.
We explain the events described, beginning in Ezekiel 28:11 about the “king of Tyre,” in our free booklet, Angels, Demons and the Spirit World, in Part 2 and the sub-chapter on “Lucifer and Satan,” showing that the Bible addresses here Satan, not a human being:
“The Bible reveals that God created all of the angels. They were not created as robots, but as spirit beings with the power to choose and to decide. One high-ranking angel, a cherub by the name of Lucifer, rebelled and sinned against God (Isaiah 14:12–15; Ezekiel 28:11–17). Lucifer wanted to ‘ascend to heaven’ to dethrone God (Isaiah 14:13). He wanted to ‘ascend above the heights of the clouds’ (Isaiah 14:14). This shows us that he was here on earth, because he wanted to ascend above the clouds of the earth to go to heaven. When he sinned, he was thrown back to this earth (Isaiah 14:12). He became Satan, which means enemy or adversary. Lucifer, or Satan, was already here on earth when Adam and Eve were created. We are told that the serpent was already here in order to deceive Eve when Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden. The serpent is identified as Satan the devil (Revelation 12:9). Since Satan appeared to the first man and his wife as the deceiver, he must have lived on this earth prior to man as Lucifer—when he was not yet the deceiver—before he tried to ‘ascend to heaven.’
“Actually, before he was sent to earth, Lucifer had been trained in heaven before the very throne of God, and he had angels under his command. We read in Ezekiel 28:14 that he was the anointed cherub who covers. Recall that the cherubs covered the throne of God when God appeared to Moses in the Tabernacle. Also, we read in Ezekiel 28:14 that Lucifer was on the holy mountain of God in heaven (compare Hebrews 12:22). When he sinned by trying to ascend from this earth to heaven to dethrone God, he was cast out of the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:16). Christ later said that He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18).
“In the Hebrew, the word translated as ‘Lucifer’ in the Authorized Version and in many other translations, is ‘helel,’ or ‘heylel,’ which means ‘lightbringer,’ ‘shining one,’ ‘morning star,’ or ‘shining star of the dawn.’ The word ‘Lucifer’ is the Latin translation of the Hebrew word ‘helel,’ or ‘heylel,’ conveying exactly the same meaning. It is therefore appropriate to use this word in describing the cherub who later became Satan (‘sawtwan’ in Hebrew).
“Satan, the prince of darkness, is still ruling on this earth. Revelation 2:13 tells us expressly that Satan has a ‘throne’ here on earth. He holds the people of this world captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26). He has authority over all the kingdoms of this world (Luke 4:5–7). He is called the ‘ruler of this world’ in John 14:30. He is even called the ‘god of this age’ in 2 Corinthians 4:4. Satan is called ‘the prince of the power of the air’ in Ephesians 2:2.”
Compare also our Q&A, addressing the parallelism between the prince of Tyre (the end-time false prophet) and the king of Tyre (Satan).
Before addressing in particular the “fiery stones,” we need to understand that there are many “things” in heaven, where God dwells, which are spiritual and composed of spirit, but they are very real… in fact, even more real than physical things.
We explain the following in part 3 of our above-mentioned booklet Angels, Demons and the Spirit World about the existence of “things” in heaven, under the sub-chapter, “Spiritual Objects”:
“The Spirit world is not limited to God and His angels. Revelation 3:5 speaks of a ‘Book of Life.’ Revelation 4:2 mentions a ‘throne set in heaven.’ Revelation 4:4 describes several thrones in heaven. Revelation 4:6 speaks of a ‘sea of glass’ before the throne in heaven. In addition, Revelation 5:1 mentions a spiritual scroll, sealed with seven spiritual seals. Revelation 5:8 talks about a spiritual harp and golden bowls. Revelation 8:2–5 reveals the existence of a spiritual golden censer, a spiritual golden altar, and even spiritual fire.
“We are informed in the book of Hebrews that all of these spiritual objects were used as a pattern for the creation of physical objects at the time of Moses. We read in Hebrews 9:23–24, in the Living Bible: ‘That is why the sacred tent down here on earth, and everything in it—all copied from things in heaven—all had to be made pure by Moses in this way…But the REAL things in heaven, of which these down here are copies, were made pure with far more precious offerings… It was not in the earthly place of worship that He did this, for that was merely a copy of the REAL TEMPLE IN HEAVEN.’
“So, there is a spiritual temple in heaven (Revelation 11:19; 15:5–6, 8). Further, we read about the temple of the tabernacle. God showed Moses exactly on the mountain how to build the earthly tabernacle. Time and again we read (Exodus 25:9; 25:40; 26:30; and 27:8) that God showed Moses a pattern as to how to build the tabernacle, the altar, the golden lamp stand and the sanctuary. God showed Moses what the real spiritual heavenly things look like. Moses was also instructed to form two cherubim, which were to cover the mercy seat. Again, God showed Moses, if he did not already know, what cherubim look like.
“The Bible even tells us that there is a spiritual mountain in heaven. Isaiah 14:13 reports that Satan, formerly Lucifer, said: ‘I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation.’ Ezekiel 28:14 adds what God said about Lucifer: ‘You were the anointed cherub who covers…You were on the holy mountain of God.’ This spiritual mountain of God in heaven is also described in Hebrews 12:18–24.”
