Strength and Soundness of Identity / Mission Statement
On February 17, 2024, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “Strength and Soundness of Identity,” and Rene Messier will present the sermon, titled, “Mission Statement.”
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.
How Can We Tell if We Have Been Deceived?
by Thilo Hanstein
Every now and then, we come across people whose behavior leaves us speechless. There is so much madness happening all over the world that I sometimes ask myself: “Is this the character of the person or is he completely deceived by Satan?” Many people around the world seem to shut their eyes to the absurdity of what is happening around us and simply accept what is about to happen even if they could change it.
We as Christians know what is coming to the world at large, and to us as well, and that Satan is the deceiver of this world. Revelation 12:9 says: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
We have been teaching time and again that it is very dangerous to become lazy, overconfident, selfish, or even arrogant, and that a person will never find their way out of the mire of self-deception on their own. We also have been explaining repeatedly that a deceived person does not know that he is deceived.
However, we are obligated to make sure that we recognize Satan’s tactics of deception, and we know that we can counter them with the power of God. We must ensure that Satan’s deception does not take hold of our hearts and trick us into believing that the wrong way is righteous and good.
Solomon warns us firmly against this in Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
So, what would be a good remedy to get to the bottom of Satan’s deception, even if we do not know whether we are deceived?
One of the best remedies is “Humility and the Fear of the LORD.”
In the fifth book of Psalms, we read in chapter 111 and verse 10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Solomon had the same insight in Proverbs 1:7, where he wrote: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…”
It is through the power of God, through our humility and through the fear of the LORD that God will help us to obtain the possibility of understanding and open our eyes to whether there is something wrong in our hearts and whether something can or should be improved.
If we neither have nor desire this humility and the fear of the LORD in us, there is a terrible answer: “Because they hated knowledge And did not choose to fear the LORD, They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies” (Proverbs 1:29-31).
Another method to recognize possible deception is “Self-Examination.”
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”
James also explains to us in James 1:22-25 that we must be on our guard against precisely this kind of self-deception:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
We should always keep in mind that love is the supreme characteristic of God’s perfect law.
It is therefore crucial that we all examine ourselves again and again. Let’s try to have a genuine look in the mirror and take a close look at ourselves and ask ourselves: “Am I pleasing God and Jesus Christ with my lifestyle? Is everything really okay, or am I doing something wrong? Should I change something about myself?”
If we ask God for His help, we might easily come to a new realization. There is always something to do within and about us!
I truly wish all of us the strength and courage to take a good look at our mirror image and gain new insights.
Initial Translation from the German: Daniel Blasinger
by Norbert Link
We begin with reports about President Biden’s rapidly decreasing mental health and options, if any, for a new Democratic candidate should Biden step down [please view our new message, “Biden’s Two Alternatives: Prosecution or Resignation—Comments on News and Prophecy, February 10, 2024”].
We continue with focusing on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s (mis-)handling of the border crisis, and Joe Biden’s alleged involvement with Hunter’s foreign business transactions; as well as controversial comments by Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin. We also speak on the growing rift between the USA and Israel, and warn of the possibility of more terrorist attacks through ISIS.
We conclude with further censorship caused by the Biden Administration and an article about the Catholic Church in Scotland.
Please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Trump Frightens Europe.”
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
Biden Speaking to Dead People?
The Daily Beast wrote on February 8:
“President Joe Biden on Wednesday made the surprising claim that he’d had a conversation with former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl that—given when it supposedly took place—could only have happened through a ouija board.
“The Democrat said [at a New York fundraiser] he spoke with [former German Chancellor Helmut] Kohl, who died in 2017, at a 2021 meeting of G7 leaders in the U.K… [Biden] actually repeated the error at another Manhattan fundraiser later in the day.
“What makes the slip-up even stranger is that Biden had made a similar mistake while talking about the same G7 gathering on Sunday. Speaking at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, he [said:] ‘I sat down [at the meeting] and said: “America is back!”’ Biden said “And Mitterand from Germany—I mean, from France—looked at me and said… Said… You know, why… How long you back for?’’
Mitterrand died in 1996, a quarter of a century before the G7 meeting.
Biden’s “Sixth Sense”
The Daily Mail wrote on February 10:
“President Joe Biden continues referring to recent conversations with deceased foreign leaders as he struggles to recall the exact details of previous meetings.
… Biden has a history of struggling to remember who is alive and who is deceased…
“It’s not the only time Biden has confused the names of world leaders. In 2019, he briefly referred to a conversation about America under the leadership of former President Donald Trump with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, when he meant to refer to then-Prime Minister Theresa May…
“During a November 2022 speech, Biden recalled a conversation with a man who ‘invented’ insulin, even though the man who discovered the drug died in 1941, a year before Biden was born. In September 2022, Biden gave a shoutout to deceased Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., who died in a car crash in August 2022. ‘Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie?’ Biden said, scanning a crowd of lawmakers at a conference on hunger. ‘She must not be here.’…
“… He declared that Russian Vladimir Putin was ‘clearly losing the war in Iraq.’ [The war in Iraq had nothing to do with Putin and ended in 2011].
“In 2023, he closed out a speech on gun control with the bizarre proclamation: ‘God save the Queen, man’ even after Queen Elizabeth II had died in September 2022.
