February 5, 2021
A Small Amount Matters / Before the Temple is Built
On February 6, 2021, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “A Small Amount Matters,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Before the Temple is Built.”
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.
Integrity: It should be an Essential Part of Our Lives
by Paul Niehoff (Australia)
So, what is integrity? Physically, it could be understood as wholeness. As an example, if a boat hull has integrity, then it does not leak, it is whole. If a computer program has integrity, it performs what it was designed for without errors.
When it applies to our spiritual lives, a good definition from Google is: “Integrity is the quality of having strong ethical or moral principles and following them at all times, no matter who’s watching. A person with integrity acts with honesty, honour, and truthfulness.” To this could be added, “even when no one is watching except for God.”
Unfortunately, in this day and age, integrity can be difficult to find. During this current Covid crisis, we hear of politicians who enact lockdown rules for the safety of the population, but then go and break these same rules, especially when they think they will not be found out. One would say that they do not act with integrity. Similarly, there is much doubt about the integrity of the vote count in the recent US election. Was it fraudulent?
In the Bible, we find there are some people specifically mentioned because of their integrity. One of those was David. After Solomon had prayed dedicating the House of the Lord, God appeared to him and made this comment in 1 Kings 9:4-5. “Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgements, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever…”
So, God considered David had integrity and was upright. The Hebrew word translated integrity means completeness and innocence, whereas the Hebrew word translated uprightness means straight or even. In the Psalms are many statements of how David loved God’s Law and meditated on it continually. He loved God and His ways completely, even in spite of his occasional faults.
Another person whom God stated was upright was Job. Job himself claimed that he held fast his integrity (Job 27:5-6), and, in fact, when we read in the book of Job, chapters 29 and 31, we find a very comprehensive list of things that Job did correctly. This would explain why God said he was blameless prior to being tested (compare Job 1:8, Job 2:3). His problem was not lack of integrity but self-righteousness.
Let us now consider Ruth. She was a young widow living in the land of Moab, a woman of great integrity even though it is not stated as such. When her mother-in-law Naomi, also a widow, was leaving Moab to return to Israel, she recommended that her daughters-in-law return to Moab. However, Ruth refused to return, making the statement in Ruth 1:16-17, “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
She was willing to totally give up her whole past life, family and country, never wanting to return to it. Ruth’s integrity did not just consist of words, but when we follow the part of her life that is recorded, she served Naomi very well, working in the barley and wheat fields collecting the grain that God commanded to be left for the poor, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow (Leviticus 19:9-10 and Deuteronomy 24:19-21). Even though she had the right to glean according to God’s Law, she still asked permission, showing that humility was a part of her integrity (Ruth 2:7).
It was not only her hard physical labour that displayed her character, but she had a very good reputation that had been related to Boaz of all that she had done for her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:11-12). Her life showed her great integrity, and God rewarded her with a good husband and enabled her to be the great grandmother of David and an ancestor of Jesus Christ Himself.
Following these examples, and there are others that could also be mentioned, God expects us to live a life of integrity. It can be difficult always doing and saying what is right when many will disagree with us. And as persecution increases, especially for Christians, we should apply to ourselves what David said in Psalm 41:12: “As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And set me before Your face forever.”
by Norbert Link
We address the rocky relationship between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu and the fragile relationship between the USA under Biden and the EU. We also run an interesting article about the German Left Party’s military ambitions.
We speak on the continuing censorship of Big Tech and others regarding Christian organizations and viewpoints; and report on the latest development on former President Trump’s activities and plans, as well as his growing popularity. In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “The Return of Donald Trump.”
We point out Germany’s and Europe’s vaccination disaster and address another rift between Britain and the EU and Germany’s imposition of further travel bans; and we conclude with ongoing demonstrations in Russia and the international condemnation regarding the arrest and conviction of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as the Russian government’s hostile reaction.
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
Rocky Relationship between Biden and Netanyahu
Israel 365 reported on January 31:
“Though the new administration in the newly inaugurated US president has spoken with the Israeli Prime Minister, communication has been notably lacking, hinting at a challenging future for Israel. A report in Al Jarida, a Kuwaiti media, claimed that President Biden has not yet spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and actually rebuffed a calling attempt from Israel… Biden has called the leaders of Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, Germany, NATO, Russia, and Japan, but not Israel’s Netanyahu…
“The report does seem to highlight the nature of the connection between the Israeli leader and the new administration. According to media reports, in his first week in the Oval Office, Biden had phone discussions with London, Berlin, Paris, Moscow, Canada, and the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). These connections imply that in the first days of his term in office, Biden was focused on relations with Europe.
“But additional reports claim that officials in the Biden administration have already begun holding quiet talks with Iran on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Though the reports also claim that Israel has been appraised of the talks, the Iran deal has always been a major concern for Netanyahu who sees the deal as an existential threat to Israel. Al Jarida reported that these contacts between the US and Iran began even before Biden took office, indicating his desire to reenter the deal which Trump rejected.”
However, as The Times of Israel reports on February 1, Iran insists that Washington lifts all of its sanctions before rejoining the 2015 pact. The article also stated this:
“Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development. Iranian state TV reported Thursday that Iran had exceeded 17 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium within a month, moving its nuclear program closer to weapons-grade enrichment levels.
“US President Joe Biden, who was vice president when the deal was signed during the Obama administration, has said he hopes to return the US to the deal. But he has also said Tehran must resume compliance first… The Biden administration’s policy on Iran is expected to be a point of contention between the new US administration and Israel. Israeli officials have voiced strong objections to the US rejoining the nuclear deal, and have also issued threats against Iran in recent weeks.”
Given the history of the deal, it does not appear that Biden will stand strong against Iran.
Biden’s European Challenge
Vox wrote on January 26:
“Alliances are the keystone of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy agenda. Whether confronting China, curbing the coronavirus pandemic, or addressing climate change, Biden has repeatedly emphasized the critical importance of working with allies to tackle major global challenges.
“But the problem with keystones is that if they crumble, the rest of the structure falls with them. And less than a week into Biden’s presidency, the edifice is starting to shake. That’s because, on a number of prominent issues from China to Venezuela to trade, the United States and its closest European allies are out of sync.
