|Live Services||Overwhelmed / Resilience|
|Editorial||Guarding Our Minds Against Corruption|
|Current Events||This Week in the News|
|Q&A||What? We are not born again yet?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock|
Overwhelmed / Resilience
On September 4, 2021, Dave Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Overwhelmed,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Resilience.”
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.
September 7, 2021 is the Feast of Trumpets.
Live services will be broadcast at 2:00 pm Pacific Time.
Eric Rank will present the Offertory, and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Why do Christians Observe the Feast of Trumpets?”
Guarding Our Minds Against Corruption
by Eric Rank
Over the past year and a half, I have been working from home while our offices remain closed because of the restrictions imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Since I don’t get out of the house very often, it is not uncommon for my attendance at Sabbath services on Saturday to be the only time I leave my property during the course of the week. As a result, the amount of my face-to-face interaction with real, live people tends to be exceedingly limited. Certainly, my experience is different than others who get out of the house more often, but I dare say that most of us are getting less human contact than we normally do. Especially for those who live in areas where lockdowns are in effect.
There are several damaging effects stemming from mandatory lockdowns, stay at home orders, and the limitation of human contact. But one of the most notable effects is the impact on our perception of reality. When we are limited in our ability to interact with the real world, the only ways that we can get any insight into what is happening “out there” is through the media that we are able to consume, and our imaginations. Unfortunately, both of these ways offer only a narrow and distorted view of a reality that is already difficult to understand objectively.
Particularly where we have limited interaction with the real world around us, news reports and social media become the main portals for information from the outside world. These work together to present information to us in ways designed to manipulate our beliefs and influence our behavior. Whether we like it or not, we are unavoidably affected by the agendas from these media outlets.
If we are not careful about the information we consume and how we allow ourselves to be influenced, we are doomed to be conformed to this corrupt world. Being Christians, we know that we are in the world for a purpose. We are ambassadors for Christ (compare 2 Corinthians 5:20), shining as lights in the darkness (compare Romans 2:19, Ephesians 5:8), so that we can share a better way of life through our example. Yet we are also to separate ourselves from the world so that we do not become conformed to it (compare Romans 12:2). We are responsible for increasing the strength of our conviction to live according to the highest of all standards – those standards established by the Truth and Commandments of God. This means that we need to be keenly selective of the information we consume from the world so that we can protect ourselves from the erosion of our belief in the Truth.
In this context, we curate news articles in the Update to provide you with a perspective that the mass media ignores. Understanding current events in light of Biblical prophecy is important for us because we need to understand what’s happening around us with a Spiritual understanding. The Church of the Eternal God and its international affiliates have a commission to support the brethren in their Spiritual growth, which we do through the presentation in the Update.
In His final hours of life on Earth, Jesus Christ prayed to God the Father on our behalf, knowing that we would face the challenges that we do today. He prayed, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:14-19). With the world under the influence of Satan the devil, who is antagonistic towards the begotten children of God, our only hope is in holding fast to the Truth of God to protect ourselves from the lies espoused by the worldly media.
It is so important that we are careful to consider what we allow to form the foundation of our beliefs. Are we using the Truth of God to establish our beliefs, or do we allow the ideas from the worldly rhetoricians who dominate the media to infect us? We are moral agents, who need to make a distinction between what is good and evil, so that we can live the good Way of Life that is pleasing to God. It doesn’t take much to observe something wrong in the world, but we must ensure that the way it is presented in the mass media does not affect our beliefs. What is more difficult is filtering out what man will tell us is the right way to fix what we see as wrong. The news and media will present myriad opinions about what is right, many of which might sound good. However, we need to remember that man’s ways are not God’s ways (compare Isaiah 55:8). To remain true to our Christian commitment, we must always allow the words of the Bible to form the foundation of our beliefs, not the words of man. If we allow ourselves to be influenced by the Satanic corruption in this world, we place ourselves in a precarious position that will lead us away from God when we act upon faulty beliefs. Yet, if we keep our beliefs protected from corruption, our actions will be led by the Spirit, drawing us closer to God and leading us into the Glory He promises to those who obey Him.
by Norbert Link
We begin with the end of America’s disastrous and embarrassing retreat from Afghanistan, while managing to create more chaos in the process and leaving thousands of Americans and Afghan allies behind. [Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Why Is America in so Much Trouble?”]
While it is being suggested that America’s failure in Afghanistan was of a spiritual nature, reports emerge that the Biden Administration might be in cahoots with the Taliban in preventing Christians from leaving the country. And while it is (falsely) claimed that the Taliban and ISIS are arch-enemies, it has been revealed that the Taliban freed thousands of Isis fighters from prison, including known terrorists.
We also publish a biting commentary by the Daily Mail about the incompetence of President Biden and the terribly dark future for the USA under another 3 ½ years of Biden rule, continuing that IF Biden were to step down prematurely, the future might look even more bleak under Kamala Harris.
We also speak on the meeting between Messrs. Biden and Bennett as two leaders in trouble.
Focusing on Europe, we report on European failure in the Afghan debacle and the push for an independent European army, which, according to Bible prophecy, will be a reality very soon. We also publish an interesting article about Germany’s controversial Health Minister Jens Spahn; as well as an article about Europe’s Nordic countries.
In other news, we speak about an absolute atrocity occurring at Harvard University; and the devastating damages caused by Hurricane Ida, the most powerful monster storm ever to hit Louisiana on exactly the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
We finally focus on new restrictions and other developments in respect to coronavirus—with no end in sight.
