August 23, 2019
Indefatigable; Choosing Our Consequences
On August 24, 2019, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Indefatigable,” and Robb Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Choosing Our Consequences.”
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.
What If They Repented?
by Dave Harris
We all know people who, at some point in their lives, disappointed us. Because of this, relationships can become so broken that there is no longer any contact. It may be leaders who fail, friends who let us down, family members who cause great offence or mates who sin by departing from the marriage and God’s Church.
Sometimes there really is a somber and grim finality in which relationships end, without any hope of reconciliation or restoration. We understand that Satan and those angels who followed him in rebellion will be ultimately and absolutely cut off from God. Furthermore, people who refuse to repent, but who instead harden their heart, sear their conscience and completely reject God and His Way, will be destroyed.
Sometimes, however, relationships can be restored! God, against Whom all of mankind have sinned, gave His Son to reconcile us to Himself (Romans 3:21-26; 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; 1 John 2:2). Through Jesus Christ, we can now have access to the Father (John 14:6; 16:26-27). Our part in this reconciliation is to repent and obey God. (Acts 2:38; 3:19-21).
We are told, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). This must be our approach to others, but it takes real effort on our part. A first step in this is our willingness to forgive upon sincere and godly repentance of the other person, and this is a grave responsibility, as Jesus taught:
“‘Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,” you shall forgive him’” (Luke 17:3-4).
“‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Take a moment and think about someone who sometime, somewhere or somehow offended you. Can you forgive them when they show through their conduct that they are truly repentant of what they did? When you sin against another person and repent, would you not want to obtain forgiveness so that a right relationship can be restored? Then, that same responsibility of forgiving others upon their repentance rests with you as well.
by Norbert Link
We begin with the tumultuous and chaotic situation in Italy and the real danger that far-right populist Matteo Salvini might manifest himself as the new “Il Duce”; address the distinct possibility of a no-deal Brexit on Satan’s festival, Halloween, by the end of October; speak on Gibraltar’s defiance of the USA and the call for Europe’s unified opposition to President Trump; the reactions to Trump’s cancellation of his visit to Denmark; the troublesome descriptions which Trump applies to himself or which he embraces of himself [please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Donald Trump–America’s Savior or Destroyer?”], and we address a potential rift between the USA and Israel.
We speak on Israel’s antagonists, including Jordan and Europe; and address at length further developments towards the building of the biblically prophesied Third Temple. We also address the interesting phenomenon that more and more Christians have begun to celebrate “Jewish” holidays.
We focus on Trump’s trade war and the fear of a worldwide recession; speak on immigration issues in Germany and the USA; point out frictions between Trump and Fox News; and conclude with an appalling statement by Putin regarding Russia’s most recent nuclear disaster.
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
Italy in Turmoil… Matteo Salvini the new “Il Duce”?
The Wall Street Journal wrote on August 20:
“Italy’s government collapsed, plunging the economically fragile country into deeper political turmoil…
“Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation in a speech to the Senate on Tuesday, blaming far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for causing a political crisis…
“If Italy holds early elections, Mr. Salvini could become the first leader of a major EU nation who comes from a self-described populist party to the right of Europe’s mainstream conservatives. Mr. Salvini [is] an avowed admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin…
“Mr. Conte, a nonparty premier… attacked Mr. Salvini for undermining the government in which Mr. Salvini has served as interior minister since June 2018. Mr. Salvini said on Aug. 8 that he wanted to ‘ask the Italians if they want to give me full powers.’ Some critics pointed out that Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini used a similar phrase to demand power in 1922…”
This ends Italy’s 65th government since World War II and Italy’s 14-month-old populist government.
AFP wrote on August 20:
“With his ‘Italians first’ rallying cry and his tub-thumping against Islam and illegal migrants, Matteo Salvini’s stint as Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister made him the country’s most popular and controversial politician… His blunt language has reminded some Italians of the Mussolini era in the 1920s and 30s, when minority groups were persecuted…
“Salvini has forged alliances with other far-right Europeans like France’s National Rally and Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders…
“Although happy to talk about his two children — 14-year-old Federico and Mirta, five — Salvini is less happy to discuss his complicated love life. His then girlfriend, model and TV presenter Elisa Isoardi, broke up with him in an announcement on Instagram last November… His children come from previous relationships, one with ex-wife Fabrizia Ieluzzi, a political journalist, and the other with former girlfriend Giulia Martinelli.”
Interestingly, Mussolini was also well known for his licentious lifestyle.
The Guardian wrote on August 20:
“Conte… criticised the minister’s use of religious symbols in his constant campaigning across Italy, describing it is as ‘offensive to the faithful.’ Salvini kissed a rosary and retaliated in his response to Conte in the Senate, saying ‘I’ll ask the Madonna for protection for as long as I live’.”
Further parallels with Mussolini are striking. In order to appeal to the masses, Mussolini would pretend to be a devout Roman Catholic (which he clearly was not). Pope Francis recently criticized Salvini sharply for his Hitler-like rhetoric, which criticism Salvini dismissed.
In addressing the immediate future of Italy, the Guardian wrote on August 20:
“The president, Sergio Mattarella, is now calling the shots [and] has three options: immediately dissolve parliament and call a snap election; begin consultations with parties to see if a new parliamentary majority can be formed; or install a caretaker government to at least pass Italy’s budget for 2020.”
The Guardian added on August 22:
“Italy’s president has given the country’s main political parties four more days to negotiate the formation of an alternative government after [its] collapse… [He] said… that the crisis must be ‘resolved quickly’ and that without a solid majority the only other option would be new elections. [He] said he will host new consultations on Tuesday in order to ‘make the necessary decisions’.”
