Update 972

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Comments on News and Prophecy, May 8, 2021 / Lessons from the Early Church

On May 8, 2021, Norbert Link will present, “Comments on News and Prophecy, May 8, 2021,” and Kalon Mitchell will present the sermon, titled, “Lessons from the Early Church.”

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.

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Do We Cause Offence?

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

In my last editorial on March 19th 2021 in Update 965, I wrote a piece entitled “Free Speech or No Free Speech, That Is the Question!”

One of the problems concerned with speech that many seem to have is that of taking offence.   Any trivial or trifling “slight” seems, with some, to cause hostility, agitation, upset, distress or concern.   Thus, we have the attempt by some in society to try and remove any possible offence, often by the most extraordinary means.   Try this one:

A local councillor wants Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (in the UK) to ditch masculine and feminine terms, because she thinks they are “unnecessary and inaccurate.”   She said that a move to “Mx” is more of a general term that could replace Mr, Mrs or Miss.  Why? The answer given was that “we are just doing our best to avoid any offence.”

There are many more examples that would fit into the same category of absurdity as the example given above.

Of course, the Bible tells us not to give or take offence.  “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32) – see also Matthew 18:7; Luke 17:1.

A brief editorial is not the place to review the whole question of Christians not giving or taking offence, but suffice to say that we cannot keep people from being offended; particularly, when they are intent on being “offended”.  As Christians, we should ensure that our attitude, approach and actions are in line with our strongly-held beliefs, irrespective of whether or not this may cause offence to some.   Of course, we must always use discretion and wisdom in all of our dealings with others but we cannot just succumb to the latest linguistic fad in order not to offend those who seem to be offended by almost anything.

In society, it has been taken to a new level.   We have people “cancelled” because their views, which they are allowed to have in a free society, do not conform to those who have differing views.

It should be obvious that today, many people are far more easily offended now than they ever have been.   We can sit on the sidelines and smile at such silliness and stupidity, but we are not going to be able to change the culture, even if we wanted to.

We have a far bigger job to do than try to right the wrongs of a society that is going downhill at a rate of knots [for our non-British readers: “very quickly”].   As society continues in its antipathy to the ways of God, and where offence can be caused by quoting the Bible on a number of topics which oppose the prevailing cultural practice, we know that there will be many who will be offended by what we have to say.

We have over 50 booklets available and a recent one in particular, “God’s Teaching on Sexual Relationships”, is at odds with society throughout the pages of this 133-page booklet.   Another is entitled ”Obeying God Rather Than Men”, and these are available free of charge to anyone requesting them.

We have a job to do and our preaching the news of the soon-coming Kingdom of God may offend some, although most will not be in the least bit interested.   But when the Great Tribulation starts, many attitudes may change as they seek some skin-saving solutions.   We do not seek to offend, but the Truth of God will usually alienate people and cause offence.  Satan will see to that.  But that must not stop us from getting the message out.

Jesus Christ caused offence as did His disciples, and we will get negative responses today.  But that should not deter us.

Do we cause offence?   If we don’t, we will not be doing our job.   It’s not that we are looking to cause offence but the Truth of God offends many people. That must not stop us from doing our job to “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).

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by Norbert Link

We begin with North Korean warnings for the USA; the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West; and the problematic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

We continue with strong criticism of prominent Catholics and voters in general regarding Joe Biden; [in this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Catholic Politicians’ Hypocrisy on Abortion Rights” ]  the unconstitutional raid of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani; and new comments by Trump pertaining to the 2020 election and his plans for the future, as well as a decision by Facebook’s “Oversight Board” to uphold, for the time being, an indefinite ban on Donald Trump.

We speak on Europe’s plan to spend almost 8 billion dollars on military projects; and report on the fear of civil war in France, as well as a holy religious war in Jerusalem.

We speak on Europe’s plan to spend almost 8 billion dollars on military projects; and report on the fear of civil war in France, as well as a holy religious war in Jerusalem.

We report on ongoing religious persecution in Canada; and the ever-changing prognostications and measures of governments and scientists pertaining to COVID-19, including mask mandates, vaccine passports and herd immunity.  

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

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North Korea “Warns” USA

The Associated Press wrote on May 2:

“North Korea on Sunday warned the United States will face ‘a very grave situation’ because President Joe Biden ‘made a big blunder’ in his recent speech by calling the North a security threat and revealing his intent to maintain a hostile policy against it…

“The White House said Friday… Biden plans to veer from the approaches of his two most recent predecessors as he tries to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. Press secretary Jen Psaki did not detail findings of the review, but suggested the administration would seek a middle ground between Donald Trump’s ‘grand bargains’ and Barack Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ approaches.

“After a series of high-profile nuclear and missile tests in 2016-17, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un launched summit diplomacy with Trump on the future of his growing nuclear arsenal. But that diplomacy remains stalled for about two years over differences in how much sanctions relief North Korea could win in return for limited denuclearization steps…

“In January, Kim threatened to enlarge his nuclear arsenal and build more high-tech weapons targeting the U.S. mainland, saying the fate of bilateral ties would depend on whether it abandons its hostile policy. In March, he conducted short-range ballistic missile tests for the first time in a year, though he still maintains a moratorium on bigger weapons launches.”

North Korea remains a foe to be reckoned with.

Russia-West Ties Hit Low

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 1:

“Relations between Russia and the West have reached a new low… In April, about a dozen countries expelled Russian diplomats in protest against the country’s secret service operations… Russia… declared a total of seven diplomats from Slovakia and three Baltic states persona non grata, after those countries expelled Russian personnel. Romania and Poland have told Russian diplomats to pack up and leave. So, too, have Slovakia and the Baltic states in show of solidarity with the Czech Republic. In mid-April, the Czech government [accused Russia] of being responsible for explosions at Czech munitions depots in 2014, which left two dead. Media reports claim Russia orchestrated the attacks to stop arms deliveries to Ukraine via Bulgaria. Czech authorities consequently expelled 18 Russian diplomats.