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
America’s Embarrassing Retreat
The Associated Press reported on August 30:
“Taliban fighters watched the last U.S. planes disappear into the sky over Afghanistan around midnight Monday and then fired their guns into the air, celebrating victory after a 20-year insurgency that drove the world’s most powerful military out of one of the poorest countries.”
The Daily Mail reported on August 31:
“The Taliban celebrated the American withdrawal by hosting mock funerals with coffins draped with the US, UK and French flags as well as NATO’s insignia. They launched fireworks into the Kabul skyline and flaunted the American weapons and equipment they obtained that U.S. military personnel left behind…”
In his address to the nation on August 31, Joe Biden called his incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan “an extraordinary success,” adding that the “operation couldn’t have been done in a ‘more orderly manner.”
The Sun added on August 30:
“Ex-British Army officer Colonel Richard Kemp said that for 20 years the West had stopped terrorist attacks being launched from Afghanistan. But President Biden’s withdrawal of forces from the country ‘betrayed all the efforts made by UK and US troops’.
“He said: ‘It makes the threat from Afghanistan the greatest it’s ever been.’… The last US take-off ends a trillion-dollar, 20-year war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and finishes as it began, with the Taliban in power.”
So it was all for nothing, while thousands of Americans and Afghan allies are left behind. And so, history will repeat itself… And if that was not enough, note the next article.
Military Got it Wrong… Again
The Ron Paul Institute wrote on August 30:
“Sunday’s news reports that the Biden Administration mistakenly killed nine members of one Afghan family, including six [or seven] children, in ‘retaliation’ for last week’s suicide attack which killed 13 US servicemembers, is a sad and sick epitaph on the 20 year Afghanistan war.
“Promising to ‘get tough’ on ISIS, which suddenly re-emerged to take responsibility for the suicide attack, the most expensive military and intelligence apparatus on earth appears to have gotten it wrong. Again….
“Sadly these children killed on Sunday, two of them reportedly just two years old, have been the ones forced to pay the price for a failed and bloody US foreign policy.
“Yes, the whole exit from Afghanistan has been a debacle. Biden, but especially his military planners and incompetent advisors, deserves much of what has been piled onto him this past week or so about this incompetence.”
All Based on Lies
The Daily Mail wrote on August 31:
“President Joe Biden wanted the now-departed Afghan president to create the ‘perception’ that his government was capable of holding off the Taliban – an indication he knew it was only a matter of time before the US ally fell to the Islamic group even while reassuring Americans at home that it would not happen. In the last phone call between Biden and his Afghan then-counterpart Ashraf Ghani–four weeks before Kabul collapsed–Ghani pleaded for more air support and money for soldiers who had not had a pay rise in a decade.
“A transcript obtained by Reuters reveals two leaders… focused on spinning the message.
“‘I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan , I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,’ Biden said. ‘And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.’”
Our Failure in Afghanistan Is a Spiritual One
The Christian Post wrote on August 26:
“… our failure in Afghanistan is a spiritual one because our policies no longer reflect our Christian values…
“The Taliban have pledged an oath to their radical interpretation of Islam and their desire to uphold its draconian laws for society and the state. The statement from President Biden that the Taliban is undergoing an ‘existential crisis about whether they want legitimacy on the global stage’ completely disregards the Taliban’s unwavering commitment to the Islamic state. The Taliban would never sacrifice their eternal goals in exchange for a seat at the ‘table’ with nations they have vowed to subdue or conquer. Their intent was simply to get the US to withdraw from Afghanistan, and they had no interest in power-sharing with a democratic regime. To claim otherwise is at best naive and, at worst, dangerously ignorant.
“Finally, the worst example of ‘hearts that have grown cold’ is the fact that the US withdrew its troops and abandoned thousands of US citizens without an exit strategy… Ironically, just one week before the hasty withdrawal, our counter-terrorism apparatus released the latest Homeland Security bulletin that claims one of the significant threats of domestic terrorism emanates from Americans who question the results of the 2020 election or new COVID restrictions. Sadly, it seems our government is so misguided that it focused on vilifying its own citizens instead of saving thousands of them from a terrorist regime overseas….”
The Sun wrote on August 26:
“[Biden’s] dwindling supporters blame Donald Trump for setting the pullout in motion. But Biden has led the free world since January. He could have changed course. He appears every bit as obstinate as his predecessor and arguably now even less competent…
“76 years after World War Two Biden has shown that America will no longer defend its values — liberal democracy, the rule of law and free markets — where they are threatened.”
Of course, America’s values are no longer what they once were.
Biden Administration and Taliban vs. Christians in Afghanistan
Israel 365 News wrote on August 30:
“On Thursday, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson interviewed Glen Beck, a TV presenter for Blaze. The interview was held remotely as Beck was in the region of Afghanistan where he was working to help Christian refugees flee Afghanistan…
“The Biden administration has turned over the security of the airport in Kabul to the Taliban who have set an August 31 deadline for evacuations. Beck told Carlson that he had thus far succeeded in evacuating 5,100 Christian refugees from Afghanistan via chartered airliners. Beck described a horrifying scene in which 500 Christians were waiting to board the next plane inside the airport’s safe zone when the bombings occurred. A military official ordered them to return to the other side of the gate, beyond the protected area of the airport…
“‘The State Department has blocked us every step of the way,’ Beck told Carlson. ‘The State Department and the White House have been the biggest problem. Everyone else has been working together, putting aside differences and trying to get these people to safety.’…
“Beck gave as an example a phone call made presumably by the US State Department to a Macedonian ambassador instructing him not to accept any of the refugees into his country… Beck described his efforts to open up new avenues to extract the Christian refugees but did not go into detail as he was concerned the US State Department would work to shut down those as well…
“In a separate discussion on Twitter with Sen. Tom Cotton, Beck described the predicament. Cotton confirmed that he had heard similar reports from other quarters…”
If this turns out to be true, then woe unto Biden and his administration and supporters.
