August 9, 2019
Small to Big; Christian Evolution
On August 10, 2019, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Small to Big,” and Kalon Mitchell will present the sermon, titled, “Christian Evolution.”
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.
Violence No More Forever!
by Norbert Link
Just within the last few days, we have been confronted with terrible mass shootings in the USA. Reuters wrote on August 2 that “the teenager who opened fire with an assault rifle at a weekend food festival in Northern California died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Three people attending the festival were killed, including a 6-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, and a dozen others were injured, some seriously. Police said the gunman opened fire with an ‘AK47-variant’ of an assault-style rifle, which he had purchased legally in Nevada. A shotgun also purchased in Nevada was later found in his car.”
On August 4, The Week wrote: “At least 20 people [as of August 7, 22 people] were… killed on Saturday in a shooting at a shopping center in El Paso and at least 40 people were… injured. A white male suspect in his 20s is… in custody.” It was stated that El Paso had been known as an extremely peaceful city and that the supposed murderer did not live anywhere near El Paso. Also, “at least nine people were killed [including his own sister] and 26 others were injured after a shooting in Dayton (Ohio) early on Sunday morning. The suspect, who was wearing body armor… was reportedly shot and killed by police.”
The shootings in El Paso and Dayton were the 21st and 22nd mass killings in the U.S. in 2019.
We still remember very vividly the mass shooting in 2017 when a murderer opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. He killed 58 people and wounded 422 and fired more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. He was later found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the history of the United States (compare Wikipedia).
These are horrible statistics and extremely heart-breaking events which the sound human mind cannot really comprehend. But recently, violent murders seem to occur more and more in other parts of the world as well. For instance, Deutsche Welle wrote on August 1 about “a 36-year-old man [who] was stabbed to death in Stuttgart… with a weapon described as a ‘sword.’ The man was attacked in a street in the late afternoon… The attacker fled the scene by bicycle, but he was later arrested after a widespread search… A police spokesman described the act as ‘unusual and appalling.’… Stuttgart… is regarded as one of Germany’s safest cities.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 2 about another gruesome and highly publicized murder by “a Swiss-resident Eritrean migrant [who] shoved a boy and his mother in front of a moving train. The mother was able to roll to safety, but the boy was killed.”
One could go on and on, but these few examples, which don’t seem to reveal any motive of the murderer and which do not even include daily gun violence in the USA, “executions” of dissidents in authoritarian countries and the tragic deaths of thousands upon thousands of people in global wars, show the incomprehensible violence which is engulfing the world.
Christ warned us that His return would be preceded by wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6) which would become bigger and worldwide (verse 7), increase of lawlessness (verse 12), and by those same terrible events which led to Noah’s Flood (Matthew 24:37-38; Luke 17:26-27). Genesis 6:11, 13 tells us that at that time, “the earth was filled with violence.” For sure, this is true today as well (Ezekiel 7:23). People showed a remarkable indifference to their evil brutal acts without consideration of God’s sure punishment and destruction “at the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:3, 5, 9). Paul described the perilous times of the last days in exactly the same terms, saying that man would be “unloving” and “brutal” or “violent” (2 Timothy 3:3; cp. Revised English Bible).
Satan is man’s destroyer and murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). People who commit senseless violent acts are being inspired, if not possessed, by him or his powerful evil spirits. Far too often, “insane” murders may be viewed as being perpetrated by mentally unstable or impaired “sick” persons, because the scientific community does not even consider the possibility of demonic influence or possession.
Sadly, we can expect the degree of worldwide violence to increase. In His due time, God will begin to intervene directly in man’s affairs. At first, many will not be willing to repent of their murders (Revelation 9:21)—not considering or caring about the fact that God hates those who love violence (Psalm 11:5) and that He will scatter those who delight in war (Psalm 68:30).
Thankfully, the good news is that Satan will not rule this world much longer (Romans 16:20). When Christ, the God and Prince of Peace, returns, He will replace Satan and take over his throne. He will “make wars cease to the end of the earth” and destroy the weapons of war (Psalm 46:9). Man will learn to hate war and violence and beat their swords into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4). “Violence shall no longer be heard in your land” (Isaiah 60:18). A time of universal peace will begin which mankind has never experienced before, and of that peace there “will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7).
Today, we sigh and cry over the abominations which occur all around us (Ezekiel 9:4), but very soon from now, our tears will turn into laughter, and our sadness and sorrow into gladness and everlasting joy (Psalm 126:5). Then, violence will be no more forever!
by Norbert Link
We begin with an article about the terrible mass shootings in Texas and Ohio please see our new StandingWatch program, “Is There No Solution to Violence and Mass Shootings?”; and continue with America’s mixed messages to Iran and America’s desire to test and station new missiles in Europe or Asia. We also address the distinct possibility of President Trump’s involvement in the building of the prophesied Third Temple in Jerusalem prior to Christ’s return.