“The following month, Biden claimed to have reached a medical milestone, declaring: ‘We ended cancer as we know it.’ And in December 2023, he bragged about infrastructure spending, saying it was at: ‘Over a billion, 300 million, trillion, 300 million dollars.’”
Clearly, Biden is not well, and has not been for quite some time.
Biden Not to Be Charged With Crime Because of His Mental Decline
The New York Post wrote on February 8:
”President Biden ‘willfully retained and disclosed classified materials,’ special counsel Robert Hur found in a bombshell report released Thursday — though Hur recommended against criminal charges, in part because a jury might well view Biden as an ‘elderly man with a poor memory.’
“Biden, 81, flouted legal restrictions on keeping sensitive documents throughout his 36 years in the Senate and after his eight-year vice presidency — stashing them in cardboard boxes ‘surrounded by household [items]’ in his garage in Wilmington, Del., and other locations, the 388-page report said. Investigators even uncovered a recording of Biden confiding in his ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer in April 2017, three months after leaving the vice presidency, that he still had official records because ‘I didn’t want to turn them in’… Zwonitzer also told Hur’s investigators that he deleted some audio files of Biden after the special counsel investigation began — and was aware of the probe when he did so…
“A dozen official documents were determined to possess information that still qualifies as top secret… Scores of additional documents contained secret or confidential information.
“Perhaps most damaging to the president, Hur, a former Maryland US attorney, suggested that jurors would not hold Biden liable for his actions on account of his perceived mental decline, even though he is seeking a second four-year term in November…
“When Biden sat for questions with Hur’s investigators Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, he presented himself as confused on many points… Biden ‘did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 — when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’),’ the report says. He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died [May 2015]. And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him. Among other things, he mistakenly said he ‘had a real difference’ of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving  memo to President Obama.”…
“Although Biden’s lapses of memory may have been useful for avoiding criminal liability, they are likely to be a serious political problem, as national polls already show large majorities of voters believe he is too old, infirm or both to hold office…
“Hur wrote that his team ‘considered whether to charge the ghostwriter with obstruction of justice, but we believe the evidence would be insufficient to obtain a conviction and therefore declined to prosecute him… the evidence falls short of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to impede an investigation, which is the intent required by law,’ the report said.
“Trump himself… fumed about what he called a double standard in the US legal system — as he prepares to stand trial over similar allegations beginning May 20 in South Florida…”
The Daily Mail added on February 8:
“The Department of Justice released its long-awaited investigation into Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents Thursday, delivering a damning assessment of the president’s ‘diminished faculties’ and limited memory… His ‘diminished faculties in advancing age’ would likely make him a sympathetic figure to jurors, the report says…
“The investigation said there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Biden was aware that he was not allowed to keep such classified notes after leaving office, pointing out that his long Washington career meant he was familiar ‘with the measures taken to safeguard classified information and the need for those measures to prevent harm to national security.’ Even so, notebooks crammed with classified information were stored in unlocked drawers at his home.
“And it was not simply the case that the notebooks were misplaced and forgotten. ‘He consulted the notebooks liberally during hours of discussions with his ghostwriter and viewed them as highly private and valued possessions with which he was unwilling to part,’ writes Hur.”
Robert Hur, a Republican, was appointed by Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland as special counsel to investigate Biden. In his report, Hur described Biden’s conduct as “utterly irresponsible”, the same words Biden used in attacking Trump. Hur reports that Biden had sensitive documents at unsecured locations—a fact Biden lied about in the press conference as well.
As it was pointed out by many observers, if Biden is too senile to stand trial, then he is clearly too senile to be President. On the other hand, the argument advanced by Hur for not charging Biden is reminiscent of former FBI Director and Republican James Comey’s decision not to charge Hillary Clinton for admitted wrongdoing and mishandling of and destroying classified documents. That there is an obvious double standard of the Justice Department vis-à-vis Biden and Trump is beyond dispute.
Democrats, such as Kamala Harris, tried to put a spin on the report, saying that Hur’s comments were gratuitous, inaccurate and inappropriate. But if they were false or unnecessary to make, then there would have been no basis for not prosecuting Biden. Biden’s alleged mental disability was the compelling reason, in Hur’s alleged mind, for not proceeding against him. That only leaves us with two alternatives: Either Biden IS mentally incompetent and would not be convicted for that reason, then he MUST NOT be allowed to continue as President. Or, he is NOT mentally incompetent, then he MUST be prosecuted.
76% of Americans have major or moderate concerns about his mental and physical health.
But if Biden resigned, or, given his perceived arrogance preventing him from doing so voluntarily, he was forced to resign, Kamala Harris would be next in line. [She already said she was ready to serve]. Even the Democratic Party knows that this would be an absolute nightmare and a catastrophe. The German newspaper Die Welt speculated whether Michelle Obama might not step in to fill the void.
For now, Democrats began to try to put another spin on the matter: It was not because of Biden’s incapacity that he will not be prosecuted, but because he cooperated with the FBI. This is like saying, as one commentator put it, a murderer will not be prosecuted because he cooperated with the police after his arrest by showing them where he disposed of the victim.
