|Live Services||Comments on News and Prophecy, (January 23, 2021) / You Will Be Tested|
|Editorial||You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||Hyperbole in the Bible (Part 3)|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Comments on News and Prophecy, (January 23, 2021) / You Will Be Tested
On January 23, 2021, Norbert Link will present “Comments on News and Prophecy, (January 23, 2021), and Rene Messier will present the sermon, titled, “You Will Be Tested.”
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.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Now that’s an interesting headline, grammatically incorrect with a double negative, but it does have an effect. Even with its flaws, most people will get the meaning.
https://wordhistories.net gives us this explanation of its origin:
“The colloquial phrases you ain’t seen nothing yet and you ain’t heard nothing yet are used to indicate that however extreme or impressive something may seem, it will be overshadowed by what is to come.
“The latter phrase is generally said to have first appeared as the title and in the lyrics of a song by Al Jolson and Gus Kahn (music by Bud De Sylva). Published in 1919 by Jerome H. Remick & Co. (Detroit & New York), You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet was originally interpreted by Al Jolson.”
livemint.com echoes with this warning:
“The WHO (World Health Organisation) warned that worse pandemics could lie ahead, urging the world to get ‘serious’ about preparedness. The novel coronavirus has had a devastating impact around the globe, but the World Health Organization warned Monday (December 28th) that worse pandemics could lie ahead, urging the world to get ‘serious’ about preparedness. ‘This is a wakeup call,’ WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan told reporters at a briefing marking a year since the UN agency first learned of the new virus spreading in China.”
The Covid19 virus has had an enormous effect on the world since the beginning of 2020, and the consequences of what we have seen and experienced have devastated many businesses, economies and, most importantly, many people’s lives.
However, there can be no question that the statistics have been skewed. For example, walesonline.co.uk gives this example: “A patient who has tested positive, but successfully treated and discharged from hospital, will still be counted as a Covid death even if they had a heart attack or were run over by a bus three months later.” Nevertheless, this virus is real and has wreaked havoc and heartache within countries and families around the world.
Wherever you look around the world there seems to be insurmountable problems and no country seems to be immune from them. To list many of these now would be to just reiterate regular news items and much that is regularly highlighted in our weekly Update.
But wait. This is just the beginning. The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are now, surely, just over the horizon and when it is God’s time for these things to happen, they will. It will be the only way to get man’s attention!
With many panicking at the current state of affairs, what the future holds will be much, much worse. Only our continual obedience to God’s ways will keep us from the suffering that the world will have to endure, and we are admonished in Luke 21:36 to: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Much worse is to come, although the world is looking forward to normal service being resumed after the coronavirus has been defeated. Who knows, there could still be a short breathing space after the current crisis has been dealt with before further devastating events happen to an unrepentant human race. The key is to remember that these things will happen when God deems it right to do so in His plan for mankind. The timing is in His hands, but worse will surely follow.
And – be aware: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!
by Norbert Link
We begin with some strong voices cautioning against the second impeachment of Donald Trump and predicting the possible destruction of the GOP and further disunity within the USA; address the questionable outcome of the first impeachment due to alleged incompetent or corrupt conduct by former leaders of the FBI; further attempts by Big Tech, left-wing politicians and the mass media to silence those with opposing viewpoints; and a serious warning against attempts to persecute Christians in the USA.
In this regard, please watch the following message: “Freedom of Speech under Attack, Comments on News and Prophecy, January 16, 2021.”
In addition, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Will President Biden Unify the Country?”
We address the relationship between the USA and EU which cannot be expected to be “repaired” under Biden; the horrible news that Germany is erecting “detention camps” for those opposing governmental measures pertaining to the coronavirus; and we speak about the election of Armin Laschet as Angela Merkel’s successor as party chief (but not as chancellor).
We address North Korea’s nuclear ambitions; Russia’s persecution of Putin’s opponents; and we conclude with the seemingly inevitable breakup of the UK.
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
Bill O’Reilly Slams McConnell
Newsmax wrote on January 17:
“Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is ‘torturing’ President Donald Trump in a ‘foolish display of power,’ conservative host Bill O’Reilly said Sunday. ‘Mitch McConnell is playing an extremely dangerous game by diminishing President Trump in the eyes of Americans who still like him,’ O’Reilly said… in reference to the Senate Majority Leader’s comments signaling he wouldn’t be the roadblock to impeachment the way he was this time last year. ‘I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,’ McConnell wrote in a letter to colleagues after the House voted to impeach the president on grounds he incited an insurrection when a mob of rioters breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the day Congress was set to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“‘As Senate majority leader, McConnell is delaying the impeachment trial until after Joe Biden is sworn in,’ writes O’Reilly. ‘But the Kentuckian is also saying it’s okay if GOP senators vote to ultimately convict the president on charges of inciting the violence at the Capitol building. Why would McConnell do that? He has to know that voting to convict Donald Trump in the Senate would damage the Republican Party immensely. Millions of people who voted for Trump would leave the GOP.’”