“Russia, denying the accusations, in turn expelled 20 Czech embassy workers… Several days earlier, the US declared that 10 Russian diplomats would be expelled in response to Russian meddling in the 2020 presidential election and for hacking. Moscow rejected the accusations and responded in kind. President Joe Biden’s tough rhetoric directed at Russian President Putin has further strained relations between both countries. Russia has now recalled its Washington ambassador Anatoly Antonov for consultations and urged the US to likewise withdraw its ambassador. This pattern of tit-for-tat retaliations can be observed in numerous countries. In late March, for instance, Italy expelled two Russian diplomats accused of military espionage. Russia responded by sending one Italian home.

“… The US embassy in Russia has now said it will stop issuing visas as of mid-May. This does not bode well for US-Russia relations.”

Even though the relationship between the USA and Russia might continue to deteriorate, it is more the fragile situation involving Russia and Europe which is of prophetic significance.

US Orders Non-Essential US Embassy Workers to Leave Afghanistan

The Daily Mail wrote on April 27:

“The State Department is ordering home most remaining staff at the U.S. embassy in Kabul due to security concerns after President Joe Biden announced earlier this month a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. All personnel have been instructed… to depart Afghanistan unless their jobs require them to be physically located there…

“Guidance from State also says American citizens should not travel to Afghanistan and those already there ‘should leave as soon as possible on available commercial flights.’…

“The new order also comes after footage of an Afghan woman being lashed 40 times by the Taliban has emerged in a stark reminder of the state of the region as the U.S. pulls out of the country. The Islamists [have been] emboldened by Joe Biden’s decision to pull troops out of the country… Video of the woman being whipped, for reportedly having a phone call with a man, serves to underline the power which the Taliban still holds over the country despite Washington’s two decades of military intervention and trillions of dollars poured into trying to improve life for Afghans. Dozens of local men watched the punishment being meted out as villagers turn to the Taliban to enforce justice, having no faith in the toothless government in Kabul

“Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have warned that Biden’s plan to withdraw risks creating a power vacuum which the Taliban is already seeking to fill… The United States’ nearly two decades of fighting and trillions of dollars spent on Afghanistan has done little [to] put an end to the suffering of women in the country…

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called Joe Biden’s plan ‘reckless’ and ‘a grave mistake. It is retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership.’ Others argue that it is the only possible conclusion to a fruitless effort to bring peace to a country which has claimed thousands of American lives, as well as those of their allies in Nato including British troops.”

The article points out accurately the dilemma of countries which have sent troops to Afghanistan to create peace and which now withdraw the troops after having failed to do so. In either case, bloodshed has been and will be the result.

“Joe Biden is dividing Americans even more than Donald Trump”

The British tabloid Express wrote on April 30:

“JOE BIDEN is an even more divisive President than Donald Trump after 100 days in office, according to a new Gallup poll. The new US President came to power promising to be a leader who would govern for all Americans and ‘who seeks not to divide, but to unify.’ However, the survey found that Mr Biden was seen as anything but a unifying figure by disillusioned Republican voters. According to the poll, 94 percent of Democrats approved of the new President’s performance, while only 11 percent of Republicans did. By contrast, Mr Trump received 87 percent approval ratings from Republicans and 12 percent from Democrats at the same stage.

“On Wednesday, the new US President addressed both Houses of Congress to mark the first 100 day[s] of his administration… His speech was greeted by enthusiastic applause from Democrats but stony silence from Republicans. The Republicans called the speech ‘the most radical socialist agenda in American history’.

“Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney tweeted: ‘The President says he wants unity, but it’s impossible to unify America if you’re only appealing to the liberal wing of your own party….’”

Romney has been an outspoken critic of Trump. He barely missed being censured for his vote to impeach Trump by his own party during a GOP convention in Utah. CNN wrote that even though the censure failed, it was a reminder of the fracture in the GOP. Likewise, the Democrats are fractured as well. How can we expect unity in the country under those circumstances?

US Catholics against Biden

Breitbart wrote on May 3:

“Prominent Catholic thinkers have handed Joe Biden a failing report card following the president’s first hundred days in office. Robert Royal, a well-known author and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C., has compared Biden to the Chinese Communist Party, noting that both talk a lot about the common good while their actions betray it at every turn… Catholic Social Doctrine… ‘warns of potential tyranny and demoralization of people and civic institutions when government seek to assume authority over everything – family, faith, morals, even personal attitudes.’

“… As usual, Biden’s promotion of abortion rights is front and center in Catholics’ minds. ‘Abortion is a clarifying issue because it gives a sharp edge to these and a host of other questions about politics and the moral order,’ Royal observes, and on this vital issue Joe Biden holds a position the Catholic Church finds untenable… The slaughter of the innocents through abortion is happening today to the tune of about 150,000 globally, Royal writes, ‘the equivalent of killing everyone in Cambridge, Massachusetts plus the entire faculty and staff at Harvard, every day.’

“For this reason, he asserts, the American bishops ‘find themselves at a crossroads,’ since to let things go on as they have ‘would give the impression that they’re just fine with a self-proclaimed “devout” Catholic politician acting this way… As Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, noted last Friday, there is nothing ‘right wing’ about ‘addressing public figures who boast of their “devout Catholic” status while constantly undermining what the Church teaches, especially on life and death issues.’”

