August 2, 2019
“Can You Follow God as a Young Person? — Not Only for Kids and Teens!”
On August 3, 2019, Norbert Link will present, “Comments on News and Prophecy (August 3, 2019)” and the sermon, titled, “Can You Follow God as a Young Person? — Not Only for Kids and Teens!”
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 Much Do We Appreciate the Availability of God’s Word?
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
Being grateful in our lives is a very important characteristic we must have to please God. We are instructed in Ephesians 5:20 to be “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And one of those “all” things is God’s Word, the Bible.
In this day and age, it is easy to take for granted the opportunity we have to purchase Bibles so very readily. We can go to a local bookstore which usually has at least one version of the Bible available. We can order one of many different translations on-line. There are even free downloads of some older biblical versions available. But do we acknowledge that this ability is actually a great blessing for us that is not available in some countries and has not been available at all in past times?
Here in Melbourne, Australia, a city with a population of just under five million, the number of religious bookstores has been reduced over the last forty years with some Protestant stores closing or going to on-line ordering only. General bookstores usually stock one or a few modern versions of the Bible amongst various other religious books like the Koran and books on Buddhism. So probably due to reduced demand, the availability of Bibles is not as convenient as it once was.
But still there are no restrictions in most of the Western World yet on purchasing Bibles. In some countries, Bibles are restricted or even totally banned. In North Korea, being caught possessing a Bible can result in a fifteen-year sentence to a labour camp or even death. In some Islamic or communist countries, obtaining Bibles can be quite difficult. For example, in China, the most populous country in the world, the sale of Bibles is government-controlled. The government is actually preparing a new approved translation with a “correct understanding” favourable to the Chinese Communist Party.
When we look into God’s Word, it appears that in New Testament times the Old Testament Scriptures were readily available. In Acts 8:27-28 we read that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah. Because of his position, he may have been able to obtain the Old Testament without any difficulty. However, another mention of the Scriptures being readily available, perhaps in public libraries, occurs in Acts 17:10-11 in the city of Berea. Here we read, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” It appears that these attendees of the synagogue, Jews and Gentiles, were able to read the Scriptures as often as they wanted to.
2 Timothy 3:15 indicates that Timothy had access to the Scriptures in some manner all of his life. For we read, “And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” This seems to indicate that either his family had access to the Scriptures or that Timothy was taught from them regularly in the synagogue.
The manner in which Christ and the apostles quoted the Old Testament Scriptures throughout the New Testament indicated that their listeners were familiar with what was being said. Many of the various audiences obviously knew the Scriptures and there is no indication that anyone claimed the Scriptures were in any way misquoted.
So that is the situation today and the situation in New Testament times, but what about between these times? Early on there were some translations into languages like Armenian and Coptic (Egyptian).
Focusing on translations in Britain, over time quite a large part of the Bible was translated into various languages used in the British Islands. In the mid-14th century however, English became the language of Britain, and the older translations became effectively unintelligible to the population. The Latin Vulgate existed, but by this time almost nobody could read Latin. So now the Bible was basically unobtainable in England. However, it was necessary that English translations would become available, as God’s Word was to spread from England to the New World.
Near the end of this century, in about 1382, John Wycliffe and his associates translated the whole of the Bible from Latin into English. So, the Bible became available to be read by the people, but since copies were hand-written, they could cost a year’s salary. This was a very great barrier for most people. A further consideration was that the Catholic Church was totally against any English translation and condemned John Wycliffe. While he was not put to death, later his bones were exhumed and scattered far from a Church burial site.
In 1408 in Oxford, Archbishop Arundel produced a law forbidding anyone to translate the Scriptures into the common language, and to even have a copy of it could, and did, lead to the death penalty. Many were burnt at the stake purely for possessing a Bible in English.
The next major event in the production of the English Bible was with the arrival of William Tyndale. In 1526 he translated the New Testament from the Greek text provided by Erasmus and later the Old Testament from Genesis to 2nd Chronicles and the book of Jonah from the Hebrew text. His New Testament was sold as a printed edition which made it much cheaper to purchase. However, to try to prevent its circulation, the bishop of London bought and burnt as many copies as he could obtain. Various ways were tried to smuggle copies into England to prevent them from being confiscated.
Tyndale was arrested and burnt at the stake for his efforts. About a year after his death, Miles Coverdale and John Rogers in 1536 produced a complete English Bible, beginning with William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament and part of the Old Testament from the original languages, and finishing with Miles Coverdale’s translation of the rest of the Old Testament from the German and Latin languages. For this effort, Miles Coverdale had to flee to Europe to save his life, and John Rogers was burnt at the stake. This version of the Bible, named the Thomas Matthew Bible, formed the basis of the King James Bible or the Authorized Version and other modern versions.
So, from this we can see that obtaining a copy of the Bible has not always been easy. In fact, we find that the blood of men has been shed in order that the ordinary person could obtain a copy of the Word of God.
So then, when we think how easy it is today to obtain our own personal copies of the Bible, we can be thankful that some have laboured long and hard and in constant danger to make this possible. We should consider this convenient access to His Word a great blessing that God has provided for us and give Him thanks for it always.
by Norbert Link
We begin with eye-opening articles on the true and deeply concerning state of America’s military and the unsettling practical application of the US Presidency’s war powers; and we continue with concerns about the future of the US economy and the disturbing fact that America’s allies disassociate themselves more and more from the US.
We address another political decision of the US Supreme Court; strange happenings at the Mexican border; and the announcement of a proposed controversial treaty between the USA and Guatemala.
We continue with doubts about the sincerity of “flip-flopping” Boris Johnson, as well as some interesting news about his close connections to Israel; the new-found friendship between China and Russia; and with deeply alarming developments regarding a brutal and violent crackdown by the Russian government on opponents and dissidents, including the charge of attempted poisoning of Russia’s most popular opposition leader.
We speak on China’s persecution of Christians and other disconcerting developments; the shameful European conduct in regard to UN anti-Israel resolutions; the ongoing desire and demand for the building of the Third Temple [please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “What Will Europe Do When the Third Temple Is Being Built?”;] and new unproven dirty allegations against Austria’s former chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
We conclude with frightening news about Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri; an overview over earthquakes in Europe and other places; and interesting ideas as to how to deal with the current recycling crisis.
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
How Strong Is the US Military?
The Atlantic wrote on July 27:
“Contrary to President Donald Trump’s assertion that ‘our nation is stronger today than it ever was before,’ the ‘Salute to America’ [parade during the 4th of July celebrations] looked more like a military antiques road show than a display of a 21st-century military power.
