May 14, 2021
Comments on News and Prophecy, May 15, 2021 / Did Solomon Have God’s Holy Spirit?
On May 15, 2021, Norbert Link will present, “Comments on News and Prophecy, May 15, 2021,” and the sermon, titled, “Did Solomon Have God’s Holy Spirit?”
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.
Sunday, May 16, is the Feast of Pentecost. Morning services will begin at 9:00 am Pacific Time; afternoon services will begin at 2:45 pm Pacific Time.
“By the Spirit,” is the title of the morning sermonette, presented by Eric Rank, and “Day of the Firstfruits,” is the title of the morning sermon, presented by Dave Harris.
The afternoon service Offertory, titled, “To Be Content, Or Not,” will be presented by Michael Link, and the title of the afternoon sermon for the Feast of Pentecost, “Come Again—One Cannot and Does Not Have To Obey the Law?” will be presented by Norbert Link.
This Too Shall Pass
by Eric Rank
Time is both a foe and friend.
When we experience the good things in life, the hours, days, months, or years seem to pass by so fast that we barely have the chance to satisfy our appetite for joy. At other times, when we unwillingly suffer through unpleasantries, time feels as though it drags on endlessly. The good times are rarely long enough, and the tough times are relentless. Yet, that same constant quality of time guarantees that hard times will draw to a close, and that there will be good times to look forward to in the future.
Even though time often works against us, we can find relief in knowing that change over time is our trusty friend that offers hope. The most difficult and interminable things in life will eventually come to an end, yielding their grip so that new circumstances will usher in. This fact is true from the smallest scale of time to the greatest. Moments pass just as the years do. When we are able to respect, rather than resist the passage of time, it can help us to both appreciate the fine moments that bring us joy, as well as bear the burden of challenges that we face. If we are willing to adopt the frame of mind that all we can really do is concede to the constant demand of change, time will be our friend.
I had the opportunity to watch my oldest son play in his band concert a few days ago. He is a Freshman in Highschool, and this was the last concert of the year. Even though it seems to me as though the school year just started a few months ago, this concert signifies the certainty that there are just a couple of weeks of school left. But even more, as I watched him play with his bandmates, I reflected on how swiftly my time with him under my parental care has passed. I have seen and shared time with him just about every day of his life thus far. But as I listened to him play the trombone, I felt the reality of his place in time crash down on me like a lead weight. Suddenly, the number of days remaining that we will share before he grows into a man, ready to make an independent life for himself, feel scarce. All of the sudden, every day is not enough. And the only thing I can do is honor that fact and make a point to appreciate it.
In the world we live today, the challenges we face as well as the good things that we enjoy will quickly give way to the Kingdom of God. This we know because the Bible reveals that truth. What we do not know, nor can we control, is the rate at which the Kingdom of God arrives. As long as we have to wait, through days and months and years, we know for a fact that eventually time will bring that perfect Kingdom of God that we hope for. The good times now will give way to the greatest of times. The hard times will turn to endless joy.
We can find evidence for this promise in the Bible, being reminded, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Through patience and with the Faith of Christ working in us, we can endure all of the challenges we face today. Through gratitude for God’s blessings in our lives, we can experience fullness of joy that fuels our hope. By remaining steadfast in our commitment to live a life that glorifies God in every moment, our time is well-spent as an investment in our glorious future.
by Norbert Link
We begin with ongoing and intensifying turmoil and violence in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as the predictable hypocritical condemnation of Israel by the international community [please view in this context our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Violence in Israel—Is this the End?”]; continue with the exchange of ongoing threats between the UK and Europe; Scotland’s desire for independence after the election victory of Scotland’s pro-independence party; and Europe’s continuing move towards the creation of a “real” EU Army.
We speak on America’s disappointing figures pertaining to a more than fragile economy; a cyberattack on one of the largest pipelines in the United States, forcing its temporary shutdown with consequences for gasoline availability and gas prices; and America’s losing position in its race for the Arctic. We also report on troublesome activities by the Department of Justice under Donald Trump towards three journalists; and address the unacceptable conduct of Big Tech in suppressing free speech.
We address China’s suspension of economic dealings with Australia; the open defiance and rejection by “progressive” German priests of the Vatican’s position on homosexuality; the Vatican’s warning for Catholic bishops in the USA; and the Lutheran Church’s first ordination of a transgender bishop.
We conclude with deeply disturbing accounts about persecution of Christian churches and ministers in Finland; the UK; and Canada. Especially Canada has now been described as a “fascist” country using Gestapo- and Nazi-measures to suppress religious liberty and freedom. In this regard, quoted articles also contain a stern warning for the United States.
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
Turmoil on the Temple Mount
The following shows chronologically how the turmoil and the violence started and how it has been developing, with no end in sight.
Reuters wrote on May 7:
“Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday… At least 178 Palestinians and six officers [an updated number speaks of 205 Palestinians and 17 police officers] were injured in the night-time clashes at Islam’s third-holiest site and around East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics and Israeli police said, as thousands of Palestinians faced off with several hundred Israeli police in riot gear.
“Tension has mounted in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with nightly clashes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah…following the evening meal that breaks the Ramadan fast, clashes broke out at Al-Aqsa with smaller scuffles near Sheikh Jarrah, which sits near the walled Old City’s famous Damascus Gate… Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he ‘held (Israel) responsible for the dangerous developments and sinful attacks taking place in the holy city’ and called on the U.N. Security Council to hold an urgent session on the issue.”
The Jerusalem Post wrote on May 8:
“The secretary general of Islamic Jihad said Friday that ‘it is impossible to tolerate what is happening in Jerusalem and the enemy must expect our response at any moment.’ Hamas also put out a statement Friday warning Israel about potential repercussions of the clashes at the Temple Mount. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent a direct message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling him ‘not to play with fire. This is a struggle that you, your army, your police and your whole country cannot win. We will defend Jerusalem no matter what sacrifices we must make,’ Ynet reported…
“Jordan’s foreign ministry condemned the entrance of Israeli forces to the Temple Mount, and their ‘animalistic attack’ of worshipers there. Qatar also denounced the entrance of Israeli security forces to the Temple mount in the wake of clashes, calling it ‘provocation for millions of Muslims around the world,’ Ynet reported. Qatar went on to call for the international community to act to stop Israeli harm of the Palestinian people.
“Israeli Police reported that ‘police troops began using riot control measures a while ago, in an attempt to restore order after violent riots broke out at the Temple Mount, during which hundreds of suspects started throwing rocks, bottles and other items towards our forces.’ We will not allow the disruption of order, any form of violence and attempts to harm officers while taking advantage of the freedom of religion and using it to promote a violent incident that includes hundreds of worshipers starting to riot and hurting police officers,’ a police statement released after police managed to regain control at the Temple Mount read.”