Our legal system, and Biden’s Justice Department, have shown time and again that they are utterly corrupt.
Biden “Mentally Incompetent”
Express wrote on February 11:
“US President Joe Biden is ‘wandering around dazed and confused’ [and] his administration is acting with ‘impunity’, a political analyst [said]…
“Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, said Biden’s age raises big questions about his ability to lead. He said: ‘Firstly, Biden is increasingly mentally incompetent. That was hugely evident from his trainwreck press conference… There are so many gaffes now made by the President, this is a President who doesn’t know what he is saying, wandering around dazed and confused, and yet he leads the world’s most powerful country. It is obvious to anyone that this is a President who has lost his mind, and he is not fit to lead the free world. His state of mental confusion is a big concern… He is increasingly angry and aggressive, and he looks completely unhinged. His ranting and raving made him look like a complete madman. It’s a sad state of affairs for the US.’
“Mr Gardiner tells Daily Express US that he disagrees with the apparent differences in how the cases [regarding Biden and Trump] have been handled. He said: ‘It is just ridiculous, Biden acts with complete impunity and there is no accountability. It is outrageous. The Biden Presidency behaves like an imperial presidency and acts with sheer contempt for the American people. There is clearly a double standard here. Donald Trump is treated in a different way to Biden, that is the reality. This is why a lot of Americans have lost faith in the political system and the ruling establishment.’”
No doubt about that.
The New York Post wrote on February 8:
“The White House compounded the damage from the report with a hastily called press conference that was dominated by Biden screaming at reporters. ‘My memory is fine!’ he asserted. The president then astonished the audience by claiming Mexico’s president is in charge of controlling the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip…
“Biden proclaimed, ‘I am the most qualified person in this country to be president of the United States.’ But there was no applause from the White House press corps, some of whose members had wondered if Biden would announce his resignation that night.
“Even Biden’s allies were bailing ship, per the NBC News headline: “‘A nightmare’: Special counsel’s assessment of Biden’s mental fitness triggers Democratic panic.’”
Biden claimed that he knew very well when his son Beau died, and that he just did not want to answer the question, as it was none of the investigators d… business. But as Israel 365 News pointed out on February 9, “Perhaps most concerning of all are Biden’s recent assertions that his son Beau died in Iraq when everyone in the country knows he died of a brain tumor, and Biden started his Cancer Moonshot program in his memory.”
If Biden’s memory is fine, as he claimed in the press conference, then he must have been deceitful during his interviews with the special counsel, pretending that he could not recall and having a faulty memory.
Israel 365 News wrote on February 9 about the above-mentioned “press conference”:
“Joe Biden criticized… Israel’s response to Hamas… ‘I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in the Gaza Strip has been over the top,’ Biden told reporters at the White House.”
The disagreement between Biden and Netanyahu becomes more and more obvious.
Could Biden Be Replaced?
Business Insider wrote on February 10:
“For years, Republicans have attacked Biden for his age and perceived mental acuity. Those critiques only got louder on Thursday after a special counsel report implied he was forgetful. Some Democrats also previously complained about his age, but the party has no alternatives now.
“With less than a year until election day, the Democratic Party has no apparent backup plan if it decides to part with its endorsed candidate.
“Choosing a candidate to run against or replace Biden would also likely be a tremendously messy process: Would the party want to go with its current vice president, Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, or some other dark horse candidate? Who within the party would ultimately make that decision? What happens to all of the Biden campaign’s funding?
“The Democratic Party doesn’t have the luxury of time to figure it out, either: The primary election season has already begun across the nation, and it’s far too late for many states to add new names to their ballots per local election laws…
“Super Tuesday, the day when 15 states — roughly a third of the overall delegate count — hold their primaries, is on March 5. Similar to Michigan (which had a cut-off date on December 8, 2023), it’s also much too late to add a new candidate to those primary ballots, including California, which boasts just under 500 delegates and had a late-December 2023 cutoff point to be added to the ballot.
“If a replacement for Biden can’t be formally placed on ballots, the only option for the Democratic Party, if it’s serious about fielding a different nominee, would be to quickly mobilize a campaign to write that candidate’s name on state Democratic primary ballots. But if this write-in campaign isn’t implemented before Super Tuesday, there’s little chance at all that a formal replacement for Biden will be available on Democratic tickets come November…”
The Daily Mail added on February 9:
“Democrat insiders say it is now ‘panic time’ after a blockbuster Justice Department report concluded Joe Biden has ‘diminished faculties’ and is an ‘elderly man with a poor memory’… Increasingly, behind the scenes, a nuclear option is being considered to remove the 81-year-old president as the Democrat nominee at the party’s convention in Chicago in August…
“[Some] have floated the idea of a run by [a] well-known figure like Michelle Obama.
“A recent Daily Mail poll found 60 percent of Americans think Biden should not run again. In an alarming sign for Biden it found 44 percent of Democrats thought it was not too late to replace him a the nominee.
“A Democrat member of Congress told NBC the Justice Department report was a ‘nightmare’ and the party was now in a ‘grim situation’.”
Express wrote on February 11:
“Donald Trump is ahead of Joe Biden in opinion polls to become US president – but former First Lady Michelle Obama could spoil the Republican’s hopes. Joe Biden could be replaced by former First Lady Michelle Obama on the ticket to become the US’s next president… senior Republicans have warned….