McConnell, called “the fox,” does seem to play an interesting personal political game, but it could be a dangerous one for the GOP survival.
Newsmax reported on January 19:
“U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday that ‘the mob was fed lies’ before the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. ‘They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,’ McConnell said of the attack that delayed certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the next president by several hours, forcing lawmakers to seek safety, and resulted in the death of five people, including a Capitol Police officer.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said in a subsequent interview that McConnell was clearly wrong on this; and that only Trump could save the GOP. Senator Rand Paul added that if the Republicans in the Senate will go through with impeachment, then it will destroy the Republican Party.
Franklin Graham Attacks House Republicans
Newsweek wrote on January 14:
“Evangelist Franklin Graham compared 10 members of the GOP to Judas Iscariot on Thursday after they voted to approve President Donald Trump’s second impeachment… ‘Shame, shame on the ten Republicans who joined with @SpeakerPelosi & the House Dmocrats in impeaching President Trump yesterday,’ Graham tweeted. ‘After all that he has done for our country, you would turn your back & betray him so quickly? What was done yesterday only further divides our nation.’
“Graham elaborated on his opinion in a Thursday Facebook post, detailing why he believed Trump was actually impeached. ‘But the House Democrats impeached him because they hate him and want to do as much damage as they can,’ Graham wrote. ‘And these ten, from [Trump’s] own party, joined in the feeding frenzy. It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that [Democratic House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi promised for this betrayal.’”
Original Investigation against Trump “Incompetent” and “Corrupt”
Fox News reported on January 16:
“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham on Friday released a slew of additional documents and transcripts related to his panel’s investigation into the origins and aftermath of the Trump-Russia probe, calling the original probe ‘one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ.’… ‘The FISA court was lied to. Exculpatory information was withheld on those being investigated. The investigators, with some notable exceptions, were incredibly biased and used the powers of law enforcement for political purposes,’ Graham said. ‘The subjects of the investigation had their lives turned upside down. It is my hope that counterintelligence investigations will be reined in and this never happens again in America.’
“Graham slammed the leadership of the FBI under former Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, saying it was ‘either grossly incompetent’ or said ‘they knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds.’…
“Meanwhile, former Attorney General Bill Barr tapped U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham as special counsel to ensure he could continue his investigation into the origins of the Russia probe through the Biden administration. Durham was appointed by Barr last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, shortly after special counsel Robert Mueller completed his yearlong investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.”
With that terrible record of the first impeachment, what will the second impeachment bring?
CNN Pushes to Close Down Newsmax TV
Newsmax wrote on January 17:
“CNN is making no mistake about it: It wants to censor and close Newsmax from broadcasting as a cable news channel. Apparently jolted by the fact Newsmax has skyrocketed to become the 4th highest-rated cable news channel in the country, the liberal CNN is decrying what it calls Newsmax’s ‘election denialism’ and is seeking to have it ‘deplatformed’ from cable and satellite systems across the nation…
“Previously, CNN had led efforts to deplatform President Donald Trump from Twitter…
“While far-left activists jumped to support a potential silencing of Newsmax, others noted the censorship effort runs afoul of both freedom of speech and anti-trust laws. Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer exposed the hypocrisy, if not double standard, of the suggestion of silencing conservative channels, tweeting, ‘You knew it would happen. Some want to take conservative media off the air because they bought into Trump’s election theories. On those grounds, shouldn’t CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC be taken off the air because they bought into [Russian] collusion theories? This censorship must stop.’”
This is really eye-opening, but it shows how much power the left-wing mass media has.
Israelis Worried about US Censorship
Israel Today wrote on January 15:
“Developments in the US are a major concern for many Israelis, not only because a similar situation could develop here… but also because America has always been a friend of Israel, and never more so than in the past four years. Now, however, a creeping authoritarianism made up of corrupt politicians and big tech companies seems to be threatening the country.