This is not just referring to devout Catholic Joe Biden. The number of Catholic Democrats who are supporting abortion is staggering, including leading politicians like Pelosi and Schumer. Their sheer hypocrisy is breathtaking!

Raid of Giuliani Unconstitutional for Numerous Reasons

Newsmax wrote on May 2:

“The FBI raid this week of former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani violated the ‘spirit and the letter of the Constitution,’ because it permitted prosecutors to read privileged information without permission, according to legal expert Alan Dershowitz…

“‘This was just a misuse of the search and seizure power… Initially it was turned down; now it was approved, both by a judge and by the attorney general of the United States…  It just shouldn’t be done this way… It should be done through subpoena, and that is the constitutional route to getting evidence… To conduct a search warrant is to imply that Rudy Giuliani and the other lawyers who are subject to the search warrant would destroy evidence… Now, Giuliani knew they were after the cell phones and the computers for months and months and months, and he didn’t destroy anything, so what’s the basis for the search warrant rather than the subpoena?

“‘The 4th Amendment demands a subpoena in these situations, not a search warrant. What they did in this case was unconstitutional… The 4th Amendment doesn’t protect you only against criminal prosecution, it protects your privacy… They’re looking hard. I don’t think they have anything on this registration because, really, Giuliani was representing an American; he was representing the president. He was doing investigations in the Ukraine to see if it can help his president….’

“There is a lack of ‘compelling evidence’ of potential obstruction of justice by a former federal prosecutor like Giuliani, Dershowitz said.”

In addition, Dershowitz also said that the search warrant violates the attorney-client privilege between Trump and Giuliani, and this privilege belongs to Trump as the client. He did not agree to a waiver and so, arguably, he could sue the FBI and the Justice Department for their unconstitutional action against him.

“The Big Lie” of 2020 Election Results

Newsmax wrote on May 3:

“Former President Donald Trump shot back at opponents and the mainstream media Monday, saying the 2020 election result [will] forever [be] known as ‘The Big Lie.’… The mainstream media has called Trump’s claim the 2020 election was stolen due to voter fraud as ‘the big lie.’… Trump last week called the 2020 election a ‘disgrace to our country.’ He said, ‘at 10:30 in the evening, everyone thought the election was over and that we had won. All of a sudden, late in the night, they closed up the tabulation centers and they came out with new numbers. This election is a disgrace to our country. And the whole world knows it and they’re watching.’

“Trump added he was ‘100%’ thinking about running again for the White House in 2024. ‘The polls show it and everybody wants me to do it: 100% I’m thinking about running and we will I think be very successful,’ Trump told Fox Business…

“Also last week, Trump said Democrats fighting an audit of Arizona’s election result… was an admission of using ‘unconstitutional’ election processes… ‘They sent a team of over 100 lawyers to try and stop it because they know what the result of the Arizona Senate sponsored audit will be — and it won’t be good for the Dems.’

“The Arizona state Senate used its subpoena power to take possession of all 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County and the machines that counted them, along with computer hard drives full of data.”

So, it’s still not over?

Trump Continues to be Banned on Facebook

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 5:

Former US President Donald Trump will be suspended from Facebook and Instagram for at least another six months. He was banned from the platform following the January 6 siege of the US Capitol by his supporters. The social media giant’s independent oversight board upheld the ban on the former US president, but said the decision should be reviewed in six months. The board said Trump ‘created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible… Given the seriousness of the violations and the ongoing risk of violence, Facebook was justified in suspending Mr. Trump’s accounts on January 6 and extending that suspension on January 7,’ the board said after its review.

“The review board was established recently and includes academics, lawyers and rights activists. Its decisions are binding on the company… Trump responded to the announcement by repeating his… claims of voter fraud  in the 2020 US election. ‘Had gutless and clueless MINORITY Leader Mitch McConnell… fought to expose all of the corruption that was presented at the time, with more found since, we would have had a far different Presidential result,’ Trump said in a statement.”

Conservatives Respond

Fox News wrote on May 5:

“Conservatives blasted Facebook and its Oversight Board for upholding an indefinite ban on former President Trump on Wednesday… ‘Facebook’s decision to uphold its ban on President Donald Trump is extremely disappointing. It’s clear that Mark Zuckerberg views himself as the arbiter of free speech,’ Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said in a statement…

“The news prompted swift reaction from Republican lawmakers. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a warning for Big Tech. ‘Facebook is more interested in acting like a Democrat Super PAC than a platform for free speech and open debate,’ McCarthy wrote on Twitter. ‘If they can ban President Trump, all conservative voices could be next…’ ‘Big tech thinks it can control everything. Companies that censor Americans while giving brutal dictators a pass should not have free rein over your personal data to use for their benefit…’, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter. ‘Disgraceful. For every liberal celebrating Trump’s social media ban, if the Big Tech oligarchs can muzzle the former President, what’s to stop them from silencing you?’ Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter…

“Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley… also criticized Big Tech. ‘Facebook and Twitter ban a former U.S. President, yet, some of the world’s worst dictators, terrorists, and bad actors still have a platform,’ Haley wrote on Twitter. ‘This is a gross double standard and it’s why most Americans don’t trust big tech.’ ‘The Facebook Oversight Board is a dumb distraction from the actual issue of Facebook’s hegemonic control over global political speech, reinforced today by the platform anointing itself with the moral authority to memory hole future world leaders at their own discretion,’ Rachel Bovard of the Conservative Partnership Institute wrote on Twitter…’

“The board’s decision comes after Trump rolled out a new communications platform, ‘From the desk of Donald J. Trump.’ The space allows Trump to post comments, images and videos, and allows followers to share the former president’s posts to Twitter and Facebook, though it does not have a feature letting users ‘reply’ or engage with Trump’s posts.”