“The age of the current force was most apparent in the Army hardware on display… The M-1A2 Abrams tanks and M-2 Bradley infantry combat vehicles… represent a generation of armored vehicles that were designed in the 1970s and procured in large numbers during the 1980s. More than three decades later, they remain, albeit with modification, the mainstay of the U.S. Army and have been used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The aircraft that flew over the capital echoed the theme of an advanced but aging force. The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was another product of the Reagan defense buildup. Although it is an impressive aircraft able to evade enemy radar, the U.S. Air Force has fewer than 20 of them—far short of the 132 the Air Force originally envisioned purchasing when the bomber first took flight in 1988, and its successor, the B-21 Raider, has yet to make its first flight. The two F-22 Raptors that flanked it are newer aircraft but, like the B-2, exist in only small numbers (187 rather than the 750 originally envisioned)…
“America’s non-stealthy aircraft are becoming more vulnerable. Decades after it was introduced, stealth is still working its way into the U.S. military—in the form of the F-35 plane that the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps are procuring. In the meantime, most U.S. combat aircraft are not stealthy and are less and less useful in high-threat environments. Indeed, as a result of a lack of aircraft-modernization programs over the past 30 years, the Air Force’s fighter force is half the size it was when the Berlin Wall fell, and has reached an unprecedented average age of 26 years…
“Moreover, military displays like the one on July 4 obscure the fact that the U.S. armed forces are still largely organized the way they were a generation ago and employ tactics that have seen only marginal change from those employed in past wars…
“The United States tends not to parade its nuclear forces in public. Had Trump done so, the public would have seen not row upon row of new missiles, such as those that have appeared in recent Russian and Chinese parades, but rather a force of land- and sea-based missiles and bombers that date back to the late Cold War or its immediate aftermath…
“The wars of the future may depend not so much on the kinds of things you can put on parade, but on new technologies that reimagine warfare. Adversaries have invested in blunting America’s ability to project military power abroad, including by striking critical bases of operations, disabling information networks, and interfering with communication, navigation, and imagery satellites that support military operations…”
In light of these facts, it might perhaps not be all that stunning to realize that the US will lose its biblically prophesied war with Europe.
US Costliest Warship Cannot Carry Ammunition
Bloomberg wrote on July 30:
“Only two of 11 elevators needed to lift munitions to the deck of the U.S. Navy’s new $13 billion aircraft carrier (the costliest warship ever) have been installed… It’s another setback for contractor Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. — and for the Navy, which had said in December it planned to complete installation and testing of all 11 elevators before the Ford completed its post-delivery shakedown phase this month… Instead, the shakedown phase has been extended to October and the vessel won’t have all the elevators installed — much less functioning — by then… Essentially, the ship can’t deploy… It can’t carry ammunition…
“The elevators aren’t the only issue plaguing the ship, which has had problems with two other core systems — the electromagnetic system to launch planes and the arresting gear to catch them when they land… ‘I am concerned overall that the Navy is under-equipped in key areas,” the Oklahoma Republican [Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe] said in a statement. ‘The USS Gerald R. Ford is a prime example of that — delivered nearly two years late, billions over budget, and 9 of 11 weapons elevators still don’t work, with costs continuing to grow’…”
The US President’s War Powers
The Week wrote on July 28:
“The U.S. is currently conducting military operations in at least seven countries. In addition to Afghanistan and Iraq, American forces are involved in conflicts in Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Niger, and Libya. Most of these campaigns are being carried out under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which Congress passed just a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The 60-word resolution granted the president sweeping powers to use force against any nation, organization, or person who aided in the attacks. That was understood to include Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network al Qaida and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The Constitution gives Congress the sole power to ‘declare war,’ but since 2001, presidents have repeatedly used the AUMF to justify military operations around the globe. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently suggested President Trump had the authority to unilaterally order a war against Iran because of the AUMF.
“Can Trump do that? Legally, it’s a big stretch. Pompeo has told Congress that Iran has ‘very real’ ties with al Qaida. Intelligence analysts, however, are highly skeptical… there is no evidence of active collaboration between Iran’s Shiite rulers and Sunni-dominated al Qaida. So, the Trump administration’s trial balloon on Iran has alarmed members of both parties in Congress…
“Presidents Bush and Obama invoked the AUMF at least 37 times for military actions in 14 countries and at sea. Obama invoked it to strike ISIS in the Middle East and al–Shabab in East Africa—terrorist groups that didn’t exist on Sept. 11, 2001. Obama administration lawyers argued that those groups were ‘associated forces’ of al Qaida, so the law still applied. But even before the AUMF, American presidents had steadily expanded their war powers over the last century.
“Through what authority? Through their role as commander in chief of the military. The Framers acknowledged that the president should be able to order a military response to an emergency, such as a foreign attack on the U.S., without a formal declaration of war. American presidents have steadily expanded the definition of ‘emergency’; as a result, the U.S. has had only five declared wars in its history, the last of which was World War II. President Truman didn’t seek congressional approval for the Korean War – which lasted for three years and cost the lives of 40,000 Americans – by describing it as a ‘police action’ under United Nations rules. The small American presence in South Vietnam metastasized into a full-blown… undeclared war [which] lasted until 1975, killing more than 58,000 Americans and more than 1.3 million people altogether…
“In 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which required the president to seek congressional approval for any conflicts lasting more than 60 days. Presidents have mostly just ignored it. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all used loose interpretations of ‘national emergency’ to justify interventions in conflicts in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, and Bosnia. Obama argued that the War Powers Resolution didn’t apply to airstrikes in Libya because they wouldn’t involve ground troops or the ‘sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire.’ The Obama and Trump administrations have used a similar rationale to justify supporting Saudi Arabia’s brutal campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Trump used the same legal framework for airstrikes on Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria last year.
“Why doesn’t Congress object? It often does, but it’s nearly impossible to rein in the president without overwhelming, veto-proof congressional majorities. Congress passed a bipartisan bill in April demanding that Trump remove all troops involved in ‘hostilities’ in Yemen, but the president simply vetoed it… In many cases, Congress has actually preferred to let the president take the lead on military action abroad. When Obama asked Congress in 2013 to authorize military strikes against Syria in retaliation for chemical weapons attacks against civilians, the Senate refused even to hold a vote…”
So, practically, the power of the US President to declare and wage war is seemingly unrestricted. This should be of great interest to every American—and to American allies and foes alike.
US Economy Slows
npr wrote on July 26:
“U.S. economic growth fell to a 2.1% annual rate in the second quarter — down from a 3.1% pace in the first three months of 2019… President Trump has targeted a growth rate of 3% or above, citing the Republican tax cuts passed in 2017. But some studies have found that the tax cuts passed have done little to boost growth, in part because most of the benefit went to wealthy people and corporations.
“A 5.2% drop in exports — amid economic weakness in Europe and elsewhere as well as the U.S. trade war with China and other countries — contributed to the slowdown… In addition… the Commerce Department cited a number of other factors for the slowdown, including drops in business investment and investments in commercial and residential real estate. But consumer spending jumped 4.3% in the second quarter and government spending surged 5%….