“It is unprecedented to see companies like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Google teaming with overreaching politicians to silence political opponents, and the fact that this is happening in the world’s only superpower is particularly worrying… The impression that many on this side of the world have is that the tech giants, with Joe Biden as their puppet, have teamed up to take control of the United States…
“On top of that, you have the Corona vaccinations. Even in Israel, which leads the world in mass inoculation, the vaccine remains somewhat controversial. Media reports of some people suffering side effects and even dying after receiving the vaccine have folks concerned… Despite protests by many experts against the draconian coronavirus restrictions, the politicians stubbornly continue down their chosen path. The initial panic when we knew far less about the virus continues to determine political decisions a year later…”
The connection between Big Tech and certain left-wing politicians has been clearly recognized in the article.
Increasing Persecution of Christians in the USA
Newsmax wrote on January 17:
“Famed conservative thinker and author David Horowitz is warning that Democrats are trying to ‘criminalize’ the First Amendment rights of Americans as the nation is in ‘the initial stages to becoming a fascist state.’… Horowitz, a prominent Jewish conservative, warned that Christians are set to see increasing persecution as the Democrats take control of Washington… Horowitz said the Democratic Party has embraced an anti-Christian agenda that was vigorously implemented by Barack Obama, ‘the most anti-Christian, most anti-religious president in history.’
“‘The problem, outside the persecution of any group is bad, is this country was founded on Christian principles,’ Horowitz noted. He said… the ‘values we cherish’ began with America’s Christian settlers, who themselves were fleeing persecution in Europe for their beliefs. Horowitz argues [that] those freedoms are ‘under systematic assault by the Democrat party’ today. Horowitz also defended the right of Republicans to question the 2020 election results, and noted Democrats had made similar moves in with the 2000, 2004 and 2016 elections.”
Persecution of Christians is prophesied and is truly coming, as Satan is behind all of this.
Politicians in Biden Administration Responsible for Real Coups
The Ron Paul Institute wrote on January 18:
“With the mainstream media still obsessing about the January 6th ‘violent coup attempt’ at the US Capitol Building, the incoming Biden Administration looks to be chock full of actual purveyors of violent coups. Don’t look to the mainstream media to report on this, however. Some of the same politicians and bureaucrats denouncing the ridiculous farce at the Capitol as if it were the equivalent of 9/11 have been involved for decades in planning and executing real coups overseas. In their real coups, many thousands of civilians have died.
“Take returning Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, for example. More than anyone else she is the face of the US-led violent coup against a democratically-elected government in Ukraine in 2014. Nuland… was caught on a phone call actually plotting the coup right down to who would take power once the smoke cleared.
“Unlike the fake Capitol ‘coup,’ this was a real overthrow… the Ukraine coup had real armed insurrectionists with a real plan to overthrow the government. Eventually, with the help of incoming Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, they succeeded – after thousands of civilians were killed… while President Trump railed against the ‘stupid wars’ and promised to bring the troops home, he hired people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to get the job done. They spent their time ‘clarifying’ Trump’s call for ending wars to mean he wanted to actually continue the wars. It was a colossal failure.
“So it’s hard to be optimistic about a Biden Administration… Biden has announced that… Samantha Power… would head that Agency [USAID] in his Administration. Power, who served on President Obama’s National Security Council staff and as US Ambassador to the UN, argued passionately and successfully that a US attack on the Gaddafi government in Libya would result in a liberation of the people and the outbreak of democracy in the country. In reality, her justification was all based on lies and the US assault has left nothing but murder and mayhem. Gaddafi’s relatively peaceful, if authoritarian, government has been replaced by radical terrorists and even slave markets.
“At the end of the day, the Bush Republicans – like Rep. Liz Cheney – will join hands with the Biden Democrats to reinstate ‘American leadership.’ This of course means more US overt and covert wars overseas. The unholy alliance between Big Tech and the US government will happily assist the US State Department under Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Assistant Secretary of State Nuland with the technology to foment more ‘regime change’ operations wherever the Biden Administration sees fit… “
And there will be no peace…
US-EU Relationship Beyond Swift Repair
CNN wrote on January 17:
“The presidency of Donald Trump has left such a wretched stench in Europe that it’s hard to see how, even in four years, Joe Biden could possibly get America’s most important alliance back on track. Throughout Trump’s term, Europeans have been walking a tightrope, trying to balance outright condemnation of the President’s most destructive behavior with not alienating the leader of the Western world… While the assumption is that the transatlantic relationship will improve under Biden, four years of carnage has spooked the European political scene…
“This idea, that Europe has lost its trust in America, comes up time and again when speaking to European diplomats and EU officials… European diplomats and officials are adamant that moves towards an independent defense policy and international ‘strategic autonomy’ will not slow down…
“A view many European officials share is that no matter how friendly Biden is, Trump happened once — and could happen again. The President lost the election, but clearly there is still a lot of support for his politics…
“If this all sounds a little gloomy, to some extent, it is. It will take more than four years for the fog to lift over the Atlantic, and there are fears the relationship between Europe and America will never go back to what it was. For Europeans, that’s a reality they’re determined to make the best of. For the US, it’s unclear whether being downgraded as a diplomatic force is something that its citizens… will even care about.