“Last December, the European Union signed a long-promised investment deal with China despite the public concerns of Biden’s then-incoming National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. The worry now is China will not only tighten economic relationships with America’s transatlantic allies but also use that newfound access to steal intellectual property from European industries…
“Biden also on Monday signed his ‘Buy American’ executive order to ensure the US government ‘whenever possible’ purchases items ‘that will help American businesses compete in strategic industries and help America’s workers thrive.’ Experts fear European governments will view that move as a continuation of former President Trump’s protectionist economic policies.
“… early signs indicate Biden can’t just reflexively count on European support… ‘The Europeans are not keen on following the US’ in whatever it wants to do, said Erik Brattberg, the Europe program director at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. ‘Just because Biden is being nice and he’s not Trump doesn’t change that calculus.’.. If Biden hoped his presence — or Trump’s absence — would automatically mean closer US-EU ties on China policy, he should think again…
“Economic tensions between the US and Europe are already quite high… If there was ever a time to calm nerves about the state of transatlantic trade relations, it’d be now — and ‘Buy American’ seems likely to do the opposite.
“None of this is to say Biden is grossly imperiling US-EU relations. It already looks like the continent’s leaders are happier to see him in the Oval Office than Trump. But it’s just not clear that Biden has the tight-knit bond he hoped to form — proving a big foreign policy problem for his early presidency.”
In spite of some wishful thinking on both sides of the ocean, the relationship between the USA and Europe will not improve substantially under Biden. Please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
Even Germany’s Left Party supports European Army
The website of wsws wrote the following on February 3:
“As a member of a potential German federal coalition government with the Social Democrats and Greens, the Left Party would fully support the continuation of Germany’s foreign military operations and the rearmament of the armed forces. Anyone who doubts this should read the paper ‘Left-wing security policy’ by Matthias Höhn. Between 2012 and 2017, Höhn was the Left Party’s head of federal affairs and serves today as the Left Party parliamentary group’s spokesperson on security policy.
“The paper, released January 19, is virtually indistinguishable from the strategy papers advocating rearmament produced by foreign policy think tanks and the Defence Ministry. On all essential points, it supports the Christian Democrat/Social Democrat (SPD) grand coalition government’s militarist agenda. Höhn defends NATO, demands a massive rearmament programme for Germany’s armed forces, and calls for the establishment of a European army and the conducting of more ‘humanitarian’ interventions under German leadership… ‘The EU [European Union] must understand that it is a political actor with independent interests, goals and values, and act as such. This can and will repeatedly result in conflicts of interest, including with the United States,’ he writes.“Höhn then appeals for the Left Party to set itself up explicitly as a militarist party…
“A federal government involving the Left Party would not mean fewer foreign interventions by Germany’s military, but more… The Left Party has supported the return of German militarism from the outset… Höhn acknowledges for the record that his proposals were not only ‘motivated by discussions with many of our party’s comrades,’ but also ‘with members of the armed forces.’”
Germany is becoming more and more unified in its desire to establish a European Army.
Twitter Bans Christian Organization
Breitbart wrote on January 30:
“A Christian organization has been suspended from the Twitter social media platform for stating Dr. Rachel Levine’s, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), biological sex. In recent weeks tech giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Google have been censuring mostly conservative voices on social media platforms, including former President Donald Trump and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell…
“At issue was a Tweet pointing to a story about Dr. Rachel Levine, President Biden’s controversial nominee for Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. The tweet included the following sentence: ‘Dr. Levine is a transgender woman, that is, a man who believes he is a woman.’… the appeal to Twitter about the suspension was denied.”
There will be an ongoing effort to silence all those voices stating the biblical Truth about sex and sexual relationships. Also note the next article.
Facebook Suspends Christian Scholar
Israel 365 wrote on January 28:
“Prominent Christian scholar Robert AJ Gagnon was suspended by Facebook on Tuesday for 24 hours after speaking out against transgenderism and President Joe Biden’s new transgender military policy. Facebook claimed that Gagnon’s critique of this ideology violated the social media’s ‘Community Standards on violence and incitement.’ The post was ironically referring to another post written by his friend, Laurie Higgins, who was suspended for seven-days for blasting Biden’s policy…
“A Ph.D. in sexuality and Pauline theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, Gagnon published The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. He works as a professor of New Testament theology at the Houston Baptist University.
“In the Facebook post, Gagnon defended Higgins’ view on Biden’s pro-transgender military policy. The following is the text from the post Gagnon got suspended for:
“‘My friend Laurie Higgins has been suspended for 7 days, for making an accurate and witty satirical post, by left-wing FB overlords who seek to squash all dissent on the issue of transgenderism, no doubt emboldened by the Biden/Harris administration. There’s nothing inaccurate about this post.
“‘Biden’s lifting of Trump’s transgender military ban will indeed put women military personnel in the awful position of having to shower with biological males. Trans-promoters aren’t content with having men invade the domain of women’s sports and shelters. “Transgender” ideology is indeed a pseudo-science, compelling people to reject basic biological facts. Promoters of “transgenderism” do indeed exhibit traits of a religious cult in their mind-numbing, science-denying conformity. The censoring and suspending of Laurie Higgins rather proves the point, doesn’t it?…’”
LGBT Flags to be flown at US Embassies Worldwide
Breitbart wrote on January 31:
“LGBT activists are cheering Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s announcement that he will reverse an order from President Donald Trump and put up ‘pride’ flags at U.S. Embassies around the world… In a memo from July 2020, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper released a list of flags permitted to be displayed at U.S. military bases. Missing from the list was the LGBTQ pride flag, which Esper compared to the confederate flag. Prior to the ban, embassies raised the flag during pride month on the official embassy flagpole…
“Blinken also confirmed that he plans to appoint an envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQ persons, a position created by Barack Obama in 2015 that wasn’t filled during the Trump presidency. ‘Biden is the first U.S. president to openly embrace a full range of queer rights, including transgender equality,’ Outfront magazine reported.”
The interested reader might want to see what the Bible has to say about this issue. Please read our free booklet, “God’s Teachings on Sexual Relationships.” Please also note our Q&A in this issue about the “sexual sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Police Fines Churchgoers
Life Site News reported on January 29:
“Police in a small Ontario town have been going door to door and fining members of an evangelical community who have dared to go to church on Sundays… ‘under cover of darkness, [the police] went from house to house handing out $880 tickets for going to church this past Sunday’…
“The church-goers were in violation of Ontario’s ‘Emergency Orders’ measure meant to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus through suspending the rights of Ontarians to, among other activities, attend public worship in groups larger than 10… the Aylmer Police Service identified 47 people who took part in Christian worship, held both inside and outside the church, and is now in the process of bringing tickets to them all.