No Deal Brexit
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 18:
“A no-deal Brexit would jam British ports, leading to shortages in food, medicine and fuel, the latest United Kingdom government report suggested on Sunday. Leaked to the Sunday Times, the forecast warned that 85% of lorries using the main crossings between England and France ‘may not be ready’ for French customs. The report… said disruption at ports could last for three months, prompting a decrease in the fresh food supply. It says this could potentially lead to panic buying.”
Breitbart wrote on August 16:
“Johnson has insisted Britain will leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal, arguing that the ‘backstop’ arrangement to keep goods flowing smoothly between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland in the U.K. would bind his country to European trade rules and must be dropped from the Brexit agreement.
“Austria’s Brexit negotiator… accused Britain of failing to offer feasible alternative solutions to the Northern Ireland border issue… He noted that any new agreement would still need approval from British lawmakers and this is far from certain.”
Johnson announced that he is sure that Europe and Germany will buckle to avoid a no-deal Brexit. He may be wrong.
Reuters and the Algemeiner wrote on August 20:
“Johnson’s demand that the European Union reopen the Brexit divorce deal was rebuffed on Tuesday by the bloc, which said the UK had failed to propose any realistic alternative to an agreed insurance policy for the Irish border. After more than three years of Brexit crisis, the United Kingdom is heading towards a showdown with the EU as Johnson has vowed to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 without a deal unless it agrees to renegotiate the divorce terms…
“Britain’s pound, sensitive to the prospects of a no-deal departure, promptly fell to near three-year lows against the euro and the US dollar.”
Deutsche Welle added on August 22:
“French President Emmanuel Macron put the brakes on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bid to reopen Brexit negotiations, saying on Thursday that there was not enough time to find a new withdrawal agreement by the October 31 divorce deadline.”
Gibraltar Defies the USA
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 18:
“Gibraltar authorities have rejected a US warrant to seize an Iranian tanker that was previously detained by UK troops…
“Gibraltar’s Supreme Court… lifted the detention order on Thursday, citing Iran’s guarantees that the ship ‘was never destined to an EU-sanctioned entity.’”
Gibraltar officials said that US sanctions against Iran did not apply in the EU.
EU to Oppose Trump?
Project Syndicate wrote on August 19:
“With Donald Trump due to visit Europe again for the G7 summit later this month, European leaders have run out of options for dealing with the US president. They have tried to charm him, persuade him, ignore him, or agree to disagree with him… The only alternative, therefore, is to oppose him…
“It is important to call these actions what they are: the personal decisions of an… individual, not the result of legislative action or the outcome of any semblance of public deliberation. Remarkably, 230 years after its constitution was adopted, the United States suffers from one-man rule… He must be opposed, not appeased… his… actions… will increasingly threaten Europe’s economy and security… Any enemy of the Union – such as Johnson, Italy’s Matteo Salvini, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán – is therefore a friend of Trump…
“Europe’s leaders… should recognize that a significant majority of Americans also oppose Trump’s… behavior…”
Trump Cancels Trip to Denmark
BBC News wrote on August 21:
“Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says she is ‘annoyed’ at Donald Trump’s decision to cancel his visit after being told Greenland was not for sale. ‘Our preparations were well under way,’ she said, adding she had been looking forward to meeting the US president… Mr Trump was scheduled to visit on 2 September at the invitation of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II.
“[Fredriksen] said despite this, the US was one of Denmark’s closest allies, and that the president’s two-day visit would have been an ‘opportunity to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship to the US’…
“While praising Denmark as a ‘very special country’, Mr Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday that his planned visit would no longer go ahead because Ms Frederiksen had ‘no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland’.
“The cancellation of what was considered an important state visit in Denmark was described as a ‘farce’ by the leader of the populist Danish People’s Party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl…
“Former foreign minister Kristian Jensen said Mr Trump’s move had resulted in ‘total chaos’. Pia Kjaersgaard, the populist former speaker of the Danish parliament, said it showed a ‘complete lack of respect’, adding: ‘Rude behaviour to the Danish people and the Queen, who invited him.’
“Danish royal expert and historian Lars Hovbakke Sorensen said the whole episode was ‘very strange… This is a violation of all traditions and etiquettes…’”
The Guardian wrote on August 21:
“So what do people in Denmark think about Trump’s decision to call off his trip to the country? Not much, it seems – with one former Danish foreign minister comparing Trump to ‘a clown in a circus’…”
Trump’s behavior disassociates the USA from even most of its closest European allies.
Trump—King of Israel and Second Coming of God?
Sputnik News wrote on August 21:
“US President Donald Trump has once again demonstrated his uncanny knack for riling up social media after he thanked American conservative author and radio host Wayne Allyn Root for declaring him ‘the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world.’ In a recent tweet, the US president quoted Root as saying that the ‘Jewish people in Israel’ love Trump ‘like he’s the King of Israel’ and ‘like he’s the second coming of God’, though ‘American Jews don’t know him or like him.’ ‘Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words,’ Trump wrote, describing the praise heaped upon him simply as ‘wow!’”
Trump’s approval of such blasphemous descriptions about him is very dangerous. Note Acts 12:20-23.
Trump had tweeted before that American Jews who vote for Democrats are guilty of “total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty”. Over 70% voted for the Democrats in the last presidential election, and nearly 80% voted for Democrats in the Midterm election.