The Associated Press wrote on May 7:
“Earlier Friday, Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians and wounded a third after the men opened fire on a base belonging to Israel’s paramilitary Border Police force in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a series of deadly confrontations in recent weeks that has coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan…
“The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is the third holiest site in Islam. The site is also the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount and revere it as the spot where the biblical Temples stood. It has long been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence and was the epicenter of the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or uprising.
“… some 70,000 worshippers had attended the final Friday prayers of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa, the Islamic endowment that oversees the site said. Thousands protested afterwards, waving the green flags of the Islamic militant group Hamas and chanting pro-Hamas slogans. Neighboring Jordan, which serves as the custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites, had earlier warned Israel against further ‘provocative’ steps, while Israel’s archenemy Iran encouraged the violence… “The Palestinians view east Jerusalem — which includes major holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — as their capital, and its fate is one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict…”
The Fight for the Temple Mount
Israel 365 News wrote on May 9:
“Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the founder of the Temple Institute, fought in the battle to conquer the Temple Mount in 1967. He sees that battle as continuing today. ‘With Arabs, it is all one war,’ Rabbi Ariel said. ‘Part of Islam is to make up reasons to fight. In this case, they made up a fake story that the Temple Mount is holy to them. Anyone who knows the history and knows Islam knows that this is not true. Mecca and Medina are holy to them. They simply decided they wanted a war so they made up fairytales that make it seem justified.
“‘But the war is real and it is entirely focused on the Temple Mount. And the Arabs are willing to die, willing to throw themselves into the battle by going up by the thousands to our Temple Mount. And too many of our leaders are willing to simply run away… Last week, there was a horrible tragedy that came about because one hundred thousand Jews wanted to go to Mount Meron for a religious experience.
“‘If all of those Jews had risked their lives for the Temple Mount, or just gone up to the Temple Mount, no Arab would dare claim one inch in our land, the land of Israel. The Jews have abandoned the place of the Shechina (holy presence) to the Arabs, allowing thousands of Arabs to pray there while we crawl around at the bottom of the hill. That is a desecration of the divine presence and the shechina cannot dwell in that level of desecration… The Temple is the source and the reason for us being in the land…’”
But this will change, and Israel will reclaim and re-possess the Temple Mount for a while.
US and Europe Condemn Israel
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 8:
“The United Nations urged Israel on Friday to call off forced evictions in East Jerusalem, warning that its actions could amount to ‘war crimes’… Israel also received criticism over a decision to build 540 settlement units in the West Bank. Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy called on Israel to stop the construction of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.”
The Guardian wrote on May 8:
“Claims for calm and restraint poured in on Friday from the US and the United Nations, with others including the European Union and Jordan voicing alarm at the possible evictions…”
Arabs Condemn Israel
The Algemeiner wrote on May 8:
“Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Saturday condemned Israel’s plans to evict Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers, following a night of violence in Jerusalem…
“The UAE, which normalized relations with Israel last year, ‘strongly condemned’ the clashes and the potential evictions…Saudi Arabia, Islam’s birthplace, has long championed the Palestinian cause and shunned official contacts with Israel. Riyadh quietly acquiesced to the so-called Abraham Accords – but stopped short of endorsing them.”
This was predictable from the outset, and we said so.
The Jerusalem Post wrote on May 9:
“Arab bodies throughout the Middle East widely condemned Israeli police violence during clashes with worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday. The Islamic Movement in Israel… urged Palestinian families to increase their travels to the mosque… On Sunday, Jordan warned Israel from ‘continuing its barbaric behavior at Al-Aqsa,’ adding that the country will increase its pressure on Israel… The Egyptian Foreign Ministry also condemned the violence in Jerusalem and said that ‘Israel must stop all measures that harm the sanctity of the al-Aqsa Mosque.’…
“Turkey criticized Israel and accused it of unleashing ‘terror’ on Palestinians… ‘Shame on Israel and those who keep silent in the face of disgraceful attacks,’ Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter late on Friday… Turkey’s communications director Fahrettin Altun told state television Israel was violating human rights and would ‘pay the price,’ as opposition parties echoed the government condemnation in a rare sign of unity… Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also condemned Israel on Saturday… ‘We strongly condemn Israel’s heinous attacks against our first qibla #AlAqsaMosque, which unfortunately take place every Ramadan… As Turkey, we will continue to stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters in all circumstances,’ Erdoğan added…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 9:
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went so far as to call Israel a ‘terrorist state,’ criticizing the country’s actions in East Jerusalem. The ‘cruel Israel, the terrorist state of Israel’ is ‘brutally and immorally’ attacking Muslims in Jerusalem, Erdogan said on Saturday evening. ‘A world that cannot protect Jerusalem and Muslims has betrayed itself.’”
Especially the increasing hostility of Turkey toward Israel is clearly prophesied in the Bible.
Further Violence in Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Post wrote on May 9:
“On Sunday morning, clashes broke out on the Temple Mount between Palestinians and Israeli forces, with the doors of at least one of the gates to the compound being closed amid the clashes… Clashes broke out on Saturday night by the Damascus Gate and near the Temple Mount, as well as in a number of sites in east Jerusalem and the West Bank…
“On Sunday morning, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon told Army Radio that the violent altercations that took place on Saturday night were carried out on the Palestinian side mostly by Islamic-Jihadists from the North and South, not by residents of Jerusalem.”
The Sun added on May 10:
“HAMAS has fired [by Monday more than 150] rockets at Jerusalem… moments after the Islamic extremists issued an ultimatum for Israel to withdraw security forces from two areas in the city… The blast came as thousands of Israelis joined a ‘Flag March’ today, which is considered ‘Jerusalem Day’ – an Israeli national holiday that celebrates the establishment of control over the Old City…”
The Jerusalem Post reported that “Following the rocket fire, the Israel Air Force carried out several strikes in Gaza” leading to several casualties.
Fire Close to Al Aqsa
It was also reported that a tree caught on fire on Monday, May 10, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to reports from Reuters and AFP news agencies. The fire was quickly put out. The mosque itself has not been damaged. The tree was about 10 meters from the mosque.
Reuters added on May 10 that “witnesses offered contradicting accounts about whether the flames were caused by Palestinians who had thrown fireworks at police or by a police stun grenade. Israeli police said in a statement the fire was started by the fireworks. A spokesman did not say whether officers had been throwing stun grenades at the time.”
This time, nothing happened to the mosque. But we can see how quickly that might change.
No End in Sight
JTA wrote on May 12:
“Exchanges of fire continued in Israel and Gaza on Wednesday with mounting casualties, while Arab-Israelis took to the streets across Israel in their largest protests in decades, with some turning violent. In the central Israeli city of Lod, a state of emergency was declared after Arab protesters burned a synagogue, shops and cars.