We speak on the situation between Iran and the UK and the newfound alliance between the USA and the UK regarding Iran, which does not please Europe; and we address developments pertaining to Boris Johnson and a desired but questionable trade deal between the USA and the UK. We also address the volatile trade situation between the USA and China.
We continue with Russia’s crackdown on opponents and dissidents; report on Austria’s ex-chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the success of Germany’s far-right party, the AfD; speak on the problems with Google’s, Apple’s and Amazon’s virtual assistants; the scientific will and desire to create human-animal chimeras; the scientific dilemma to explain the existence and age of the universe; attempts in Europe to legalize the use of cannabis; and the closure of California’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers, as well as the interdependency of our worldwide trade by sea.
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
President Trump Condemns Mass Shootings
JTA wrote on August 5:
“President Donald Trump said ‘hate has no place in America’ in an address to the nation following the mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Trump pledged additional resources to the FBI to investigate domestic terrorism. He called for strengthening detection of early warning signs of shooters and for better background checks on gun owners. The president also condemned video games and social media for encouraging violent tendencies. He said ‘those who commit hate crimes and mass murders should face the death penalty.’ Before the El Paso shooting on Saturday, in which 20 people were killed and 26 injured at a Walmart, the alleged shooter posted a white supremacist manifesto online…
“‘In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,’ Trump said. ‘These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul… We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts…’”
He also said that mentally sick people who seem to pose a danger to society may have to be institutionalized, even against their will, if necessary. Further news regarding America’s recent mass shootings is being discussed in this week’s Editorial and our new StandingWatch program, “Is There No Solution to Violence and Mass Shootings?”
America’s Lack of Response to Iran Sends a Strong Message
Foreign Policy wrote on August 1:
“It has long been an accepted fact within the U.S. foreign-policy community that if any country blocked or interfered with shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, the United States and its allies would use the awesome force at their disposal to defend freedom of navigation. Yet like so much else in this era, long-held truths and ironclad laws have turned out to be elaborate fictions.
“The United States has invested great sums in the Middle East over many decades to undertake a few important tasks—notably protecting the sea lines—but this task does not seem to be something the current president believes to be a core American interest. After all, on June 24, President Donald Trump tweeted: ‘China gets 91% of its Oil from the Straight, Japan 62%, & many other countries likewise. So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey.’…
“The United States is leaving the Persian Gulf. Not this year or next, but there is no doubt that the United States is on its way out. Aside from the president’s tweet, the best evidence of the coming American departure from the region is Washington’s inaction in the face of Iran’s provocations. Officials and analysts will often counter this, conjuring the number of personnel, planes, and ships the United States maintains in and around the Gulf, but leaders in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Manama, and Muscat understand what is happening. They have been worrying about the U.S. commitment to their security for some time and have been hedging against an American departure in a variety of ways, including by making overtures to China, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. On Wednesday, the Emiratis and Iranians met for the first time in six years to discuss maritime security in the Gulf…”
This is in line with the prophecy stating that Arab nations will turn against the USA.
USA to Place Intermediate-Range Missiles in Asia or Europe?
The Week wrote on August 3:
“Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday… that he favors placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia… within months, but ‘these things tend to take longer than you expect.’ U.S. officials on Friday said the deployment would be years away…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 3:
“The White House has announced fresh plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles after the collapse of the INF Treaty. European officials have warned that the end of the Cold War-era treaty leaves the continent at risk…
“German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said ‘Europe is losing part of its security’ with the demise of the INF treaty… ‘We don’t want a new arms race,’ said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. ‘We have no intention to employ new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.’”
The U.S. might eventually want to base such weapons in Europe as a counterbalance to Russia, or in Asia to counter China. But neither Europe nor Asia seem to be thrilled with that idea.
Trump’s Role in Building the Third Temple
Breaking Israel News wrote on August 5:
“Jewish sources hint that the alliance between the U.S and Israel is the prophetic end-of-days… prelude to the building of the Third Temple. Some experts believe that President Trump fulfills many of the requirements… that will make this happen.
“Two weeks ago, two religious Jews appeared before Rabbi Cham Kanievsky, one of the most influential rabbis of this generation. The emissaries reportedly bore an inquiry from President Trump, asking when the Moshiach (Messiah) will arrive. The rabbi avoided answering the question, asking instead when the American Jews will come to live in Israel. Many were skeptical of the story, rejecting the idea that Trump, a Christian, would inquire from a Jewish rabbi concerning the Messiah. But Trump, as the non-Jewish leader of the U.S., has a prophesied role to play in the building of the Temple and it was for this reason he inquired. Trump wanted to know when he will be called upon to perform this role.