JTA reported on August 21:
“Mainstream and left-wing Jewish groups called out President Donald Trump as ‘dangerous’ and displaying ‘textbook anti-Semitism.’… Meanwhile, the Republican Jewish Coalition [representing less than 20% of American Jews] defended Trump’s comments.”
“I am the Chosen One”
“President Trump, when asked about his ongoing trade war with China, deemed himself ‘the chosen one’ when talking with reporters outside the White House on Wednesday. As Trump put it, when it comes to dealing with China’s trade practices, ‘somebody had to do it.’ He then added ‘I am the chosen one’ as he looked up to the sky.”
In fact, he spread his arms and looked up to heaven. There was no mistaking the fact as to what he was indicating. This is QUITE serious!
Rift with Israel?
The Washington Post wrote on August 17, in regard to Netanyahu’s decision to bar entry of two US congresswomen, following the “advice” of Trump:
“For decades, Israel held a special place in American politics, with almost universal support. That has eroded over the past several years but seemed to disintegrate this week in a way that some fear could do irreparable damage… many hawks on Israel have found themselves in a position of having to release statements criticizing a nation they have long defended… Numerous Democrats said they worried about the long-term effects of politicizing the U.S.-Israel relationship…
“Israel is the greatest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, with the two countries signing a memorandum of understanding in 2016 outlining $38 billion in military aid for the next 10 years. Typically, Congress approves the funds on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis — but with Democrats such as Sanders [who is Jewish] calling that into question, the future is uncertain… A Pew survey released in April showed that the Israeli government was viewed negatively by 51 percent of Americans…
“Jews overwhelmingly vote Democratic, with 71 percent in 2016 voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and 24 percent voting for Trump, according to exit polls… Many American Jews also have viewed Netanyahu as problematic and oppose some of his policies and his abandonment of a two-state Middle East solution… [One commentator said:] ‘This is a strategic blunder of epic proportions that Netanyahu and his advisers have made, turning Israel into a branch of the Republican Party. This is a tiny little country in a very bad neighborhood that needs all the friends it can get.’”
It was reported that Nancy Pelosi stated that the good relationship between the USA and Israel would continue regardless or in spite of Trump or Netanyahu. On the other hand, “Senior Democratic members of Congress are said to have launched discussions to formally censure the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Jerusalem’s envoy in Washington over Israel’s decision to bar entry to [the two] congresswomen,” according to Breitbart.
Jordan Warns Israel over “Violations”
Fox News wrote on August 18:
“Jordan summoned Israel’s ambassador on Sunday in protest over what it called ‘violations’ at a Jerusalem holy site sacred to Muslim and Jewish people. Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the country delivered a ‘decisive letter’ to Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod, a letter that included a call ‘to immediately cease all Israeli violations and all Israeli attempts to change the historical, legal status’ at the site.
“Last week, a day of riots at the Jerusalem holy site, which Muslims have referred to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews have referred to as the Temple Mount, left at least four Israeli police officers and several Muslim and Jewish people injured, in the worst bout of fighting there in months…
“The diplomatic protest came days after Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan told a radio station that the country should work toward Jews being allowed to pray at the holy site… Jordan’s foreign ministry reportedly expressed ‘the kingdom’s strong condemnation’ over Erdan’s statements. Jordan said the site was a ‘place of worship for Muslims only.’… Jewish people have been allowed to visit the site but are banned from praying there.
“Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted on Sunday, “Met… EU (European Union) ambassadors to stress urgency of effective Int’l (international) steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied… Jerusalem. These violations & others seeking to change status quo in Holy Sites violate Int’l law, deepen tensions.’”
Europe might in fact intervene here. Europe’s anti-Semitism and its antagonism towards Jewish rites are well-known and become more and more manifest. Note the next article.
Europe Moves Forward with Banning Traditional Slaughter of Animals
Politico wrote on August 20:
“From September 1, the French-speaking region of Wallonia will be the second Belgian authority after Flanders to ban halal and kosher slaughter…
“While traditional slaughter without stunning has already been banned in EU countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Slovenia, Belgium is turning into a critical test case of where the line lies in European law between animal welfare and religious freedom… This debate, though, has not always been exclusively about animal welfare.
“For some, there is a sense that far-right politicians in Flanders used animal suffering as a Trojan horse to push a populist anti-Muslim agenda… stating that the Muslim community was being targeted, with Jews left as the ‘collateral damage.’… Belgian Muslims and Jews feel like they are in the same boat… The gulf between animal rights activists and religious communities… could hardly be more stark.”
Al Aqsa and the Third Temple
Israel Today wrote on August 13:
“Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been trying to reignite the situation primarily by issuing urgent warnings that Israel plans to divide the sacred plateau in preparation for rebuilding the Jewish Temple… The alleged conspiracy of the Jews against the Al Aqsa Mosque was first utilized a century ago by the Nazi-affiliated Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini… the Mufti sought to convince the Arab world that the Jews intended to demolish the Al Aqsa Mosque and replace the Dome of the Rock with the Third Temple…
“By the late 1920s, clashes between Jews and Arabs near the Western Wall had increased greatly. On September 23 and 24, 1928, rioting Arabs attacked Jewish worshippers on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. The Mufti took advantage of the riots, claiming that the Jews were trying to seize control of the Temple Mount. He presented the British authorities with what he insisted was conclusive evidence that the Jews were trying to destroy Al Aqsa, which by that time Muslims had deemed their third holiest site.”
On the other hand, many Jews and evangelical Christians feel that the Third Temple would have to be built on exactly the place where Al Aqsa stands today.