“Six Israelis and at least 53 Palestinians have died from the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip and Israel… Two Palestinians were also killed in the West Bank after attempting to carry out separate attacks on Israeli soldiers on Tuesday.
“Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, have been engaging in their most intense fighting since 2014 this week, with attacks escalating. On Wednesday, Israel announced that it had killed several of Hamas’ military and intelligence chiefs in the fighting. Altogether, Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israel’s most populated areas, and Israel has conducted hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza.
“But on Tuesday night, Israel’s leaders turned their attention to Lod, which has both Arab and Jewish residents, and where a crowd of Arab protesters burned and trashed a synagogue, along with burning shops and cars. Arab-Israeli protests also took place in other cities, including the northern port city of Haifa…”
The Associated Press wrote on May 12:
“There was no sign that either side is willing to back down. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to expand the offensive, saying ‘this will take time.’ Hamas has called for a full-scale intifada, or uprising. The last such uprising began in 2000 and lasted more than five years.”
Biden Under Attack from “Both Sides” for Different Reasons
Newsmax wrote on May 11:
“President Joe Biden has come under fire from members of both parties following a series of violent incidents in Jerusalem over the weekend… Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., said in a tweet Monday that the Biden Administration ‘should strongly condemn Hamas and other terrorists that are exploiting tensions in Jerusalem to carry out rocket attacks against innocent civilians. The United States should unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend its citizens.’
“Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News that the ‘actual actions’ of the Biden administration have been ‘incredibly unhelpful’… Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said in an interview with MSNBC on Monday that the U.S. is ‘enabling’ violence in the region by providing foreign aid to Israel, and hit the Biden administration for failing to ‘declare’ that Israel is using that aid to ‘commit human rights violations…’
“Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted his successor, saying President Joe Biden’s ‘weakness’ standing up for Israel is ‘fueling’ violence in the Middle East… Trump said in his statement that America must ‘always’ stand with Israel and demand the Palestinians stop the ‘violence, terror, and rocket attacks… ‘Unbelievably, Democrats also continue to stand by [those] who savagely attack Israel while they are under terrorist assault.’”
The New York Times wrote on May 11 that the “violence in Israel challenges Biden’s ‘Stand Back’ Approach.” The Biden Administration has now given some lip service in support of Israel’s right to defend itself, while encouraging “both sides” to show restraint. For now, the terrorist organization Hamas will not listen to such admonition, and it does not appear that Israel will either.
Act of War Between France and Britain?
The Sun wrote on May 7:
“TWO Navy vessels located off Jersey will return to Britain after French fishermen protesting over post-Brexit fishing rights stood down. A Government spokeswoman yesterday said Britain remains on standby to provide any assistance Jersey requests over the escalating standoff with France. They said: ‘The (Brexit) Trade and Cooperation Agreement brought in changes to fishing arrangements between the UK and the EU. Jersey authorities have a right to regulate fisheries in their waters under this agreement and we support them in exercising those rights.’
“The British warships [armed with a 20mm cannon, which can fire 700 rounds a minute at a range of 1,300 yards] arrived off the UK island to protect it from the threat of a French blockade. Around 100 French fishing vessels began arriving at the island just after 6am on Thursday and some on board were setting off flares as a huge row developed over post-Brexit fishing rights.
“But after the Royal Navy was sent to Jersey, the French Navy scrambled its own warships to the scene ahead of a tense stand-off… Boris [Johnsons’] dramatic move came after French fishermen – backed by Emmanuel Macron’s ministers – vowed to shut off the island unless they could fish more British waters, a threat branded an ‘act of war’. The furious spat erupted after the island [with 100,000 citizens] – which is under Britain’s protection – slapped French trawlers with post-Brexit fishing licence requirements.”
Hostilities between Britain and continental Europe will increase.
France vs. UK and US
Breitbart wrote on May 8:
“President Emmanuel Macron turned to rhetoric fit for the Napoleonic era in his latest attempt to deflect blame for French and EU inoculation programme failures, accusing ‘the Anglo-Saxons’ of hoarding vaccines and vaccine ingredients. ‘Today, the Anglo-Saxons block many of these ingredients and vaccines,’ alleged the staunch European Union loyalist as he arrived in Porto, Portugal, for a meeting of the head of the unelected European Commission with the heads of state and government of the EU member-states to discuss bloc-wide social policy. ‘Today, 100 per cent of the vaccines produced in the United States are for the American market,’ he further claimed…
“However, the veracity of President Macron’s allegations notwithstanding, the European Union has not been especially selfless in its own treatment of ‘the Anglo-Saxons’ — a term used by the French to refer to the British, the Americans, or the Anglosphere in general…
“In reality, as President Macron’s ‘Anglo-Saxons’ diatribe indicates, Brexit Britain proved able to negotiate contracts for vaccine orders and approve vaccines for use much faster than the EU, with the bloc going so far as to threaten to impose a hard border between EU member-state the Republic of Ireland and the British country of Northern Ireland — something it had decreed totally unacceptable during the Brexit negotiations — in order to prevent British vaccine orders from leaving its territory.”
Scotland to Become Independent?
The Associated Press wrote on May 9:
“British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday invited the leaders of the U.K.’s devolved nations for crisis talks on the union after Scotland’s pro-independence party won its fourth straight parliamentary election. Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, said the election results proved that a second independence vote for Scotland was ‘the will of the country’ and that any London politician who stood in the way would be ‘picking a fight with the democratic wishes of the Scottish people.’ The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with devolved governments in the latter three…
“Johnson has the ultimate authority whether or not to permit another referendum on Scotland gaining independence. He wrote in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph that another referendum on Scotland would be ‘irresponsible and reckless’ as Britain emerges from the pandemic. He has consistently argued that the issue was settled in a 2014 referendum where 55% of Scottish voters favored remaining part of the U.K. Proponents of another vote say the situation has changed fundamentally because of the U.K’s Brexit divorce from the European Union, with Scotland taken out of the EU against its will. In the 2016 Brexit referendum, 52% of U.K. voters backed leaving the EU but 62% of Scots voted to remain.”
Preparing for a EU Army
The EU Reporter wrote on May 7:
“While there is no EU army and defence remains exclusively a matter for member states, the EU has recently taken big steps to boost defence co-operation. Since 2016, there has been significant progress in the area of EU security and defence with several concrete EU initiatives to encourage co-operation and reinforce Europe’s capacity to defend itself…
“Europeans expect the EU to guarantee security and peace. Three quarters (75%) are in favour of a common EU defence and security policy… and a majority (55%) were in favour of creating an EU army [according to a poll in 2017]. More recently [in 2018] 68% of Europeans said they would like the EU to do more on defence.
“EU leaders realise that no EU country can tackle the current security threats in isolation. For example French President Macron called for a joint European military project in 2017, while German Chancellor Merkel said ‘we ought to work on the vision of one day establishing a proper European army’ in her [speech] in November 2018. Moving towards a security and defence union has been one of the priorities of the von der Leyen Commission.