“Regardless, the Trump era has left Europeans with little choice but to wait and see how much of a priority Biden places on reclaiming America’s place on the world stage. And they will use the four years of relative quiet under Biden to build safeguards against the all too real possibility of another Euroskeptic firestarter winning the White House in 2024.”
Under Biden, the relationship between the USA and Europe might not continue to deteriorate as fast as it would have been under Trump, but we do not see that it will get substantially better (especially, if, as the previous article suggests, the Biden Administration will be engaged again in overseas wars which may or may not meet Europe’s approval). Europe will look after their own, while observing how the Biden Administration will cause America’s economic and domestic downfall.
Travel Restrictions to be “Strengthened” under Biden
The Sun wrote on January 18:
“The incoming Biden administration will NOT lift entry bans on those traveling from the UK, [Ireland,] Brazil and much of the Europe on January 26. [Donald Trump on Monday rescinded entry bans imposed of the coronavirus pandemic on most non-US citizens arriving from Brazil, the United Kingdom and all European Union countries, to become effective January 26.] Travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic barring most visitors from Europe coming to the US have been in place since mid-March, while the Brazilian entry ban came into force in May.
“Incoming president Joe Biden will instead be strengthening rules around international travel…”
The following reader’s comment was quite telling:
“Biden doesn’t want the travel restrictions loosened, but he’ll let 10,000 people cross the southern border. Then he’ll pay for their medical expenses, food, and tax the American public to pay for it.”
Newsmax added on January 18:
“Until Biden acts, Trump’s order ends restrictions the same day that new COVID-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors… Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed an order requiring nearly all air travelers to present a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 to enter the United States starting Jan. 26… Biden, once in office, has the legal authority to reimpose the restrictions.”
On the other hand, right after his inauguration on Wednesday, Biden signed 17 sweeping executive orders, undoing much of Trump’s policies, including ceasing to build the border wall with Mexico and lifting the “Muslim travel ban.” This seems to be quite inconsistent with, at the same time, refusing to lift the travel ban with European countries. While speaking on unity in his acceptance speech, his executive orders will do little to create any form of unity with the over 74 million Trump voters.
Trump refused to attend the inauguration ceremony. He departed earlier for Florida. In his farewell speech on Wednesday, he said: “We will be back in some form.”
Detention Camps in Germany… Again!
The Sun wrote on January 18:
“GERMANY’S worst Covid rule breakers will be held in detention centres under new proposals being drawn up by a number of state governments. The move forms part of the country’s efforts to stop the spread of the more contagious mutant strain of the virus detected in the UK last month.
“In the eastern state of Saxony, people who ignore lockdown measures will be held in a cordoned-off part of a refugee camp being built next week. State authorities have said the centre will only be used for those who repeatedly breach self-isolation requirements. A similar scheme will be used in neighbouring Brandenburg, while in northerly Schleswig-Holstein rule breakers will be held in a part of a juvenile detention centre. The southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg will reportedly use rooms in hospitals.
“The country’s regional governments have powers to hold people who flout lockdown requirements under the Disease Protection Act, first passed by the federal parliament in March, Die Welt reports…
“Current lockdown measures are due to expire on January 31, but Chancellor Angela Merkel [allegedly said] that the country still needs ‘eight to 10 weeks of hard measures’.”
Mass tabloid Bild commented that we must accept a total lockdown, like in the Middle Ages. The very concept of detention or concentration camps in Germany brings up all kinds of terrible memories, and the comparison with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust has ALREADY been drawn on social media.
Total Lockdown Extended in Germany
Deutsche Welle reported on January 19:
“Angela Merkel and Germany’s 16 state premiers decided to keep the lockdown in place until at least mid-February… and introduce tougher measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus… Most shops, schools and non-essential business, such as gyms and sports centers, will remain closed… People in shops and on public transport will be required to wear filter masks such as FFP2 respirators, which also protect the wearer…
“Religious events in churches, synagogues and mosques may take place if they follow hygiene rules, but communal singing is not allowed. Contact at private meetings is restricted to just one other person not living in the same household. Schools are largely closed and students are taught through distance learning….”
This is clearly overkill.