Taliban Sets ISIS Free
Breitbart wrote on August 27:
“Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed Friday that ‘thousands’ of Islamic State prisoners were freed after the United States handed over bases to the Afghan government…
“[Kirby said] the U.S. did not transfer the prisoners over to Guantanamo because the plan was to turn the prisons over to the Afghan National Security Forces… Military officials say they are not sure if the Taliban — who the U.S. has been relying on to man checkpoints to the airport — allowed the ISIS bomber and additional attackers through.”
With that kind of information, why does the left-liberal press talk about Taliban and ISIS as arch enemies?
Depending on the Taliban?
The Sun wrote on August 30:
“As the last US planes leave Kabul, we are reduced to putting our faith in the Taliban’s proclaimed benevolence. Yet hostility to Western values is a defining characteristic of Afghanistan’s new rules… it is naïve in the extreme to think we won’t fall victim to their deadly nature.
“Taliban henchmen have already been meting out their brutal mockery of justice to their fellow Afghans, executing comedians and folk singers just for failure to match their medieval values… Gun-toting thugs providing airport ‘security’ speak of their thirst to shoot Americans even as they stand guard.
“We warned the new regime would be a honeypot for jihadists hell-bent on bringing death to our streets. That nightmare is fast becoming reality, with Osama bin Laden’s security chief among those swarming back into Afghanistan… In fairness, alternative strategies are thin on the ground. But what a thoroughly depressing state of affairs.”
According to news reports, Taliban militants are carrying out “house-to-house executions.”
Taliban’s Terror Regime
Daily Mail reported on August 31:
“There are reports the Taliban harsh rule has returned. A top Afghan female cop is on the run after suffering a ‘brutal beating’ from them. She was singled out by the Taliban as a target at the gates outside Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul, where she spent five nights attempting to secure a place on an evacuation flight…”
Three More Years of Biden?
The Daily Mail wrote on August 27:
“A politician who came to power on a ticket of competence, empathy, foreign policy experience and simply not being Donald Trump has been found out. And some of his former supporters now think that even Trump might have made a better fist of America’s catastrophic departure from Afghanistan.
“This in an America which is still recovering from the Trump years, when they put up with a president [Biden] regarded as a worldwide laughing stock and national embarrassment. Suddenly, they’re beginning to realise that what came after Trump could be even worse… Where there was hope, now I see concern — genuine fear that Biden, flailing already at the age of 78, will be here for another three years…
“While Biden spent 50 years working his way up to the top job in Washington — convincing millions that here, finally, was a man who could reunite America and restore its world leadership — it’s taken just a few days for the whole edifice to crumble….
“If the last few days haven’t been about the world’s greatest military power losing in the most humiliating manner possible after being intimidated by a bunch of rag-tag guerrillas, what have they been about?…
“It’s difficult to imagine how even Donald Trump could have left a bigger mess in so short a time. And yet the world has another three years of Biden at the helm. It’s a terrifying thought but, according to former U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, it could be even more bleak. ‘Should Biden step down or be removed for his handling of Afghanistan? Yes,’ she tweeted. ‘But that would leave us with [far-Left deputy President] Kamala Harris which would be ten times worse. God help us.’
“God help us, indeed.”
Amen to that!
B&B—Two Leaders in Trouble
JTA wrote on August 27:
“In his first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, President Joe Biden said that although he prefers diplomatic means to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, he is not afraid to ‘turn to other options’ on the issue.
“The pledge captured what both men, who are in varying degrees of political precariousness right now, hoped to extract from the meeting: A bigger focus on what they agree on than what they disagree on, and the start of a new era in relations between Israel and U.S. Democrats…
“For Biden, it was a welcome momentary distraction from the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan… Bennett is presiding over a fractious political coalition with a single vote majority, struggling to control a new COVID-19 surge that has dented his popularity and dealing with the fallout of an embarrassing phone call, in which he confused the name of a fallen soldier…
“Bennett opposes Biden’s efforts to reenter the Iran nuclear deal — the diplomacy Biden referred to — but… extracting a robust promise from Biden to consider ‘other options,’ including possible military ones, will allow Bennett to claim he influenced the president…
“Beyond Iran, Biden also emphasized the defense assistance the United States delivers to Israel, and reiterated a pledge to fully restore Israel’s Iron Dome capability, after the short range anti-missile defense system was depleted by Hamas rocket fire during the last Gaza conflict, in May…
“Only Biden mentioned a peace deal with the Palestinians, and in passing — his aides have said that they recognize that substantive moves toward peace are not in the cards right now, particularly given the unwieldy political coalition Bennett leads at home. They talked more about each country’s respective battle to combat the resurgent coronavirus.