“The economic slowdown comes even as unemployment, at 3.7%, is at near 50-year lows. Over the past three months, employers have added an average of 171,000 jobs each month. The trade war has taken a toll on manufacturing, and Boeing’s ongoing problems with the grounding of its top-selling 737 Max have also hurt the economy, analysts say… ‘We’re already seeing some signs of slowing momentum in the U.S. economy and slowing business investment overall,’ Greg Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, told NPR’s Jim Zarroli [said].”
The question in light of this is as to how long the low unemployment figures and the high consumer spending can be maintained.
Fed Cuts Interest Rates – Why?
The Week wrote on July 31:
“The Federal Reserve announced its first interest rate cut in a decade on Wednesday…
“It’s unusual for the Fed to cut rates as data show ‘above trend growth’ and such a strong labor market, rather than waiting to offer stimulus when the economy is heading into trouble, said Ethan Harris, head of global economic research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. ‘There’s no historical precedent,’ he said.”
The Democratic Debate: Socialists vs. Moderates
AFP wrote on July 31:
“The ideological divide between Democratic presidential hopefuls came into focus Tuesday as leading progressive candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defended their liberal policies on healthcare and immigration against surprisingly energetic attacks from moderate rivals. The fault lines emerged immediately in the second debate of the 2020 Democratic primary race, with lesser-known candidates taking sharp digs and warning that forcing radical change could ensure President Donald Trump’s re-election…
“[Warren] and Sanders faced dramatic pushback including from ex-congressman John Delaney who delivered a scathing rebuke to their ‘fairy tale economics’ that risk bankrupting the economy… Warren and Sanders… are essentially tied for second, at about half Biden’s support…”
Second Democratic Debate
Fox News reported on August 1:
“Former Vice President Joe Biden dominated the debate stage and weathered the attacks of nine opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination Wednesday night, emerging the clear winner… [He] delivered his message compellingly and convincingly. Even during his less strong moments, Biden remained the focal point of the conversation, speaking for over 21 minutes – more than any other candidate on stage…
“Despite Biden’s strong performance and solid frontrunner status, it is clear that the party has seismically shifted away from the centrist Democratic Party of the 1990’s…”
US Allies Are Distancing Themselves from America
The Atlantic wrote on July 27:
“Two of America’s closest treaty allies have announced military efforts explicitly designed to exclude the United States. Australia is ‘seeking to cement its status as the security partner of choice for Pacific nations’ by establishing an expeditionary training force. And the United Kingdom wants to create a multinational force to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.
“It’s not a coincidence that allies are striking out on their own. Countries in the Pacific worry that the U.S. is forcing them to choose between their economic connections to China and their security relationships with the U.S…
“America’s friends are choosing to dissociate themselves, believing their interests are better served without American strength. It seems the rest of the world is losing faith that the U.S. is a reliable partner… The U.S. is ceasing to be a country that its allies come to for help solving problems. On the contrary, America’s allies think the U.S. is the cause of their increasingly tenuous security… [US] relations with close allies have frayed in systemically significant ways…”
The Algemeiner wrote on July 26:
“Denmark said on Friday it welcomed a British government proposal for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and would consider a military maritime contribution… The initiative won initial support from Denmark, France and Italy… The backing contrasts with a lukewarm response shown by European allies to a similar American call first voiced at NATO in late June, which was resisted by France and Germany. They worried the US-led military alliance would be dragged into a possible confrontation with Iran.
“EU-member Denmark is among the world’s biggest seafaring nations and home to the world’s biggest container shipping firm AP Moller-Maersk, which sails in the high-tension area. ‘The Royal Danish Navy is strong and capable and would be able to contribute actively and effectively to this type of engagement,’ said Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen. A final decision would still need to be discussed in parliament.”
Germany Refuses to Assist USA
Breitbart wrote on July 31:
“The U.S. has requested naval cooperation from Germany in the Strait of Hormuz as tensions with Iran escalate, but the political leaders of the European nation have refused to assist their NATO allies. The German Federal Foreign Office said that Washington has approached them to contribute to a new surveillance mission in the Persian Gulf but had rejected the appeal saying there was no prospect of a contribution, German tabloid Bild reports.
“Germany’s allies, including the U.S. and the UK, have been attacked in the Persian Gulf by Iran in recent months. and under the doctrine of collective defence guaranteed by the NATO alliance, Germany is duty-bound to come to the aid of its allies if asked. Yet senior members of Angela Merkel’s left-centrist coalition government have made clear working with the U.S. is out of the question.”
Trade Deal between US and UK?
The Guardian wrote on July 31:
“Boris Johnson has presented a trade deal with the US as a way of offsetting the economic costs of leaving the EU, and Donald Trump promised the two countries could strike ‘a very substantial trade agreement’ that would increase trade ‘four or five times’. Trump, however, would not be able to push an agreement through a hostile Congress, where there would be strong bipartisan opposition to any UK trade deal in the event of a threat to the 1998 Good Friday agreement, and to the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic…
“[Republican] Pete King [said] his party would have no compunction about defying Trump over the issue…
“For the past eight months, Congress has held up ratification of a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, the USMCA, which Trump has presented as an extraordinary achievement… Representative King said a UK trade deal would face even greater obstacles…
“The Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has said that a US-UK trade deal has ‘no chance whatsoever’ of passing in Congress…”
Partisan Decision of US Supreme Court to Support Trump’s Wall
Breitbart wrote on July 26:
“The U.S. Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump to begin building the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border using emergency funds, lifting an injunction Friday that had been imposed by a district court in California and upheld by the Ninth Circuit.
“After Congress refused to appropriate enough funding to build a barrier along the border earlier this year, President Trump declared a national emergency to allow the administration to access more money. In total, he ordered $8 billion spent — though, as Breitbart News pointed out, only $3.6 billion needed an emergency declaration.
“The decision was largely along partisan lines, with all five Republican-appointed justices voting to lift the injunction, while all three liberal justices were opposed…”
As can be seen from this example, the US Supreme Court has become—or has always been—a political force. The decision is difficult to comprehend from just a merely legal standpoint.
Strange Happenings at the Mexican Border
World News Daily Report wrote on July 24:
“A group of Minutemen watching the Mexican Border for illegal migrants and drug traffickers, have proceeded to the citizen arrest of two men in an SUV, carrying 1300 pounds of cocaine. The volunteers were completely astonished when the two arrestees pulled out CIA ID cards and explained they were actually carrying the drug as part of their duties and that the cargo belonged to the Central Intelligence Agency.
“… the CIA spokesperson, Dean Boyd, has officially denied any link between the organization and the two men… Both the border patrol officers and minutemen seem unconvinced, however, and many of them seem to believe that the secret service agency is hiding something… Both the FBI and the DEA have announced that they would collaborate with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in this case, which has already attracted a lot of attention in Southern Texas.”
One does wonder…
U.S., Guatemala Sign Treaty Denying U.S. Asylum to Migrants
The Week wrote on July 27:
“President Trump on Friday announced an agreement with Guatemala that will require migrants traveling through the country to seek asylum there rather than the United States. American officials said the deal could go into effect within weeks, but critics are expected to challenge it in court, arguing that Guatemala is one of the world’s most dangerous countries and, therefore, should not be considered a place of refuge for those fleeing violence.
“Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has also granted multiple injunctions on the deal preventing the government from entering into it without congressional approval. American asylum laws require that almost all asylum seekers who arrive at the U.S. border be allowed to seek refuge in the country, unless they passed through a ‘safe third’ country, which is what Guatemala would be considered if the deal does go into effect.”
Even though the proposed deal was described by the conservative media as a great victory for Donald Trump, it faces substantial legal challenges in both countries.
Believing Flip-Flopping Boris Johnson?
Breitbart wrote on July 27:
“Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Philips has warned that ‘we can’t believe Boris’ on his pledges to deliver Brexit… [She] joked that his colleagues should keep count of how many times Prime Minister Johnson pledges to take the UK out of the EU on October 31st, after his predecessor Theresa May stated 108 times that the UK would leave on March 29th. Ms Philips remarked: ‘No, we can’t believe Boris because this is the man who first of all reportedly wrote two different versions of his columns to The Telegraph on whether we should Remain or Leave.’
“Mr Johnson has u-turned on a number of positions in the past, including having voted for Mrs May’s withdrawal treaty on its third vote in the House of Commons, despite having voted it down twice before on grounds that it would reduce the United Kingdom to a ‘vassal state’ or ‘colony’ of the EU…
“Show host Martin Daubney revived the possibility of a Nigel Farage-Boris Johnson election pact… Mr Farage also shared his colleague’s scepticism that the Tory government under Johnson would deliver Brexit, saying: ‘I don’t believe a single word the Conservative Party tell us. Theresa May told us 108 times we were leaving on March 29th and we didn’t, so just because Boris says we’re leaving on the 31st of October doesn’t mean we’re going to.’”
Nigel Farage also said that unless an election pact between him and Boris Johnson is formed, Mr. Johnson will not succeed. On the other hand, he might carry out Brexit—even without a deal. Also note the next interesting article about his close relationship to Israel.
Johnson a Passionate Zionist
Breaking Israel News wrote on July 24:
“Boris Johnson[’s] Jewish ancestry and personal experiences volunteering on an Israeli kibbutz as a young man positively impact his feelings about the Land of Israel and the Jewish people… He has great-grandparents who were Christian, Muslim, and Jewish and sometimes refers to himself as a ‘one-man melting pot.’
“Johnson’s maternal great-grandfather was a Russian Jewish immigrant… [he] was not a practicing Jew but was descendent of a strictly Orthodox Jewish rabbi from Lithuania. Throughout his political career, Johnson has been a strong advocate for Israel. Writing for The Jewish Chronicle, Daniella Peled reported in 2007 that Johnson is, ‘an enemy of politically correct anti-Zionism and immensely proud of his own Jewish ancestry.’ She quoted Johnson saying, ‘I feel Jewish when I feel the Jewish people are threatened or under attack, that’s when it sort of comes out. When I suddenly get a whiff of antisemitism, it’s then that you feel angry and protective.’
“In addition to his Jewish ancestry, Johnson has even stronger ties to Israel through his Jewish stepmother… Johnson refers to himself as a ‘passionate Zionist’ who ‘loves the great country’ of Israel… British politicians rarely call themselves ‘Zionists.’…”
Pound Could Hit Historic Low
The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 30:
“The new U.K. government’s tough line on Brexit negotiations is pummeling the pound, reflecting increased investor fears the country could crash out of the European Union without an exit agreement… Two days of heavy selling have raised fears that sterling is heading toward its lowest level against the dollar in more than 34 years…
“‘People had thought that Boris Johnson may soften his stance once he was in power, but now the market is realizing that a no-deal Brexit is a very real possibility,’ said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors in London… The pound could fall to $1.18 as Oct. 31 approaches, she said… Analysts are now placing the probability of a no-deal Brexit between 35% and 45%, up from 20% to 30% at the start of July.”
Russia and China Best Friends
The Guardian wrote on July 27:
“Now that Putin is Xi’s ‘best and bosom friend’, where does that leave the west? An ever closer alliance between Beijing and Moscow has the Pentagon worried as a threat to US power in east Asia…
“A China-Russia axis is not a new idea but the question is gaining in topicality. Look no further than last week’s aerial confrontation over the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. For the first time, China and Russia joined forces to mount an air patrol using long-range bombers and spy planes…
“China and Russia agree on many issues, principally the obsolescence of liberal democracy and the attractions of authoritarian governance. When Putin hosted Xi Jinping in Moscow in June, they celebrated a 30% year-on-year increase in bilateral trade and signed various cooperation deals. Russia is selling China its latest weaponry, including S400 ground-to-air missiles and SU-35 jets.
“Bigger, more frequent joint military exercises are planned… Putin has met Xi about 30 times since 2013. Xi calls him his ‘best and bosom friend’. All this… is deeply troubling, not just for Pentagon war-gamers but also for western allies… Trump’s two summit meetings with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, have failed to produce any movement on denuclearisation. Now things are beginning to unravel. On Thursday, Pyongyang resumed ballistic missile testing.
“Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, while pursuing improved relations with China, also wants his country to be more self-reliant militarily. But he failed to secure a mandate to change Tokyo’s pacifist constitution in last weekend’s Upper House elections. That has tied his hands – which suits China and Russia just fine.
“Compared with Japan, South Korea’s relations with China are less encumbered by historical baggage. But the large American military presence there is a constant irritant… The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, lamely agreed this year to shelve bilateral territorial and fishing disputes under pressure from Xi. Cambodia has reportedly agreed to host a Chinese naval base, although it officially denies it.
“Meanwhile China, sensing division and weakness, is noisily amplifying its longstanding objections to US (and British) geopolitical ‘meddling’. After more violence in Hong Kong last week, it pointedly told the US to remove its ‘black hand’. Xi is simultaneously ramping up pressure on US-protected Taiwan… Beijing vowed to ‘resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs’.
“This sterner-than-usual warning follows Washington’s decision to supply $2.2bn (£1.8bn) in arms to Taiwan and a heightened US naval presence in the Taiwan Strait. Yet despite these American moves, Taiwan, in common with other rattled regional friends and allies, doubts Trump can be counted on…”
The Bible prophesies that a strong economic and military power bloc will be forming in the Far East, consisting of countries such as China, Russia and others. This power bloc will turn out to be hostile towards the West, especially continental Europe.