“A common EU defence policy is provided for by the Treaty of Lisbon…
“In recent years, the EU has begun to implement ambitious initiatives to provide more resources, stimulate efficiency, facilitate cooperation and support the development of capabilities:
“Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) was launched in December 2017, and 25 EU countries are participating as of June 2019. It currently operates on the basis of 47 collaborative projects with binding commitments…
“The (EDF) European Defence Fund (EDF) was launched in June 2017. It is the first time the EU budget is used to co-fund defence cooperation. On 29 April 2021, MEPs agreed to fund the flagship instrument with a budget of €7.9 billion as part of the EU’s long-term budget (2021-2027). The fund will complement national investments and provide both practical and financial incentives for collaborative research, joint development and acquisition of defence equipment and technology…
“A plan to facilitate military mobility within and across the EU to make it possible for military personnel and equipment to act faster in response to crises.
“Making the financing of civilian and military missions and operations more effective. The EU currently has 17 such missions on three continents, with a wide range of mandates and deploying more than 6,000 civilian and military personnel.
“Since June 2017 there is a new command and control structure (MPCC) to improve the EU’s crisis management.
“EU countries collectively are the second largest defence spender in the world after the US but an estimated 26.4 billion euros is wasted every year due to duplication, overcapacity and barriers to procurement. As a result, more than six times as many defence systems are used in Europe than in the United States.
“If Europe is to compete worldwide, it will need to pool and integrate its best capabilities as it is estimated that by 2025 China will become the second largest defence spender in the world after the US.
“The European Parliament has repeatedly called for fully using the potential of the Lisbon Treaty provisions to work towards a European defence union…”
Business Insider wrote on May 6:
“Fourteen European Union countries… have proposed a rapid military response force that could intervene early in international crises… The 14 countries are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.”
US Economy’s Big Miss
The Week wrote on May 7:
“The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in April, whereas economists had been expecting around 1 million jobs would be added… The report was significantly below expectations, and Axios described it as ‘the biggest miss, relative to expectations, in the history of the payrolls report.’
“Economist Justin Wolfers wrote that 266,000 jobs being added ‘would be fabulous in normal times, but is utterly disappointing’ compared to the forecasts, adding, ‘This is a big miss that changes how we think about the recovery.’”
Cyberattack Forces US Pipeline Shutdown
DNYUZ wrote on May 8:
“A cyberattack forced the shutdown of one of the largest pipelines in the United States, in what appeared to be a significant attempt to disrupt vulnerable energy infrastructure. The pipeline carries refined gasoline and jet fuel up the East Coast from Texas to New York. The operator of the system, Colonial Pipeline, said in a statement late Friday that it had shut down its 5,500 miles of pipeline, which it says carries 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supplies, in an effort to contain the attack on its computer networks… Colonial’s pipeline transports 2.5 million barrels each day…
“The breach comes just months after two major attacks on American computer networks — the SolarWinds intrusion by Russia’s main intelligence service, and another against a Microsoft email service that has been attributed to Chinese hackers — that have illustrated the vulnerability of the networks on which the government and corporations rely.”
Politico wrote on May 8:
“A shutdown that lasts more than a few days could send gasoline prices in the Southeastern U.S. spiking above $3 a gallon, market analysts said. That could deepen the political risks the incident poses for Biden… “
Gas Stations Closed
Fox5 New York reported on May 11:
“More than 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast reported running out of fuel, primarily because of what analysts say is unwarranted panic-buying among drivers, as the shutdown of a major pipeline by a gang of hackers entered its fifth day Tuesday. Government officials acted swiftly to waive safety and environmental rules to speed the delivery of fuel by truck, ship or rail to motorists and airports, even as they sought to assure the public that there was no cause for alarm…. A large part of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, and Colonial anticipates restarting most of its operations by the end of the week…
“In Virginia, 7.7% of the state’s nearly 3,900 gas stations reported running out of fuel Tuesday… In North Carolina, 8.5% of almost 5,400 stations were out… “Federal investigators attributed the cyberattack to an organization known as Darkside, a group believed to be based in Russia or Eastern Europe. Darkside issued a statement saying it didn’t mean to create problems. The group just wanted the money.
“… Scattered gas stations in metro Atlanta were out of fuel Monday and Tuesday. In Georgia, nearly 6% of about 6,400 stations had run out of fuel… In Florida, drivers in some areas faced long lines, and 3% of gas stations had run out…The Colonial Pipeline carries jet fuel as well. American Airlines rerouted two long-haul flights… because of possible shortages…”
Russia, on Tuesday, denied any involvement in the cyberattack. Virginia declared a state of emergency.
Bloomberg wrote on May 13:
“Colonial Pipeline Co. paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday, contradicting reports earlier this week that the company had no intention of paying an extortion fee to help restore the country’s largest fuel pipeline… The company paid the hefty ransom in difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, underscoring the immense pressure faced by the Georgia-based operator to get gasoline and jet fuel flowing again to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard…
“Once they received the payment, the hackers provided the operator with a decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network. The tool was so slow that the company continued using its own backups to help restore the system… The hackers, which the FBI said are linked to a group called DarkSide, specialize in digital extortion and are believed to be located in Russia or Eastern Europe.”
The Race for the Arctic
The Sun reported on May 9:
“As Russia and China assert more power in the Arctic, the U.S. faces a shortage of heavy icebreakers, the massive ships needed to cut through ice… the Arctic is rich with mineral deposits and is likely to become a major shipping route as the ice melts. However, the U.S. Coast Guard only has one heavy icebreaker, the massive ships needed to forge paths through the ice. The vessel, called the Polar Star, is 40 years old and in need of new parts. The Coast Guard also has a medium icebreaker called the Healy…
“Meanwhile, Russia has dozens, and China has several and is developing more. The Arctic region is currently overseen by the Arctic Council, made up of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S. The council also includes observers and so-called non-Arctic states, one of which is China.
“China is competing for greater access in the Arctic by negotiating trade agreements with Arctic nations and trying to build infrastructure in those countries. In other words, the race for the Arctic is on…”
These figures are pitiful for the USA.
Spying on Phone Records of Journalists!
The Week wrote on May 8:
“The Department of Justice under former President Donald Trump obtained phone records of three Washington Post journalists, the Post reports. The department also reportedly unsuccessfully tried to obtain the reporters’ email records. Three separate letters to Post reporters Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller and their former colleague Adam Entous explained the department ‘received toll records’ associated with their phone numbers for the period between April 15, 2017 to July 31, 2017, which is around when the trio reported a story about classified U.S. intelligence intercepts indicating that in 2016 then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) had discussed the Trump campaign with Sergey Kislyak, who was then Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
“The Justice Department defended the decision, describing it as ‘part of a criminal investigation into unauthorized disclosure of classified information,’ noting the reporters were not the targets of the probe.”