Laschet Becomes Merkel’s Successor
Daily Mail wrote on January 16:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right party has elected a new leader to take over ahead of the national elections in September. Armin Laschet,… governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, was announced the winner at a virtual conference hosted by the Christian Democratic Union party on Saturday in Berlin… The decision ends an 11-month leadership limbo in Germany’s strongest party after outgoing leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who had failed to impose her authority on the party, announced her resignation…
“CDU members may also have been swayed by Laschet’s alliance with Health Minister Jens Spahn, whose efforts to steer Germany through the pandemic have made him a favourite with the public. The pair wrote a joint article for Der Spiegel weekly promising to make the CDU ‘one of the most modern parties in Europe’ and stressing that leadership ‘does not mean a one-man show’…
“Laschet was born in Aachen, the spa city in western Germany near the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. He is a great fan of Charlemagne, the king of the Franks credited with uniting Europe whose empire was based in Aachen. His family has even claimed they are direct descendants… [He is Catholic and a self-described ‘passionate European.’].”
God’s Church has been having ongoing problems especially and mainly in Laschet’s North Rhine-Westphalia, with the state government refusing to excuse our children from school attendance to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
North Korea in the News Again
Bloomberg wrote on January 15:
“North Korea held its second major military parade in three months to mark a rare party meeting, showing off nuclear advances including a new submarine-launched ballistic missile as Donald Trump leaves office… North Korea unveiled what was likely the world’s largest road-ready intercontinental ballistic missile, designed to carry multiple nuclear warheads to the U.S…
“The show of force demonstrated the progress North Korea has made on its nuclear program in the face of Trump’s unprecedented move to meet Kim face-to-face in an effort to neutralize one of the U.S.’s biggest security threats. Kim last week signaled a challenge to Biden, saying he would focus on ‘subduing’ the U.S. and continuing to enhance his nuclear capability to ensure North Korea’s ‘autonomic development.’”
It seems like North Korea was just waiting until Trump exits the stage… for now.
Russia Being Condemned Internationally for Detention of Dissident Alexei Navalny
Breitbart wrote on January 18:
“Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who has been receiving treatment and recuperating in Germany since he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok in August, made good on his promise to return to Russia on Sunday. The Russian government immediately made good on its promise to arrest him…
“The Kremlin announced before Navalny departed Germany that he would be arrested upon returning to Russia because he allegedly violated the terms of his parole from a 2014 conviction for embezzlement. Navalny maintains the embezzlement prosecution against him was politically motivated, and the European Court of Human Rights agrees with him.
“Navalny’s arrest on Sunday was swiftly condemned by governments and human rights organizations around the world. Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and incoming National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan both condemned the arrest as politically motivated and a violation of Navalny’s rights. The German government denounced the arrest as ‘totally incomprehensible’ and demanded Navalny’s immediate release… ‘Steps taken by Russian authorities against Alexei Navalny must not be left without consequences for the international community’s relations with this country,’ said Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday night.
“Amnesty International declared Navalny a ‘prisoner of conscience’ and said his arrest provides ‘further evidence that Russian authorities are seeking to silence him.’ Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth said it was a ‘real act of bravery’ for Navalny to return to Russia ‘given that government agents already tried to kill him once,’ and also a sign that Navalny knows he would be less effective as a ‘dissident in exile.’
“The Russian government responded by describing Navalny’s arrest as a purely internal matter of criminal law and told the rest of the world to mind its own business, with the sneering implication that Western nations lack the moral stature to criticize Russia for the steps it takes to maintain public order…”
Deutsche Welle added on January 18:
“Navalny was rushed to a makeshift courtroom on Monday, just a day after his arrest at a Moscow airport… Navalny’s aide accused authorities of denying him access to his lawyers, saying he was notified at the last minute of the makeshift hearing. The judge handed Navalny a sentence of 30 days in prison…
“Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert… said Russia had arrested the ‘victim’ of ‘attempted murder with chemical weapons’ and ‘not the perpetrator.’ Merkel had ‘repeatedly’ noted that Russia’s treatment of Navalny ‘weighed on’ relations between Berlin and Moscow, Seibert added…
“His detention has been widely condemned internationally, with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas [calling] it totally ‘incomprehensible’ and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying it was ‘appalling’… Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for EU sanctions against Moscow… European Union members… Latvia and Estonia also called for the ‘imposition of restrictive measures’ against Russia.”
Russia is a totalitarian country which does not allow opposition. The USA should wake up to this and make sure that it does not follow Russia’s example—which right now it IS in the process of doing.