The Red Heifer and the Third Temple
Israel Today wrote on August 7:
“… without the Red Heifer, the Temple can’t be rebuilt… Jews and Christians share the belief that when the Messiah will arrive, he will enter the Temple. So, for him to come, there must be a Temple… there are still enough who are doing everything they can to make all the necessary preparations for the building of the Third Temple, and that includes breeding red heifers and practicing the ceremonial burning of the calf.
“The Temple Institute has recently done just that: Experimenting with the meticulous rabbinic rituals surrounding the red heifer. The effort includes burning a dead cow on a kind of a wooden altar. Into the burning fire were also thrown cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet-dyed wool. The experiment was designed to check the amount of ash produced, and whether it would be enough to purify every Israelite living today.
“According to the Jewish Voice news portal, Prof. Zohar Amar of the Department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University took part in the experiment and described it as an historical moment. ‘For 2000 years we have been waiting for this moment,’ said Prof. Amar…”
Even though a red heifer is not a biblical requirement and prerequisite for animal sacrifices and the building of the Third Temple, this is what many (but by far not all) Jews believe.
Christians Celebrate “Jewish” Holidays… Why?
JTA wrote on August 19:
“On Aug. 10 and 11, many Jews worldwide observed the religious holiday of Tisha B’Av by fasting, praying and reading Bible passages related to the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians. Religious Jews have kept Tisha B’Av for centuries as a day of communal mourning. But this year they were joined by a growing number of evangelical Christians who now observe the holiday to lament the historical persecution of Jews by the church. The new Christian Tisha B’Av calls for penance for past misdeeds — most especially by growing Christian support for the state of Israel…
“Christians have observed Jewish holidays dating to the days of the New Testament, and holidays such as Pentecost, based on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, have remained fixtures on the Christian calendar.
“But today’s evangelicals and Pentecostals have built upon this long-standing practice in a distinctly modern way: by fusing religious observance, general support for Israel and public denunciations of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Christians are not only reviving Jewish holidays and practices in their own faith in recognition of the Jewish roots of Christianity. They also are responding to the seismic events in modern Jewish history, most especially the horrors of anti-Semitism, some of it perpetrated by Christians…
“One early pioneer, educator G. Douglas Young… denounced ‘supersessionism,’ the historical Christian teaching that God’s covenant with the Jewish people had been superseded by a new covenant with the church… Billy Graham also attacked anti-Semitic beliefs… Evangelicals in his orbit encouraged Christians to observe Jewish feast days to get in touch with the Hebrew roots of their faith…
“In 1979, hundreds of Christians — mostly American and European — celebrated the Jewish holiday of Sukkot in Jerusalem. The organizers chose Sukkot to gather in Jerusalem alongside Jews as a symbolic fulfillment of a prophecy in Zechariah that in preparation for the end of time, people from all nations ‘will go up year after year [to Jerusalem] to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.’
“The next year, a much larger group gathered to celebrate this feast… Christian Zionists used the second annual Feast of Tabernacles gathering to inaugurate the International Christian Embassy, the largest Christian Zionist organization operating today. This movement has blossomed since 1980…
“The ramifications for this could be huge, especially in the United States. Conservative evangelicals are the largest and most influential constituency in the Trump era… when it comes to Israel, and their success in deepening and broadening Christian Zionist activism through interreligious cooperation will define the future of U.S. support of Israel. This growing solidarity could have enormous political ramifications…”
These ramifications might include a collaboration between Israel and the USA under Trump to build the prophesied Third Temple on the Temple Mount.
“Our Socialist President?” – The Curse of Trump’s Trade War
The Week wrote on August 19:
“Railing against socialism.. is probably sound campaign strategy for the president. It’s also wildly duplicitous, as his administration’s own attempts to ameliorate the damage of his trade war are themselves the sort of redistribution critics of socialism decry…
“Many American farmers… have opposed the president’s trade war and the bailout Trump has offered to band-aid the damage… Federal funds may enable them to stay afloat in the short term, but the long-term disruption of trade patterns Trump has inflicted will be felt for years to come…
“Trump’s trade war is… making America more socialist, not less. By upending farmers’ trade relations, he is keeping them from the work they’d like to do. The subsidies are ‘substantial, but we cannot overstate the dire consequences that farmers and ranchers are facing in relation to lost export markets,’ Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation said when the redistribution program was announced. Instead of payouts, Duvall insisted, farmers would prefer an ‘end to the trade war’ and ‘restor[ed] markets.’…”
Trying to Wish the Recession Away…
The Independent wrote on August 18:
“Donald Trump’s top economic adviser is scrambling to play down fears of a looming recession – after financial markets dropped sharply last week. Larry Kudlow predicted the economy will perform well in the second half of 2019, and said consumers are seeing higher wages so they can spend and save more… However, he played down fears of a recession in 2007 – just months before the worst financial crash since the Great Depression.
“… consumer confidence has dropped more than six per cent since July… Kudlow also defended the president’s tariffs on goods coming from China – despite his known opposition to them before joining Mr Trump’s administration.”
Obviously, Larry Kudlow is not the financial expert one should be listening to. Trump echoed Kudlow’s assessment, denying that there would be any recession. However, the signs of the times are grim and foreboding.
Many Business Economists Concerned about Coming Recession in 2020 or 2021
The Associated Press wrote on August 19:
“A number of U.S. business economists appear sufficiently concerned about the risks of some of President Donald Trump‘s economic policies that they expect a recession in the U.S. by the end of 2021.