What Is Facebook’s “Oversight Board”?

Breitbart wrote on May 6:

“Facebook has released a list of the first 20 members of its ‘Oversight Board,’ a semi-independent body the social network is setting up that will have the power to decide whether content banned by Facebook stays banned or is restored on appeal. Members include the former editor-in-chief of the Guardian and a ‘human rights expert’ who is part of George Soros’ Open Society project. Colloquially known as the ‘Facebook Supreme Court,’ the idea for the body was hatched by Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman, a liberal academic and one of the Democrats’ ‘expert witnesses’ during the impeachment hearings… The 20 members announced by Facebook today include progressive, left-wing, and mainstream media figures who have been highly critical of President Trump.

“One addition is Alan Rusbridger, formerly editor-in-chief of the Guardian, the U.K.’s leading left-wing newspaper. His appointment to Facebook’s Oversight Board — and the lack of any figures from conservative media — has already drawn condemnation from Conservative Party MPs in the U.K…. the former editor-in-chief is no fan of Trump. In September 2017, he expressed his support for Robert Mueller’s ‘obstruction of justice’ investigation against Trump.

“The Oversight Board also includes Nicolas Suzor, who once said he ‘loved’ an article comparing President Trump to Adolf Hitler… Other members of the Oversight Board include Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark for the left-wing Social Democrat party…  Pamela Karlan, who worked in the civil rights division of President Obama’s Justice Department, and Evelyn Aswad, who served as director of human rights in Hillary Clinton’s State Department…

“There appears to be no major Trump-supporting figures in Facebook’s list of Oversight Board members…”

Even though the Oversight Board is represented as being “independent”, Breitbart points out that the salaries of all its members are being paid by Facebook.  Daily Mail added that the “oversight board has 20 highly paid, left leaning members who make the decisions. They get paid six figure salaries for approximately 15 hours of work a week.”

Facebook Permanently Bans LifeSite News

Breitbart wrote on May 5:

 “LifeSite News, a major pro-life news website, reports that Facebook has permanently blacklisted its page over ‘false information about COVID-19’ and ‘vaccine discouraging information.’…

 “LifeSite News has been censored by Big Tech companies on numerous occasions. In 2019, LifeSite was locked out of its Twitter account for using the ‘birth name’ of a far-left transgender activist in Canada. Earlier this year, the site was permanently banned by… YouTube.” 

Almost 8 Billion Euros for EU Military Projects

Science Business wrote on or about May 2:

“MEPs signed off on the controversial European Defence Fund on Thursday, clearing the way for a… budget of €7.9 billion to go to new military research projects across the EU between now and 2027. The programme is a pandemic casualty, losing some €5 billion in budget pledges since it was first announced in 2018…

“With both Russia and China investing in new missiles, nuclear capability, drones, unmanned weapons and artificial intelligence, Europe has to act, [Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for the internal market,] said…

“Despite being voted through today, the programme has attracted a large amount of criticism. Some MEPs complained that its investments would lack transparency and parliamentary control. Others, pointing to the Commission’s much-criticised efforts in procuring COVID-19 vaccines, said centralising more power in Brussels at this time was a bad move. German Green Henrike Hahn said she worries about handing a “blank cheque” to industry. ‘For the next seven years, the European Parliament won’t be involved in scrutinising the spending,’ she noted. One of the strongest attacks on the programme came from Irish socialist Clare Daly. The initiative is, ‘a slush fund for weapons of slaughter,’ she said, urging MEPs to, ‘Reject this madness.’”

Even though it is being denied that these steps have anything to do with the creation of a European army, one must indeed be blind for not seeing and recognizing the opposite.

Military Intervention and Civil War in France?

Breitbart wrote on May 1:

“49 per cent of the French public would support the military intervening to restore order and safety in France, even without government orders to do so, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive… a letter signed by 20 former French generals and an estimated 1,000 former and active-duty military members… warned of potential civil war and military intervention…

“Around six in ten — 58 per cent — of respondents said they support the military and ex-military members who signed the letter, with those who support right-wing parties such as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) showing the most support.

“… the French Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, General François Lecointre announced that active-duty members of the military who signed the letter would face removal or disciplinary actions.”

As dictatorships expand in Europe, even such prospects are no longer inconceivable.

Religious War in Jerusalem

Israel 365 wrote on May 2:

“Fatah is apparently determined to upgrade the recent violence into a religious war..

“Fatah Movement Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi… called the rioters Jerusalem’s ‘pure-hearted protectors’ and its ‘true ‎defenders,’ and repeated one of the PA’s excuses for the violence, claiming Israel ‎is ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem, ‘making it Israeli,’ and ‘preventing its original residents ‎from enjoying freedom of worship’ during the Ramadan.‎

“Tirawi called on the ‘Palestinian forces and factions’ to honor their duties toward ‎Jerusalem and called on all Arabs and Muslims to ‘act to save the holy city from the ‎clutches of the occupation and its colonialist occupying racist policy.’”

An outright war for the “ownership” of Jerusalem is prophesied.

Further Religious Persecution in Canada

Breitbart wrote on May 1:

“A judge in Woolwich Township in Ontario, Canada, has ordered parishioners at Trinity Bible Chapel to be locked out of the church to prevent Sunday worship services [ruling] that the church, its pastors, and elders were in contempt of prior court orders to halt in-person worship by gathering a[t] the church last Sunday.

“… last Sunday nine tickets were issued to people for attending a gathering that exceeded the government’s attendance limit… church elders and the church have been charged with violations ‘several times’ in recent weeks. This is the first time parishioners have been ticketed.”