Crackdown on Russia’s Opposition
Deutsche Welle reported on July 27:
“Police in Moscow said they arrested more than 1,000 people [newer accounts put the number in excess of 1,400] on Saturday during an unauthorized rally to demand fair upcoming elections in Russia’s capital city. Around 3,500 people took to the streets, according to media reports [but the real figure was undoubtedly much higher, according to other press releases], in a demonstration which lasted more than seven hours. Demonstrators were protesting a decision by Moscow’s electoral authorities to keep several opposition members off the ballot for a city council election in September…
“Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition activist, had called for people to attend the rally. He was jailed for 30 days on Wednesday for organizing ‘unauthorized’ demonstrations… [Deutsche Welle wrote on July 28: “It’s not the first time Russian authorities have detained Navalny. The European Court of Human Rights last year ruled that Russia’s arrests and detention of Navalny in 2012 and 2014 were politically motivated and breached his human rights, a verdict Moscow rejected.”]
“Last weekend, 22,000 people attended a protest in Moscow to protest the ban on opposition candidates, the largest such demonstration in years… anti-Kremlin parties have been steadily marginalized in Russian politics since President Vladimir Putin first took office 20 years ago…
“Sergey Dik, a journalist working in [Deutsche Welle’s] Russian department, was briefly arrested… when he… was covering the protests on behalf of DW Russia… He immediately told the police officers that he is a journalist. They asked to see his ID, at which point Dik informed them that he had his passport as well as his foreign ministry press accreditation in his backpack. As he went to show his accreditation, the special forces offers told him that it was ‘some worthless document.’
“He was then taken to a police van, which transported him, along with 20 other detainees, to the ‘Marino’ police station in southeastern Moscow. A minor and another journalist were also among those who were detained… ‘It quickly became clear that the police were simply arresting everyone arbitrarily,’ Dik said. ‘They just come here, grab someone and lead or drag that person into the police vans — young men, women and also older people — and all without knowing whether these people are actually taking part in the protest,’ he said…
“After almost an hour and a half in the police van and the station, Dik was released.”
The Guardian added on July 27:
“Police also arrived at the homes of multiple opposition figures with search and arrest warrants, and called the editor-in-chief of the country’s leading independent television station in for questioning… Taken by surprise, authorities responded over the past week by launching a series of legal procedures against various opposition figures, alternating between the sinister and the absurd.
“Alexei Navalny, the highest profile opposition politician, was arrested outside his house earlier in the week as he stepped out to go jogging and buy his wife flowers for her birthday; he has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. Others received midnight knocks on the door from investigators, who demanded to search their properties and branded them suspects in the crime of ‘hindering the work of the electoral commission’…
“Sources told Russian media outlets that a department of the FSB security services, the successor of the KGB, is running the cases against opposition leaders… ‘This is the end of Russia’s 30-year experiment with elections,’ said Grigory Yavlinsky, a veteran Russian liberal politician… Yavlinsky, who came third in the 2000 presidential election in which Putin first won the presidency, said that ‘with each year the elections are less and less real, but this is really the end’…
“Now, authorities will… have to decide whether to step back or crack down, at a time when [former KGB intelligence officer and Russian spy Vladimir] Putin’s ratings are slipping and his ruling United Russia party is widely despised…”
The Sun added on July 27:
“Demonstrators decrying the leader’s grip on power were beaten and dragged away to cells as security forces used batons to storm the crowds… Amnesty International described the security force’s ‘military’ style tactics as reaching a ‘new low’…”
Historically, Russia has always been a dictatorship, and there is really no indication that this will change—most certainly not under Vladimir Putin. When the Russian government is challenged, those in power react with brutal force.
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 29:
“Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny’s personal doctor, Anastasiya Vasilyeva, said Monday that an unidentified ‘toxic agent’ may have caused his health to deteriorate while in police custody. Navalny was rushed to a Moscow hospital on Sunday but was since reported to be in ‘satisfactory condition’ and taken back to jail. ‘… he was in a life-threatening condition,’ she told reporters. ‘And now they are sending him back to the same place where that same toxic, chemical substance might be again… This was a chemical substance – even the doctors here have admitted that…’
“Navalny’s lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, supported that assumption, saying: ‘It is indeed poisoning.’”
It is not the first time that Vladimir Putin’s government has been accused of poisoning its opponents—and at least in some cases, overwhelming evidence points at the government’s guilt.
Atheistic China Persecutes Christians
CBN wrote on July 27:
“The Chinese government continues to tighten its grip on Christianity by actively discouraging young people to engage in things of faith. Under the last year’s new Regulations on Religious Affairs legislation, schoolchildren are even encouraged to report any family members who espouse Christian views… the new policy has created fierce rifts amongst families as children are encouraged to [question] and undermine the religious beliefs of those closest to them. In addition, the youngsters are fully aware that, if they report members of their family, it could result in their arrest and prosecution…
“‘My teacher says that Christianity is an evil cult,’ one boy explained to his mother… ‘Before starting school, I told my child about God’s creation, and he believed it,’ she explained. ‘But after being taught at school, my child is like a different person. In atheistic China, these pure and innocent children have been taught to hate God.’…
“Another school screened a propaganda video in which Jesus-followers were depicted as big scary monsters. After the presentation was complete, a teacher warned that Christian relatives might ‘cast spells’ on the youngsters… students were advised to ‘supervise’ their parents to ensure that they don’t partake in any religious activities…”
Such as was done in Nazi Germany under Hitler.
Chinese Forces Gather at Hong Kong Border
news wrote on July 31:
“The White House is monitoring the sudden gathering of Chinese forces at the border with Hong Kong, in a worrying sign of escalation… following another night of unrest and clashes between protesters and police…
“Growing ranks of Hong Kong’s typically conservative and publicity-shy bureaucrats have begun an unprecedented online dissent campaign against the city’s pro-Beijing leaders… US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged China to ‘do the right thing’ by Hong Kong… China hit back immediately, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying blaming America for the protests. ‘It’s clear that Mr Pompeo has put himself in the wrong position and still regards himself as the head of the CIA,’ Ms Hua said.”
UN Anti-Israel Resolution
JTA wrote on July 26:
“Norway and six EU countries voted at the United Nations in favor of two resolutions that singled out Israel for criticism as a violator of women’s and human rights. Israel was the only country named Tuesday as a violator or trouble spot by the 54-nation UN Economic and Social Council during the session…
“The council’s rotating president is currently the Norwegian UN ambassador. France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta joined China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela and 29 other nations in supporting a resolution that says ‘that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women and girls with regard to the fulfillment of their rights.’…
“Only Canada and the United States voted against the resolution. The United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Romania and Ukraine were among the nine nations that abstained.
“Nikki Haley, the previous US ambassador to the UN, tweeted on Thursday: ‘It amazes me how the U.N. condones votes like these. It is a total mockery of human rights to allow Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and Yemen to name Israel as the world’s only violator of women’s rights…’”
Bild Online commented about the “scandalous” UN Resolution and Germany’s decision to abstain, asking Germany’s UN ambassador:
“How could Germany be silent, Herr UN-Ambassador? It is a new low point of the German conduct at the UN regarding Israel—a poor testimony for Germany’s UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen… He was not even present during this farce, but sent a replacement…”
Even though some European countries and especially the German government with its controversial UN ambassador might give lip services for the support of Israel, their actions show quite consistently a totally different and disturbing picture of anti-Israeli politics. Ultimately, European countries will even intervene militarily in the Middle East and occupy Jerusalem, as the Bible clearly predicts.