“‘As of 27th of January Aylmer Police have identified 47 persons who were in violation of Emergency Orders during an indoor and outdoor gathering on 24th of January 2021 at a church situated on John St. North Aylmer ON,’ the Aylmer Police’s post stated. ‘Officers are in the process of serving 29 Part 1 tickets on those individuals identified. In addition, 18 Part 3 summons are being processed for individuals residing outside of Elgin County Jurisdiction and for those persons/organization responsible for Organizing and hosting the event.’…”
Canada Classifies Proud Boys as Terrorists
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 4:
“Canada on Wednesday deemed the far right Proud Boys group a terrorist organization, saying it had become a ‘serious and growing threat’ to society… The group’s regular appearances as counter-protesters at events such as Black Lives Matter protesters, and their willingness to use violence against rival demonstrators, was [a] reason cited… Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of Proud Boys, called the terrorist designation ‘ridiculous.’ ‘There is no basis for it. It’s infringement of free speech rights. All the Canadian Proud Boys have ever done is go to rallies,’ Tarrio said…
“The new designation means the Proud Boys may have assets seized and face stiffer terrorism-related punishments… Donating money to the organization or buying Proud Boys paraphernalia would also be deemed a crime…
“Canada is the first country to designate the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity…”
Is Canada also classifying other “violent” groups as Terrorists, such as Antifa and “Black Lives Matter”? What hypocrisy!
Trump’s Impeachment Defense Team
Breitbart wrote on January 31:
“Lawyers who had been preparing President Donald Trump’s defense for his Senate impeachment trial have reportedly quit over his insistence that they present a defense that involves claims of election fraud in several states in the 2020 election… Trump wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him rather than focus on the legality of convicting a president after he’s left office. Trump was not receptive to the discussions about how they should proceed in that regard.
“The first legal filing in the trial is due on Tuesday, and the trial is expected to begin in earnest the week of February 8.”
CNN wrote on February 1:
“Former President Donald Trump’s office announced that David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr. will now head the legal team for his second impeachment trial… It’s unclear whether Schoen and Castor will go along with what Trump wants… ‘Schoen has already been working with the 45th President and other advisors to prepare for the upcoming trial, and both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional – a fact 45 Senators voted in agreement with last week,’ the release said… Castor… is a well-known attorney in Pennsylvania who previously served as Montgomery County district attorney…
“Many House Republicans remain staunch Trump defenders, saying he did nothing wrong and shouldn’t be blamed for the violence that occurred at the Capitol on January 6.”
Most observers from all kinds of political persuasion expect that, regardless of the nature of the defense, Trump will not be convicted, as it appears highly unlikely that 17 House Republicans will vote for his conviction, under any circumstances.
Trump and McCarthy Meet
The Sun wrote on January 29:
“FORMER president Donald Trump and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy have launched a plan to ‘take back the House in 2022’ during a meeting today. Claiming that Trump’s ‘popularity has never been stronger than it is today’, the pair met at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
“The rendezvous – with accompanying handout statement and a photo of the beaming Republicans – was a chance for the two to launch their bid to put the GOP back in the driving seat in the House. ‘They discussed many topics, number one of which was taking back the House in 2022,’ read the statement. ‘President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means perhaps more than any endorsement at any time. President Trump has agreed to work with Leader McCarthy on helping the Republican Party to become a majority in the House. They worked very well together in the last election and picked up 15 seats when most predicted it would be the opposite. They will do so again and the work has already started.’
“The image of Trump at his Palm Beach club standing beside McCarthy is the first official photo of the former president released by his team since he left office on January 20. The staged shot emphasises that Trump will still support Republicans in their campaigns, despite question marks over whether he would move to set up his own political party… the former president reiterated Monday he will ‘forever be a champion for the American People’.
“Former president Donald Trump’s popularity rating among Republicans has begun to bounce back since he left office, reported Forbes. According to tracking by Morning Consult, 81 per cent of Republican voters polled between January 23 to 25 hold positive views of Trump, including 54 per cent who do so strongly.
“The meeting was a chance for the duo to clear the air after House Minority Leader McCarthy had previously spoken out against Trump on the impeachment, blaming him for fuelling the January 6 riots at the Capitol.”
Lindsey Graham has said that the GOP is dead without Trump. Rand Paul said that if Senate Republicans conspire with Senate Democrats to convict Trump, then the GOP is dead. It seems more and more like leading Republicans agree with them and now have a sudden “change of heart.”
Trump Is Getting Stronger
Fox News reported on January 30:
“Former President Donald Trump has actually gained — not lost — political clout since leaving office, a political observer asserted Friday. Politico reporter Tara Palmeri’s observation runs contrary to the assumptions of many in the Washington D.C. establishment and the mainstream media. ‘People don’t want to hear anything against Trump,’ Palmeri said during an appearance on MSNBC. ‘Actually, the more he stays out of the media, the more that he becomes this martyr, this looming figure over the GOP.’ In fact, there is now a ‘crusade’ being waged on behalf of the former president in places like Wyoming, where Trump is ‘way more popular’ than the state’s high-ranking congressional Republican, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, Palmeri said…
“In Wyoming, she added, ‘A lot of people said they aren’t really Republicans, that, like, they’re for Trump. That’s it … I think the base is getting stronger, truly…’”
Trump Gone with the Wind?
On January 31, Bild Online ran an article with the following headline:
“Von wegen weg vom Fenster. Republikaner wollen 14. Juni zum Trump-Feiertag machen.“ (In English, something like: “You must be joking–gone with the wind?…” Or: “No way he is a goner or gone with the wind. Republicans want to declare June 14 as Trump Celebration Day.”
WIVB wrote on January 29:
“Two Ohio representatives are looking to declare June 14 as ‘President Donald J. Trump Day.’ On Friday, Republican Reps. Jon Cross and Reggie Stoltzfus emailed their House colleagues asking for co-sponsors for their upcoming bill ‘to celebrate one of the greatest presidents in American history’… ‘Let’s show the 3,154,834 Ohio voters who cast their ballot to re-elect Donald J. Trump that we as a legislature recognize the accomplishments of his administration,’ the request said. The email request has been shared on social media by several journalists.