Canada’s persecution of churches is continuing. In the last Update, we reported on other unconstitutional actions against churches in Alberta and elsewhere. Also note the next article.

LiveSiteNews wrote on April 30:

 “A Canadian church will for now at least not have its doors closed to its faithful by police and health officials after a judge today denied an Ontario Attorney General’s request to shut the church doors because it has stayed open contrary to draconian COVID-19 health rules.  Pastor Henry Hildebrandt of the Church of God located in Aylmer, Ontario, announced the news… today…

“Justice Thomas also found today in contempt the Church of God (Restoration) as a corporation, Hildebrandt, and Peter Wall – who works as an assistant pastor and church director at the church – because they defied a February court injunction on the church…

“At the packed Sunday, April 25 service, Hildebrandt said he was ‘very ashamed of many, many pastors in this land’ for… going along with COVID-19 restrictions limiting church size. Independent MP Derek Sloan and Independent Ontario MPP Randy Hillier both attended the service at the Church of God and spoke briefly from the pulpit. The pair have been charged by Aylmer Police for attending…

“Ontario Premier Doug Ford on April 16 introduced extended ‘stay at home orders’ that placed a 10-person limit on church service attendance size, closed playgrounds, implemented provincial border checks, and gave police the power to stop anyone outside his or her home without cause. After public backlash, the Ford government walked back some of its coronavirus rules less than a day later. Playgrounds were allowed to stay open, and police had to have ‘reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering’ in order to question people. “

Rebel News added on May 3:

The [Attorney General’s] application [to lock down the church] will be re-examined on May 13… Pastor Hildebrandt… recounted that during the hearing, a representative from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) argued that the ‘government is making criminals out of law-abiding citizens’… Pastor Hildebrandt asked, ‘what’s next… underground church services?’ He drew attention to the fact that our current prime minister’s own father is the one who signed the Constitution Act of 1982, bringing into effect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

“When asked if he would be willing to go to jail over the ability to hold religious services, like Pastor James Coates of Grace Life Church, Pastor Hildebrandt said ‘absolutely.’ ‘If I’m not willing to do that, then I question my calling, I question being a pastor,’ he said, while reiterating that he hopes it doesn’t come to that.”

The dictatorial governmental measures in Canada are beyond belief.  Note the next article as well.

Montreal Police vs. the Jews

Rebel News wrote on May 3:

“… last Friday night in Montreal, it was raining cats and dogs… But despite the prevailing downpour, Montreal’s ever-vigilant members of law enforcement were patrolling the streets of the Jewish neighborhoods looking for those who would have the temerity to walk home post-curfew time. After all, inclement weather aside, there are quotas to make…

“And sure enough, as we casually drove around the neighbourhood, it didn’t take long before we happened upon yet another Jewish family getting ticketed by police. From what we could gather, the tickets were for breaching curfew (because that makes for a super-spreader event). Apparently the family did not have any identification papers with them, which is also an actionable offence. All of which brings up some very unpleasant imagery of law enforcement in a different place and a different time requesting: ‘Your papers, please! Schnell! Schnell!’

“We tried to interview the police officers and ask why they were determined to hand out tickets so diligently, but alas, there were no comments forthcoming to the ‘Jew Media,’ as certain Montreal police officers inexplicably call Rebel News these days. In any event, the police officers eventually drove away into the soggy night, ticket books in hand, ever diligent to pounce upon other Jewish people who might be walking the streets of Montreal sans canine i.e., without dogs].”

Terrible memories do in fact arise.

It Never Stops… TSA extends Mask Mandates for all Travels

npr wrote on May 1:

 “Wearing a face mask will continue to be a requirement at airports, aboard commercial flights and on other public transportation across the country through the summer. The federal mask mandate, which was set to expire on May 11, will remain in effect through Sept. 13, according to updated guidance issued by the Transportation Security Administration on Friday.

“The rule, which also applies to buses and rail systems, was first put in place by President Biden shortly after he took office in January. For about a year, major U.S. commercial airlines have required all passengers who are older than 2 to wear face masks on flights…

“… senior TSA official Darby LaJoye said… ‘We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives…’ Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask when they’re outdoors unless they’re in a crowd.”

The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, and vice versa, and neither provides convincing and logical answers.  

Vaccination Passports and Totalitarian Control

Life Site News published an article by America’s Frontline Doctors on April 29:

“Former Pfizer Vice President and Chief Science Officer Dr. Michael Yeadon has issued a dire warning to the world regarding vaccination programs and related political measures, arguing that it is likely designed to bring about ‘utterly totalitarian control of the entire population forever.

“Yeadon cited many examples of what is already built into Green Passport systems imposed upon Israel and expanded around the world. In addition, he provided the link to a video report that demonstrates how ‘the situation we are experiencing right now, the fear of a virus and ensuing measures that restrict liberties is exactly the situation that has been repeatedly and intensely trained and rehearsed in the past years with all kinds of infectious disease simulations.’

“‘Vaccination protects those who need it. Vaccine passports protect nobody. But vaxpass is useful to our overlords… Who controls that database and any algorithm governing what it permits and denies has absolutely totalitarian control over every aspect of your life. Imagine a future in which a valid Vaxpass is required to enter a sport ground or museum. Invalid Vaxpass, no entry. Now imagine the rules are hardened up (they will be). Now you can’t enter large shopping malls or hotels without a valid pass…”

This is a very accurate and serious prognostication. Satan’s underlying motive of having governments impose coronavirus restrictions and vaccination passports on unsuspecting people IS the creation of a worldwide dictatorship.