UK Breakup Inevitable
Daily Mail wrote on January 17:
“Most Scots are scunnered by events at Westminster since 2016, notably by Brexit and what they see as the incompetence of Boris Johnson and his Government. In December 2019, along with every Westminster Election since 2005, Scotland overwhelmingly did not vote for the party that formed the British Government. Indeed, it pulled in the opposite direction with an even more impressive landslide for the Scottish National Party. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has made it clear that many Scots believe there is a profound democratic deficit for their nation – that their views on Brexit (and other matters) did not count, and that if Scots wanted to leave any union, it was the one known as the United Kingdom…
“Whether you are a British unionist or one of the several versions of Scottish, English, Welsh or Irish nationalists, the truth is that the United Kingdom is now united in name only. The choice before us is either to come together and make profound changes to the way we are governed, or to accept that the UK is ultimately a failed state and agree to split apart… I have come to believe that Britain may indeed be coming to its end. It is not alarm bells I hear. It’s a death knell.
“On the day we officially left the EU a year ago, Mr Johnson promised to bring the United Kingdom together… Rapidly, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland shrank to becoming the Prime Minister of England only – and at times only parts of England… The end of Britain would be much more complicated, messy, costly and bitter even than Brexit.”
Yes, it does appear that way.
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.
Hyperbole in the Bible (Part 3)
We conclude this series with further examples of hyperbole from the Word of God.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
23 “‘Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 “‘And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
25 “‘But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.
26 “‘The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, “Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.”
27 “‘Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
28 “‘But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, “Pay me what you owe!”
29 “‘So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.”
30 “‘And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
31 “‘So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
32 “‘Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
33 “‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?”
34 “‘And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “‘So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.’”
In the website: learnreligions.com:
“In the New Testament, the term ‘talent’ meant something very different than it does today. The talents Jesus Christ spoke of in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) and the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) referred to the largest unit of currency at the time. For example, the ten thousand talents owed by the unforgiving servant would come to at least 204 metric tons of silver, reflecting an astronomical sum of 60 million denarii.
“Thus, a talent represented a rather large sum of money. According to New Nave’s Topical Bible, one who possessed five talents of gold or silver was a multimillionaire by today’s standards. Some calculate the talent in the parables to be equivalent to 20 years of wages for the common worker. Other scholars estimate more conservatively, valuing the New Testament talent somewhere between $1,000 to $30,000 dollars today.
“Needless to say (but let’s say it anyway), knowing the actual meaning, weight, and value of a term like talent can help give context, deeper understanding, and better perspective when studying the Scriptures.”
We can see the incredible difference in this parable – a man was forgiven what he owed – but he went to collect the debt that he was owed which was just 100 denarii after he had been forgiven his debt of 60 million denarii!
We should easily see the hyperbole used in this parable of Jesus to get across in the most graphic terms the need to forgive others. There are those today who say that they will never forgive others for whatever they have gone through and this parable teaches that forgiveness is vital irrespective of the wrongs suffered.
Putting it in today’s terms, someone who is forgiven a debt of £1.2 million, chases a debt of just £20. “Everyone,” C.S. Lewis writes, “says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until there is something to forgive” (Mere Christianity, p.115).
“And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (also in Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25)
The website: biblicalstudies.org.uk explains as follows:
“Traditionally it has been said that there was a gate in the walls of Jerusalem called the ‘Needle’s Eye,’ through which an unladen camel could squeeze through with great difficulty. Unfortunately, this interpretation is simply not true, there was no gate in Jerusalem called the ‘Needle’s Eye’ and there never has been. The first reference to this is found in the writings of Theophylact, Archbishop of Achrida in Bulgaria in the 11th century. Jerusalem had been destroyed twice by this time (in AD 70 and 134-136), but Theophylact had never visited it anyway. He simply made up the interpretation to get around the obvious meaning.
“After all, it is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of [a] needle, and that was precisely Jesus’ point. It is impossible for one who trusts in riches to enter the kingdom. It takes a miracle for a rich person to get saved, which is quite the point of what follows: ‘All things are possible with God.’
“Jesus was very fond of hyperbole, and used it frequently in His teaching.”
“Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
In the previous verse, Jesus berated the scribes and the Pharisees by stating that they “paid tithe of mint and anise and cummin, but neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
There is quite a difference between a gnat and a camel! It has been estimated that it would take up to seventy million gnats to equal the weight of a camel! The hyperbole used here is the difference of size and showed the religious leaders at that time had lost all sense of moral proportion.