If true, this would be scandalous indeed, showing what governmental agencies are willing to do to invade the privacy of journalists and attack confidentiality, just based on unproven allegations.
Big Tech’s Censorship
The Ron Paul Institute wrote on May 6:
“Wednesday’s decision by Facebook’s ‘oversight board’ – a transparent attempt to outsource responsibility for censorship to an international committee – to extend the ban on 45th US President Donald Trump is just the latest example [of suppression of free speech], but by no means the most egregious. Earlier this week, the banhammer descended on RT’s digital project Redfish over posts criticizing… Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini and the Holocaust, of all things…
“The long march from banning Alex Jones in 2018 to banning the sitting president of the United States in 2021 was completed with surprising alacrity. The collusion within Silicon Valley to ban Trump on the blatantly false pretext of ‘inciting insurrection’ on January 6 may have been the political Rubicon, but Big Tech had begun putting their finger, fist and even elbow on the political scales long before.
“Does banning the New York Post over Hunter Biden ring any bells? How about the ‘pre-bunking’ of the 2020 election outcome, arranged by Democrat activists more than a year prior?…
“Way back in 2019, Trump had tweeted a meme: ‘In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m just in the way.’ Can you honestly say now that he was wrong?”
Even Democrat Elizabeth Warren Attacks Facebook
Daily Mail wrote on May 6:
“Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday that Facebook’s decision to uphold its ban on former President Donald Trump’s account further exhibits Big Tech has too much power and needs to be broken up… Of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling the Oversight Board the ‘Supreme Court’, Warren said: ‘Listen to the arrogance of it… ‘They have too much influence and they pose a threat to our democracy. Time to enforce our antitrust laws.’
“She also complained in a tweet Wednesday that Facebook is a disinformation machine.”
“China Suspends Economic Dialogue with Australia ‘Indefinitely’”
Russia Today wrote on May 6, 2021:
“Beijing has axed a high-level channel for economic talks with Canberra, blasting Australian leaders for having a ‘Cold War mentality’ after the country cancelled two contracts linked to its Belt and Road project…
“Ties, and especially trade relations, between the two states have steadily frayed in recent months, seeing Beijing threaten economic retaliation after Canberra demanded an international probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. Before that, in 2018, Australia moved to ban the Shenzhen-based telecom giant Huawei and passed a number of foreign interference laws targeting Beijing, both prompting terse responses.
“The relationship has only deteriorated further in the meantime, with Australian officials scrapping two deals previously signed between Beijing and the state of Victoria for China’s Belt and Road Initiative in March. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the contracts were ‘inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations,’ invoking powers created by legislation passed last year that allows the FM to veto agreements with other nations…
“While relations have been frosty for some time, halting the negotiation channel could spell further trouble for Canberra as it seeks to resolve trade disputes that affect $20 billion in Australian exports, including in key industries such as coal, timber, seafood, wine and barley. As of March, trade between the two countries had dropped by 40% overall, compared to the period before the commerce battle, with Beijing maintaining tariffs on a number of goods.”
Some time ago, Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria, signed some kind of memorandum of understanding with China to gain an economic advantage for Victorian companies to produce work on the Belt and Road project. As it turned out, approval was not sought from Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The federal government now says that all foreign dealings have to be approved by the federal Finance Minister before they can go ahead. This is a part of the reason Australia is having a trade war with China.
German Priests in Defiance of the Pope
Breitbart wrote on May 10:
“Progressive Catholics in Germany have announced their intent to offer blessings to same-sex couples at dozens of churches around the country… in defiance of a recent Vatican ban on the practice… Jesuit Father Jan Korditschke said… ‘I am convinced that homosexual orientation is not bad, nor is homosexual love a sin… I want to celebrate the love of homosexuals with these blessings because the love of homosexuals is something good.’
“The priest said he is angered by the Church’s ‘homophobia,’ in reference to Catholic teaching that homosexual practice is sinful… In April, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, also declared his opposition to the Vatican prohibition on blessing same-sex couples. ‘I believe that we have to assess homosexuality and lived partnerships outside of marriage differently… We can no longer proceed solely from natural law [i.e., the biblical teaching], but have to think much more in terms of care and personal responsibility for one another… We can no longer answer these questions simply with a “yes” or “no.” That is not possible,’ he said.”
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Rather, “let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No” (James 5:12).
The Washington Post added on May 10:
“… the events amount to an open rebellion — and a test for a pontiff whose tenure has been marked by divisions over hot-button issues, especially the church’s stance on homosexuality…
“In the past, priests in Germany and some other parts of the world have quietly given blessings to gay unions. But the ceremonies that began over the weekend and continued through Monday were designed to be noticed. The decision will surely amplify the sense of Germany as a center of tension within Roman Catholicism. Some conservatives have accused German Catholic leaders of risking schism with Rome…. The priest-led initiative is a first in recent German history…
“The German church has gone further than other national Catholic churches in considering dramatic changes, in part because it is so deep in crisis. Germans are abandoning the church in droves… German bishops have become among the most progressive voices among Catholic leaders.”
Vatican Warns US Bishops
Newsmax wrote on May 11:
“U.S. bishops have been warned by the Vatican about a potential proposal to deny communion to Catholic elected officials who support allowing abortion… The document is aimed at clarifying the church’s stance on the issue. And it’s taken on new urgency now because Biden — only the second Catholic president — is the first to hold that office and favor abortion rights…
“U.S. bishops are split over the issue. Some of the conservative bishops have called for Biden and other Catholic politicians who support abortions to be denied communion. But Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, D.C., has said he will not deny communion to Biden. And he warned that if U.S. church leaders fail to reach a unanimous decision, a national policy, ‘given its contentious nature,’ could become a source of discord within the American church.
“Along with Biden, there are 158 Catholics in congress, most of them Democrats who favor abortion rights, and six Catholic Supreme Court justices, most of them anti-abortion Republicans… in the 2020 presidential election, Catholics split their votes almost evenly between Biden and Donald Trump.”
Lutheran Church Elects First Transgender Bishop
Breitbart wrote on May 12:
“A woman who dresses and lives as a man has been elected as the first ‘openly transgender bishop’ for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Sierra Pacific synod… Megan Rohrer, who is married to a lesbian, said in the video she is a pastor, a parent, and transgender…
“Well known for advocating for LGBTQ rights in street activism, preaching and writing, Rohrer, 41, who uses the pronouns they and them,… was expelled from her church’s youth group after ‘coming out’ as a lesbian… In San Francisco, whose board of supervisors declared August 12 ‘Pastor Megan Rohrer Day’ in 2012, Rohrer has been an outspoken defender and counselor to LGTBQ people, especially the transgender homeless and Christians… Rohrer told Cosmopolitan magazine in 2017, ‘We need to all be as loud and as angry as the people who want to declare that there are types of people that God can’t love.’”