“Afghanistan, and more specifically the Taliban, have historically not posed issues for Israel. Bennett began the talk by expressing condolences for the dead in Afghanistan, but he also used the moment to get back to his main concern. ‘These days illustrate what the world would [be] like if Iran or a radical Islamic regime acquired a nuclear weapon,’ he said.”
One will have to wait and see where this current shaky relationship between the USA, under Biden, and Israel, under Bennett, will lead…
US and Europe at a Crossroad
Deutsche Welle wrote on August 31:
“The US pullout from Afghanistan after 20 years has made the erratic Trump years look like more than a blip of American unilateralism… The Bundeswehr, Germany’s army, entered Afghanistan to support the US after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001… Along the way, Germany committed to the nation-building project. Now those hopes have been dashed. The chancellor candidate for Merkel’s Christian Democrats, Armin Laschet, spoke of a major blow to the trans-Atlantic relationship and dismay at US President Joe Biden’s actions...
“Germany had rejected US calls to participate militarily in Vietnam… Although the US, under President George W. Bush, urged the German government to participate in the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, then-foreign minister Joschka Fischer from the Green Party stood by his legendary phrase: ‘I am not convinced.’…
“However, the current situation is unprecedented… ‘Afghanistan is a reality check for those who had big plans for a revived trans-Atlantic relationship,’ says Bastian Giegerich of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. ‘Germany’s direct involvement has made recent events much more painful. It mixes a sense of failure, disappointment and humiliation,’ he says…
“‘The EU must be able to act without its American partner. We must be able to secure an airport like the one in Kabul on our own,’ said Laschet in his interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung…
“Recent events in Afghanistan may have been counterproductive, says political analyst Giegerich. ‘Afghanistan was a mission that from a German and European point of view was undertaken out of solidarity with the US. Many here will feel, “we did this for the US and look how it ended.”’”
Europe’s Failure Even Worse
Bloomberg wrote on August 25:
“The nations involved in Afghanistan include three nuclear powers, the U.S., U.K. and France, and one of the world’s greatest economic powers, Germany. These mighty nations would have us believe that they can’t stay in Afghanistan a minute longer than the U.S. does, because, even together, they are unable to hold back a ragtag force like the Taliban — not even long enough to evacuate their own citizens and the Afghans who had worked with them… The impression of utter powerlessness this creates about the Europeans is worse than any damage America’s reputation is suffering because it has set such a tight deadline, effectively abandoning thousands of people to their fate.
“Yet to what extent is that powerlessness real?… Theoretically, European NATO members could bomb the Taliban into temporary submission long enough to complete the evacuation… From a cynic’s point of view, the U.S. deadline offers Europeans a convenient excuse to end their own rescue efforts, given that it’s overwhelmingly Afghans who will still require protection by then.
“And yet the troubles of European leaders will truly begin once the evacuation ends… voters who probably wouldn’t buy an extended military presence will wonder why their governments should get involved in further U.S.-led operations… After the U.S. acted unilaterally in Afghanistan, repeatedly ignoring allies’ objections, a nagging doubt about the reliability of the U.S. security guarantee will always be present…
“And of course, the refugees are coming no matter how many fences are built along Central Asian, Middle Eastern and southern European borders… There must be no repeat of 2015. That’s been the refrain from politicians across the European Union as they watch the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, which can be expected sooner or later to cause renewed mass migration.
“These European politicians include candidates for chancellor in Germany, nervous about a national election on Sep. 26; leaders such as Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who’s already ruled out accepting any refugees from Afghanistan; or French President Emmanuel Macron demanding a ‘robust response’ to any new influx of migrants.”
Europe Must Have Its Own Army
The Economist wrote on August 28:
“After decades sheltering behind American might, Europeans will have to spend more on defence, as well as build up military capacity and improve planning and co-operation. But even as they take halting steps in that direction, Britain is holding itself aloof… [As] the fall of Kabul revives calls for an EU army, Britain is silent…
“For all that… see Britain’s future outside the EU as being closer to America, this… approach is not even to America’s liking…”
Express wrote on August 27:
“As the crisis in Afghanistan rapidly escalated in the last few weeks, EU leaders tried once again to push for the creation of a European Army… The idea of creating a European army in order to ‘liberate’ Europe from US influence has been floated before by former President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker…
“The call to create a joint European army was proposed by Mr Juncker five years ago, and he said it was needed for the EU to combat the perceived Russian threat and ‘convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union’. The EU chief argued that NATO was not a satisfactory military defence for the EU, considering that not all EU members were members of NATO…
“Brexiteers have been warning for decades about the prospect of a European army being formed by the ever-more integrating Brussels bloc. On January 31… European Parliament President David Sassoli confirmed such a project may indeed come to fruition very soon…”
The EU Observer wrote on August 30:
“The messy US pull-out from Afghanistan has shown Europe must build up its own army, EU internal-market commissioner, Thierry Breton, a close ally of French president Emmanuel Macron, has said.
“Europe needed ‘a military projection force’ capable of ‘intervening militarily outside our border’, he wrote in a blog on Friday, adding: ‘Europe has always exercised its global influence through its soft power … this is no longer sufficient.’”
That Europe has “always” exercised its influence through “soft power” is clearly false. European core nations will become strong militarily, even though they will be divided amongst themselves on other issues.