“This expectation regarding Trump was first expressed by the Sanhedrin after his election when they compared him to the Persian King Cyrus who [was] commanded by God to facilitate the building of the Second Temple specifically because he was influential in global politics. The comparison was so apt that it was adopted by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who also compared the U.S. president to the Persian King.
“Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, noted that Trump’s role in building the Third Temple was essential… ‘Trump needs to take his role as the leader…’ Rabbi Weiss said…
“Another rabbi who believes that the U.S. President will play a major role in the construction of the Third Temple is Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion… ‘Like Cyrus, Trump’s connection to the Messiah is that he will play a role in one of the major functions of the Messiah. He will pave the way for building the Third Temple. Trump will not personally merit building the Temple,’ he continued. ‘Like Cyrus, he will pave the way for men who will begin the construction… No leader in history has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews and Israel…’”
The Bible clearly prophesies that a MASSIVE Third Temple WILL be built in Jerusalem prior to Christ’s return, and it is indeed very likely that President Trump will in some way contribute to that development.
Brazilian Church Built to Look like Solomon’s Temple
JTA wrote on August 6:
“The largest church building in South America’s most populous city will feature a museum dedicated to remembering Holocaust victims. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God will build a Holocaust museum within its 10,000-seat Solomon’s Temple complex in Sao Paulo, Brazil — a $300 million replica of the most revered house of worship in the Torah… Brazilian Jewish leaders have not commented on the proposed museum. However, they have generally taken a relaxed approach to the Solomon’s Temple, which opened in 2014.”
So, a massive “Third Temple” has already been built in Brazil and was opened to the public in 2014. The same could easily be accomplished in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, were it not for the objections of the Arabs.
Iran vs. UK… Who Would Win?
National Interest wrote on August 3:
“Breathless was the headline in Britain’s tabloid Daily Express: ‘Iran military strength REVEALED as tensions with the UK soar.’ ‘A comparison of the UK and Iran’s military strength shows Britain falling behind when it comes to manpower, land and naval strength and petroleum resources,’ the newspaper proclaimed after Iran seized a British tanker in the Persian Gulf, in retaliation for Britain seizing an Iranian tanker at Gibraltar.
“The Daily Express article was based on GlobalFirepower.com, which features both statistics on the armed forces of 137 nations… [It] lists Iran as being stronger than Britain in several categories: 873,000 military personnel to Britain’s 233,000, 1,634 Iranian tanks to 331 British vehicles and 386 Iranian naval vessels to 76 British (Britain is credited with more airpower, with 811 military aircraft to 509 Iranian). Iran has more oil, but weaker finances…statistics can be misleading. Britain and Iran are not in the same league at all.
“…while Iran may or may not be developing nuclear weapons, Britain most certainly has them… However, Britain wouldn’t use nukes against Iran for political reasons, and Iran would be committing suicide to use them against Britain or anyone else… in the Persian Gulf, British forces are operating 3,000 miles from the UK. Even with access to bases belonging to Iran’s hostile Arab neighbors, the British would still be operating in Iran’s home waters, where all the tools of coastal guerrilla warfare – mines, small boat attacks – would be available to Tehran.”
God says that He will break the pride of Britain’s power.
USA and UK vs. Europe
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 6, 2019:
“Just two weeks after taking office, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took the side of his kindred spirit Donald Trump when the UK announced it would join the US naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz. The European mission — proposed by Britain itself before the change in government — is now off the table. This puts Europe in a diplomatic bind as Germany and France have refused to take any part in the Operation Sentinel mission led by the US to protect tankers against Iranian attacks. For good reason, they do not trust the Trump administration and believe its policy of applying ‘maximum pressure’ on Tehran will worsen, rather than improve, the situation.
“American and British warships in the strategically important Persian Gulf are bound to usher in the next stage of conflict escalation with Iran. The US has achieved its goal: it has driven a wedge into the European phalanx that — despite American pressure — had hoped to band together and save some form of the nuclear agreement with Iran. Those aims are even loftier since what little trust Iran had in the British is now diminished….