““The very unpopular Ms [Kamala] Harris is only on the ticket, say Republicans, because the Democratic Party is ‘a party of identity politics’ that needs to stem the haemorrhaging of African-American support. But there is an alternative waiting in the wings who would represent a real challenge for Mr Trump.
‘The only way to rectify this is to replace Harris with another black woman in the top spot. What other black woman is there with a great approval rating, name recognition and a link to a popular presidency in which Joe Biden also happened to serve as VP? Michelle Obama.’”
JTA wrote on February 13:
“On its second try, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by a single vote, in a process some Jewish groups said was tainted by antisemitic rhetoric.
“The impeachment of Mayorkas, who is Jewish, passed Tuesday on party lines by a vote of 214-213, with three Republicans breaking ranks. The effort, however, is likely going nowhere, because the Democratic-led Senate may not take it up, and if it does, there are nowhere near the 67 votes necessary to convict and remove Mayorkas, the first cabinet secretary impeached in nearly 150 years.
“The first attempt at impeachment last week narrowly failed, a setback for House Speaker Mike Johnson, the Louisiana Republican whose short tenure has been marked by a number of lost votes.
“Jewish groups have expressed alarm at the impeachment process, noting repeated invocations during the impeachment hearings of the Great Replacement, a baseless conspiracy theory whose original version claims Jews are behind an effort to replace the populations of majority-white countries with immigrants of color…
“A record number of migrants have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border recently, and Republicans say the border is out of control because Mayorkas is willfully ignoring existing laws. They say amounts to the high crime and misdemeanors [show the necessity] for impeachment.
“Secretary Mayorkas has willfully and consistently refused to comply with federal immigration laws, fueling the worst border catastrophe in American history,” Johnson said in a statement after the vote… ‘Make no mistake — the Secretary has not committed an impeachable offense,’ Rep. Jerry Nadler, the Jewish New Yorker who is the top Democrat on the House Judiciary committee, said on X…
“Former President Donald Trump… urged Republicans to impeach Mayorkas…”
The charge of antisemitism, launched by left-liberal Jews, is utter nonsense. For instance, Trump has a Jewish son-in-law who is married to his daughter who converted to Judaism. Mayorkas’s impeachment was long overdue. So is Biden’s. The Senate run by Democrats will not impeach Mayorkas, because if they did, it would be an admission of Biden’s utter failure and the need to impeach him as well.
Biden the Enabler of Hunter’s Foreign Business Deals
Newsmax wrote on February 13:
“Tony Bobulinski, former business partner of Hunter Biden, is testifying before the House Oversight and Judiciary committees Tuesday, alleging the Biden family peddled President Joe Biden’s influence to China and Ukraine — all with the ‘enabler’ Joe Biden’s knowledge and blessing…
“Bobulinski laments the U.S. government and complicit media has ignored his ‘extensive evidence’ and allegations for years — even to the point of suppression — he said in his opening statement. ‘For nearly four years, I have tried to tell the American people the truth about serious corruption at the very top of their government,’ his statement read. ‘In return, I have been falsely accused of being a purveyor of “Russian disinformation” and a political surrogate. My continuous efforts to inform the American people of the facts have been actively suppressed by both the United States government and the so-called “mainstream” media.’…
“Bobulinski noted he is a U.S. Navy veteran upholding the highest standards of truth and devotion to the U.S. and not a partisan operative — as has been alleged. Also, he is nonpartisan, despite admittedly having donated to Democrat political campaigns in the past. ‘I implore each and every one of you to remove your partisan hats today and focus on one party: the United States of America,’ his statement concluded. ‘I hope your focus will be on a thorough and extensive investigation and exposure of all of the facts and evidence — and on answering the question of how we as a country allowed the White House to be infiltrated by our most existential adversary, the Chinese Communist Party. ‘I also hope you will hold the complicit parties, including Joe Biden, accountable for their actions, as well as enact new laws that prevent this kind of deep corruption from ever happening again.’”
Sadly, as in the case of Mayorkas, the left-liberal Senate will not impeach Biden, even if the evidence of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” (Section 4 of Article Two of the Constitution) were overwhelming.
12 Senate Republicans Break Their Word
Breitbart wrote on February 9:
“This week, 17 Senate Republicans joined [every single Democrat excluding Sen. Bernie Sanders] to approve sending Ukraine another $60 billion. Twelve of those Republicans previously suggested they would not help send Ukraine any more American taxpayer money until the United States’s border was secure from illegal immigration… The money, if approved by the House, will fund weapons and military training… for Ukraine in its war with Russia. [It is coupled with $14.1 billion for Israel in its war with Hamas].
“Already, American taxpayers have been forced to send at least $113 billion to Ukraine in their war with Russia. The latest pool of money, if approved by the House and signed by President Joe Biden, would ensure that nearly $200 billion gets into the hands of Ukraine officials — much of which has gone unaccounted for.”
The Republican dissenters included the usual ones, such as Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, but also some surprises, such as John Kennedy. As expected, Mitch McConnell also joined the group. House Speaker Mike Johnson already declared his opposition, and that he would not bring the Senate bill to the House floor.