Euractiv wrote on August 22:
“The fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the chaotic international evacuation effort shows that Europe needs to develop its own military capacity independent of the United States, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell argues… European policy makers fear that Kabul will not be a one-off and that future crises in Iraq or in the Sahel region of West Africa could require similar military missions to secure European citizens and interests — perhaps without US support…
“‘We will propose to give the Union a 50,000-strong expeditionary force, capable of acting in circumstances like we’re seeing in Afghanistan,’ he told AFP. ‘Europe only responds in a crisis. Afghanistan could wake it up. The moment has come to give it a military force capable of fighting if necessary.’”
Pay Attention to Spahn?
The Tagesschau wrote on July 26th:
“He didn’t really want to head the Ministry of Health, he had other plans. But when Chancellor Angela Merkel offered him the post, he didn’t say no. At the handover from Hermann Gröhe to Spahn on March 15, 2018, the young and dynamic new minister immediately declared that he wanted to tackle exciting issues. That was strategically smart because it leaves its mark. And Spahn wants to continue to leave traces.
“In Berlin, he has long been believed to be the strong man of the Union to come …
“In July 2019, Spahn’s steadfastness as health minister will be put to a tough test. His cabinet colleague Ursula von der Leyen has been nominated as EU Commission President, so Spahn’s dream of becoming Federal Defense Minister is within reach. But nothing comes of it. Merkel appoints Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. So Spahn continues to whirl around in his ministry.
“He’s putting forward an insane pace of reform, a turbo minister – one legislative proposal chases the next …
“Spahn, the secret hope of the younger generation in the Union, the conservatives, for whom Norbert Röttgen is too cool, Armin Laschet too lukewarm and Friedrich Merz too harsh … leaves the chairmanship to Laschet. ‘There can only be one party leader, which also means that someone has to back off,’ he explains, knowing full well that his time is yet to come. But then, first of all, there is Corona …
“Even in the spring of 2020, nobody knows anything about this new type of corona virus. Neither science nor politics. Spahn takes an offensive approach to ignorance. That brings him the best poll results that a federal health minister has ever had. It’s popular now, but the pandemic is far from over …
“The ministry is initially completely overwhelmed with the procurement of masks, test center infrastructure, vaccine procurement – and distribution to the federal states. Then there is the federal competence chaos. The dissatisfaction between lockdown… and relaxation is growing among people. Spahn’s polls are plummeting …
“Spahn is not one of those people who give in. His stable self-confidence helps him with this. The Minister of Health steers through the pandemic relatively undeterred – he lets criticism roll off. Spahn gives the constant reminder – at least once a week …
“Spahn is unlikely to remain Minister of Health. Not because he didn’t trust himself to go through the post-pandemic phase. But he simply feels he is called to higher things. ”
The absurd thing is this: Despite his insane policy, Spahn is still at the head of the government. This should give one a reason to think.
Watch the Nordic Countries
The European Council on Foreign Affairs wrote on August 17:
“Europeans should not ignore some of the increasingly problematic politics of the Nordic countries.
“The Danish secret service was recently revealed to have helped the United States spy on high-profile politicians in Germany and across Europe… That is not the only recent scandal: this year the Danish government announced plans to move refugees arriving in Denmark to asylum centres in ‘partner countries’ outside Europe…
“The Danish policy is the product of a Social Democrat-led government but has come about under the influence of the far-right Danish People’s Party, sustained over many decades…
“Sweden is exhibiting similar tendencies. Just recently, the Left party worked with the far-right Sweden Democrats to topple the prime minister, Stefan Lofven… He has since been restored to his former post, but the Sweden Democrats emerged from this midsummer crime story stronger than ever…
“Finland, too, is not immune to these shifts. The right-wing Finns Party has lately been rising in popularity…
“[Nordic states present] themselves as forerunners, ensuring they, for example, use negotiations to persuade the EU to go further and faster on issues such as gender equality and the environment…
“Nordic countries’ hugely positive image is so well established that more difficult news simply does not fit into the established frame. As a result, the recipient of bad tidings tends to dismiss what they hear…
“It is time to cast a cooler eye over Scandinavia’s domestic politics and what these could mean for the rest of Europe. If we assume they can never do any harm, one may, for example, be taken by surprise at the coalitions that form after the next European Parliament election… In 2020, the Sweden Democrats vetoed the rule of law conditionality for accessing EU funds and thereby cosied up to Poland and Hungary. This gesture was repeated when members of the Sweden Democrats abstained in the European Parliament resolution condemning Hungary’s controversial LGBTIQ law. It was the only Swedish party that failed to support the motion – quite a statement to be made by MEPs from the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries and a global advocate for equal rights.
“Those who support European integration and the defence of human rights within the EU should more urgently acknowledge this state of affairs, rather than brush it aside. If deeply illiberal and Eurosceptic right-wing parties continue to become more influential in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, then it is not only the citizens of those countries who will bear the consequences….”
Whether the Nordic countries remain in the EU will have to be seen. It is highly unlikely that they will belong to core Europe, consisting of ten nations or groups of nations.
Harvard University’s New Chaplain—an Atheist!
The New York Post wrote on August 26:
“Harvard University’s organization of chaplains is getting a new president to coordinate the campus’ Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and assorted other religious communities. Only the new president, 44-year-old Greg Epstein, does not identify with any of those traditional religions himself. He is an atheist…
“‘We don’t look to a god for answers,’ he [said]. ‘We are each other’s answers.’