Meyer’s NT Commentary opines:
“The Jews were in the habit of straining their wine in order that there might be no possibility of their swallowing with it any unclean animal, however minute (Leviticus 11:42). Figurative representation of the painful scrupulosity with which the law was observed.”
It is used in this passage as “straining out” or “filtering” gnats out of wine. We should also note that gnats were unclean as mentioned above. The Jews then should certainly have paid close attention to little things but were castigated for neglecting the important things, the larger issues, as we indeed must not overlook today.
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”
We can see those who have set out to build businesses of which some have become very successful. Many entrepreneurs succeed; others fail but they will all have great personal ambitions to succeed in business. We ourselves may have had ambitions to become very successful in business before we were called into the knowledge of the truth.
Does it make people happy? Many are always striving for their next success which could bring them millions or billions of pounds or dollars. When the basis for living is purely on the physical but little or no thought for the spiritual, there can be no lasting joy or happiness.
The choice set before us when we are called is to be a disciple of Christ which is not an option but a necessity. We will either fully follow the true Christian way or the way of the world – there is no in- between.
It is impossible to gain the whole world – hyperbole at its highest level, in action – but it presses home the point that even if this were possible, the loss of the truth and the right way to live would be disastrous. The physical life we have is for a short time but the spiritual things are eternal. What real profit is to be derived from even aspiring to gain the impossible (the whole world) and lose out on eternity?
“Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.”
Patently Jesus didn’t want them to ignore people on their travels, quite the reverse as those were the people to whom they were to take the message of the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. Further, to be rude to others was neither His way nor how He taught His disciples to deal with others—which was the way of love, kindness and outgoing concern. Simply put, Jesus was emphasising that they had a really important job to do and were not to get caught up in the everyday things that can take up so much time and can be a distraction from the important work they were undertaking, and He taught that they were to concentrate on the vital matter at hand.
There are some very interesting comments by Barnes Notes on the Bible:
“Salute no man by the way – Salutations among the Orientals did not consist, as among us, of a slight bow or an extension of the hand, but was performed by many embraces and inclinations, and even prostrations of the body on the ground. All this required much ‘time;’ and as the business on which the seventy were sent was urgent, they were required not to ‘delay’ their journey by long and formal salutations of the persons whom they met. If two Arabs of equal rank meet each other, they extend to each other the right hand, and having clasped, they elevate them as if to kiss them. Each one then draws back his hand and kisses it instead of his friend’s, and then places it upon his forehead. The parties then continue the salutation by kissing each other’s beard. They gave thanks to God that they are once more permitted to see their friend – they pray to the Almighty in his behalf. Sometimes they repeat not less than ten times the ceremony of grasping hands and kissing.
“They would waste time, distract attention, and in many ways hinder the prompt and faithful discharge of their important mission. The salutation of friends, therefore, was a ceremony which consumed much time; and it was on this account that our Lord on this occasion forbade them to delay their journey to greet others. A similar direction is found in 2 Kings 4:29.”
“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, ‘You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!’”
The world has gone after Him – this is again hyperbole as this simply couldn’t have happened at that time. Jesus spoke to large crowds in Judah but beyond those borders then, the world would have no knowledge of Jesus Christ until a much later time. At that time, it was a localised “fame” that He had and on the Day of Pentecost a following initially of 120 (see Acts 1:15). Of course, on that day there were about 3,000 people added to the Church (Acts 2:41), but even that number of people would hardly have put a dent in the hyperbolic statement that “the world has gone after Him!”
From Gill’s Exposition of the Bible:
“The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, ‘the whole world’, and so Nonnus; the Persic version, ‘all the people’; that is, a very great number of people; for they could not mean, that all the inhabitants of the world, or every individual of mankind were followers of him, and became his disciples, nor even all in their own land; they themselves, with multitudes more of the same complexion, were an exception to this: but they speak in the common dialect of that nation,”
The final one that we highlight in this Q&A is one of the most famous in the Bible.
21 “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’
22 “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
It appears from some sources that Jewish tradition limited forgiveness to three times, perhaps based on Amos 1:3, 6, 9 and Job 33:29-30, but the apostle Peter may have thought that he was going way beyond that which others may have mandated by suggesting seven times. Jesus said “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20). Here, Peter could be seen as going further than these religious teachers of the law at that time. But Jesus meant something much more than he could ever have imagined.
The sheer logistics of forgiving someone 490 times is mind boggling. In fact, you would have to wonder about someone’s sincerity if they asked forgiveness that number of times. With the Jews of that time, they would count the number of times a person would seek forgiveness and put a very short limit on it, and Peter seemed to want to increase the limit that could be set. Jesus would have none of that. It was to be 70 times 7 if you want to put a number on it but that, in effect, meant a limitless number. It was clearly hyperbole, indicating that there is no end to forgiving others however often they seek forgiveness from us.