“Thirty-four percent of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics, in a report being released Monday, said they believe a slowing economy will tip into recession in 2021. That’s up from 25% in a survey taken in February. Only 2% of those polled expect a recession to begin this year, while 38% predict that it will occur in 2020. [To be clear, this means that 74% economists expect a recession in the U.S. in 2020 or 2021]…
“The financial markets last week signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession, adding to concerns over the ongoing trade tensions and word from Britain and Germany that their economies are shrinking…
“As a whole, the business economists’ recent responses have represented a rebuke of the Trump administration’s overall approach to the economy…”
“See No Recession, Hear No Recession, Speak No Recession.”
Agora Financial wrote on August 19:
“… this president finds himself in the strange position of praying the Federal Reserve can keep inflating the ‘big, fat, ugly bubble’ he was denouncing on the campaign trail in 2016 — at least long enough to ensure his reelection in 2020… Interest rates might be too low for cuts to make a difference. And the Fed’s balance sheet might be too big now to get blown up fivefold as it was from 2008–2014. That’s the bad news. The worse news is that rate cuts and renewed money printing might reinflate the ‘big, fat, ugly bubble’ — only to set us up for an even bigger collapse down the road.”
Money Week wrote on August 20:
“One of the more reliable recession indicators has signalled that a downturn is on its way. Earlier last week, after years of hovering threateningly on the threshold, the US yield curve finally inverted… when the curve inverts – namely, longer-term yields are below shorter-term ones – it implies that investors are very pessimistic… they expect low inflation, or even deflation, which tends to go hand in hand with recessions.”
cnbc wrote on August 21:
“The spread between the yield on the 10-year Treasury note and that of the 2-year note on Wednesday turned negative for the second time in one week, a recession warning that flashed for the first time since 2005 on Aug. 14.”
The Independent wrote on August 20:
“Donald Trump has said he will continue with his trade war with China even if it means the United States falling into recession. The president stressed that he thought the US was ‘very far’ from a recession but acknowledged that his administration was discussing a payroll tax cut, something that had previously been denied. He also called for further cuts in interest rates, saying: ‘If the Fed would do its job we would have a tremendous spirit of growth .. you would see a burst of growth like you’ve never seen before.’”
Germany Warns of Worldwide Recession
The Associated Press wrote on August 19:
“Germany, Europe’s industrial powerhouse and biggest economy, with companies like Volkswagen, Siemens and BASF, may be entering a recession, according to a gloomy report from the country’s central bank Monday — a development that could have repercussions for the rest of the eurozone and the United States… Deutsche Bank went further Monday, saying ‘we see Germany in a technical recession’…”
Syrians in Germany May Lose their Asylum Status
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 18:
“German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced a tough response to Syrian refugees who leave Germany for holidays in their home country. ‘If somebody, a Syrian refugee, regularly takes holidays in Syria, he cannot honestly claim to be persecuted in Syria,’ Seehofer told Bild am Sonntag weekly. ‘We would have to strip him of his refugee status,’ he added…
“German officials are currently unable to deport people to Syria as the Middle Eastern country is considered unsafe. The ban is set to expire at the end of 2019, although there is an option to prolong it…
“Some 780,000 Syrians have migrated to Germany in recent years, fleeing the civil war, which started in 2011. The Syrian regime, led by President Bashar Assad, now controls most of Syria. The fighting and airstrikes continue in the nation’s northwest… Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in the conflict.”
Stephen Miller’s Tough Stance on Immigration
The Washington Post wrote on August 18:
“Stephen Miller, Trump’s 33-year-old senior adviser… is writing the central plot of his presidency… In Trump, Miller has found a champion for his ideological goals. He is the singular force behind the Trump administration’s immigration agenda…
“Miller secured tighter immigration rules that can disqualify green-card applicants if they are poor or deemed likely to use public assistance, cutting off a pathway to U.S. citizenship for those immigrants who could become a burden on taxpayers, or ‘public charges.’ …
“He is dismissive of Kushner’s more moderate immigration views and efforts to forge compromise, other senior officials say, and Miller has questioned how much the president’s son-in-law knows about the topic…
“Miller urged the president to… end… the U.S. family-based immigration model, which the White House calls ‘chain migration.’… Miller helped devise the ‘zero tolerance’ prosecution effort with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions… During a span of six weeks, border agents took children away from migrant parents and sent the adults to court for prosecution. At least 2,600 families were separated until public outrage forced the president to back down.
“Miller defended the separations and had encouraged the president to enact them — telling others in the West Wing they would prove to be a migration deterrent. Trump soon realized it was a ‘PR nightmare’… and blamed Miller. The president also grew frustrated with Miller over the botched implementation of the travel ban in the first weeks of the administration. Miller is among the few administration officials who continue to defend zero-tolerance separations today, insisting the approach would have worked if the policy had continued.
“Miller is obsessed… with boosting deportations. Early in the tenure, he tried to persuade Kelly, as DHS chief, to deport anyone here illegally. Kelly wanted to focus on criminal felons, frustrating Miller…”
As long as Miller has a free hand and the ear of the President, we can expect even worse things to happen in the immigration field.
Further Lawsuits Against Trump’s New Public Charge Immigration Rule
The Hill wrote on August 20:
“New York State… on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against proposed new rules expanding the kinds of public aid immigrants can potentially be denied a green card for receiving… Connecticut and Vermont’s respective state attorneys general [also filed]. Thirteen other states [Fox News says, more than 15 states] had already filed a suit against the proposed change last week.