“Top Rabbi in Israel: We Must Build the Third Temple”
Breaking Israel News wrote on July 29:
“The former Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem and one of the leading rabbis in Israel today said in an interview: ‘we must do everything in our power to build the Temple’.
“Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl is an Israeli rabbi and Posek (a legal scholar who determines the position of Halakha (Jewish law) in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive, or in those situations where no clear halakhic precedent exists). He is the head of the Yeshiva (seminary) of Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, a faculty member at Yeshivat HaKotel, and Rabbi of the Ramban Synagogue. Nebenzahl used to serve as the chief rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem. Today, the post was taken over by his son, Rabbi Chizkiyahu Nebenzahl…
“The rabbi emphasized that there has never been any sort of ruling from Chazal (Jewish sages of the Mishna) that states that the Jewish people should wait for it to fall from the sky contrary to what many ultra-orthodox Jews believe. One piece of evidence Rav Nebenzahl submits comes from Midrash Rabah of Parshat Toldot, saying: ‘When the Roman Empire gave the Jews permission to build the Temple, they built it. They didn’t wait for it to fall from Heaven’.
“The rabbi added that there is a mitzvah (commandment) to build the Temple – even if we can’t yet offer sacrifices. He added that questions surrounding the renewal of Temple sacrifices should not get in the way of the Third Temple being built…”
A Third Temple will be built soon.
New Dirty Allegations against Austria’s former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz
Kleine Zeitung wrote on July 27:
“The national election campaign has already reached an all-time low. On the Internet, a new website with allegations against ÖVP chairman Sebastian Kurz has emerged. In it, the former Chancellor is accused of having been active in the 1990s as a child porn actor…
“This campaign ‘is becoming more and more the dirtiest battle there has ever been – and all with only one goal, namely, to damage Sebastian Kurz sustainably,’ ÖVP General Secretary Karl Nehammer said… Only a few days ago, Kurz was associated with rumors about drugs by the research institute ‘Zoom’, registered in Switzerland… Now it’s ‘one more step down’, says Nehammer.
“[Apart from the accusation of participation as a child porn actor in the 1990s,] there is also a mail circulating that accuses Kurz of sexual relationships with underage Syrian or Afghani [hustlers], Nehammer [reported]…
“As contact, a Dr. Siegfried Mayr is mentioned on the website… Mayr said Saturday afternoon that the site was authentic and the allegations against Kurz were substantiated by witnesses…
“Nehammer [stated:] ‘What is happening here in regard to allegations, rumors, slander and insults, is a systematic… filthy campaign against Sebastian Kurz… With Dirty Campaigning they want to permanently damage Kurz.’ The ÖVP Secretary General announced legal action against the partially unknown actors and has reportedly forwarded the ‘fake mail’ to data-forensic investigations to identify the authors…
“With similar words, Kurz responded himself Sunday on Facebook: ‘The last few days have highlighted the degree of horror [or gruesomeness] that this campaign will bring,’ Kurz writes… He believes that one wants to suppress his policy. The 2017 election campaign was apparently just a foretaste. ‘From the left and from the right, new innuendos, defamation and filth of the lowest kind are being disseminated on an almost daily basis.’ Kurz refers to fake e-mails… and then continues: ‘That’s not enough. Rumors of child pornography, drug abuse or corruption are being scattered around, leaving no stone unturned, saying “Something is going to stick”, in order to sabotage us and our country.’ In short, it is assumed that it is about ‘fighting by all means the change we stand for,’ including [fighting] all those who support this path of change.”
Politics has always been a rotten and dirty business, but it seems now that there is no end to accusations and innuendos… and that is true around the world. The accused finds him- or herself always in the precarious situation as to whether to remain silent (which could be construed as an admission of guilt in the court of public opinion) or to speak out (which could be construed as a desperate attempt by the “guilty” accused to deny the “facts.” The nice-sounding concept of “presumption of innocence until proven guilty” is in many cases just a farce.) However, the truth, whatever it may be, will come to light and prevail in God’s due time. This proves once more that a true Christian cannot and must not have any active part in politics. In any event, we feel that Sebastian Kurz has still an important role to play on the world scene.
The Dangers with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri
The Daily Mail wrote on July 30:
“Amazon staff review thousands of audio recordings made by Alexa each day… The clips were accidentally captured by the popular digital assistant — confusing the noises for the commands it should be listening to — and sent off for analysis. Staff at the tech firm review one in every five-hundred recordings made by Alexa, whether of deliberate commands to the assistant or accidental recordings… the revelation is a reminder of the extent of the personal information that the tech firm has on its users. Amazon has an English-speaking team monitoring thousands of Alexa recordings daily based in Bucharest, Romania… along with similar setups in Boston, Costa Rica and India…
“It is estimated that Amazon’s Echo and Echo dot smart speakers — on which Alexa operates — can be found in around 6.5 million homes in the UK alone. ‘All Amazon Alexa owners will likely be stunned by the news that Amazon employees can listen to intimate moments,’ Kaspersky principal security researcher David Emm told the MailOnline. ‘While digital assistants such as the Amazon Echo are supposed to be activated by a specific ‘wake-up’ word, time and time again recently these devices have hit the headlines for intruding on people’s privacy, so the question is, where does this end?’…
“On Twitter, various Alexa users report their smart speaker devices being accidentally activated by random sounds — or even to no apparent cause… consumers need to be made aware ‘that what goes on at home doesn’t necessarily stay at home.’ ‘It is an alarming wake-up call to owners of all digital assistants that the vendor has access to a huge volume of your personal information,’ he said. This information is of potential value not only to cyber-criminals who could conceivably gain access to the data, but advertisers as well…
“The Sun’s investigation comes after similar privacy issues were revealed with Apple’s equivalent digital assistant, Siri — which is so sensitive that even the sound of a zipper being pulled can set it off… There have been countless instances of recordings featuring private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, criminal dealings, sexual encounters and so on… In particular, it has been suggested that Siri is especially disposed towards unintended activation on Apple Watch devices….”
Amazon’s and Apple’s conduct should not be ignored or glossed over…
Cheaters Linked to Professional Misconduct
The Independent wrote on July 31:
“… a new study suggests that marital infidelity and professional misconduct are linked…
“The study’s researchers said their investigation suggests a strong connection between people’s actions in their personal and professional lives…”
Earthquakes in Europe, Turkey, Japan and Indonesia
The Sun wrote on July 31:
“The island of Crete was hit by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake earlier this morning… Greece is a hotspot for earthquakes…
“While France has not been hit by strong earthquakes in recent history, the country is still affected by shakes, especially along western France… Just last month, a 4.9 magnitude earthquake hit France with tremors felt as far as Bordeaux and Normandy…
“Spain does not have dangerously strong earthquakes although they are common in certain regions such as Costa Blanca. In March, holiday resorts in the area were hit by a magnitude 4 earthquake… Eastern and central Italy often experience earthquakes, with a 6.2 quake in 2016 killing more than 150 people…
“Turkey has experienced some of the most deadly earthquakes in the world. In 1999, thousands of people were killed following a 7.6 magnitude earthquake.