As we have seen, hyperbole is a figure of speech that is used to emphasize a point or create a strong feeling in the reader or listener – an amplification or magnification.
As Literary Devices state: “Hyperbole, derived from a Greek word meaning ‘over-casting,’ is a figure of speech that involves an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis.”
Hyperbole is mainly used to add emphasis and create strong impressions and it is helpful in seeing a far bigger picture, but it is not to be taken literally at this time. The following are words that can sum up hyperbole in many ways and these should excite us to know how great God is and wonderful is His way and plan for mankind: cheerful, vivid, breathtaking, intriguing, dramatic thrilling, colourful, striking, compelling, dynamic, electrifying, gripping, stunning, galvanizing, astonishing and astounding.
Whatever words God uses are those which we can understand, but the reality of the future in store for us in the Kingdom of God is way beyond any description that we are given in His Word. Even the most excessive hyperbole would simply not be enough to give us a full understanding of what is in store for us in God’s Kingdom and what a future is in store for the people of God!
Lead writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
Several of our members in Southern California were infected with the COVID-19 virus. Hardest hit were Johanna and Norbert Link, but thankfully, all are on the mend. This, of course, affected the work of the Church, and several wrote expressing their concern—here are some comments we received:
- We are praying for you and your wife that you both may have a strong recovery. It was wonderful and uplifting for us here in Milwaukee to have received your reply and see you once again on YouTube. We will continue to pray for you and your wife and not only for you both but for the entire body of GOD’s church. Thank you so much for all that you and the others are doing in the work of our true GOD.
- Thank you for your informative programs. I have noted that there are no new programs. I know that we are in very turbulent times ,but there are many viewers in my community who I have made aware of your programs, and we are all waiting . Can you inform your viewers what is the matter Sir. When can we expect new episodes of STANDINGWATCH?
We received this follow-up:
… In my social circle we were members of the parent organization the Worldwide Church of GOD. I was so alarmed to hear that you had contacted the virus, but as I saw and heard you through the link that you provided to me I see that you are a soldier for the Eternal Great God.
- I’m hoping you are well. I was wondering if there will be anymore Standing watch programs? I’ve missed your informed biblical based news.
- I was very glad to see you on Sabbath. I was concerned and am praying for your full recovery very soon.
- Thank you for taking the time to go over the updates today even though you were still sick…That was appreciated! Praying some get called by God this week cause I have a feeling things are going to be bad…
Will President Biden Unify the Country?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
The USA is divided as never before. President Biden, in his inauguration speech, emphasized the need for unity. But shortly thereafter, he signed 17 sweeping executive orders, undoing much of Trump’s policies. This will do little to create any form of unity with the over 74 million Trump voters. The war of the mass media, being in cahoots with Big Tech and many Democrats, against Trump and his supporters continues.
Both the Republican Party and the Democratic seem to be deeply divided. There will not be any meaningful substantial cooperation between them.
What will 2021 bring, and what can we expect from the Biden Presidency? One thing is certain: Biden will NOT unify the country.
“Weiss Satan um seine Zukunft?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Does Satan Know About His Future?”
“Was ist Wahrheit?” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Tahir Coban. Title in English: “What is Truth?”
“Freedom of Speech under Attack, Comments on News and Prophecy, January 16, 2021,” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermonette, presented by Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Banning President Trump and others from certain platforms seems to be just the beginning to control unpopular viewpoints. Even European politicians express disapproval, stating that we “cannot leave it to the American Big Tech to decide how we can and cannot discuss online,” and others warn of the close connection between “private companies becoming the state’s best friends.” In the final analysis, what we are experiencing right now is a threat to true Christianity when Big Tech and others can determine what beliefs are acceptable, and which ones have to be banned. God’s true Church must be aware of this and speak up powerfully for God’s Truth.
“Ready For What’s Coming?” is the title of a split-sermon presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell. Here is a summary:
The Bible predicts what’s coming in our near future. It has predicted with great accuracy events in the past! With this in mind, how ready is each of us? Mentally – Spiritually? We have a little time left. NOW is the time to prepare. Now is the time to do the little daily things to make sure we are ready for the times ahead of Christ’s return.
“Suffer for Salvation,” is the title of a split-sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link. Here is a summary:
It is expected that we all go through trials which may also include sicknesses in various forms. What is the purpose of these sufferings and what can we learn from the examples of individuals who went through sicknesses?
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
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