“They selected June 14 as it is Trump’s birthday. It is also Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States of America on June 14, 1777… While it’s not unheard of to create a holiday for a former president’s birthday – Ronald Reagan Day is celebrated in some form in 40 states on Feb. 6 – it’s not common for living presidents. Only Barack Obama, for whom the Illinois legislature approved an unofficial holiday on Aug. 4, has received anything similar.”
Politico wrote on January 29:
“The ousted leader refused to relent to reality… He was Benedict XIII—’the pope,’ said Joëlle Rollo-Koster, a noted scholar of the Middle Ages, ‘who never conceded.’
“Benedict, who died in 1423, was the last of the popes of Avignon, in what’s now the south of France. He was an ‘antipope’—in opposition, that is, to a sequence of popes presiding from the more customary hub of Rome—and insisted even as he was twice deposed that he remained the rightful pontiff. He tried to exert control from a fortress of a palace in a separate seat of power—propped up by a stubborn type of papal court, retaining sufficient political capital to pressure heads of states to pick sides, bestowing benedictions and other benefits and if nothing else gumming up earnest efforts to allay divides…
“Six centuries later, Donald Trump, twice impeached, is finishing his first full week as a dispatched post-president ensconced in his own Florida fortalice of Mar-a-Lago—committed by almost all accounts to do from his Palm Beach perch some modern-day variant of what Benedict pulled off for decades…
“As unequaled as this is in the 245 years of the country’s existence, there are, however, rough parallels from other areas and eras around the world—tainted, brought-down kingpins, cast off to often island elsewheres. A defeated Napoleon was sent to Elba and then again to Saint Helena… But none match the current moment with the resonance of Benedict XIII… there was an unexpected twist to Benedict’s intransigence…: The harder and longer he held out, the more he was seen by some as a victim or a martyr, abidingly admired precisely because of his obstinacy and unwavering audacity…
“Trump last Wednesday departed a rattled, armored Washington, pledging to ‘be back in some form.’…
“Trump will raise money, stoke talk of a 2024 run and aim to quash the careers of candidates who’ve crossed him, deploying post-Twitter methods to continue to press his message to people who support him—and to pique the people who don’t… Last Thursday, Trump’s family, top donors and supporters put on a welcome-back luncheon for him at Mar-a-Lago. Earlier this week, he planted a more official flag in Palm Beach County, opening his post-presidential office to ‘carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration through advocacy, organizing, and public activism.’ As was the case in Avignon, the presence of power… is almost certain to spawn an ecosystem of… opportunists and money men…
“Trump’s been bringing in money like mad, fundraising off the election he lost but said he won—and that mother lode of more than $200 million, which ostensibly was going to be used to fight the result in court, actually is his to do with as he sees fit…
“What remains to be seen, though, is whether all this will work, or work as well not merely in the wake of the grievous end of his presidency but in the face of any additional consequences to come…”
Politico added on January 31:
“Former President Donald Trump amassed $31.2 million in his new political operation by the end of 2020, giving him a powerful tool to keep the Republican Party in his grip as he left office… Save America, a leadership PAC created in the aftermath of the 2020 election, is set to play a key role in Trump’s plans to keep a strong hand in party politics… Trump cannot spend the PAC funds directly on any future campaign of his own, but he can use it to wield influence in campaigns in the midterm elections, pay his political advisers and travel the country.”
Trump’s Veto Powers
Liberty Nation wrote on January 27, 2021:
“In fact, what Trump holds over the Republican Party right now is beyond leverage. It is de facto veto power — not the kind he once wielded over the government but over his party…
“Nobody yet knows how Trump will proceed from here, what form, fashion, and timing will mark his return to the political spotlight. Only one thing appears certain: He will not leave the stage. And when he returns, woe be to any Republican who tried to drag the party back in the direction desired by the NeverTrumpers and establishment lifers…”
Trump to Run in 2024?
CNN wrote on January 30, 2021:
“Donald Trump is no longer president. He no longer has the megaphone of Twitter. But make no mistake: This is still Trump’s Republican Party. You see it in the actions of Republican… parties trying to punish those who went against Trump. You see this in a majority of congressional Republicans voting to uphold an objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for President Joe Biden. And more than that, you see it in the polling, which indicates that Trump’s in a historically strong primary position for an ex-president. Indeed, he’s polling tremendously well among Republicans in the context for any future presidential nominee…
“Republican leaders go against Trump at their potential electoral peril… A majority of Republicans (57%) said… that he should be the 2024 nominee. Against named opponents, Trump easily leads the field. Among those who either voted for Trump in 2020 or are Republicans, Trump’s averaging about half the primary vote. No one else is even close… 72% of Republicans said Biden only won because of fraud. That high of a percentage is unprecedented.
“It likely helps Trump to continue to claim the winner he always says he is. And right now, Republicans seem more than willing to continue to see him that way as well.”
In reality, more than just 72% of Republicans believe that voter fraud caused Trump’s defeat. And that does not include Independents and even some Democrats.
No Free Pass for Bannon in spite of Trump’s Pardon?
The Washington Post wrote on January 29:
“On his last day in office, President Donald Trump issued pardons to 74 people and commuted the sentences for 70 others. For most recipients, the impact of Trump’s actions is simple: They get out of jail or legal jeopardy. More complicated are the last-minute pardons that Trump extended to some of his friends and allies, particularly political strategist Stephen K. Bannon. It would be a mistake to think that Bannon’s pardon gives him a free pass…
“Pardons do not take effect automatically. More than a century ago, the Supreme Court explained that, for a presidential pardon to be effective, it must be ‘accepted’ by the person offered the pardon. Significantly, as Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in 1833, the decision to accept a pardon is an admission of guilt. As a consequence, people offered a pardon who insist that they are innocent of the charges have the right to a trial to clear their name. But if they decide to accept the pardon, they convey to the world that they committed the crime and have been spared some of the consequences… In addition, a presidential pardon only excuses federal crimes, but it does not protect Bannon from state prosecutors.”
Many might not have known that accepting a pardon is tantamount to an admission of guilt.
Massive Voting Irregularities in New York?