“It is all too clear that there is one thing the UK — which is on the verge of a rough exit from the EU — wants more than anything and that is a quick trade agreement with the US. Boris Johnson is prepared to cut, to a certain degree, foreign policy ties with the Europeans and to sail toward whichever direction the White House hawks are headed…
“Berlin, Paris and Brussels are ‘not amused’ about the British change of course. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the governing coalition in Berlin, however, are not entirely innocent. If Germany, France and other EU nations had reacted swiftly and decisively to the UK’s initial call to launch a European mission, the withering away of European signatories to the Iran agreement may have been prevented. The German government’s long period of hesitation and the discord within the coalition parties made clear there would be no quick agreement on a European mission. Germany did not live up to its own claim of assuming more international responsibility.
“Instead, Foreign Minister Maas now wants to put together an EU observer mission — minus Britain. Even this plan can take a while and will have little effect. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are not likely to be impressed by mere observers and scouting missions during current tensions. It is not difficult to understand why Boris Johnson and the British are frustrated by their European partners’ muddling along…”
Boris Johnson Last PM of UK?
CNN wrote on August 3:
“‘I wouldn’t be at all surprised if no deal (Brexit) ends being looked at by historians as the event that breaks up the UK,’ says Rob Ford, professor of politics at the University of Manchester. Ford explains that the strongest support for Brexit comes from English nationalist voters, who don’t care much for the Union…
“Across the Irish Sea, things look very different. The most vocal pro-Brexit support in Northern Ireland comes from Unionists, who see any kind of separation from the UK mainland as unthinkable… On the flipside of Unionism is Irish republicanism, which prioritizes no border between the two Irelands at any cost. The most hardline Irish republicans would ultimately like to see Northern Ireland reunited with the rest of Ireland…
“In Scotland, ‘opposition to independence now lines up with support for Brexit,’ says Rob Ford… The picture is slightly different in Wales… But what Wales does have is a strong nationalist movement that historically dislikes the Conservative Party and loathes Johnson’s no-deal rhetoric… The Boris Johnson premiership could ultimately be defined then by a fight between nationalist movements…”
Steve Bannon’s Advice to Boris Johnson
The Daily Mail wrote on July 31:
“Donald Trump’s former strategy guru Steve Bannon praised ‘savvy’ Boris Johnson today – as he warned British politics is entering the ‘red zone’ and Brexit must happen by Halloween. Mr Bannon, a controversial figure who left the White House two years ago, said he did not believe the EU will ‘give an inch’ in negotiations as the bloc is ‘dug in’. But he insisted leaving without a deal was the ‘way to go’ and failure to ‘deliver’ by the end of October would ‘fundamentally change British politics’…
“The intervention came as the new PM faces massive pressure to keep his solemn vow to get the UK out of the EU by the end of October. But so far Mr Johnson is encountering strong resistance from Brussels, while MPs from across parties have pledged to stop No Deal.
“In a BBC interview today, Mr Bannon predicted that the upheaval in UK politics will gather pace, using an American Football term to describe the situation as ‘in the red zone’. ‘The British people have not seen even I don’t think, the beginning of the turmoil,’ he said.”
Free Trade Deal between USA and Britain after Brexit?
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 3:
“The US has reportedly ruled out a free trade deal unless a post-Brexit Britain drops a planned tax on tech giants (like Amazon or Google). The Daily Telegraph report suggests the Trump-Johnson ‘special relationship’ is facing its first test…
“The newspaper said the threat has been communicated to the UK government ‘at multiple levels’… [and] that the trade deal was conditional on the withdrawal of the digital tax…
“A wide-reaching trade deal with the world’s largest economy is a key plank of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit vision for Britain. Johnson’s government has promised that a speedy agreement with Washington would give the UK economy a significant shot in the arm, shortly after the country leaves the European Union on October 31.
“Critics, however, have warned that a US-UK deal will not offset the expected loss of trade with the 27 remaining members of the EU, Britain’s biggest trading partner…
“Britain’s digital services tax was first announced last year in response to widespread public anger over how tech giants are able to circumvent domestic tax rules, and in many cases, pay virtually no tax on revenues generated in the country. The new legislation is due to come into effect from April next year, which will see Facebook, YouTube, eBay and others attract a 2% levy. The tax is expected to raise an extra 275 million pounds (€300 million, $334 million) in its first year.
“The ultimatum gives an indication of the troubles Britain could face negotiating future trade deals alone. During the past 45 years of the country’s EU membership, most trade negotiations have been conducted by Brussels… Brexit watchers say the odds of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal are increasing every day.”
Traveling to the USA?
The Sun wrote on August 2:
“The visa waiver [program] was initially immediately approved when an application was submitted, but changes brought in last year now means the process can take up to three days to be approved. Tourists from the UK must apply for an ESTA [approval] even if only passing through a US airport… the travel waiver lasts two years and allows tourists to stay up to 90 days at a time…
“Brits have been warned that decades-old social media posts about drugs and alcohol could still get them banned from entering the US. Immigration lawyers have warned travellers to be careful due to tougher new visa rules brought in last month. Tourists could also be asked to hand over their social media details when applying for a US visa under the strict new immigration policy.”