Christian Persecution in Finland
Evangelical Focus wrote on May 5:
“Päivi Räsänen, the member of the national parliament and former government minister was formally charged with hate speech against homosexuals for her opinions voiced on three platforms. Räsänen [who is a member of the Lutheran Church] will be tried for quoting the Bible on homosexuality on social media in 2019, for authoring a booklet about marriage published in 2004, and for her views in a talk show about Christian faith and homosexuality.
“The two-year pre-trial investigations of the Finnish General Prosecutor against Räsänen, a medical doctor with strong Christian convictions, are seen by theologically conservative Christians in Finland as a clear study case of the erosion of the ability of citizens to express their deeply held beliefs.
“One of the Christian organisations to react to the news has been the Finnish Evangelical Alliance (Suomen Evankelinen Allianssi, SEA), which took a stand on 4 May, days after it was known that Räsänen could face a prison sentence of up to two years… ‘The definition of what is sin in religious terms or the resolution of theological differences is not an issue for the judiciary to assess’, but a matter concerning ‘the scope of religious freedom’, the SEA wrote…
“‘The sexual ethical position represented by Räsänen… in public is the prevailing view of Christian churches worldwide. If the presentation of this view and the treatment of the Bible interpretation concerning it were to be considered as an offense, it would have a strong restrictive effect on religious freedom’, they warned. ‘Churches would then be prevented from teaching their own doctrine freely, and the dissemination of the Bible could also be prohibited…
“… the International Lutheran Council has expressed its concern with a case that has clear links to the difficult theological debate happening in the Finnish Lutheran Church. Two Finnish bishops… defended her right to speak out although failed to defend her position on Bible and sexuality…
“In the media context, the debate around the upcoming trial has also led to different approaches.
“Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in Finland, published an editorial titled ‘Päivi Räsänen hurts not only homosexuals but also many Christians’ on 30 April, saying the case ‘is not a question of an individual personal opinion, but society’s long lasting cruel position against sexual minorities’. The daily went further to state that ‘the most striking is not Räsänen’s thinking but the fact that just a little time ago such opinions represented the mainline view in society. A human being is on judge, although there should be the history’.
“In contrast, other influential media people have defended the [right of] every citizen to express their ideas freely. Tapani Ruokanen, a respected journalist, tweeted: ‘I defend freedom of speech and religion, especially if I disagree with the speaker. Quoting the Bible belongs to both freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Päivi Räsänen’s [prosecution] take[s] the judiciary towards the Middle Ages. Uncivilized, shameful and meaningless ineptitude”.
“Some prominent atheists have also voiced their support for Räsänen’s right to speak…”
The condemnation by some so-called Christians of Päivi Räsänen’s biblical comments is mind-boggling.
Christian Persecution in the UK
Breitbart wrote on May 10:
“A Christian chaplain [Dr Barnard Randall] at Trent College was fired and reported to the British government’s anti-terrorism programme [which seeks to halt the radicalisation of young people] for delivering a sermon [in 2019] in which he told pupils that it is acceptable to question and disagree with far-left LGBT ideology being taught at the school…
“In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Randall said: ‘I was terrified when I found out. I had visions of being investigated by MI5, of men coming to my house at dawn and knocking down the front door. What was I supposed to tell my family? It was crazy’…
“Derbyshire Police confirmed to the paper that the chaplain was indeed referred to the anti-terror programme by the school, however they ultimately determined that Dr Randall did not represent a ‘counter-terrorism risk or risk of radicalisation’ and confirmed that the complaint ‘did not meet the threshold for a Prevent referral’.”
It is amazing what damage such left-wing radicals can cause.
Ongoing Christian Persecution in Canada
The Gateway Pundit wrote on May 8:
“Artur Pawlowski, the Pastor of the Cave of Adullam Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada was swarmed by police and arrested after holding an ‘illegal’ church service on Saturday. You may remember Pawlowski as the brave pastor who shouted down police officers who interrupted his church service during Holy Week. ‘Out of this property you Nazis! Gestapo is not allowed here!’ he shouted to police officers interrupting his church service during Easter weekend. ‘Out, Nazi! Out! Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back here you Nazi psychopaths!’
“Pawlowski and his flock kicked out the Gestapo again this weekend.”
Deeply disturbing and outrageous shameful videos show how Pawlowski and his brother were stopped on the highway on their way home by numerous police cars, ordered out of their car, forced to kneel down and were handcuffed in the middle of the highway and then dragged to a police car.
Rair Foundation wrote May 9:
“A Canadian Pastor who escaped communism in Poland has been arrested for holding church services during a coronavirus lockdown in Calgary, Canada… a citizen filmed the outside of the Calgary Islamic Center yesterday, which had cars lined up the street. The citizen journalist told RAIR Foundation USA that he took the video because he ‘knew they [police officers] are not enforcing the lockdowns on some groups, while persecuting others.’
“Pastor Pawlowski has been warning Canadians about encroaching communism for years… The brave Pastor, who grew up in Poland behind the Iron Curtain and escaped communism, compares the actions of the Calgary police to that of the Soviets and Nazi Germany. During Pawlowski’s childhood, pastors and priests were arrested, and some were murdered. Many were tortured. Pawlowski warns he sees a repetition of history taking place.
“Ezra Levant of Rebel News was at Pastor Pawlowski’s service before today’s arrest. He confirmed that Christian churches are being targeted while other religious services are free to worship in peace.”
BPR added on May 9:
“Artur Pawlowski was taken into custody along with his brother, Dawid Pawlowski on Saturday afternoon… Video posted online shows the reverend on his knees in the middle of a rain-soaked street with vehicles passing by slowly as a pair of officers handcuff him and then drag him to a waiting patrol vehicle after he refuses to stand and walk… Both men were charged with staging an illegal public gathering, according to Calgary police, while also ‘requesting, inciting or inviting others’ to join in with them, the department said in a statement… The department noted further in its statement that civil rights aside, the COVID-19 pandemic’s restrictions take precedent…
“The Calgary Herald added that a Court of Queen’s Bench Order was obtained on Thursday by Alberta Health Services after additional restrictions were previously levied on Canadians… ‘In the event of non-compliance, the Order provides enforcement powers, including powers of arrest…’
“Last month Pawlowski, who had already been fined repeated by authorities for COVID violations, was hailed as an ‘absolute legend’ after he ejected an Alberta Health Services official accompanied by several police officers from a Passover service. The arrest of Pawlowski… follows an escalating pattern of aggressive COVID-19 rule enforcement by Canadian police.