Breitbart wrote on February 3:
“Marc Elias, the election lawyer who represented Democratic challenges to state rules throughout the 2020 election, alleged in a court filing this week that a close congressional race in upstate New York was marred by faulty voting machines. Republicans have been vilified for making similar claims about the 2020 presidential race.
“In the congressional race for New York’s 22nd district, Republican Claudia Tenney currently leads incumbent Democrat Anthony Brindisi by a razor-thin margin of 125 votes. Tenney declared victory on Tuesday, though challenges continue. In a legal filing Monday requesting a manual audit of the election, [attorney] Elias… argued that there were ‘substantial errors and irregularities in the conduct of the election.’
“Citing alleged discrepancies between votes counted by hand and votes counted by ballot machines, Elias argued that the error rate, extrapolated across the entire district, could mean that thousands of votes were improperly counted by the machines. He also complained about procedural faults with the conduct of the voting process, alleging failures to comply with New York State election law.”
Recalling California Gov. Newsom?
Politico wrote on February 4:
“The campaign to oust Newsom went from unlikely to unavoidable this week as pervasive frustration with Newsom’s pandemic management cut sharply into his approval numbers. The longer businesses have been closed, hospitals full and school campuses shut, the more the movement has gained traction beyond conservative social media circles…
“Getting the recall onto the ballot is the first lift; voters would then have to decide in a special election whether to recall Newsom and simultaneously which candidate they would prefer instead. The recall could still fail to qualify. The deadline to certify is March 17, and the campaign is still operating on a shoestring budget by statewide campaign standards, relying on volunteers and some paid mail to collect the 1.5 million valid signatures they need. Proponents claim they have 1.3 million total signatures, still a ways off the nearly 2 million they will likely need to compensate for invalid signatories.
“Still, the campaign had a surprisingly high rate of valid signatures in the last statewide report through early January, hovering around 85 percent. California county registrars have verified about 600,000 signatures so far.”
German Praise for Trump, Netanyahu and Johnson
Breitbart wrote on January 29:
“German media continues to criticise the European Union’s bureaucratic and slow handling of coronavirus vaccine procurement, with Bild hailing, by comparison, the ‘vaccination masters’ Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Benjamin Netanyahu… Bild wrote: ‘Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, this trio has been silently mocked and ridiculed by the [German] federal government and the EU Commission. But when it came to vaccinations, they put Berlin and Brussels in the shade: The then U.S. President Donald Trump (74), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (56), and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (71) have the most successful vaccination campaigns up and running in the Western World.’…
“The newspaper went on to praise former President Trump for preparing for the vaccination programme since February 2020 and the speed with which his procurement project advanced. ‘Instead of haggling over the price for months like the EU Commission did, Netanyahu bravely grabbed the state wallet,’ the author also said of the Israeli leader. ‘Brexit Boris laid the foundation for vaccination success’ in March 2020 by bringing together Oxford University with AstraZeneca, the article said, and rather than ‘waiting for the junk EU Commission’, Johnson ordered 30 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech on July 20th.
“The article was published days after German newspaper Die Zeit published an opinion piece calling the European Commission’s handling of the bloc’s vaccination programme ‘the best advertisement for Brexit’ with the newly-independent UK able to exercise its right to manage its own inoculation procurement.”
In the above-mentioned article by Bild, the tabloid portrayed pictures of Johnson, Trump and Netanyahu, together with the following headline: “What did these three do better than Merkel, Spahn and von der Leyen?” It is interesting that Trump, Netanyahu and Johnson are mentioned in the same breath.
Germany’s and Europe’s Vaccination Disaster
Breitbart wrote on February 1:
“The German media has continued to criticise the EU’s handling of its vaccine programme, headed by the country’s former defence minister, with an editor from Germany’s largest-selling newspaper calling it the ‘biggest confidence-destroying programme in its history’. Bild‘s Peter Tiede remarked that… the bloc and Germany are… ‘struggling with a vaccination disaster’. ‘… in Germany, which has a population of 83 million, ‘vaccination appointments for the elderly have had to be cancelled, if they actually got any at all’ the Bild editor said… ‘we will not have vaccinated 70 per cent of Germans before the autumn. And that is the best-case scenario.’
“Ursula von der Leyen… is reportedly now under pressure to resign from her role as president of the European Commission — the EU’s powerful executive arm… Mr Tiede alluded… to von der Leyen’s failure at procurement for EU vaccines being a mirror of her failure to procure military equipment as German defence minister, and that the European Commission had become a dumping ground for failed national politicians. ‘Angela Merkel ordered her away to the European Commission. Just as Europe has been doing for decades with its discarded political personnel: disposed of like nuclear waste in the final repository of Brussels…”
Is EU Trying to Pay Britain Back over Brexit?
Newsmax wrote on January 31:
“Daniel Hannan, a conservative former member of the European Parliament… wrote Sunday in The Telegraph: ‘Brexit has indeed led to an outbreak of populism, protectionism, and chauvinism… But not on the side of the Channel they expected. The EU’s behaviour over the past 72 hours has been so demented, so self-wounding, that it is hard to know where criticism should begin.’
“Hannan chronicled a dispute between Brussels and British-Swedish vaccine-maker AstraZeneca, which the EU is using to get back at Britain, he wrote. ‘In pursuit of its quarrel, Brussels announced plans to block the export of vaccines from a completely unrelated company, the American corporation Pfizer, to Britain – vaccines which no one disputed that the U.K. had purchased, and on which the EU did not pretend to have any legal claim,’ he wrote.
“‘In other words, Brussels was threatening to halt the sale of life-saving drugs to a neighbouring country, not in response to any provocation, but simply because it was cross that that country was further advanced in its vaccination programme… Annoyed at Britain’s success, European leaders started casting doubt on the efficacy of the AstraZeneca product… Engaging in the kind of nuttiness which gets people banned from social media, Emmanuel Macron claimed that the vaccine “didn’t work.” In other words, the EU is breaking every norm of civilized behaviour and threatening expropriation over a vaccine which, from sheer sour grapes, its leaders claim is ineffective.’…
“Ultimately, Britain will wind up with a vaccine surplus it can use to help its allies, Hannan concluded.”