US-China Trade War Escalates
CNBC wrote on August 5:
“Wall Street analysts warned investors to brace for the trade war between the United States and China to further intensify, after it ratcheted up over the weekend to a level that Cowen says, on a scale of 1-10, it’s an 11.’… A Morgan Stanley team of analysts said, ‘investors should behave as if further escalation will happen in 2019.’ If that escalation does come, the firm estimated that a global economic recession will come in the next nine months…
“China responded on Monday in two ways to President Donald Trump announcing the U.S. will add 10% tariffs to $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. First, China’s central bank allowed its currency the yuan to fall ‘below 7 to the dollar, which is a psychologically significant threshold,’ Krueger said…
“Second, Krueger noted that the Chinese told state-controlled buyers ‘to halt all purchases of U.S. agricultural imports.’ ‘It looks like those rotting soybeans will continue to rot, and is a tough hit to Midwestern (Trump states) farm interests after the President promised relief,’ Krueger said… Bloomberg News reported that Beijing intends to wait and see how trade negotiations play out before it makes any purchases.
“On top of those two responses, Krueger also said China may clamp down on the companies operating within its borders. ‘There is increased anecdotal evidence that the Chinese government is tightening its overview of foreign firms, including through creation of a “undesirable entities” list and practices,’ Krueger added. Overall, analysts don’t believe the situation will de-escalate or be resolved quickly, either.”
More Anti-Putin Demonstrations in “Police State” Russia
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 3:
“Russian opposition protesters on Saturday took to the streets in Moscow… despite a sweeping police crackdown and ban on the event… as anger boils over the refusal of officials to let popular opposition candidates run in next month’s city council elections…
“Russian police on Saturday also detained prominent opposition activist Lyubov Sobol ahead of the protest. Sobol had called on people to attend the demonstration. The former FBK lawyer was detained in a taxi as she tried to make her way to the protest and driven off in a police van. Officials also said they have opened a criminal investigation into alleged money laundering by an anti-corruption foundation set up by jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 5:
“Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Deutsche Welle… of meddling in Moscow’s affairs, claiming that DW’s Russian language social media was being used to promote unrest against the government… Moscow has recently launched a violent crackdown on protesters demanding that independent candidates be allowed to contest upcoming municipal elections. Some 88 demonstrators were arrested on Saturday at an unauthorized rally in the capital…
“[The Russian government] went on to say that because of the alleged incitement, [Deutsche Welle’s reporter] Sergey Dik was no longer acting as a journalist and therefore shouldn’t have been able to enjoy the protection usually afford to the press… [Deutsche Welle stated that] ‘when journalists who are reporting on a demonstration are across the board declared as participants, it is not just a blatant violation of the freedom of the press but rather the behavior of a police state.’”
What is Austria’s Sebastian Kurz Up to?
Euractiv wrote on August 2:
“Austria’s former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and leader of the conservative party is not excluding the idea of re-establishing a coalition with the country’s far right, he said in an interview with the Austrian public broadcaster ORF… Kurz is expected to form a new coalition following the federal elections which will take place later this year… Austria will be electing a new parliament on 29 September following the collapse of the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition earlier in May, caused by the publication of a secretly recorded video that led to the resignation of former vice-chancellor and former FPÖ party leader Heinz-Christian Strache…
“Kurz’ party is ahead in polls but needs a coalition partner for a majority in parliament… FPÖ’s top candidate for the upcoming parliamentary elections is Norbert Hofer, who narrowly lost the election for the office of Federal President in 2016.
“However, former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache is not expected to run in the upcoming federal elections in September…”
Germany’s Far-Right AfD in First Place in Eastern Germany
Politico wrote on August 4:
“The far-right Alternative for Germany has more support in eastern Germany than Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives… [A] poll… showed the AfD on top among respondents in the east with 23 percent support, followed closely by Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) with 22 percent. The far-left Die Linke came in third place with 14 percent, while the Social Democrats (SPD) came in fifth at 11 percent.
“The results come less than a month ahead of regional elections on September 1 in the eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg, where the CDU and SPD have long dominated. Both parties have been losing support in recent years in national and regional elections…
“On the national level… the conservatives are still on top with 26 percent support, according to the poll. The Greens are in second place at 23 percent, followed by the AfD in third place with 14 percent support, and the SPD at 13 percent.
“The AfD, founded in 2013, first entered the country’s national parliament two years ago, riding to success on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiments after the height of the refugee crisis in 2015.”