“… Harvard’s liberal values and desire to prioritize engagement over tradition make Epstein a great fit for the job, many insiders feel. Indeed, his election was unanimous. “
And these are the kinds of sources influencing and brainwashing our young “intellectuals.”
Ida Hits New Orleans
The Guardian wrote on August 30:
“Up to 2 million people remained without power in and around New Orleans on Monday as residents and authorities began to assess ‘catastrophic’ damage from Hurricane Ida, a 150mph monster storm that was the most powerful ever to hit Louisiana…
“Almost 5,000 national guard troops were activated, a number [that] would double by Tuesday.
“Residents woke to widespread devastation caused by the category 4 hurricane that made landfall on Sunday at Port Fourchon, then tore a path north towards New Orleans. The storm struck the city on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800, mostly by flood.”
It is claimed that Ida was the fifth-strongest storm EVER to hit the USA. And that exactly 16 years after Katrina. Mere coincidence?
The Caldor Fire
CBS News reported on September 1:
“Crews in California are in a desperate fight to stop the Caldor Fire as it races toward heavily populated areas around Lake Tahoe. Flames are now just three miles from the resort city of South Lake Tahoe, which hasn’t seen danger like this in decades. Tens of thousands of homes there are under threat.
“The fire has already burned more than 300 square miles and destroyed hundreds of homes. Around 50,000 people are under evacuation orders.”
Fresh EU Restrictions for US Travelers
Bloomberg wrote on August 30:
“European Union countries voted to subject the U.S. to fresh restrictions on nonessential travel… dealing a fresh blow to the tourism industry… The change appears most likely to affect unvaccinated Americans… The guidance from the bloc is a recommendation and any decision on who to let in, and what restrictions to impose, ultimately rests with the governments of each member state. Countries can also choose to accept proof of vaccination to waive travel restrictions… Flagship European carriers such as Lufthansa and Air France have been counting on their long-haul passenger numbers to pick up…
“Travel between the EU and U.S. has been a point of political contention. The Biden administration has kept border restrictions in place despite pressure to allow visitors from allies like the EU…”
All “explanations” aside, this is a retaliatory move of the EU against the Biden Administration, and the timing in light of the Afghanistan debacle is telling.
The Associated Press added on August 30:
“The EU recommendation doesn’t apply to Britain, which formally left the EU at the beginning of the year and opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. earlier this month.
“The United States remains on Britain’s ‘amber’ travel list, meaning that fully vaccinated adults arriving from the U.S. to the U.K. don’t have to self-isolate. A negative COVID-19 test within three days before arriving in the U.K. is required and another negative test is needed two days after arriving.”
Eric Clapton vs. Authoritarians
Breitbart wrote on August 29:
“Rock legend Eric Clapton has released a new, pro-freedom single in which he rails against authoritarians who crush individual liberties. ‘This Has Gotta Stop,’ which the singer dropped Friday, features the refrain, ‘This has gotta stop / Enough is enough / I can’t take this BS any longer.’ Clapton also released a music video for the single that features animated images of people being controlled like marionettes. Other sequences show crowds of people addicted to smartphones and protestors demonstrating for freedom.
“The song is mostly devoid of political references, preferring to stay as general as possible. The one exception is a reference to Jam for Freedom, the British anti-lockdown group that Clapton has supported. Clapton has publicly opposed shutdowns and has expressed skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines after experiencing what he has described as debilitating side effects from the AstraZenica shots.
“In the new single, he seems to reference his bad experience by singing ‘I knew that something was going on wrong / When you started laying down the law / I can’t move my hands, I break out in sweat / I wanna cry, I can’t take it anymore.’ The video and the song come as protests against COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions break out across the world.
“Most of the video promotes pro-freedom themes. Some scenes call attention to severe weather events from wildfires to ocean pollution. In one sequence in the animated music video, people are shown dangling from strings connected to the hand of what appears to be an all-powerful authority figure.
“In another scene, a solitary figure is being manipulated by strings attached to his arms.
“This isn’t the first time Eric Clapton has used music to air his views over the loss of freedoms during the coronavirus pandemic… Clapton teamed up with Van Morrison last year to release the single ‘Stand and Deliver,’ which criticized government-imposed lockdowns.”
Most don’t see it, however.
Twitter’s Ongoing Dictatorship
On August 20, the Ron Paul Institute published the following article by Professor Jonathan Turley:
“Twitter’s growing censorship program has targeted former New York Times journalist and author Alex Berenson who is an outspoken critic of the government’s science and response to the pandemic. Berenson was previously suspended for merely expressing an opinion over the need for a ‘pause’ on any federal mandates on Covid-19 as new research is studied. Twitter also suspended a journalist for posting CDC information that was deemed as critical of its own official line on vaccines. Now he is permanently suspended after his criticism of the vaccine and possible side effects. Twitter has again showed that it will silence those who dare to disagree or even question its approved narrative and that of government…
“The most chilling aspect of this story is how many on [the] left applaud such censorship… Faculty and editors are actively supporting modern versions of book-burning with blacklists and bans for those with opposing political views… The rise of corporate censors has combined with a heavily pro-Biden media to create the fear of a de facto state media that controls information due to a shared ideology… Berenson has never tried to silence others. These advocates of private and government censorship are only undermining faith in vaccines with their aggressive pursuit of anyone expressing doubts or challenging policies.”
The phrase, “modern versions of book-burning,” is well chosen. That normally only happens in dictatorships.