The relationship between the UK and the EU will continue to deteriorate. Please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
Germany Imposes more Travel Restrictions
Deutsche Welle reported on January 29:
“Germany has announced entry restrictions for travelers from the UK, Ireland, Brazil, Portugal and South Africa, as concerns of more contagious coronavirus variants are rising…
“Starting on Saturday, a transportation ban will go into effect for all planes, trains, buses and ships from countries where the new variants have spread. Starting on Sunday, the restrictions will also apply to travelers from the small African countries of Lesotho and Eswatini. The restrictions are currently set to run until February 17. There are several exceptions to the travel restrictions, including: people who have right to reside in Germany and those who are transporting goods, as well as urgent medical transports and travel due to ‘urgent humanitarian reasons.’
“Earlier this week, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told the Bild newspaper that the plan will include completely halting flights into the country. He said the government was looking at stricter border checks, ‘but also reducing air travel to Germany to almost zero, as Israel is currently doing.’”
MSN added on January 30 that Seehofer also said that it is the “civic duty” (“Buergerpflicht”) of Germans to avoid traveling to another country without a most compelling reason.
The World Condemns Russia
Deutsche Welle wrote on January 31:
“[Alexei] Navalny’s wife, Yulia, was taken into custody for a second weekend in a row for taking part in the demonstrations. Police have detained over 5,000 people… Authorities introduced unprecedented security measures in the capital in a bid to restrict protesters’ movements. They shut down seven metro stations in the city center, blocked off streets around the Kremlin and ordered restaurants and stores to stay closed. Police also asked Moscow cafes to turn off their internet connections ahead of the protests.
“Washington criticized the crackdown on protesters and urged Russia to release Navalny. ‘The US condemns the persistent use of harsh tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists by Russian authorities for a second week straight,’ US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter.
“Moscow later hit back at the criticism, accusing the US of meddling in Russia’s affairs and trying to destabilize the situation. ‘The gross interference of the United States in Russia’s internal affairs is as proven a fact as the promotion of fakes and calls for unauthorized rallies by online platforms controlled by Washington,’ Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Facebook. Meanwhile, Canadian officials urged the release of jailed pro-Navalny protesters. ‘Canada is deeply concerned by the mass detentions and the use of force against protesters and journalists in Russia,’ Foreign Minister Marc Garneau wrote on Twitter. ‘We call on Russia to release those detained, adhere to its international commitments and protect media freedom.’”
But Russia does not seem to care much. In fact, its measures against dissidents and opponents become more and more violent and intrusive. In addition, it is almost ironic that Western countries demand of Russia to protect media freedom when, at the same time, media freedom is systematically censored and suppressed in those countries.
Subsequently, the following occurred:
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 2:
“Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in a penal colony after a Moscow court found him guilty of disobeying the terms of his probation over the 2014 money laundering case. In the Tuesday ruling, however, the court also took into account the time Navalny had spent under house arrest, meaning that the Kremlin critic would spend only two years and eight months behind bars.
“Navalny rejected the claims of violating parole and slammed the process as an attempt to silence him. During the hearing, Navalny… blamed the charges against him on Russian President Vladimir Putin… The opposition leader labeled Putin as ‘Vladimir, the underpants poisoner’ during the hearing. According to Navalny’s research into his own poisoning, a ‘hit squad’ deployed by the country’s main intelligence agency FSB tried to kill him by putting a Novichok nerve agent on his underwear. Navalny fell ill after boarding a flight in Siberia. He was then hospitalized in Russia and eventually flown to Germany for treatment. ‘We have proven that Putin committed this attempted murder,’ he said on Tuesday.
“The Kremlin has denied the poisoning allegations from Navalny… Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he hoped that the ‘nonsense’ would not affect ties with the European Union, which has sharply criticized Moscow’s treatment of Navalny. He said Russia would not be lectured by EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell when he visits Moscow this week.”
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 3:
“The list of voices from the international community demanding an immediate release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny continued to grow on Wednesday… UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Wednesday that her office was ‘deeply dismayed’ that Navalny was sentenced over a case that the European Court of Human Rights in 2017 had ‘unanimously found’ to be ‘arbitrary, unfair and manifestly unreasonable.’ ‘We urge the authorities in Russia to immediately release all those detained for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression yesterday and over the past few weeks of protests across the country,’ she added in a statement.
“Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said her country is deeply concerned… German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the court’s decision as lawless and demanded an end to violence against peaceful protesters in Russia… ‘Navalny must be released at once,’ Merkel was quoted as saying in a tweet by her spokesman… German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the ruling a ‘bitter blow against fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in Russia.’ The German government said on Wednesday further sanctions against Russia cannot be ruled out…
“In a tweet, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also… dubbed the ruling as ‘pure cowardice’… British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab issued a statement saying that the ‘perverse ruling, targeting the victim of a poisoning rather than those responsible, shows Russia is failing to meet the most basic commitments expected of any responsible member of the international community.’
“French President Emmanuel Macron said… ‘A political disagreement is never a crime. We call for his immediate release. The respect for human rights such as democratic freedom are not negotiable…’ European Council President Charles Michel said that the EU will not accept the ruling… US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Russia to release Navalny and his supporters…”
Putin Afraid for His Life?
The Sun wrote on February 4:
“VLADIMIR Putin is terrified of being killed like Libyan tyrant Gaddafi in a revolution as protests sweep Russia over the jailing of Alexi Navalny, a leading expert has said. Putin enemy Yuri Felshtinsky told The Sun Online the ongoing unrest has convinced the Kremlin strongman that more repression and killing of opponents is needed to avoid the same grisly fate as the Libyan leader.
“Putin is facing one of the biggest challenges to his 20 year rule as thousands of supporters of jailed opposition figurehead Navalny have been taking to the streets. The 68-year-old, who has maintained an iron grip on Russia for twenty years – has signed off laws allowing him to remain in power until at least 2036. Felshtinsky told The Sun Online Putin will feel he needs to ramp up the brutality to quell the dissent and protect his position.
“It has been reported that the Russian leader has ‘watched obsessively’ videos of Colonel Gaddafi being brutally murdered after being cornered by a raging mob in 2011… Felshtinsky is a widely respected Russian-American writer and historian… He helped Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko escape to the UK where he was later murdered by Kremlin assassins.
“It has given him first-hand experience of how ruthlessly Putin deals with those who dare to cross him. Kremlin hitmen also attempted to poison former KGB officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018. Felshtinsky believes a similar fate awaits Navalny… During his time in power [Putin] has ruthlessly clamped down on any opposition to his rule and also seized the Crimea from Ukraine… He has been brazen in eliminating anyone who falls foul of his regime with poisoning the favoured means of killing.