Germany Orders Google to Stop Listening in on Audio Recordings
AFP wrote on August 2:
“A German data protection official has convinced Google to stop human workers from listening to audio recorded by its digital assistant across the EU, after a leak showed staff could hear private conversations… Preempting a legal order, Google said it would suspend human evaluation across the 28-nation EU for [three months].
“Earlier this month, Dutch-language conversations recorded by Google Assistant, the artificial intelligence (AI)-powered system for voice interactions, were leaked to Belgian broadcaster VRT. Audio files included discussions of users’ love lives and children, as well as containing personal data like addresses…
“The authority added that the devices on offer from the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google are ‘proving to be highly risky for the privacy of those affected’. Not only owners of the gadgets risk their private information reaching unwanted ears, but also ‘all those who come into contact with it’ like other members of the household or guests…”
Apple Suspends Access to Siri Recordings Worldwide
The Independent wrote on August 2:
“Apple and Google have suspended access to recordings from their virtual assistants after workers revealed they often overheard private encounters. Apple’s decision comes in the light of a report last week which said the company’s contractors around the globe tasked with reviewing Siri recordings regularly heard confidential encounters, including drug deals and people having sex. ‘While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally,’ an Apple spokesperson said in a statement, adding that in a future software update, users will be able to opt out of the programme…
“While Apple’s commitment is for all Siri users around the world, Google’s is only for customers in the EU. Amazon, which operates the hugely-popular Alexa assistant, is yet to make a similar commitment to Apple and Google, despite admitting in April that employees can listen to customer voice recordings from Echo and other Alexa-enabled smart speakers.”
Creating Human-Animal Chimeras?
The Guardian wrote an updated article on August 5:
“Efforts to create human-animal chimeras have rebooted an ethical debate after reports emerged that scientists have produced monkey embryos containing human cells. A chimera is an organism whose cells come from two or more ‘individuals’ with recent work looking at combinations from different species. The word comes from a beast from Greek mythology which was said to be part lion, part goat and part snake.
“The latest report… claims a team of [researchers led by scientists] in the US have produced monkey-human chimeras. The research was conducted in China ‘to avoid legal issues’, according to the report… [The same and other scientists] have previously managed to produce both pig embryos and sheep embryos which contain human cells, although the proportions are tiny: in the latter case, researchers estimate that only one cell in 10,000 was human…
“The news of the monkey-human chimeras comes shortly after it was reported Japanese researchers… received government support to create mouse-human chimeras. In March Japan lifted a ban on allowing such embryos to develop beyond 14 days and being implanted in a uterus, meaning these chimeras can… be brought to term…
“One possible approach for brain research is that a monkey embryo could be genetically altered and then injected with human stem cells so that part of the brain… is composed only of human cells. A similar approach has previously been used… to grow a rat pancreas inside a mouse…
“While making monkey brains more human is a red line for some, in some ways it has already been crossed. In April scientists in China published a study in which they claimed to have introduced a human brain gene into monkeys, with the animals showing features including better short-term memory and shorter reaction times. These animals are not chimeras, but it is clear that new boundaries are being pushed.”
What a terrible indictment against man trying to play God.
“Star Older than Universe Discovered – Threat of ‘Scientific Crisis’”
Express wrote on August 8:
“THE Big Bang theory has been thrown into question after scientists discovered a star which appears to be older than the Universe itself… The Universe is thought to have popped into existence some 13.8 billion years ago… The Big Bang theory has stood for the best part of 100 years after Belgian physicist Georges Lemaître first proposed in 1927 the expansion of the Universe could be traced back to a single point.
“However, the well-accepted model is now under the microscope after a team of researchers found a star which appears to be older than the cosmos… the star is 14.5 billion years old, some 0.7 billion years older than the Universe.”
It has been claimed for a long time that stars exist which are supposedly older than the claimed age of the universe. Scientists just don’t know how the universe came into being—as they deny the Truth of the Bible that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
“Luxembourg to be First European Country to Legalise Cannabis”
The Guardian wrote on August 7:
“Residents [in Luxembourg] over the age of 18 are expected to be able to buy the drug for recreational use legally within two years… the legislation was likely to include a ban on non-residents buying cannabis in order to dissuade drug-tourism. Home-growing is also likely to be prohibited…
“The earliest written reference to cannabis comes from China in the third millennium BC, but archaeological evidence suggests that hemp, probably for use in fabrics, was cultivated [earlier than that]. Native to Central Asia and India, the plant – known as ganja in Sanskrit – appears to have been recognised for its psychoactive properties among several pre-Christian cultures, some of which used it in rituals.