No Longer a Free Country
JTA wrote on August 27:
“Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie… compare[d] public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 to the Holocaust when he posted an image of a tattooed wrist on Twitter on Wednesday. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert have also done so, along with several lower-level officials who have made similar comparisons across the country in recent weeks.
“‘If you have to carry a card on you to gain access to a restaurant, venue or an event in your own country … that’s no longer a free country,’ read the text in the image Massie tweeted, which he deleted shortly afterwards.”
Why deleting it? Because some opposed him! Sad, because he is so right when saying that we are no longer a free country.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
What? We are not born again yet?
We realize that we might surprise many people when we say that we are not born again—that nobody is or ever has been born again, except for Jesus Christ, the firstborn of many brethren. True Christians, dead or alive, are God the Father’s sons and daughters and Christ’s brothers and sisters, but they are not born again yet. We will explain this further in this Q&A.
On September 7, 2021, God’s Church will celebrate the Feast of Trumpets. This day pictures many things, including the return of Jesus Christ and our resurrection or change to eternal life. It is then that we will enter the Kingdom or Family of God—when we inherit eternal life as God Beings—when we will become born again.
As we will show, the correct understanding of the born again question is of tremendous and vital importance; actually, it is an issue of salvation. If we do not comprehend the full meaning, we may be rejecting other aspects of the Truth of God. We speak from experience, as this has happened to many members of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) after the death of its late human leader, Herbert W. Armstrong, and we are sad to say that even today, a similar development is occurring in some of the splinter groups.
The WCG had understood and taught for many decades that we are not already born again. This precious Truth was subsequently lost, and with it the proper understanding of many other biblical doctrines. These doctrines include the fact that God IS a ruling Family; that He wants to reproduce Himself through man; that those who are called prior to Christ’s return can obtain God’s Holy Spirt as a down payment or guarantee for their ultimate salvation and entrance into God’s Kingdom when they will become born again. All of this understanding was being lost in WCG, which is now defunct, as Christ has removed their lampstand (Revelation 2:5); and He will fight against any unrepentant remnants with the sword of His mouth (Revelation 2:16); casting them into great tribulation (Revelation 2:22) and vomiting them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). But the same warning applies to true Christians today who might have begun to embrace false doctrines, including the wrong teaching on born again.
Here is how it happened in WCG (we describe this process in much more detail in our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”):
After the wrong concept was introduced that we are already born again, we heard the terminology of a gospel about Christ, or that Christ was the gospel; rather than, as the Bible teaches, the gospel OF Christ and OF the Kingdom of God—the gospel or good news which Christ proclaimed on behalf of God the Father. At the same time, we were taught that the Kingdom had already arrived, that we were already in the Kingdom, and that Christ would only come to “inaugurate” the Kingdom and God’s government here on earth. This false teaching was adopted from the Catholic Church’s heresy, claiming that IT was the Kingdom of God.
As we were already born again, we were already in the Kingdom and therefore already saved. And since we were already saved, we were gradually taught that we didn’t have to grow anymore in Christ’s knowledge as how to keep the Law, since the Law, including the Ten Commandments and the statutes and judgments about God’s annual Holy Days, tithing and clean and unclean meat, were allegedly no longer in force and effect.
Then, we were told that it is incorrect to say that God IS a Family and therefore, God was not reproducing Himself. This then led to the ultimate change regarding the nature of God. God was no longer perceived as consisting of two Beings (God the Father and God the Son), but at first, as just ONE Being. We were taught the Greek Orthodox concept which had been adopted from pagan Greek philosophers that God, although one Person, represents Himself within a “threefold mode of being” or in three hypostases (as Father, Son and Holy Spirit). It was then reasoned that Jesus Christ was a created Being who did not exist prior to His human birth. We were even told that the Son was still in heaven (as one of the three hypostases), while Christ was here on earth, and that the Son remained alive when Christ, the physical Person, died.
Then, WCG proceeded to do what they had planned all along: To teach the false Roman Catholic and Protestant concept of God being one Person in three Persons—the false teaching of the Trinity, as it is commonly referred to, which had also been adopted from pagan philosophers. God had become a closed Trinity. Since He was no longer a Family, man could not become a part of that Family. It was taught that Christians would never become God’s real sons and daughters. Without the “born again” change, the subsequent changes could not have occurred.
Christ explained in clear and unambiguous language that true Christians are not born again yet. Before the floodgates of changes overtook and drowned the WCG, these passages, discussed below, were quoted as full proof (which “any child could see”) that we are not born again yet. After the heresy and apostasy had crept into WCG, the same author used and twisted the same Scriptures to “prove” for “any child to see” that we are already born again. It is obvious that he was no longer a “child” of God who was able to see.
Let US see now what Christ really said.
In John 3, Jesus Christ explained to Nicodemus that no human being could be IN the Kingdom of God, and that in order to enter God’s Kingdom or Family, one had to become a Spirit Being—a member of the God Family. Christ said in John 3:3, 5–6, 8: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit… The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Christ could not possibly have spoken here about a “born again” experience in this physical life. Notice it again: One who is born of the Spirit IS spirit. He is like the wind which cannot be seen but can be felt—like a powerful hurricane or tornado. Christ also said that unless one is born again, he could not see nor enter the Kingdom of God. In other words, as long as someone is flesh and blood—not spirit—he cannot see or enter or inherit God’s Kingdom—the Family of God (compare 1 Corinthians 15:50). God is a Family, and no human being can see God—the Father and Jesus Christ—in Their glory and live (Exodus 33:18-20).