“Putin has also accumulated massive wealth and is said to live like a king… Since parting with his wife in 2014 a number of ‘secret girlfriends’ have been reported….”
What About the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline?
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 2:
“French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune on Monday said France had urged Germany to drop the Nord Stream II project… The US and several European countries such as Poland have strongly criticized the building of the pipeline, saying it will increase German and EU reliance on Russia for critical gas supplies… The European Parliament has also demanded that the pipeline’s construction should be put on hold immediately…
“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Martina Fietz said the government had not changed its mind on Nord Stream 2… which Merkel strongly supports…
“Nord Stream 2 consists of two pipes, each around 1,230 kilometers (765 miles) long, and would be expected to deliver tens of billions of cubic meters of natural gas per year from Russia to Germany.”
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.
You write about the sexual sins of Sodom and Gomorrah but weren’t they guilty in other ways?
We cover the matter of sexual sins in our booklet “God’s Teachings on Sexual Relationships” on pages 95-105, showing, quite clearly, that homosexuality is most certainly condemned in the Bible.
We read in Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible the following notes about Sodom: “A city on the shore of the Salt Sea south of Engedi; destroyed in the days of Abraham and Lot along with Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim. BC 1900.” All four cities are mentioned in Genesis 10:19.
On the website Britannica.com, we read: “Sodom and Gomorrah, notoriously sinful cities in the biblical book of Genesis, destroyed by ‘sulfur and fire’ because of their wickedness (Genesis 19:24). Sodom and Gomorrah along with the cities of Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar (Bela) constituted the five ‘cities of the plain,’ and they are referenced throughout both the Old and New Testaments and the Qur’an.”
Deuteronomy 29:22-23 identifies two of the other cities as Admah and Zeboim, while Genesis 19:23 identifies the final city as Zoar.
The first reference to Sodom and Gomorrah is in Genesis 10:19, and they are mentioned in 15 different books of the Bible– from the first book to the last.
Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with depravity, perversion and wickedness—a byword for sin usually with a sexual connotation.
First of all, let us look briefly at the background to the whole episode.
We know that Lot decided to leave Haran with his uncle Abraham when God instructed Abraham to “get out of your country from your kindred And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). “So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him” (verse 4).
However, there was a parting of the ways between Abraham and Lot after “there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock,” and Abraham gave Lot the choice between going to the left or to the right, and Lot chose to journey east towards Sodom (see Genesis 13:7-12).
It is interesting to note that Abraham was sitting in the “tent door in the heat of the day” (Genesis 18:1) when the LORD and two angels appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre (Genesis 18:2) before the two angels went to Sodom, and where Abraham interceded with Christ—the LORD—for the people of Sodom (verse 16).
In contrast, we read: “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.” It is interesting to note that a short while after leaving Abraham, the angels were now in company with Lot who “sat in the gate.”
Unger’s Bible Dictionary states that “the gate was the place for great assemblies of the people (Proverbs 1:21) as they passed into and out of the city. This naturally led to the custom of using gates for places for public deliberation; reading the law and proclamations (2 Chronicles 32:6, Nehemiah 8:1,3,) holding court (2 Samuel 15:2; cf Deuteronomy 16:18; 17:8; Ruth 4:11); gathering news (Genesis 19:1) and gossip (Psalm 69:12)…”
There is much more information given in Unger’s but the above will suffice to show that “the gate” is where so much happened, and Lot would have been there to greet the two angels to the city, indicating that he was much involved in their local events. Abraham was not involved in the politics of any city but looked after his family, whereas Lot had become an important figure in a corrupt city.
Now the story moves on to the sexual depravity of the city. Looking at the events in brief, we read the following in Genesis 19:1-5:
“Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, ‘Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.’ And they said, ‘No, but we will spend the night in the open square.’ But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.’”
There were just men, both young and old, and to know them carnally obviously meant sexually. The Benson Commentary observes that “No description which could be given of their vile and abominable conduct, however laboured, could possibly have conveyed so striking an idea of their unparalleled wickedness, as this simple narrative of facts. Here were old and young, all from every quarter — Collected for practices too shameful to be mentioned! Either they had no magistrates to protect the peaceable, or their magistrates themselves were aiding and abetting.”
We then continue to read that Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the mob but the two angels pulled Lot back into the house and struck the men with blindness (verses 6-11). Then Lot and his family were told to flee from the city which they did, although it seems with some reluctance because we read: “And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters” (verse 16). Lot and his two daughters escaped to a city named Zoar and “Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (verses 24-25). They were told not to look back but Lot’s wife did and was turned into a pillar of salt (verse 26).
It’s an old and familiar story but is that all there is to it? In Ezekiel 16:48-50 we read:
“‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘neither your sister Sodom nor her daughters have done as you and your daughters have done. Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.’”
It is generally reckoned that the destroying of Sodom was around 1900 BC and Ezekiel was written circa 600 BC; therefore, this event was some 1300 years before, and in the New King James Bible, the sub- heading to this passage in Ezekiel is “More Wicked than Samaria and Sodom”. It appears that the Sodomites were not the worst but it does also state that they had other faults, in addition to their homosexual behaviour, which were not pleasing to God. These were, as stated below, and it is worth a study of the Scriptures given (this is in addition to “iniquity” which God mentioned in Ezekiel):
They were proud;
They had fullness of food (without caring for others);
They lived in abundance of idleness;
They didn’t strengthen the hand of the poor and needy;
They were haughty;
And they committed abomination before God.
That is quite a list of ungodly activities! Let us look briefly at these actions that were not pleasing to God.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary observes as follows:
“The iniquity; iniquity, either for iniquities, or the fountain and occasion of all amongst the Sodomites.
“Pride; a haughty mind, swelled with the excellency, beauty, and grandeur of their state, and vaunting of it above their neighbours.
“Fulness of bread, i.e. luxury, and riotous excess in eating and drinking: their plenty was not their sin, but they made it occasion of sin to themselves; they were very intemperate in their diet.
“Abundance of idleness; every thing so plentiful, that they little regarded to employ themselves, but were idle and slothful, or deeply secure in their peace, plenty, and honour, neither feared God’s wrath nor man’s sword; the first was the fault of particular sinners, the latter was the sin and fault of the community.
“Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy; she refused to help strangers, as appeareth in the history of the angels’ entertainment, Genesis 19; nor was she mindful of helping the poor with counsel and defence; they were unmerciful and hard-hearted toward the poor amongst them. This was a great sin to those that abounded in wealth, as the Sodomites did.”
Here are a few Scriptures about each of these failings (there are many more in the Bible):
Job 35:12; Psalms 10:4; 59:12; Proverbs 8:13; 11:2; 14:3; 16:18: 29:23; Isaiah 9:9; 25:11; Jeremiah 3:11; James 4:6.
Fulness of Food
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states the following: “fulness of bread; the land of Sodom was very fruitful before it was destroyed; it was like the garden of the Lord, Genesis 13:10; it brought forth plentifully, so that there was great fulness of provision, of all sorts of food, which is meant by bread: this, considered in itself, was not sinful, but a blessing; it was the Lord’s mercy and goodness to them that they had such plenty; but it was their sin that they abused it; luxury and intemperance, eating and drinking to excess, are here meant; which led on to that sin, and kindled the flames of it, and were the fuel to it, which has its name from them; and, besides, this fulness of good things enjoyed by them was the source of their pride, and served to increase that, as before mentioned.”
Some verses that show that this sort of behaviour is ungodly and has bad consequences are: Numbers 11:19-20; 1 Samuel 25:36-38; Proverbs 23:19-21; Isaiah 56:12; Joel 3:3 (trading in human beings); Luke 12:45-46; Galatians 5:19-21; Philippians 3:19; 1 Peter 4:3; and 2 Peter 2:13.
Abundance of idleness
Proverbs 6:4-8; 14:23; 15:19-21; 20:13; 21:25-26; 22:13; 24:30-34; 26:13-16; 28:19; Ecclesiastes 10:18; Isaiah 56:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15.
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary defines “abundance of idleness” as, “literally, ‘the secure carelessness of ease’ or ‘idleness.’”
Didn’t strengthen the hand of the poor and needy:
Exodus 23:6; Leviticus 19:9-10; 25:35-37; Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 11; Job 6:14; 20;19; Psalm 10:8-10; 37:14; 41:1-2; Proverbs 3:27; 14:20-21, 31; 14:31; 17:5; 19:17; 22:9; 28:27; 29:7;Matthew 23:14; 1 John 3:17-18.
The Pulpit Commentary states: “Prosperity and luxury in her case, as in that of other wealthy cities, hardened the hearts of men against the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 16:18; 18:12; 21:4; 21:24; Isaiah 10:12; Psalm 138:6; Isaiah 2:11; Ezekiel 16:50; Zephaniah 3:11; Romans 12:16.
The Benson Commentary points out: “they were high, lofty, arrogant in their deportment toward good men, vexing Lot’s righteous soul, toward the angels, whom they assaulted in his house, and toward God himself, all whose laws they trampled under foot.”
John Gill’s John Gill’s Commentary on the Bible adds: “And they were haughty,…. Sodom and her daughters, the inhabitants of that place, and the cities adjacent; they lifted up themselves above God and man; they were above regarding the poor and needy; and were elated and swelled with their plenty and prosperity, and behaved very insolently, both to fellow citizens and strangers; see Genesis 19:4.”
And committed abomination before Me
John Gill’s Commentary on the Bible continues: “and committed abomination before me; perhaps referring to that sin, which has its name from them; a sin abominable to God, and scandalous to human nature; and which they committed openly and publicly, neither fearing God, nor regarding men; and are said to be sinners before the Lord, (Genesis 13:13); therefore I took them away as I saw [good]; both as to time and manner, as he in his sovereignty thought most fit and proper, by raining fire and brimstone on them, and setting them forth as an example of the vengeance of eternal fire…”
In conclusion, we read in Genesis 13:13: “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord,” and we know that this ended dramatically and fatally for all concerned.
In fairness, the sins that they committed have been replicated in all nations down through the ages, but the main sin was that of homosexuality, as the text of the story clearly shows. It shows that only “the men” were involved, and there is no mention of women in this context, but it appears that they approved of the wicked conduct of their husbands, sons and other male relatives and friends (note an interesting statement in Romans 1:32), and they would also have been guilty of all the other sins mentioned in Ezekiel 16:48-50; hence the reason why there were not even 10 righteous people in the city.
answersingenesis.org states: “‘Pride is a fountain of many sins because it effectively is saying, ‘I want what I want, and I will have it regardless of what God says or the cost to someone else because I am better than they are and deserve it.’ If that lustful passion is for ‘strange flesh’ or ‘unnatural desire’ as Jude 1:7 terms it, then that can lead to homosexual behavior. So yes, Sodom was judged for homosexual sin—which flowed from pride, which also led to cruelty and exploitation of their fellow men and women.”
Today, the homosexual lobby fails to learn the lessons of history but, as we have seen, there is even more to the account than just sexual perversion, and living a life pleasing to God in all aspects of life is what is required of His faithful people.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“The Return of Donald Trump” is the title of the new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link.
Here is a summary:
Apart from occasional short comments, Donald Trump was at first pretty quiet after Joe Biden’s inauguration and Trump’s departure from Washington to his estate in Florida. But beginning with the end of January, a remarkable change could be observed. Trump began to be back in the spotlight, and it seems, he has become more popular and influential than ever. It would be naïve and a grave mistake to think that we have heard the last word and seen the last action from Trump.
“Richtige und falsche Gerechtigkeit” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “True and False Righteousness.”
“Die Liebe zur Wahrheit—ein Weckruf an wahre Christen,” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Mike Richter. Title in English: “The Love of Truth — A Wake-Up Call to True Christians.”
“How Are You?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
How often do we ask this question, and how often are we asked it? In terms of a Christian, how often do we really ask our fellow brethren and truly seek to understand exactly how somebody is doing or feeling? We are to be loving each other. How do we do this?
“What? The Mark of the Beast Does Not Already Exist?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
An idea has been advanced that the biblical mark of the beast does not exist at this time, and it is not explained as what the mark of the beast is. The truth is that the mark of the beast has been in existence for a long time, as we have taught for many years, and the Bible tells us very clearly what the mark of the beast is, and how it is different from the sign with which God identifies His people.
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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