“During a segment of his weekday evening show a few weeks after Pawlowski’s Passover encounter, The First TV’s Jesse Kelly warned about rising left-wing tyranny in Western democracies under the rubric of coronavirus, citing overly aggressive police actions in Canada. ‘Have you been watching this stuff in Canada, with what they’re doing with the coronavirus lockdowns?’ he said ahead of showing a disturbing video clip of Canadian officers repeatedly striking an elderly man and destroying a portion of his porch railing in an apparent attempt to arrest him for an unknown COVID violation… ‘And now they’re pummeling 85-year-old men and raiding churches,’ he continued. ‘You think it’s going to stay in Canada?…’”
Jesse Kelly is a famous American television show host. He is a Marine Corps combat veteran and former congressional candidate in Arizona.
Fox News added on May 9:
“Video capturing the arrests showed several police vehicles parked on the street as officers carried the handcuffed brothers, who appeared to refuse to walk on their own. An onlooker can be heard telling the officers, ‘Shame on you guys, this is not Communist China. Don’t you have family and kids? Whatever happened to ‘Canada, God keep our land glorious and free’?’”
Good question. What is happening in Canada—but not only there—is shameful and appalling.
Canada—a “Fascist Country”
On May 10, Breitbart published an extremely outspoken and condemnatory article on the events in Canada, with a clear warning message for America, as follows:
“The Canadian Gestapo were smart this time. Instead of breaking into and swarming Canadian Pastor Artur Pawlowski’s church — as they previously did during an Easter weekend service, only to be appropriately shamed and heckled out of the place — this time the Canadian Gestapo waited until after Saturday services to arrest Pawlowski, and did so on a public highway. Naturally, the Gestapo treated him like he was Scarface. Multiple officers and at least four police cruisers were involved:
“Pawlowski was arrested for violating Canada’s fascist and anti-science laws against gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions are in place in Canada (and in many places here in the U.S.) despite the fact fully-opened states like Texas and Florida allow people to go back to normal and have done so while keeping their China Virus cases in line with lockdown states.
“Canada has become so openly fascist, Pawlowski is the second pastor arrested by the Canadian Gestapo. Back in February, the Canadian Gestapo arrested Rev. James Coates of GraceLife Church of Edmonton after he turned himself in. His crime was the same — holding church services in a fascist country….
“In the wake of what we are seeing in Florida and Texas, these continued lockdowns are nothing less than obscene and deliberate attacks on personal and religious freedom.”
The warning for America cannot be overlooked.
Canadian Police Officers Object to Governmental Coronavirus Restrictions
CBC wrote on May 4:
“A group of 19 Ontario police officers has launched a constitutional challenge against the provincial and federal governments and several police chiefs, claiming that enforcing sweeping pandemic health restrictions puts them at odds with their oath to uphold the charter.
“It seeks these declarations: Lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and curfews are ‘forms of martial law.’ Wearing masks, social distancing and lockdowns are ‘ineffective’ and ‘not scientifically or medically based’ because they’re based on coronavirus cases the legal documents claim ‘are 96.5 per cent false.’ The group also wants the court to declare that religious gatherings and protests are exempt from pandemic restrictions in Ontario.
“No date has been set for when the constitutional case may go to court, and it’s unclear whether a judge will allow it to proceed.”
It is doubtful that their action will be very successful.
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.
Does God observe all the terrible individual and collective sins of mankind?
We said the following in a Q&A, titled, “Did the Father really forsake Christ?”:
“When Jesus was dying a terrible death on the cross, He cried out, just before He died, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:46)…It is true that for a brief moment the Father forsook Christ on the cross (Matthew 27:46). This happened just before Christ died (see verse 50), because at that time, He was carrying, symbolically, the sins of all of mankind (compare John 1:29), and the Father, being of purer eyes than to behold iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13), turned His eyes from Christ, as unrepented sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2)…
“God—both the divine Father and the divine Son—cannot look on iniquity…
“Notice what we read in Deuteronomy 23:9-14: ‘When the army goes out against your enemies [as true Christians, we are today engaged in a constant spiritual battle with Satan the devil, as well as the world and our own selfish and carnal desires], then keep yourself from every wicked thing… you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. For the LORD your God WALKS IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CAMP [today, both the Father and the Son live IN us through the Holy Spirit, compare John 14:23], to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may SEE NO UNCLEAN THING AMONG YOU, AND TURN AWAY FROM YOU.’
“Interestingly, we understand that it was Jesus Christ, as a divine being in the God Family, who spoke these words, but He spoke them in obedience to the Father’s Will (compare John 14:24). As divine God beings, both the Father and the Son are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity–that is why the world is cut off from God, and why only those who repent of their sins can come to God. Of course, this is not to say that God is not aware of our sins, but His eyes can’t stand them…
“At the time of Jesus’ death, He carried on His shoulders the load of the sins of the world. Think about it! He carried all the terrible crimes, abominations and perversions which the world committed since creation–including the very sins which caused God to bring the flood on this earth and to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as sins which were so terrible that God said He never considered the possibility that man would commit those (compare Jeremiah 19:4-5; 32:35)…
“When Christ had all the sins of mankind placed upon Him, thereby having ‘become’ sin in that sense, He had to experience separation from God, the Father! God, the Father saw all of the sins of man placed on His Son and He could not look at them. His eyes were ‘purer than to behold’ those sins. Remember, those sins included mass murders, rapes, terrible wars, tortures, sorceries, demonic idolatries, holocausts, martyrdom of the saints—all of the wicked, evil, rotten, despicable and deplorable abominations man has done, and continues to do—and all of these were placed on Christ!”
As God can’t tolerate sin and does not really want to look at it, we must have the same attitude. For instance, we read in Psalm 101:3: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” In Job 31:1, Job says: “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” The idea is, to commit adultery or commit fornication with her (compare Matthew 5:28).
As God is of purer eyes than to look at iniquity, so David prays to God to turn away his eyes from looking at worthless or evil things (Psalm 119:37).
On the other hand, does God really look attentively at all the individual and collective sins of mankind before He closes His eyes towards them and turns His eyes from them?
First, let us realize that time and chance does not rule over those whom God had preordained to be called in this day and age. For the rest of the world, which is cut off from God, time and chance does rule. God leaves mankind to their own devices, and even though He could focus on and know about every terrible sin of every person being committed in this evil world, is there really a biblical indication that He does?
In a Q&A on “time and chance,” we said this:
“[In the book of Ecclesiastes,] Solomon is making a distinction between the people living in this world, being cut off from God, and those whom God has called to His way of life, including himself. Solomon said that “evil occurrence” or “chance” did not govern his own life, because God was controlling his life and had given him rest. Christ made the same distinction, in Luke 13:1-5: ‘There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but UNLESS YOU repent, YOU will ALL LIKEWISE perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but UNLESS YOU repent, YOU will all LIKEWISE perish.”’