“… the UK rarely experiences strong earthquakes – the most recent being a 3.3 magnitude quake in February this year. One of the largest earthquakes to hit the UK was in 1931, with a magnitude of 6.1.
“The countries with the most earthquakes are Japan and Indonesia – with the deadliest in 2004 on the island of Sumatra, triggering the Boxing Day tsunami.”
In addition, we will soon experience strong earthquakes in other places around the world, including in America and also in Italy and Israel.
America’s Recycling Crisis—Robots to the Rescue
CNBC wrote on July 27:
“The U.S. is facing a recycling crisis that is burying cities and towns in tens of millions of tons of garbage a day. The problem began last year when China, the world’s largest recyclable processor, stopped accepting most American scrap plastic and cardboard due to contamination problems, and a glut of plastics overwhelming its own processing facilities. Historically, China recycled the bulk of U.S. waste.
“Contamination in the U.S. is high… The situation is dire for many local economies as recycling costs skyrocket. It’s forced many cities and some small communities to stop recycling all together. [Others threaten to charge fees for recycling, which would most certainly not help the situation.] Now more waste is ending up in landfills and incinerators.
“To tackle this environmental catastrophe, U.S. companies and researchers are developing AI-assisted robotic technology that can work with humans in processing plants and improve quality control… Sorting trash is a dirty and dangerous job. Recycling workers are more than twice as likely as other workers to be injured on the job… The profession also has high fatality rates.
“The way the robots work is simple. Guided by cameras and computer systems trained to recognize specific objects, the robots’ arms glide over moving conveyor belts until they reach their target. Oversized tongs or fingers with sensors that are attached to the arms snag cans, glass, plastic containers, and other recyclable items out of the rubbish and place them into nearby bins.
“Denver-based AMP Robotics… has developed software… so robots can recognize different colors, textures, shapes, sizes and patterns to identify material characteristics so they can sort waste. The robots are being installed at the Single Stream Recyclers plant in Sarasota, Florida and they will be able to pick 70 to 80 items a minute, twice as fast as humanly possible and with greater accuracy…”
Amazing what the human mind can do. This would be actually good news for a change… if it works.
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.
Is Pride Always Condemned in the Bible? (Part 2)
In the first part of this two-part series, we examined human “pride” which is opposed to God and which exalts oneself above God and His Law and other human beings. This kind of pride can also be described as a boasting and a wrong feeling of self-confidence and of being inflated with self-conceit. David brought it to the point when he remarked that such a proud person is not concerned about and does not seek God so that, consequently, he persecutes the poor.
We pointed out that in the Old Testament, the Hebrew words “gaon,” “gavah” and “geuth” are rendered with “pride” in English translations, when referring to wrong and ungodly human pride. At the end of part 1, we asked the question whether the concept of “pride” could also be applied in a right and godly way.
This might be a puzzling question, as we are used to thinking of pride in strictly human negative terms. But would it be beyond imagination that God might feel proud about His accomplishments, and that God’s disciples might feel proud about abilities which God gave them–not to glorify themselves, but to glorify God? Would it be wrong to have godly pride and satisfaction in God’s marvelous works? Would it be ungodly to find satisfaction and pride in one’s godly work, or to tell our children when they have accomplished something worthwhile after a long and arduous struggle, “I am proud of you”? Would it be ungodly to tell parents that they can be proud of their righteous and upright children?
It is a common theme throughout the Bible that Satan uses a godly concept and perverts it into something which is ungodly. We could think of numerous examples, including righteous godly anger and the wrong kind of human anger; godly righteousness and human self-righteousness; godly jealousy and wrong human jealousy; godly desires and wrong human desires; just to name a few. Could something similar be applicable when examining the concept of “pride”?
The answer to this puzzling question may become clearer when realizing the original meaning of the Hebrew words, which, as we discussed in the first part, are translated with “pride” in English Bibles. However, these words have additional meanings as well.
The Hebrew word “gaon” can also mean “excellency” or “majesty” (Strong’s Concordance of the Bible, #1347). This Hebrew word is applied to human pride, as we saw, but it can also apply to God in many instances.
We read in Exodus 15:7: “And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble.”
Also, we read in Job 37:1-5 about God’s greatness or majesty and His marvelous works:
“At this also my heart trembles, And leaps from its place. Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He sends it forth under the whole heaven, His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.”
Micah 5:2-5 speaks of Jesus Christ and especially His coming worldwide rule on and over this earth. It states the following:
“‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting… And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth; And this One shall be peace.”
The book of Isaiah contains many references to and descriptions of God’s “majesty”.
In Isaiah 24:4-6, 14-15, we read about the majestic God’s punishment of haughty and disobedient people who are cursed because they transgress God’s Law:
“The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, And those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, And few men are left…They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; For the majesty of the LORD They shall cry aloud from the sea. Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light, The name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.”
As we saw in the first part, another Hebrew word which is used in English translations to describe ungodly human pride is “geuth.” According to Strong’s #1348, it also includes the meaning of “excellent things” and “majesty.”
In Psalm 93:1, 3-4, the contrast is beautifully described between the “proud” and “noisy” floods and the much more powerful majestic God:
“The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength…The floods have lifted up, O LORD, The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier Than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea…”
A third Hebrew word, which we discussed in the first part and which has been translated as “pride” in reference to man’s ungodly haughtiness, is “gaavah.” This word has also the meaning of “excellency,” “majesty” or “ornament” (Strong’s, #1346). It is translated in Isaiah 13:3 as God’s “exaltation” in which man can rejoice.
We read in Psalm 68:32-35:
“Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth; Oh, sing praises to the LORD, Selah. To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old! Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice. Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, And His strength is in the clouds. O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!”
We read in Isaiah 26:9-11, 21: “… when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the LORD. LORD, when Your hand is lifted up, they will not see… behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity…”
Isaiah 2:9-21 uses two of the three Hebrew words. It describes how the majestic and exalted God will deal with ungodly people who are proud of their ungodliness:
“And each man humbles himself [before an idol]; Therefore do not forgive them. Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts Shall come upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up–And it shall be brought low–Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, And upon all the oaks of Bashan; Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills that are lifted up; Upon every high tower, And upon every fortified wall… The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, And the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; The LORD alone will be exalted in that day… They shall go into the holes of the rocks, And into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily… [They will] go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the crags of the rugged rocks, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily.”
The Hebrew word for “majesty” is “gaon.” The Hebrew word for “haughtiness” is “gaavah.” This is remarkable as the word “gaavah” can also describe, as we have seen, God’s majesty. So, in this passage, both concepts are being introduced—man’s ungodly “pride” and God’s righteous and majestic excellency—His unparalleled glory and exaltation.