Christ told Nicodemus that we would become spirit, but not until we are born again. He explained that we would be invisible to the human eye, as God is invisible to the human eye. We would be like the wind that cannot be seen, although its power can be felt. Jesus Christ Himself became spirit—a Spirit Being—when He was born again; when He was resurrected—not before then.
In addition, the Church of God is oftentimes compared with a nation—the holy nation of God (1 Peter 2:9). The sixty-sixth chapter of the book of Isaiah confirms, too, that true Christians will be born again—in the resurrection to eternal life—“in one day,” or, as Paul said, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Isaiah 66:8–9 states: “‘Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion [symbolic for the Church] was in labor, She gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?’ says the LORD. ‘Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?’ says your God.”
We will be born again at the time of our resurrection or change to immortal life—not before then.
Christ said that one must be born again—changed to Spirit—in order to be able to see the Kingdom of God and that the person who is born of the Spirit IS spirit. He also said that one cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless he is first born of water and the Spirit (verse 5). We cannot enter God’s Kingdom unless God’s Spirit dwells within us, and we cannot receive the Holy Spirit unless we are first properly baptized. Baptism, then, is a prerequisite to being born into the Kingdom through a resurrection or change to immortality.
The Greek word for “born, used by Jesus in John 3,” is “gennao.”
It is critical to note that the word “gennao,” as used in John 3, clearly refers to becoming born again at the time of our resurrection or change to immortal Spirit Beings. But it is also critical to note that the word “gennao” CAN refer to the time of our BEGETTAL with the Holy Spirit, and to the time from begettal to birth. It can describe the process of the entire “pregnancy,” lasting from conception until delivery. Since it is up to the translators to decide when to use “begotten” or “born,” no translation has been found to be completely accurate.
We read in the first chapter of Matthew that Mary was found with child of the Holy Spirit (v. 18). When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, he wanted to leave her. An angel appeared to him in a dream, saying, “…do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (vv. 20–21).
As the margin of the New King James Bible correctly points out, the literal meaning of the Greek word translated, “conceived,” is, in this case, “begotten.” The Greek word is “gennao.” Jesus was already (physically) begotten in Mary’s womb, but He was not yet born as a human being. This shows that the word “gennao” can mean “begotten,” and in this example, it can ONLY mean, “begotten.”
Due to incorrect or misleading translations, many have concluded that they are already born again. But true Christians who have received the Holy Spirit—only those—are BEGOTTEN children of God, but not yet BORN children of God. The fact that the word “gennao” can mean “begotten” and “born,” and that it also describes a process of growth from conception to birth, has been hidden from the world and, sadly, also from those who at one time knew the Truth and who have subsequently departed from it.
In cases where the initial begettal with the Holy Spirit or the process from begettal to birth is described, the Greek word “gennao” should not be translated as “born,” but as “begotten” or “conceived”—that is, begotten with the Holy Spirit as a down payment for the receipt of eternal life in the Kingdom or Family of God. As begotten children, we are already sons and daughters of God the Father, but we are not yet immortal or born again Spirit Beings—we cannot see the glorified Jesus Christ, as He is (note 1 John 3:1-2). As we saw from John 3, we are not yet spirit, but still flesh and blood human beings.
The Feast of Trumpets pictures the event when Christ returns; when we are entering the Kingdom and Family of God; when we, as begotten children of God, will become BORN again. What a marvelous revelation that is! Let’s make sure that we hold fast and don’t lose what we have, so that no one can take our crown of eternal life (Revelation 3:11).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Why Is America in so Much Trouble?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
With America’s disastrous and embarrassing retreat from Afghanistan and the murderous Taliban being back in power, with natural catastrophes and misguided human beliefs, a common denominator should become obvious, while many lies are exposed. This program shows you WHY America is experiencing unprecedented disasters and explains that God is not mocked.
The 2021 Feast Brochure is now posted.
“Reist Gott… und reisen wir?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Does God Travel… and Do We?”
“Freundschaft,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Christoph Sperzel, is now posted. Title in English: “Friendship.”
“Satan Rules the Entire World!” the first message presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Do we really understand that all of today’s human political leaders and nations are being held captive by Satan? From the terrible events in Afghanistan to worldwide coronavirus restrictions, we in God’s Church should be able to see a common denominator. At this point, the Western world is plagued with weak and incompetent leadership. But this will change soon when Satan will bring a man to power whom the Bible calls the beast, and who will establish a worldwide totalitarian dictatorship. Satan is preparing mankind for this event, but most are too blind and don’t see what is happening. At the same time, Satan is attacking God’s people by trying to persuade them that they do not have to keep His Holy Days and personally attend God’s Feast sites.
“Prayer,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Rene Messier, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Covering the importance of not letting down in prayer during the busy summer, and seven points on how to have effective prayer.
We will observe the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day for 2021, in Rapid City, South Dakota, and near Düsseldorf, Germany. If you would like more information, check out our websites: https://www.eternalgod.org/feasts/ ; https://www.ewigengottes.de/wir-uber-uns/laubhuttenfest-2021/
FALL HOLY DAYS for 2021:
September 7 Feast of Trumpets
September 16 Day of Atonement
September 21-27 Feast of Tabernacles
September 28 Last Great Day
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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