“The rule would add Medicaid and food stamps to the list of programs whose past recipients could be deemed a ‘public charge,’ potentially jeopardizing their ability to become citizens…
“[New York’s attorney general] argues that [the proposed rule] contravenes ‘a century’s worth of case law,’ writing that, historically, immigrants who rely on noncash benefits cannot be considered public charges. ‘Finally, the rule fundamentally misunderstands that these non-cash programs are designed to help immigrants who arrive in this country with limited means move out of poverty and achieve upward mobility.’”
NBC News added on August 20:
“Under the new rule, officials can deem immigrants seeking to change their legal immigration status and who are enrolled in publicly funded programs such as food stamps and public health insurance as a ‘public charge,’ meaning they will likely use public benefits in the future. Once labeled a ‘public charge,’ immigrants would be denied green cards, visas and other forms of legal immigration status…
“Many families eligible to receive public benefits have dropped out of certain government programs or barred themselves from applying for assistance since a draft of the ‘public charge’ rule was leaked last year…
“In the lawsuit [the three attorney generals] say the administration arbitrarily extended the ‘public charge’ bar in a way that violates equal protection rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution…
“Over 60 lawsuits have been filed to block the public charge rule, including by New Mexico, Colorado, Rhode Island, Maine, Maryland and Massachusetts, said [New York attorney general Letita] James during a press conference Tuesday morning.”
Fox News added:
“The rules would go into effect in October [on October 15], but the legal challengers seek a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement until the cases are fully litigated.”
Inasmuch as these new rules are fundamentally wrong and unbiblical, let us all pray that they will be overturned.
Further Dangerous Trump Immigration Rules and Proposals
The Guardian wrote on August 21:
“The Trump rule change on detaining immigrant families will be published this week in the Federal Register, and would take effect 60 days later, the New York Times reports… Under the new rule, the administration would be free to send families who are caught crossing the border illegally to a family residential center to be held for as long as it takes for their immigration cases to be decided. Officials said families cases could be resolved within three months, though many could drag on much longer. (If past experience is a guide, it could last for YEARS.)
“Trump administration officials… said that many of the families would be detained until they were either released after being awarded asylum or they were deported to their home countries… Currently the government may not detain children for more than 20 days unless they are detained in a state facility. The Wall Street Journal reported that the two largest facilities designed to house families, both in Texas, aren’t licensed to house children beyond 20 days. ‘To circumvent that requirement,’ the Journal wrote: ‘The new set of rules would enable the Department of Homeland Security to create its own licensing system, effectively allowing the government to house families in any of its detention facilities through their court proceedings, until they are either granted asylum, paroled into the US or deported.’… The rule is expected to be challenged in court, but adds to the raft of anti-immigration measures Trump is attempting to enforce.”
The Week reported on August 21:
“President Trump hasn’t given up on his plan to end birthright citizenship. Trump said… last October that he planned to sign an executive order ending the right of citizenship to every child born in the United States, and although he never ended up doing so, 10 months later, he once again said he’s considering it. ‘We’re looking at that very seriously,’ Trump said Wednesday…
“When Trump raised the idea of ending birthright citizenship by way of an executive order last year, he drew plenty of criticism from his fellow Republicans, including then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said the president ‘obviously’ can’t do that, considering it’s a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and the ‘14th Amendment is pretty clear.’ Trump quickly shot back at Ryan, claiming the speaker was commenting on an issue he ‘knows nothing about.’ Trump also insisted that the 14th Amendment doesn’t actually cover birthright citizenship and that it ‘will be ended one way or the other.’”
As we mentioned before, Trump’s dangerous anti-immigration measures are intended to change the very fabric of American ideals and goals… but in no way for the better.
The End of a Love Affair—Trump Trashes Fox News
Mediaite wrote on August 18, 2019:
“President Donald Trump went on a tear against Fox News… Trump said, ‘Fox is a lot different than it used to be…And I’m not happy with it… I think Fox is making a big mistake because, you know, I’m the one that calls the shots on that — on the really big debates. I guess we’re probably planning on three of them…’
“He went on to give shout-outs to Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs and Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and Jesse Watters and Jeanine Pirro and ‘even Greg Gutfeld.’”
AFP added on August 18:
“[Trump said:] ‘Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith…”
Shepard Smith has been a constant critic of Donald Trump, and so have been other highly profiled and popular Fox moderators. Smith, who is openly gay, famously said in 2015 when Trump was running for the Presidency: “Somebody needs to come up and remind them [Trump and his supporters] what this nation is and what we’re about and how we dream and the way we were founded and what our Constitution is. He’s not representing any of that. He’s representing the worst, darkest part of all that is America.”
The Daily Beast wrote on August 20:
“Toward the end of his Fox News broadcast on Monday evening, Special Report anchor Bret Baier responded to President Trump’s recent criticism of the network’s polling, which shows him trailing every major Democratic candidate in hypothetical head-to-head matchups… ‘Fox has not changed,’ Baier said…
“‘We have a news side and an opinion side. Opinion folks express their opinions. We do polls.’ After explaining that Fox’s polls reflect the reality of the race at this moment, the anchor said, ‘Mr. President, we’ve invited you on Special Report many times. We’d love to have you back on. You’ve talked to George Stephanopoulos and Chuck Todd. Come on back. Me, Chris Wallace, the news side cover it fair, balanced, and unafraid.’”
Russia’s Nuclear Catastrophe None of Our Business?
The Daily Beast wrote on August 20:
“Russia has told the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization that the nuclear-reactor explosion at a White Sea missile test site in early August is none of their business. The news came as two additional Russian monitoring stations designed to warn about nuclear radiation threats have gone silent after the mysterious Aug. 8 blast at the site this month, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Four monitoring stations are now down, which is alarming experts who suspect Russia is attempting to cover up what really happened and keep details about the weapon being tested under wraps…”
Putin’s remarks reflect the sayings of a true dictator and despot who does not care about the lives of others.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
What is the basis for ordination as a deacon or elder?