Your Personal Decision

Fox News published on May 4 the following commentary by Tucker Carlson:

“As important as vaccines may be, the question of whether to take them, whether to have powerful drugs injected into your body is the most intimate kind of personal health decisions. Politicians and bureaucrats should have no role in a decision like that. These decisions are for the individual alone to decide, in consultation with family, physicians and clergy. When it comes to medical care, it is your body, your choice…

“Soon, virtually all college students in America will be required to take the COVID vaccine. In effect, it is a national mandate… From a medical standpoint, it’s hard to understand the reasoning behind this. As a group, young people are not at risk of dying from COVID. Maybe more significant, huge numbers of college students have already been infected with the coronavirus. We know that, and therefore they have a natural immunity to it. Why do these kids need a vaccine?… In no other circumstance do we immunize people against a virus for which they already have antibodies…

“At this point, the people who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID are the ones who’ve affirmatively decided they don’t want to be vaccinated. In that, they’re exercising what they assumed was a fundamental American right: the right to choose which medicines you put in your own body. Until recently, all of us assumed that we had that right…

“So what is next? It’s not a question of the vaccine. You may want the vaccine for yourself and your children, you may not. It’s a question of being forced to take it. And if we allow ourselves to be forced to take it, what next? Anything is the answer to that question. If the authorities are permitted to control a health care decision this intimate — if they can force you and your children to take a vaccine you don’t want and are afraid of — what can’t they do? Nothing. They’ll have total power over your body and your mind, forever. What’s the limit to their power? There isn’t one…”

Never Herd Immunity in the USA?

Newsmax Health wrote on May 3:

 “COVID-19 is here to stay, say experts, who believe emerging variants coupled with vaccine hesitancy is likely to make it impossible to achieve herd immunity in the U.S…. What they predict is that COVID-19 will remain for many years to come, causing hospitalizations and deaths, but to a much lesser degree than experienced so far… Experts say that with the current mutations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the herd immunity threshold is 80%… Surveys show that 30% of Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated which pushes back the goal of achieving herd immunity even further.

“Epidemiologists say COVID-19 will become an endemic disease, much like the seasonal flu… According to Nature, there are other reasons why herd immunity is unlikely. Experts point out that the vaccines that prevent severe illness from COVID-19 may not prevent transmission of the disease… ‘If the coverage is 95% in the United states as a whole, but 70% in a small town, the virus doesn’t care,’ Dr. Marc Lipsitch… the director of the Center for Communicable Diseases, told the [New York] Times. ‘It will make its way around the small town.’’

And that, after all the contrary promises by scientists.

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.

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What is and isn’t the Mark of the Beast?

We have written much about the mark of the beast in our Q&As and booklets, and we have given numerous sermons on the issue. As questions have arisen as to whether the mark of the beast applies to the governmental command or “encouragement” to wear masks or to get vaccinated, especially against the coronavirus, we are setting forth below, at first, a synopsis of what we have published about the mark of the beast.

Revelation 13:16–17 explains that people will accept “a mark” of the ancient Roman Empire and its ten European revivals (the “beast” power) “on their right hand” or “on their foreheads.” Without it, they cannot buy or sell (compare Revelation 14:9). This mark is associated with the violation of God’s Sabbath commandment (compare Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:20; Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 58:13; Amos 8:5; Exodus 16:23, 26; Exodus 31:15). In the Bible, the “right hand” is associated with work (Psalm 90:17; 137:5). The “forehead” is the seat of thoughts (Ezekiel 3:8; 9:4; Revelation 7:3).

The Roman Catholic Church tried to “change times and law” (Daniel 7:25)—that is, God’s law regarding holy time. It has changed the calendar in Europe in 1976, which identifies Sunday as the last day of the week, rather than the 7th-Day Saturday-Sabbath. It has inspired worldly governments to enact laws commanding Christians to rest on Sunday, while working on Saturday. Many of these “blue laws” are “on the books,” even though they might not be enforced everywhere at this time, but this will change soon, when the final European revival of the ancient Roman Empire has manifested itself on the world scene.

As early as 364 A.D., the Catholic Church decreed that Christians must work on the Sabbath, and that they must rest on Sunday. Canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea stated the following: “Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day [Sunday]; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.”

Will Durant said in The Story of Civilization about the Code of Justinian: “This Code… enacted orthodox Christianity into law… It acknowledged the ecclesiastical leadership of the Roman Church, and ordered all Christian groups to submit to her authority…. Relapsed heretics were to be put to death… and other dissenters were to suffer confiscation of their goods, and were declared incompetent to buy or sell, to inherit or bequeath; they were excluded from public office, forbidden to meet, and disqualified from suing orthodox Christians for debt.”

In other words, those who were not orthodox Catholics were forbidden from buying and selling—i.e. conducting business. This will be reinforced again, with unparalleled severity, all over the world within the next few years.

In addition to the rejection of the weekly Sabbath, the mark of the beast includes also the rejection of God’s annual Holy Days [which are also called Sabbaths in the Bible, compare Leviticus 23, including the Feast of Tabernacles]. Governments in certain Catholic countries, such as Germany, are already prohibiting children to celebrate the Feast, while unlawfully insisting that they must attend school during that time.

At the same time, the Catholic Church caused and is causing governments to enact laws enforcing the celebration of man’s pagan holidays, falsely so-called “Christian,” such as Christmas days, Good Friday, Easter days and New Year’s, just to name a few.

God specifically warned ancient Israel not to incorporate pagan elements in their worship of Him (Deuteronomy 12:30-32). The early Roman Church absorbed pagan elements into their worship to make the new faith attractive to Gentiles who were already steeped in pagan customs. This was also done because of anti-Semitism and the desire to appear different from the Jews.