It is important to realize that the Bible also uses the words describing God’s majesty and excellency in reference to His creation—including man.
We read in Deuteronomy 33:26-29 about Israel—apparently a reference to both the remnant of physical Israel in the Millennium and, even more so, glorified and immortal Christians—spiritual Israelites—in the Kingdom of God:
“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’ Then Israel shall dwell in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens shall also drop dew. Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, The shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places.”
The Hebrew word for “excellency” is “gaavah,” and the Hebrew word for “majesty” (the Authorized Version says here too, “excellency”) is also “gaavah.” But notice, it is the sword of ISRAEL’S excellency. So God will make man excellent or “proud”… but it is the right and righteous kind of pride which God Himself has for His creation; and man should not deny this fact and reject that kind of appropriate pride for God and His Work.
We read in Psalm 47:1-9:
“Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth… He will choose our inheritance for us, The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah… Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne… He is greatly exalted.”
Here, the Hebrew word for “excellence” is “gaon.” But God speaks here of the excellence of Jacob—the satisfaction and “pride” which He has for Jacob.
Another and even more revealing thought is expressed in Isaiah 60:15-16, 18-21, speaking about “Zion” at the time of the Millennium and beyond:
“Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, So that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, A joy of many generations… You shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob… Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, And your gates Praise. The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, Nor shall your moon withdraw itself; For the LORD will be your everlasting light, And the days of your mourning shall be ended. Also your people shall all be righteous; They shall inherit the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.”
The Hebrew word for “excellence” is “gaon.” God will make “Zion” an eternal excellence; the people will live in righteousness, and God will be glorified. Realizing that the word can also mean “pride,” a picture is being described here of which one can truly be proud; and God will indeed be satisfied with and even be proud of His people.
God had called Israel to give them the feeling of the right kind of pride and praise towards Him and what He accomplishes. But Israel failed miserably. We read in Ezekiel 7:20-21:
“As for the beauty of his ornaments, He set it in majesty; But they made from it The images of their abominations– Their detestable things; Therefore I have made it Like refuse to them. I will give it as plunder Into the hands of strangers, And to the wicked of the earth as spoil; And they shall defile it. I will turn My face from them, And they will defile My secret place; For robbers shall enter it and defile it.”
The Hebrew word for “majesty” is “gaon.” God gave them ornaments for their majesty of which they could have been proud—not in the sense that they had acquired them due to their own strength or that they were worthy of receiving it, but in the sense that they realized that they were God’s people and that in spite of their frailties, God had accepted them. We should have this same kind of pride in the right way since God has called us and has given us the Holy Spirit, so that we can have the urge, zeal and dedication to make God proud of us, in living worthily of our calling. However, Israel became proud in the wrong way—they rejected God’s presents and blessings, treated them without appreciation and even used them for the service and worship of other gods.
And so, as we read earlier in Amos 6:8, God said that He abhorred the pride [“goan”] of Jacob—that human pride opposed to God and His Way of Life. While Jacob should have had a right sense of pride, which was godly, they replaced it with self-centered feelings of haughtiness and inflated self-aggrandizement. But we also read that once Jacob comes to repentance, God will restore Jacob’s excellency or that right kind of pride. We read in Nahum 2:2:
“For the LORD will restore the excellence of Jacob Like the excellence of Israel…” The Hebrew word for “excellence” is “goan.” As God hated the self-centered pride of Jacob, so He will restore the right kind of pride to the people who will live in a godly way so that God can be proud of them, and they can develop an appreciation of the right kind of pride towards God.
God challenged Job to do what He could do. If that were possible, note what would have been the outcome, in Job 40:8-12:
“‘Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, And array yourself with glory and beauty. Disperse the rage of your wrath; Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him. Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; Tread down the wicked in their place.”
The Hebrew word for “majesty” is “gaon.” As God is adorned with majesty, so Job would be, and then he would be able to humble those who are proud in the wrong way. Then Job would be able to have the right kind of pride in his work… not the self-righteous wrong kind of pride in his “innocence” which he was trying to uphold.
God is excellent, majestic, exalted, and what He creates is likewise supposed to be excellent and majestic; except that man has polluted this world and has replaced God’s righteous character traits with satanic counterfeits of unrighteous pride, unrighteous anger, unrighteous desires and unrighteous jealousy. When God had completed the restoration of the earth and the creation of plants, animals and men, He looked at His work and found it to be very good. We can read between the lines and see that He was satisfied with His work and that He was proud of and found pride in His work.
When we realize that God is working in us, we can have the same kind of satisfaction and godly pride… not that we amount to anything on our own, but that God is calling us worthy to obtain His mercy and protection and that He is qualifying us to ultimately inherit eternal life. Everything we have is from God (1 Corinthians 4:7), but we must not belittle what He gave us and treat it as something without value. We should not reject praise, which we might receive for our good deeds, but we should accept such acknowledgement with the consciousness that it is for God’s glory who does His deeds in and through us. We read that people will see our good works and praise and glorify the Father for them (compare Matthew 5:16).
We should not treat whatever talents we have received from God as something which we developed on our own (Deuteronomy 8:11-18); nor should we neglect these talents, but in using them, we glorify God who in turn will be proud of us… and so we should be proud of God and what He does.
True majesty and righteous pride belong to God, but when we forget that, we usurp godly pride, which we should have, and change it into unrighteous and selfish pride, which we must not have. When we do that, then the high and mighty God will humble us until that human pride is eradicated from our lives.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (August 2019) has been posted and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, Pastor Rene Messier (Canada) writes of the awesome future which is promised to God’s Church—with a reminder that we must finish what God has called us to accomplish.
“What Will Europe Do when the Third Temple Is Being Built?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Europe and especially Germany have already manifested a hostile attitude towards Israel. But what will they do when Israel begins to build the prophesied Third Temple on the Temple Mount? Some even suggest that in doing so, Israel will have to destroy the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque. Would this lead to World War III? What does the Bible say?
“Ursula von der Leyen und die europäische Armee” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program. Title in English: “Ursula von der Leyen and the European Army.”
“Kannst Du als junger Mensch Gott folgen? — Nicht nur für Kinder und Teens!” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon. Title in English: “Can You follow God as a Young Person? — Not Only for Kids and Teens!”
“Nothing New Under the Sun,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Frank Bruno, is now posted. Here is a summary:
While there are people in the world who might bristle at the thought that the Bible has influenced their thinking; either directly or more subtly, the fact is it does indeed. Many of our ideas and conversations and even some of the most passionate public speeches recorded in history have been greatly influenced by biblical verses. This Sermonette will cover several of the most poignant scriptures as well as the impact they had on the world stage.
“This Life,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Do we understand the words of the Bible? They are God’s words, and we must ask whether or not we are able to hear what God says. Jesus Christ spoke God’s words, and they are the words of eternal life! Do we understand Him?
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
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