The question as to the timing of ordinations can be quite confusing and puzzling. How does one know whether a person should be ordained to a particular office?
We have discussed this question, in general, in numerous Q&As.
In “What is the basis or reason for ordination?”, we said the following:
“Ordination, as a practice, is clearly set forth in the Bible… In the New Testament, we note that Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church of God (Ephesians 1:22), has established ministerial positions: ‘And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers’ (Ephesians 4:11). Speaking of the Church, Paul writes: ‘Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues’ (1 Corinthians 12:27-28).
“From the outset, the process of choosing ministers and deacons for particular service in the Church has been the result of careful consideration… Paul and Barnabas were prophets and teachers. They were subsequently ordained to the rank and function of apostles (Acts 14:14) for the particular job they would then fulfill in the Church… Paul specifically acknowledges this ordination for the proclaiming of the gospel… (2 Timothy 1:11; compare, also, Romans 11:13)…
“However, neither Peter nor Paul were able to do all of the work their commissions required. They ordained others to help in administering the Church of God… Paul instructed Titus to ‘appoint elders in every city’ (Titus 1:5).”
Such ordinations as deacons or elders have to be based on specifically enumerated spiritual qualifications (Titus 1:6-9; compare, also, 1 Timothy 3:1-13). Christ also made clear that especially the ordinations of ministers are to be done “for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God… that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…” (Ephesians 4:12-14).
He also said that we ought to pray that God would send out laborers into His harvest (Luke 10:2).
We concluded in the above-mentioned Q&A that “God emphatically promises to help those who are ordained in His service” and that we in God’s Church “will ordain people as the need is made apparent to further the Work of God given to His Church.” That Work is preaching the gospel in all the world as a witness to all nations, and feeding the flock.
It is of course obvious that God must inspire those ordinations. We read about this principle in Hebrews 5:4, addressing the ordination to the office of high priest: “And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.” It is THE Apostle, Jesus Christ (compare Hebrews 3:1), who directs the ministry to ordain people in His Church.
We elaborated in several Q&As on the statement, quoted above, that God promises to help those who are ordained in His service. In the Q&A, titled “Does John 3:34 imply that God gives His Holy Spirit in lesser and greater amounts?”, we stated:
“When a man or a woman is ordained to the office of deacon or deaconess, they receive an extra portion of the Holy Spirit to accomplish their responsibilities… To become a minister, a further ordination is necessary. And so, when a member or a deacon is ordained to the ministry, an additional extra portion of the Holy Spirit is given them at that time. [As we read in 2 Timothy 1:6-7], Timothy had received a measure of the Holy Spirit when he was baptized, but when he became ordained, he received an extra measure of the Holy Spirit to fulfill his work as a minister…
“When God’s ministers are raised in rank through an ordination and the laying on of hands, they will at that time obtain still more of God’s Holy Spirit to enable them to fulfill their added responsibilities, including spiritual discernment to make right decisions (compare Matthew 16:19; 18:18).
“… the Word of God also reveals that He allots His Holy Spirit to individuals for the work He wants them to do.”
In a subsequent Q&A, titled, “Is our salvation assured, or is it a big question mark in God’s eyes? Did He only give us a small measure of His Holy Spirit which may just barely enable us to overcome and inherit salvation?”, we clarified the following, lest someone would misunderstand:
“But this does not mean that God does not grant abundantly the necessary and needed measure of the Holy Spirit [for the inheritance of salvation] to EVERY converted Christian. The opposite is true. That is why we read in Titus 3:6 that God gave ABUNDANTLY of His Spirit to each and every one of us. Paul says in Ephesians 5:18 to every Christian, to ‘…be filled with the Spirit.’ But he also warned: ‘Do not quench the Spirit’ (1 Thessalonians 5:19).”
In another Q&A, titled “Is it possible for a Christian to receive more of God’s Holy Spirit?”, we added these comments:
“… when a man is ordained to the ministry, God grants helps through His Holy Spirit (Compare Luke 10:17-20; Mark 16:15-18).”
The same is true for ordinations of men and women to the office of deacon and deaconess. While women are not to be ordained as ministers, we do ordain women as deaconesses. We explain the following in our Q&A, titled, “Why did God use Deborah in the leadership role as prophetess and judge to Israel, and why is this recorded in God’s Word?”:
“In Romans 16:1-2, we read in the NKJV: ‘I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a SERVANT of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.’ The RSV translates the word servant as ‘deaconess.’ ‘Diakonos’ is the masculine form and gives credence to the idea that Phoebe was a deaconess. Otherwise, Paul would have used a feminine form for servant… The ONLY ordained office within the Church of God that is held by women is that of DEACONESS–an appointment based on solid maturity and selfless service.”
The Greek words in Romans 16:1-2 are “ousan diakonon”, describing the female deacons of the church. This was used as an official title. Also, in 1 Timothy 3:8-10, males are described in respect to the ordinations of deacons. The Scripture then continued in verse 11 with, “the women likewise.” The New King James Bible renders this passage quite inaccurately, saying, “Likewise their wives must be reverent.” The word “their” has been added, and the word “wives” should be translated as “women.” In the original Greek, it says, “Women in like manner…” This does not refer to the wives of deacons, but it refers to the ordination of female deacons or deaconesses.
We see that Phoebe, a deaconess, was a helper of many, including Paul.