These pagan customs were placed under a “Christian” mantle so that they would have the appearance of being godly. Traditional Christianity has clearly violated God’s command to not learn pagan ways of worship from the Gentiles, to not add pagan elements to holy worship, and to not delete godly elements that are to be observed, such as the weekly and annual Holy Days. Therefore, it has, in effect, accepted for a long time the mark of the beast by embracing human religious traditions that violate God’s laws of proper worship.

The mark of the beast is tantamount to a religious philosophy detrimental to the true worship of God. It includes the mandatory and legally enforced celebration of pagan religious holidays and the practical and/or legal prohibition of the observance of God’s sacred days. It also includes humanly devised and ungodly ideas supporting and embracing a religion which preaches a false God, a false Jesus or a false gospel (Galatians 1:6–9; 2 Corinthians 11:3–4).

As mentioned, the mark of the beast has been in existence for a long time and even though it will reach its climax in the days ahead, it cannot possibly be a reference to microchips or cryptocurrencies or, as we will show, to vaccinations or a vaccine certificate, as these did not even exist in times past.

Rather than referring to a chip or some other tangible “evidence,” the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown states that, “The mark may be… not a visible mark, but symbolical of allegiance.” This “allegiance” can be seen today in many different ways, if we analyze what laws and regulations governments have already enacted or are in the process of enacting.

In our booklet, “Obeying God Rather Than Men,” we said this:

“True Christians understand that the Sabbath and the Holy Days must be kept, and that they must not instead accept the mark of the beast by worshipping on Sunday and pagan holidays, and by refusing to worship on God’s weekly and annual Sabbaths.

“But how does this play out in practice when the government prohibits Christian churches to meet and assemble on the Sabbath? They might not even place this prohibition under a religious mantle, but they might give some other reasons, such as the outbreak of a pandemic that would require people to stay at home. The weekly Sabbath and the annual Holy Days are commanded biblical holy assemblies or holy convocations (compare Leviticus 23). We should ask ourselves whether refusing to follow God’s command, because the government says so, would be pleasing to God (compare Hebrews 10:25; the Living Bible states: “Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near”).

“… God’s ministers are commanded to feed the flock. Zechariah 11:16 warns us of a worthless shepherd who will not feed or heal Church members. Ezekiel 34:4 applies this to other shepherds as well. God’s true ministers have a duty to anoint those with oil who are sick (James 5:14), which includes the laying on of hands (Luke 4:40; Mark 16:18; Acts 28:8). But in times of the existence of a real or perceived virus that is allegedly being transferred through touch or close proximity (‘social distancing’ is supposed to prevent this from happening), a government might prohibit such a practice of anointing…

“Conflict may arise when a government, perhaps due to fear of a virus which might allegedly be transmitted by touch or close proximity, prohibits the practice of baptizing or ordaining a person, which requires the laying on of hands by the minister on the person (compare Acts 8:12–17; 19:5–6; Acts 6:2–6; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6). In addition, a government might prohibit Church ministers to bless little children (Mark 10:16; compare Matthew 19:13–15) or to conduct marriages, as all these procedures require the laying on of hands to set the persons aside for a holy and righteous purpose. Already in Old Testament times, it was understood as symbolizing the imparting of godly blessings (Genesis 48:13–20), His authority and spiritual power (Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9).

“… A government might also prohibit God’s Church from preaching the gospel of the Kingdom… a government might not prohibit the preaching entirely, but it might seriously limit it to only those statements that are deemed politically correct. It might prohibit preaching God’s Truth about sin, including homosexuality, abortion, voting, jury duty or fighting in war… [God’s Church must] preach the ‘full counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27), no matter how ‘offensive’ it might be to other people and to the government…

“What if a government would issue a decree prohibiting the worship of the true God, or enjoining the worship of the ‘god’ of their choosing?… [In the past, people were forced to accept the Trinity and were declared “anathema from Christ” if they rejected this false concept. Also, Catholics must pray to the “Virgin Mary”—another false teaching.]

“In the future, God’s Church is described as fleeing to a place of safety here on earth from governmental authorities. Even though we do not know exactly how this flight will transpire, the point is that it is God who will set in motion such a ‘flight’ to protect His people from governments under Satan’s control, and He will even intervene when the governmental armies are trying to capture and kill God’s people. If someone, falsely understanding the relationship between God’s and men’s prerogatives, would feel that he cannot flee as this would violate the government’s orders, he would most certainly not be taken to the place of safety, but he would be left behind and suffer the terrible consequences of his misguided and faulty perception.”

What should have become clear from the foregoing is that the mark of the beast PREVENTS the true worship of God, including the observance of and proper assembly and worship on His weekly and annual Holy Days, accompanied by prayer and singing out loud without a mask to praise God, and other commanded activities, such as baptism, anointing of the sick, blessing of little children, conducting marriages, etc.

Anything which does not prevent true Christians from worshipping God in the right way, or which even assists them in doing so, could not possibly be described as (part of) the mark of the beast.

This means, then, that a Christian who does not buy or sell goods on Sunday or who is not working on that day, is not, per se, accepting the mark of the beast, as long as he does not keep Sunday holy as the day of worship towards God. The Bible does not command us to buy or sell goods on Sunday or to work (doing our business) on that day. On the other hand, a Christian who refuses to keep God’s Sabbath holy and conducts instead his business on that day does thereby accept the mark of the beast, as he violates God’s command to refrain from his ordinary customary work and to worship God on that day.