Trump Asks Supreme Court to Confirm His Immunity
The New York Post wrote on February 12:
“Former President Donald Trump is asking the Supreme Court to extend the delay in his election interference trial, saying he is immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 election loss…
“His lawyers filed an emergency appeal with the court on Monday… The filing keeps on hold what would be a landmark criminal trial of a former president while the nation’s highest court decides what to do… The Supreme Court’s decision… and how quickly it acts, could determine whether the Republican presidential primary frontrunner stands trial in the case before November.”
Trump Speaks to the NRA, Vowing Change
Newsmax wrote on February 10:
“The two-tiered system of justice under President Joe Biden will be facing a long overdue existential threat this November, former President Donald Trump vowed Friday night in his eighth headlining address to the National Rifle Association. ‘We will completely overhaul the corrupt Department of Justice to clear out all the communists who have weaponized government activities and gone against conservatives and gun owners,’ Trump told the [crowd] in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a key battleground state in the 2024 presidential election…
“Gone will be the days of soft enforcement of American laws, including the failure to enforce southern border and immigration law or the soft-on-crime policies in Democrat-run cities – all while the DOJ is weaponized against conservatives and even the religious – Trump vowed…
“Trump has vowed for months in his campaign to indemnify police, giving the law enforcement officers their authority back to enforce the laws Biden’s DOJ refuses to and restore public safety that has ravaged Democrat-run cities. ‘Even as they turn America into a crime-ridden, gang-infested, terror-filled dumping ground, Joe Biden and his thugs will do everything in their power to confiscate your guns and annihilate your God-given right to self-defense,’ Trump said.”
Self-defense involving the serious injury or death of an attacker, is NOT a God-given right. Please read our free booklet, “Should YOU Fight in War?”
Trump: No Defense for Delinquent EU Members
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 11:
“Former US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would ‘encourage’ Russia to attack members of NATO who had not met their financial obligations… Speaking at a campaign rally in South Carolina Saturday, the Republican presidential nomination frontrunner appeared to recount a conversation with a fellow head of state at an unspecified NATO meeting. ‘One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, “Well, sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” I said, “You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent? No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want…”’
“Trump has long expressed skepticism about the 31-nation military alliance… European Council President Charles Michel… denounced Trump’s comments as ‘reckless.’… NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, warned in a statement that, ‘Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US.’…
“In his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump shocked Western allies by cautioning that under his leadership the US might abandon its NATO treaty commitments and only come to the defense of those nations that meet the bloc’s military funding guidelines… As Trump leads President Joe Biden…, European allies are concerned that the US commitment to the alliance could be in jeopardy if Trump wins the November electoral race. “
Newsmax wrote on February 10:
“… former President Donald Trump introduced a new policy proposal Saturday, vowing to turn all future foreign aid from obligation-free bailouts to ‘loans’ that should be paid back… Ultimately, the loan debts could be used as future leverage if the country does not maintain full diplomatic ties to the U.S., Trump added… That include[s] aid like to warring countries Ukraine and Israel, who are fighting imperialistic aggression and radical Islamic terrorism… ‘I did the same thing with NATO,’ Trump continued… Without leverage, there is no reason for a country to pay up for the costs American taxpayers bear, Trump noted. They need incentive, he said… ‘you have to understand: You don’t pay your bills, you get no protection’…”
Europe is in a state of panic and deeply concerned about a return of Donald Trump.
Will NATO Become a “Two-Tiered” Alliance?
Thomson/Reuters wrote on February 13:
“A leading national security adviser to Donald Trump told Reuters on Tuesday that he would push for changes to NATO if the former president returns to power that could result in some member nations losing protection against an outside attack.
“Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general and onetime chief of staff of the former president’s National Security Council, said in an interview that if a member of the 31-country alliance failed to spend at least 2% of its gross domestic product on defense, as agreed, he would support removing that nation’s Article 5 protections under the North Atlantic Treaty. Article 5 states that an attack against one member of the Europe-based alliance will be considered an attack against all, and members of the alliance must respond appropriately. Without those protections, a member country would not be guaranteed other NATO members would come to its aid. ‘Where I come from, alliances matter,’ said Kellogg, who also served as former Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser. ‘But if you’re going to be part of an alliance, contribute to the alliance, be part of the alliance.’…
“Kellogg said if Trump wins, he would likely suggest a NATO meeting in June 2025 to discuss the future of the alliance. He said NATO could subsequently become a ‘tiered alliance,’ in which some members enjoy greater protections based on their compliance with NATO’s founding articles… Kellogg said that if Article 3 of the North Atlantic Treaty was not respected, the protections afforded by Article 5 should not be taken as automatic.
“Article 3 states that NATO member countries must make appropriate efforts to develop their individual defense capabilities. While Article 3 does not say countries must spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense, member nations pledged at a 2014 summit in Wales to move toward that figure within a decade…
“In December, Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser from 2019 to 2021… told Reuters imposing trade tariffs on NATO countries if they did not spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense would likely be among the policies on the table during a second Trump term.”