“Christ’s teaching is unmistakable: If we don’t repent, we might very well die as those did, on whom the tower of Siloam fell; that is, through an accident, apart from, or being cut off from God — by time and chance. If we repent, however, according to Christ, we will NOT likewise perish or die in that way. Rather, even if we were to die in an ‘accident,’ God would have specifically DECIDED not to intervene and to LET US die. God is always in control over our lives — nothing happens to us which God is not aware of (compare Job 1:21-22; 2:10).
“True Christians are NOT in the ‘hand’ of time and chance. Rather, Solomon tells US: ‘… the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God’ (Eccl. 9:1). David understood, too, that he was in God’s hands. He wrote, in Psalm 31:15: ‘My times are in Your hand.’ He knew that he, as well as all true Christians, are always, constantly and completely, under God’s observation, His protection and in His loving care… God promises that nothing too difficult for us to bear, will happen to us (compare 1 Corinthians 10:13). This means, then, that God must be watching us every second to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise… Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good to those who love God. The only way that EVERYTHING can work for our good is that GOD will work it out for our good — and not ‘time and chance.’
“When a Christian dies, it is because GOD has DECIDED that it was time for His son or daughter to die…”
What we want to emphasize here is that this does not apply to non-Christians who are cut off from God. To them, time and chance applies, which means in turn that God is NOT observing constantly and protecting every person living on the face of this earth. This explains too why terrible things may happen to some, and rather than blaming God, we should realize that it is man who is to be blamed, due to his willful ignorance and his intentional decision not to be subject to God and His Way of Life (compare Romans 1:18-22; 2 Peter 3:5; John 5:40).
In this context, it is also important to focus on the special role of certain angels.
We write this in our booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World”:
“We find… accounts in the Bible, describing angels as fiery horses…
“We are specifically told in [Zechariah 1:8–11] that God sent ‘red, sorrel and white horses’ to walk to and fro throughout the earth. These horses are angelic beings. Zechariah 6:1–8 confirms this conclusion… The horses walking to and fro throughout the earth are called ‘spirits of heaven.’ They are spirit beings, or angelic beings, that look like horses. In Revelation 5:6, some of those spirit beings are described as ‘seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits… of God sent out into all the earth.’ Notice that Zechariah, too, identifies these spirit beings as the ‘eyes of God,’ in Zechariah 3:9 and 4:10: ‘Upon the stone are seven eyes… They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.’ 2 Chronicles 16:9 adds, ‘For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.’ Proverbs 15:3 goes on to state, ‘The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.’…
“God’s angels watch on the good and the bad, and they report their findings to God…”
Therefore, when we read that “God’s eyes” keep watch especially over the bad, it is a reference to some of His angels whom God created and is using for that very purpose of giving Him reports as to how badly bad people behave, prompting God to have a closer look at the unspeakable evil to determine whether His direct action is needed at that time, before turning His eyes away again from the terrible atrocities of man.
We find support for this statement in several incidents describing God’s actions. The most obvious example can be found in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
We read Christ’s words to Abraham in Genesis 18:20-21:
“Then the LORD said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.’”
We then read that Christ sends two angels to Sodom to test the wicked inhabitants (compare Genesis 19:13).
The “outcry” which reached God would have been the reports that angels had brought Him, about the wickedness of the people living there. Maybe, it also included the prayers of righteous Lot who was living there. Following that outcry, God’s personal attention was directed at finding out how terrible the people behaved. Some commentaries tell us that this wording [of God coming down and seeing how bad it was] is “anthropomorphic” (applying human characteristics, traits or attributes to God) or a figurative way of speaking, allegedly “proving God’s omniscience or all-embracing knowledge.”
Of course, most commentaries do not believe that God has form and shape, and that man was made, in a physical way, after the spiritual likeness of God. Nor do they believe that God travels, going from one place to another. But the Bible clearly teaches both.
It is of course true that God could have known what was going on in Sodom, but He purposefully determined at first, not to look at all the terrible sins being committed there, until the outcry had reached such an extent that He decided to do something about it… considering that normally, God will not bring judgment on carnal man until the time of Christ’s return who will replace Satan, the ruler over this wicked evil world.
A similar conclusion can be gleaned from the account about the Tower of Babel. We read in Genesis 11:5-8:
“But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’ So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.”
This passage implies that Christ came down, apparently in response to a report by His angels, to see what was really happening at Babel, and after having analyzed the situation, both the Father and Christ determined to go down to confuse the languages.
In both cases, quoted above, it is emphasized that God came down to SEE the evil occurrences. Also, in Genesis 6:5, referring to Noah’s Flood, we read about God’s response after man had engaged in despicable prohibited sexual practices: “THEN the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continuously.” After that observation, God decided to destroy mankind in a great flood, only sparing Noah and his family.
God knows of course about the general depravity which exists in the world today. But He is of purer eyes than to behold all of it in detail; He is not focusing on every horrible and despicable sin of the masses, only to “confirm” in His own mind how bad it all is. Likewise, when we report on the evils of this world, we do not quote news articles describing in most intimate detail the egregious violations of the kinds of sins which only a demonically-inspired mind could come up with. God knows that it will be as it was at the time of Noah and of Sodom… and His angels run to and fro throughout the earth to report their findings to God as to how depraved mankind has become so that, in combination with the success of the preaching of the gospel in all the world as a witness, God the Father will make His decision as to the appropriate timing of Christ’s Return.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Violence in Israel—Is this the End?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Why did the al-Aqsa mosque incidents spark the explosion of violence? What connection is there to the prophesied building of the third temple on the Temple Mount? Why are the current developments in Jerusalem and Israel not yet THE war which would annihilate mankind, unless Christ was to return to shorten these days? Who are the elect for whom Christ will return, and why are the Jews and nominal Christians not those elect?
“Are Jews and Christians at Odds with Jesus Christ?” is the title of a new trailer, presented by Michael Link. This video highlights our newest booklet and can be viewed on our website and on YouTube.
“Wie bitte—man kann und muss das Gesetz nicht halten?” is the title of the Pentecost German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Come Again—One Cannot and Does Not Have to Obey the Law?”
“Warum lässt Gott Leid zu?” is the title of last Sabbath’s German sermonette, presented by Tahir Coban. Title in English: “Why does God Allow Suffering? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8S-PbkrPxE
“Holy War in Israel and a European Army—Comments on News and Prophecy, May 8, 2021,” the first message presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The current violent situation in Jerusalem and the formation of a European Army are to be seen in a dark and foreboding context of prophesied events which will culminate in unspeakable misery and pain. Combined with the final emerging of the mark of the beast, the ongoing suppression of free speech and the rejection and persecution of Christian values in many “civilized” countries, we ought to realize that Christ’s return could not be that far off.
“Lessons from the Early Church,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
The early Church was bold, quickly growing and full of faith! And yet, they experienced extreme circumstances. What enabled them to keep on going in the face of great odds? What can we take away from that time and apply it to the times we currently live in and the time that is coming soon?
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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