The same is true, of course, for God’s annual Holy Days and man’s pagan holidays. To not work or do business on Christmas or Easter is not, per se, accepting the mark of the beast, as long as the Christian does not participate in man’s pagan worship services on these days. On the other hand, to work or do business on God’s annual Holy Days, while neglecting to assemble on these days to worship God, would in fact constitute the acceptance of the mark of the beast.

Applying these principles to the issues of wearing masks or of vaccinations, the answer becomes clear: As long as none of these activities prevent us from worshipping or following God in the way which is pleasing to Him, they do not constitute the acceptance of the mark of the beast. This is even more obvious if those governmental measures constitute the government’s approval, enabling us to worship God in the proper way.

Wearing or not wearing a mask, or getting or not getting vaccinated is not, per se, tantamount to accepting the mark of the beast, as long as they do not prevent us from worshipping God in the right way (However, wearing a mask in church services might very well prevent us from worshipping God in a proper way). Otherwise, these are personal decisions, based on one’s individual situation. If a minister ought to travel overseas to visit the church or baptize or preach the gospel, but could only do so if he is vaccinated first, then vaccination does not prevent him from worshipping God and fulfilling his job as a minister; in fact, it might enable him to do so. If air travel in such a case would require the wearing of a mask, and if there was no other way to travel, then doing so would not constitute accepting the mark of the beast. This does not mean however that he must travel under those circumstances, because additional considerations, personal and otherwise, might have to be taken into account.

These principles, discussed above, do not just apply to ministers. If one has to wear a mask or has to be vaccinated to be able to keep his or her job or to go shopping, then a decision to do so would not constitute the acceptance of the mark of the beast, as it has nothing to do with worshipping or not worshipping God in the right way.

In this Q&A, we are primarily addressing the concept of the mark of the beast, and what it does and does not constitute. We are not speaking, in general, about the advisability or inadvisability of wearing a mask or becoming vaccinated. In particular, we are not addressing here whether or not vaccinations are safe; whether or not they will cause short-term or long-term (genetic) side effects; whether or not it is advisable to become vaccinated because of one’s health or age; or whether or not vaccinations are morally and ethically questionable because they were originally developed from cells of aborted fetuses. (We would like to add in this context, however, that today’s vaccinations are not manufactured from cells of aborted fetuses.)

A decision to get vaccinated or not is an individual decision, but it must be based on one’s individual conscience and conviction, because whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). We must be persuaded or fully convinced in our own mind (Romans 14:5). It is important, however, that our conviction is based on a sound mind and not on speculation, unproven narratives or political propaganda. (For instance, a concept that wearing a mask is our patriotic duty or responsibility is as wrong as the idea that wearing a mask is sinful and constitutes acceptance of the mark of the beast.)

However, God commands us to work, earn money and support our family, and we should consider in this context whether or not a commanded activity, enabling us to do so, is “neutral” in that it does not violate God’s command to worship Him properly. Health concerns should be taken into consideration as well, when it comes, for instance, to wearing masks or getting vaccinated, such as difficulties with breathing, allergies, a compromised immune system, reactions to vaccinations, etc. But health concerns must not become our main priority if this means neglecting other and perhaps even more demanding duties. We read, for example, that Epaphroditus became sick because he worked so hard in the Work of God (Philippians 2:25-30). Paul said: “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:8).

It is true, of course, that we are not to put God to the test. On the other hand, we must also recognize that time and chance do not rule over a Christian, but that he is in God’s hands. It is therefore important that we always pray to God for His lead, guidance, inspiration and protection (Psalm 48:14; Proverbs 16:9; Jeremiah 10:23 and Isaiah 58:11), and that we do not judge or condemn anyone who might decide in a way other than what our preference would be, because our situation might be quite different from the situation of our next-door neighbor, relative or friend.

James asks this question: “Who are you to judge another?” (James 4:12). We are all God’s servants, and so, Paul asks this question: “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls…” (Romans 14:4). In 1 Corinthians 4:5, he says: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will… reveal the counsels of the hearts…” He also states in 1 Corinthians 10:29: “For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience?”

Whatever our individual decision will be, especially when it comes to getting or not getting vaccinated, God’s Church will back us up, honoring our individual conviction, based on our circumstances. Wearing a mask or getting vaccinated is not tantamount to accepting the mark of the beast, nor do they constitute sinful conduct (unless wearing a mask prevents us from worshipping God in a proper and righteous way.) Neither is it sinful conduct not to get vaccinated.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Catholic Politicians’ Hypocrisy on Abortion Rights is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

High-ranking Catholic politicians may speak against abortion in private, but support it in public. The Catholic Church condemns abortion and is highly critical of “devout” practicing Catholics, such as Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, Patrick Leahy and others, who officially uphold a pro-choice position. But is abortion really wrong, and does God prohibit it?

A Tech Team Meeting was conducted via SKYPE on May 2, 2021. Hosted by Eric Rank, development of the Church website theme, provisional back-ups for YouTube, Google Ads and Sabbath Service presentations along with Conference plans were among topics discussed.

“Was das Malzeichen des Tieres (nicht) ist!” is the title of this coming Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “What the Mark of the Beast is (not).”

“Jesus Christus—der Erlöser der Menschheit,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath in Germany by Marc Voeller, is now posted. Title in English: “Jesus Christ the Redeemer of Humanity.”

“Governmental Attacks on Freedom to Speak and to Worship, Comments on News and Prophecy, May 1, 2021,” the first message presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

In this message, we will discuss attacks by governments and the mass media on our freedom to speak and to worship, as well as persecution and unconstitutional actions, in Germany, the USA, Canada and the UK. What all of this has in common is the creation of an autocratic and dictatorial climate in these countries.

“Paul’s Challenges,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

What can we learn from Paul’s life with all the challenges he went through?

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

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