Germany Pledges 2% of GDP for NATO in 2024
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 14:
“Germany will meet NATO’s defense spending target of 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) for the first time since the early 1990s… German news agency DPA put the figure… at $73.41 billion (€ 68.58 billion) in the current year which it said would be 2.01% of Germany’s GDP.
“In 2023, Germany spent 1.57% of GDP on defense, well short of the 2% target. This Monday, however, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged to meet the 2% spending commitment…
“News of Germany hitting the 2% spending target came as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg praised an ‘unprecedented’ 11% increase in defense spending in the 31-nation alliance. ‘This year I expect 18 allies to spend 2% of their GDP on defense…’, Stoltenberg said… NATO’s European states would invest a combined total of $380 billion in defense this year, Stoltenberg added.
“In 2023, eleven allies are expected to have met the 2% target according to prior NATO estimates — Poland, the US, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Britain and Slovakia.”
NATO has 31 members. Many have not met or will not meet the 2% target.
Tucker Carlson’s Interview with Putin
The Daily Beast wrote on February 8:
“’Putin [spoke] for a very long time, probably half an hour, about the history of Russia going back to the eighth century,’ Carlson said. ‘We thought this was a filibustering technique and found it annoying and interrupted him several times, and he responded. He was annoyed by the interruption.’…
“After the modified history lesson was over, Tucker asked an astonishing question, ‘But may I ask, you’re making the case that Ukraine, certainly parts of Ukraine, eastern Ukraine is in effect Russia—has been for hundreds of years. Why wouldn’t you just take it when you became president 24 years ago? You have nuclear weapons. They don’t. It’s actually your land. Why did you wait so long?’
“Instead of responding, Putin delved into another history lesson, going back all the way to 1654 and prompting Carlson to ask, ‘Do you believe Hungary has a right to take its land back from Ukraine, and that other nations have a right to go back to their 1654 borders?’ When Putin demurred, Carlson persisted, ‘Have you told Viktor Orbán that he can have part of Ukraine?’ Putin replied, ‘Never. I have never told him. Not a single time.’
“In the course of the interview, Putin revisited old grievances about Russia offering to join NATO and being rejected. He blamed the U.S. for helping Ukraine to get rid of its formerly pro-Russian presidents…
“In a comical exchange during the meandering interview, Tucker asked Putin: ‘Who blew up Nord Stream?’ Putin replied, ‘You for sure.’ Carlson parried: ‘I was busy that day. I did not blow up Nord Stream. Thank you though.’ Once again, Putin blamed the CIA, but refused to elaborate as to whether Russia has any evidence to prove that…
“Jumping from topic to topic, Putin assured Carlson he has no intention to invade Europe…
“To his credit, Carlson asked Putin to release the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich as a goodwill gesture. Putin harshly replied, ‘We have done so many gestures of goodwill out of decency that I think we have run out of them.’ He added that this matter could be solved through appropriate channels…
“He dramatically proclaimed that Ukrainians and Russians would be ‘reunited’ in the end: ‘No one will be able to separate the soul.’…”
The Daily Mail added on February 8:
“Putin claimed he sought to restore Russian relations with the US when he became president in 2000, even asking then-President Bill Clinton for a place in NATO. However, he alleged his request was rebuffed by Clinton’s team.
“‘[George W. Bush Jr.] was no worse than any other American or Russian or European politician. I assure you he understood what he was doing as well as others.’ He continued and said he had a similarly warm relationship with former President Donald Trump: ‘It is not about the personality of the leader. It is about the elites’ mindset…’ Putin was less enthusiastic about Biden…
”When asked what the decisive moment was that made up his mind to launch his attack, Putin responded, ‘initially, it was the coup in Ukraine’ – referencing the removal of Zelensky’s predecessor Viktor Yanukovych in 2014… Firstly, the current Ukrainian leadership would not implement the Minsk Agreements,’ Putin continued… He accused former leaders of Germany and France of reneging on their commitments to the agreements…
“Today, before the interview dropped, White House Communications Coordinator John Kirby told Americans not to believe ‘anything’ in the interview… While Democrats have bristled at the thought of Carlson giving Putin a platform – including Hillary Clinton branding Carlson a ‘useful idiot’ – others are embracing it. Robert Kennedy Jr. praised Carlson’s efforts earlier this week, saying he had every right to speak to the world leader and inform the public of his stance…
“The controversial interview has drawn criticism from the White House and the EU, both of whom say Putin cannot be trusted and should not be listened to.”
This last underlined comment by the White House and the EU is appallingly telling.
Putin’s “Outrageous Claims”
The Daily Mail wrote on February 9:
“[Putin] blamed Poland for starting the global conflict by working with German leader Adolf Hitler. He cited Germany’s invasion of Poland as evidence it was to blame… [Poland] still participated in the partitioning of Czechoslovakia together with Hitler, as the Poles had not given the Danzig corridor to Germany, and went too far, pushing Hitler to start World War 2 by attacking them… In reality, historians attribute the start of the World War II to the Nazis’ decision to invade neighboring countries due to Hitler’s aggressive expansionism. His decision to invade Poland came after he sent troops to occupy Austria and annexed Czechoslovakia without reproach from the international community, which many feel paved the way for his later invasion…
“One of Putin’s major justifications for the war in Ukraine is his fundamental belief the country belongs to Russia. He cited the creation of the USSR as the point of establishment of Ukraine… ‘In 1922 when the USSR was being established, the Bolsheviks started building the USSR and established the Soviet Ukraine, which had never existed before.’ In reality, Ukraine declared its independence from Russia in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR…
“’Ukraine is obviously a satellite state of the US,’ Putin declared… The Russian leader cited the US’ ongoing financial support to the war-torn country as evidence for his claim…
“Carlson… asked if he had any evidence that NATO or the CIA was responsible for the attack [on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines], but Putin refused to provide any… The United States government has staunchly denied claims of involvement in the attack… Suspicion has fallen most strongly on Ukraine, where officials had opposed the project for years claiming it would empower Russia by enabling it to sell more gas to Europe.”