“It was banned in parts of the Islamic world in the 14th century, not to mention in some British colonies, but was not widely proscribed across the world until the US took against it. A series of regulations in the US culminated in the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 that banned possession or transfer of the drug, except for medicinal use. But it was not outlawed for all types of use until 1970… which saw the US place pressure on international governments to follow suit…
“California kicked off the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 1996, several states had legalised recreational use by 2012 and a majority of states had legalised medicinal cannabis by 2016. It remains illegal under US federal law…
“Luxembourg has already legalised the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Possession of small amounts for recreational use has also been decriminalised, but its purchase, sale and production remains illegal…
“[Since 2018] Canadians are able to order marijuana products on websites run by provinces or regulated private retailers and have it delivered to their homes by post… Cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow in the UK [which outlawed its use in 1928]. Those caught with the drug face a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Several police forces have said they will no longer target recreational users and those with less than an ounce (28 grams) can be given a warning or on-the-spot fine…
“… prosecutors [in the Netherlands] turn a blind eye to the breaking of certain laws. Technically the possession, use and trade of the drug is illegal, but the authorities allow licensed coffee shops to sell cannabis from their premises, and to keep 500g on site at any time. The police turn a blind eye to those in possession of 5g or less. Because production remains illegal, however, cafes are often forced to do business with criminal gangs to source the drug.”
Even though some countries and US states allow the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, such use is clearly wrong. Cannabis for medical use should be allowed, as it is in some countries and some US states. However, due to federal law, the transport of cannabis from one state to another state is forbidden nationwide. In those European states where the use for medical cannabis is permitted, the costs are astronomically high and to obtain medical approval incredibly restrictive. Man’s dealing with the issue of cannabis is totally backwards.
California’s Largest Recycling Business Closes
SF Gate wrote on August 6:
“California’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers shut down Monday and laid off 750 employees. RePlanet closed all 284 of its centers, and company president David Lawrence said the decision was driven by increased business costs and falling prices of recycled aluminum and PET plastic… The move came three years after RePlanet closed 191 of its recycling centers and laid off 278 workers…
“Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit that studies issues in California’s recycling industry, estimated that more than 40% of all redemption centers have closed in the last five years. The closures… mean that more bottles made of aluminum and polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, will end up in landfills. People will either throw their recyclables directly into the garbage, or place them in curbside recycling bins, which are often filled with contaminated material that must be discarded. China, which has bought much of the U.S.’s recyclable material, has become stricter about what kinds of material it will accept.”
Almost All Trade Goods Transported by Sea
Money Morning wrote on August 3:
“By volume, 90% of world trade goods are transported by sea. There are around 53,000 ships in the world’s merchant fleet, 5,000 of which are container ships, and the largest of those carries more than 20,000 containers. Without these ships, many countries could not participate in global trade, and consumers would have to absorb the increased costs, making the world poorer…
“Containerisation is based on a simple premise. By minimising the costs of sea cargo, goods can be produced economically anywhere in the world – not necessarily in the same country or even continent as the eventual buyer. By some accounts it costs only $0.05 to ship a T-shirt across the world. Economists Edward Glaeser and Janet Kohlhase wrote in the 2000s that ‘it is better to assume that moving goods is essentially costless’.
“Given such low transportation costs, it becomes economic to produce your goods in a country with a relatively low cost of labour, such as Bangladesh, China, or Vietnam, put them in containers, and ship them to countries where they can be sold for a good profit. This is the basis of the modern consumer economy.”
This is interesting in light of biblical prophecy that at least a third of the ships crossing the oceans will be destroyed (Revelation 8:9), and all living creatures in the oceans will die (Revelation 16:3), leading to the collapse of our modern consumer economy.
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.
Would you please explain the meaning and application of the Tenth Commandment for us today?
The Tenth Commandment can be found in Exodus 20:17 and in Deuteronomy 5:21. Exodus 20:17 reads: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Deuteronomy 5:21 words it slightly differently, namely: “’You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
We should note that the order of “wife” and “house” is reverse, and that Deuteronomy adds the word “desire” to the word “covet.” Also, the word “field” is added in Deuteronomy.
Commentaries are trying to explain the reverse order, but without convincing arguments. It appears that in God’s eyes, one is as bad as the other. In addition, the examples are given in Exodus and elaborated in Deuteronomy to make clear that nothing which belongs to our neighbor is to be coveted or desired by us.
The definition of “covet” is helpful. In Hebrew, it can mean “delight,” “lust after” and “desire,” and it is used in a wrong way in both passages above. The dictionary defines “covet” as “yearn to possess or have (something).“ In this respect, something that does not belong to us. When we covet our neighbor’s wife or our neighbor’s house, we are resentful as to what our neighbor has, and we desire to have them instead.