The first record of ordaining men as deacons can be found in Acts 6. As mentioned above, the word “deacon” is derived from the Greek word, “diakonos,” meaning “servant” or “helper.” A need had arisen in the Church to ordain faithful men for fair and equitable daily distribution of necessities to widows. The ordination of deacons was done to free the apostles from such tasks and to give them more time for prayer and the ministry of the word (verses 1-4). A separation of tasks was accomplished. While the deacons would look after widows in this particular case, the apostles would concentrate on preaching the Word of God.
Many times, where there are local congregations, deacons and deaconesses would look after physical necessities for, during and after services, and they might look after members who are in physical need. They might open their houses for assembling with other scattered members on the Sabbath, when there is no Church congregation nearby.
But their task may not be limited to such endeavors, nor might it even be the primary responsibility of many deacons today.
The Church of God is to do a worldwide Work today of proclaiming the good news in all the nations. The actual preaching and proclaiming of the gospel through speaking and writing is mainly accomplished through the ordained ministry, but in order to fulfill such a monumental task, many physical needs have to be met. For instance, messages need to be recorded and then posted on the Internet; or, if internet service is limited or not available, they need to be duplicated and distributed via CD, DVD, or other current media. Written texts need to be proof-read, and booklets must be finalized for printing. Master files need to be kept up-to-date. Websites need to be administered. Feast sites need to be located and Feast arrangements need to be made. Literally dozens if not hundreds of tasks are to be accomplished, and the need for the ordinations of faithful members, being filled with the Holy Spirit, to the offices of deacons and ministers is great.
Today, many tasks are being carried out by ministers and their wives which actually could be carried out by deacons, if there were ordained qualified deacons in place. We are admonished to pray to God that He will send laborers into His harvest, who could be ordained as deacons or elders. As the Word of God spread after seven faithful men were ordained as deacons in Acts 6, so the same can be expected within the Church today. In Acts 6, the concept of ordinations of deacons was introduced, as a need for such ordinations had arisen in the local Church congregation. Today, as explained, such a need is not limited to a local Church congregation, as this is a worldwide Work with technical possibilities and responsibilities which were totally unknown and did not exist at the time of the early Church.
In this regard, ordinations are made with the anticipation that those ordained will grow in their offices. They already showed by their actions and conduct that God had set them aside to be ordained, inspiring the Church ministry to make “official” what God had already decided. For instance, as Acts 13 shows, Paul and Barnabas were ordained to the office of apostle to carry out the work to which God had called them (verse 2). We should note, however, that they had been carrying out important ministerial tasks prior to their ordination as apostles. We find, in Acts 11:26, that Barnabas and Saul assembled with the church at Antioch for one year “and taught a great many people.” Then they went to Jerusalem to bring the elders of the Church relief from the famine that plagued the areas. Acts 12:25 continues to report that “Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem [to Antioch] when they had fulfilled their ministry…”
In the past, men were ordained to the office of high-ranking ministers in the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong, the late human leader of the Church, because they were heads of departments which were crucial for the proclamation of the gospel, even though they themselves might not have preached much, if at all, in local Church congregations. Paul pointed out that he had not been called to baptize—this task was mainly reserved for others—but to preach the gospel in that part of the world which was known at that time. Jesus Christ did not baptize at all, but He had His early apostles do this.
As we said above, ordinations are desirable “for service in the Church” and for the furthering of the Work–not necessarily within a particular Church congregation, but the Church as a whole, for the administering of the Church worldwide. Those who will be ordained will be receiving an extra portion of the Holy Spirit to be able to accomplish their particular responsibilities—which in this day and age would also include technical abilities and computer skills for those who would be entrusted with such tasks.
Ultimately, Christ will decide as to who should be ordained, and He will make His Will known to the leading ministers in His Church. But all within the Body of Christ should pray to God that His Will becomes manifest and understood by the ministry, and that His Will be carried out.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Donald Trump–America’s Savior or Destroyer?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Many have different opinions about President Trump, but what does God say? This program discusses Trump’s controversial immigration policy, his bad approval ratings, his attack on Fox News and American Jews; his changing positions on background checks and the recession; his cancellation of his trip to Denmark; and troublesome descriptions about his person which he applied to or embraced of himself. We also discuss the prospects of his reelection in 2020 from God’s point of view, and we answer the question in the title of this program, while also referring to a recent sermon with much biblical proof, titled, “When It Rains, It Pours.”
The text for our new German booklet has been finalized by Shelly Bruno and is being sent to the printer. It is the German translation of our English booklet, “The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today!” In German: “Das Buch Sacharja—Prophezeiungen für die heutige Zeit!” It has been posted on our German website.
“Unsere ungerechte Welt—Unsere Rechtssysteme,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Our Unrighteous World–Our Legal Systems.”
“Die Seligpreisungen,” the German sermonette presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted.
“Gaining Help and Strength from Others,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Brian Gale, is now posted. Here is a summary:
As church members, we should all be there for one another. We should gain help and strength from others and, just as importantly, we should give help and strength to others, wherever possible. That approach will help us all as we strive to make it into the Kingdom of God!
“When It rains, It Pours,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Are you confronted with distress, calamity and adversity in your life? Could God have anything to do with it? Is it possible to have unshakable confidence in times of affliction, misery and trouble? How should one act and not act in the face of evil? Do great nations, such as the USA and the UK, experience today catastrophe and disaster, or will they encounter them soon? Could they avoid their impending adversity and imminent destruction? Will calamity and disaster ever end?
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, Michael Link, Anna 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.
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