However, Biden made some telling remarks prior to the attack, indicating that America would prevent the pipelines from operating.
Putin also claimed that Boris Johnson “prevented peace talks” and alleged that “ former prime minister Johnson – who he said had a ‘pure heart’ but ‘not a great mind’ – intervened during talks in Istanbul in 2022 and persuaded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy not to sign a peace deal, arguing that ‘it was better to fight Russia’ (The Independent, February 9). Johnson denied the allegation.
Putin Not Interested in Attacking Poland?
Express wrote on February 10:
“Nile Gardiner, Director of The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, tells the Daily Express US that Putin is a ‘dangerous man’ who will want Russian forces to ‘massacre’ people across Europe… ‘he is incredibly dangerous. Europe has to be on its guard as to what Putin will do next in Europe… Clearly he has his sights set on territory beyond Ukraine…’
“The Russian president also said he had ‘no interest’ in attacking Poland or Latvia in his interview with Carlson. He said: ‘It goes against common sense to get involved in some kind of a global war and a global war will bring all humanity to the brink of destruction. It’s obvious.’
“However, in January 2022, Putin said he had no plans to invade Ukraine. Russian troops entered the country at the end of February that year.”
“Tucker Slayed the Mainstream Media Dragon”
Ron Paul wrote in his weekly column, published by the Ron Paul Institute, dated February 12:
“There has been much written and said about Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. As of this writing the video on Twitter alone has been viewed nearly 200 million times, making it likely the most-viewed news event in history. Many millions of viewers who may not have had access to the other side of the story were informed that the Russia/Ukraine military conflict did not begin in 2022, as the mainstream media continuously reports, but in fact began eight years earlier with a US-backed coup in Ukraine. The US media does not report this because they don’t want Americans to begin questioning our interventionist foreign policy. They don’t want Americans to see that our government meddling in the affairs of other countries… has real and deadly consequences to those on the receiving end of our foreign policy.
“To me, however, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Tucker Carlson interview with Putin was the US mainstream media reaction… In the days and weeks before the interview, the US media was filled with stories about how horrible it was that Tucker Carlson was interviewing the Russian president. There was the danger, they all said, that Putin might spread ‘disinformation.’
“That Putin might say something to put his country in a better light was, they were saying, reason enough to not interview him. With that logic, why have journalism at all? Everyone interviewed by journalists – certainly every world leader – will attempt to paint a rosy picture. The job of a journalist in a free society should be to do the reporting and let the people decide. But somehow that has been lost. These days the mainstream media tells you what to think and you better not dispute it or you will be cancelled!…
“In the end, the massive success of the Tucker Carlson interview with Vladimir Putin demonstrates once and for all that the American people are sick to death of their mainstream media propagandists and liars. They are looking not for government narratives, but for truth…”
At one time, it was understood that a journalist is to interview, not to challenge or engage in arguments with the interviewed.
Russia’s Economy Growing Faster Than Any in Europe
The Sun wrote on February 11:
“WHO would have thought when Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine went off the rails two years ago that Russia’s economy would today be growing faster than any in Europe? Germany has gone from the continent’s powerhouse to a GDP… that is smaller than Russia’s by many measurements.
“But then our leaders in Washington, London and Brussels made their own blunder. By imposing the toughest-ever economic sanctions on the Kremlin to add to our generous backing for Ukraine, Joe Biden and Co assumed that the Russian economy would tank, Putin would run out of cash to pay for his army, then the Russian people… would rebel against Putin for plunging them into poverty…
“Unemployment in Russia has fallen sharply since war broke out. Of course, mass recruitment into the army partly explains this, but Putin has been massively boosting military industries, sucking in labour and pushing up wages….”
The European Army
National Interest wrote on February 10:
“The idea of a joint European army has long been tossed around in the Continent’s power centers. This would be a separate organization from NATO and answer to the European Union…. A major obstacle is the very nature of the European Union.
“With 27 member states and about 450 million people, the European Union is a modern-day tower of Babel. There are a lot of interests, ideas, and beliefs, and they clash almost daily. Reaching a consensus for a major political decision to create a common military force doesn’t seem likely anytime soon—even after a major geopolitical event such as the invasion of Ukraine by Russia…. Another major hindrance… has to do with command and control.”
This is why a core Europe of 10 nations or groups of nations will develop which will give their power and authority to a totalitarian leader.