Synonyms for “covet” are “lust, desire, thirst for, fancy” or “want.”
The Tenth Commandment is related to man’s relationship to his fellow man. It is one of the last six commandments which defines how to love our neighbor (The first four commandments tell us how to love God).
“You shall not covet [nor desire] your neighbor’s house” tells us that it is wrong to desire in the wrong manner our neighbor’s dwelling place—his house and his field. Is it bigger than ours? Is it newer than ours? If it is, then why are we not happy for him and follow the admonition of Paul in Philippians 4:11, which tells us: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…” Another admonition worth noting is “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
Some people are never happy, thinking that physical possessions and a nicer house are what life is all about, and that those things will give us more happiness in life. But what does the Scripture tell us? “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).
The key is to be happy with what we have (or not have) and to be happy for those who have more than we. All of this is temporary anyway.
The Tenth Commandment goes on to say, in Exodus 20:17: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” This, in effect, prevents committing adultery in our minds. Christ told us in Matthew 5:28: “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Here again, one must be content with what one has or with what one does not have. If one is married, be content and happy with your wife and don’t look for “alternatives.” If you are not married and want to be married, then wait for God to provide you with a wife in His due time, but don’t covet the wife of your neighbor. Proverbs 31:10-12 tells us that a virtuous wife is very precious: “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.” If such a wife belongs to our neighbor, it would be a terrible sin to desire her, visualizing adultery in our mind, and then to perhaps even initiate actions to break up such a marriage.
We are also told in the Tenth Commandment not to covet our neighbor’s “male servant, nor his female servant.” What this is telling us is not to be envious of and covet the things which our neighbor has, which makes life easier for him—a butler and people who come and cut his lawn or take care of his field or his yard, clean his house and do chores around the house for him.
We are finally admonished not to covet our neighbor’s “ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is [our] neighbor’s.”
We are not to become envious of our neighbor’s possessions and covet those—be they a nice car and, again, those things that help make work easier for him regarding his yard: Things like a riding lawnmower or a snowblower which our neighbor may have, while we may have to push our mower and shovel snow by hand.
What God tells us in the Tenth Commandment is that we must overcome covetousness by being happy for the other person. Covetousness, if not repented of, may turn into envy and jealousy. Jealousy goes down to the marrow of the bone. This may lead to hatred and the desire to hurt our neighbor (who has something which we want to have). This attitude has caused a lot of suffering in this world. That is why God gave us His commandment against covetousness.
Being happy for others removes covetousness and brings joy and peace into our hearts. Envy and jealousy are many times the root cause for life-lasting rivalries, destroying families and friendships. It is almost impossible to deal with someone who is envious and jealous.
The key is to be happy with what we have (or don’t have) and not to look lustfully on our neighbor’s wife or covet our neighbor’s servants, nor focus on our neighbor’s animals or other things which our neighbor may have–even if they are nicer, bigger, or more expensive than ours. We are to focus on those things which build treasures in heaven and we are not to get caught up in coveting, jealousy and envy, knowing that this life with all its physical blessings is only temporary. In the final analysis, covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5), as we place something else before the true God who told us not to covet, but to love Him first and foremost.
Lead Writer: Rene Messier (Canada)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Is There No Solution to Violence and Mass Shootings?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Within the last few days, terrible mass shootings have occurred in the USA, and we also hear about more and more insane violent attacks throughout the world. Why is this happening, and has the Bible forewarned that those atrocities will take place in the last days? Is there no hope and no solution? But if there is, what is it?
“Stolz auf Sünde–Rebellion gegen Gott,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Pride in Sin — Rebellion Against God.”
Christoph Sperzel’s German sermonette from last Sabbath has been posted as well on the German website, and so have been several German articles.
“How Strong Is the US Military? — Comments on News and Prophecy (August 3, 2019),” is the title of last Sabbath’s special opening message, presented by Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Surprising as it may sound, the US military is by no means as strong as it is claimed. As an article in the Atlantic (July 27, 2019) mentioned, the most recent 4th of July parade looked more like a “military antiques road show.” The development and placement of intermediate-range missiles seems to be years away, and newer sophisticated weapons and bombers don’t seem to have found their way into the US military. The Bible prophecies a nuclear attack on the USA in the very near future. Will America even be prepared militarily to meet such a challenge?
“Can You Follow God as a Young Person?— Not Only for Kids and Teens!” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
How old are you? Do you think that you are too young to obey God? Is there any reason for not following God? How old were some of the biblical heroes who did seek and find God? You might be surprised.
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This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
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