“… Ezekiel 28:13–16 adds that Lucifer, who became Satan, was in the garden of God at the time of his creation, long before there ever was a physical world. So we see that there is a spiritual garden of God, a Paradise, in heaven… The physical garden of Eden, which God later created for Adam and Eve, was patterned after the spiritual garden that exists in heaven, and in which is a spiritual tree of life…”
Regarding the fact that Lucifer walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones and that he sinned and was “destroyed” from the midst of the fiery stones, we want to clarify first that the meaning of “destroy” does not convey here the concept of obliteration of extinction.
The word for “destroy” in Ezekiel 28:16 is abad and means, according to Strong’s Hebrew 6: “To wander away, lose oneself, by implication to perish… to fall.”
Here, the word cannot have the meaning of extinction, as Satan was expelled from the spiritual garden of Eden in heaven and thrown down to the earth. His fall from heaven to this earth did not obliterate him; he is still on this earth and called the ruler of this present evil age.
The New International Version renders the verse: “Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.”
The New Living Translation states: “Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire.”
The Berean Study Bible says: “By the vastness of your trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mountain of God, and I banished you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.”
Many commentaries claim the fiery stones refer to true Christians. This cannot be true, as Satan fell from heaven and was thrown to the earth BEFORE the creation of human beings.
Some commentaries, who seem to understand that the Scripture in Ezekiel 28:14 talks about a spirit being—Lucifer who became Satan the devil—and not a physical king, draw a connection to God, but only in very unspecific terms.
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says about the stones of fire that some claim “… the imagery [is] similar to that in Revelation 2:1, and… suppose the prophet to have had in mind such a passage as Exodus 24:10, where a paved work of sapphire stone appears as beneath the feet of God, while His glory is ‘like a devouring fire.’”
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states that “probably there is some reference to the phenomena attending the divine presence and manifestation.”
The Pulpit Commentary points out: “The words (‘In the midst of the stones of fire’) receive their interpretation partly from Genesis 3:24; partly from 2 Samuel 22:9, 15… The cherub’s sword of fire is identified with the lightning-flash, and that in its turn with the thunderbolts of God. Out of the throne of God went thunders and lightnings (Exodus 19:16).”
Even though especially the last explanation is interesting, none of these explanations seem to get to the crux of the matter, as they neglect to focus on the fiery STONES.
It is true that fire could be an allusion to God’s throne in heaven or its surroundings (Daniel 7:9; Revelation 8:5). God Himself is sometimes associated with fire (Exodus 24:17; Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 2:18; 19:12).
In addition to the cherubim’s fiery sword mentioned in Genesis 3:24, another interesting and more compelling reference can be found in Isaiah 6:6, stating: “Then one of the seraphim [high-ranking angelic beings] flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the tongs of the altar…” This live or “burning” coal (Revised Standard Version) or, one might say, this coal of fire, was taken from the altar of God, showing the close proximity of angels to fiery coals or fiery stones.
But coals of fire or fiery stones are also used in the Bible as a reference to attributes of angels or, better yet, angels themselves. In Ezekiel 10:2, 6-7 “coals of fire from among the cherubim” are mentioned, and in Ezekiel 1:13, cherubim are themselves described in this way: “… their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning.” Psalm 104:4 describes God’s angels as “a flame of fire” (compare Hebrews 1:7); see also Daniel 10:6 (apparently describing Gabriel in his glory); 2 Kings 2:11 and 2 Kings 6:17 (referring to angels as horses of fire); and Revelation 10:1 (a powerful angel).
Revelation 4:5 describes seven angelic beings as lamps of fire burning before God’s throne. Combined with the fact that especially high-ranking angelic beings such as cherubim are associated in the book of Ezekiel with or even described as “coals of fire,” it is most likely that the allusion to Lucifer walking in the midst of fiery stones refers to the cherub Lucifer walking among and having company with other cherubim and powerful angelic beings, but that he was then banished from their holy presence when he sinned and, as Satan, fell from heaven.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Our newest booklet, “How Can We Know That Christ’s Return is Near?” has been finalized for printing. It is now posted on our website, and copies will be sent to our subscribers once printing is finished.
“Are Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism Connected?” is the title of this week’s new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
The Algemeiner wrote on May 20: “… it’s often the case that where you find anti-Semitism, you will also find an associated anti-Americanism.” Why is this so, and how do both forms of prejudice manifest themselves? The article uses Britain’s hard-left Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as a prime example. In addition, there is a third form of prejudice which is closely connected with anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. Which is it, and why is there such a connection?
“Luzifer inmitten feuriger Steine,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Lucifer in the Midst of Fiery Stones.”
“Von welchem Kelch werden Sie trinken?” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Mike Richter. Title in English: “From Which Cup are You Going to Drink?”
“No Other Gods,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The first commandment forms the foundation upon which all godly obedience stands. How long has it been in effect?
“Preparing for Kingship,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We were created to become part of God’s Family. The world denies this fundamental truth, even among professing Christianity. Our individual role as part of God’s great plan is to prepare ourselves to become part of the Family of God.
How This Work is Financed
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