Deep Rifts Between Israel and the USA
Israel Today wrote on February 8:
“The diplomatic tension surrounding Israel’s efforts to defend itself and prevent the horrors of that black Shabbat from ever recurring has further exposed deep rifts between Israel and the United States. Or, at least, between Israel and the current US administration. The White House needs to understand that Oct. 7 caused a shift in the Israeli psyche. US national interests are no longer on equal footing with Israeli national interests. Because for Israelis, it’s literally a matter of life or death, and a horrible, torturous death at that.
“The vast majority of Israelis no longer care if the White House approves of what they feel must be done to protect the Jewish state, or about the Americans’ preferred path to resolving the conflict. The formulas coming out of Washington have clearly failed…”
In a short “press conference” at the White House, during which no questions were allowed, Biden and visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (who is extremely unpopular in Germany) tried to present a united front. Scholz said they both agreed on the necessity of a two-state-solution, and expressed his hope that Congress would allow further aid for Ukraine. At that point, Biden said: “The failure of the United States Congress, if it occurs, not to support Ukraine, is close to criminal neglect. It is outrageous.”
More Terrorist Attacks Are Coming
The Sun wrote on February 10:
“With the US and UK focused on tackling Iran-backed extremists like the Houthis, Hamas and Hezbollah – the shadow of even more savage groups is growing in the region. ISIS – the blood-curdling terrorists whose attacks sparked horror around the world for years – are feared to be firing up for a return… [and that ] a terrorist attack on UK soil is ‘absolutely possible’.
“[Experts] warned a larger ‘war is coming’, which could mean a return to the days of War on Terror even worse than we have seen before.
“Professor Glees told us Hamas’ brutal massacre on October 7 was the spark that lit the fuse on a new powder keg – and warned the UK is not prepared. And meanwhile, General Hodges said: ‘The UK is in a pre-war environment. That means war is coming.’…
“US General Joel Vowell – who leads America’s efforts abroad to squash ISIS – warned that the threat of a suspected attack has risen 200 per cent in the last three months… The raging threat of terror groups like Hamas, the Houthis and Hezbollah could be combined with attacks by organisations like ISIS on UK soil… Met Police commissioner Mark Rowley warned this time last year… that the UK has tens of thousands of potential terrorists hiding in plain sight.”
Mr. Secretary Blinken, We Need Answers!
The Times of Israel wrote on February 10:
“To understand the first, and hopefully last, Holocaust of this century, Secretary Blinken might want to brush up on the last century’s Holocaust and its predecessor pogroms in Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Secretary, please read the ‘Black Book’ that recounts… eyewitness survivors’ reports of the atrocities committed against Jews by the Nazis and their allies in Europe… The Black Book of what Hamas did on October 7 remains to be written and must include how Hamas came to possess American weapons delivered to Ukraine...
“Mr. Secretary, what exactly have the Israelis done to ‘dehumanize’ Gazans or any Palestinians? The IDF did not rape, burn, microwave, dismember, torture or murder Gaza civilians. The IDF kills or captures terrorists as surgically as possible even with greater risk of IDF injuries and deaths. Contrast that with indiscriminate Hamas missiles, rapists, killers and kidnappers. Are Palestinians in any kind of concentration camps like our country created for Japanese-Americans in WW2?…
“Those terrorists your boss calls ‘the other side’ because he forgot the name ‘Hamas,’ have in some cases done much worse in a shorter period of time than what the Nazis and other Axis soldiers and civilians did to Jews…
“Tell us also if you agree with [Biden’s] statement that the Israeli response to Hamas’s genocide was ‘over the top.’ If you agree with what your boss just said, tell us if the American responses to Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin, and 9-11 were ‘over the top.’…”
How the Biden Administration Censored Books
The Ron Paul Institute published the following article by Professor Jonathan Turley on February 7:
“The House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Monday revealed yet another facet of the Biden Administration’s sprawling censorship system that targeted dissenting books. It appears that, as with social media companies, it succeeded in getting the company [Amazon] not to promote disfavored books. Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan revealed on X that the White House was directly involved in the censorship campaign. That includes a 2021 email from one Biden official asking to discuss ‘the high levels of propaganda and misinformation and disinformation of [sic] Amazon?’
“Amazon in turn appears to ask only how high the Biden White House wants it to jump on censorship: ‘[i]s the [Biden] Admin asking us to remove books, or are they more concerned about search results/order (or both)?’ After the meeting, Amazon confirmed in an email that it was actively doing what the government demanded in suppressing sales by not promoting disfavored books: ‘As a reminder, we did enable Do Not Promote for anti-vax books whose primary purpose is to persuade readers vaccines are unsafe or ineffective on 3/9, and will review additional handling options for these books with you.’
“This effort notably parallels demands from Democratic leaders who have called for enlightened algorithms to frame what citizens access on the internet… It is important to keep in mind that these efforts at censorship targeted scientists who have been vindicated in many of their objections to policies and claims of the government…
“The new emails… show direct federal efforts supporting censorship…”
The Biden Administration’s approach is the typical hallmark of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships.
Scottish Catholic Church Run By Powerful Gay Mafia?
Daily Mail wrote on February 13:
“A priest who said the Scottish Catholic Church was run by a ‘powerful gay mafia’ has claimed that he has been ‘bullied’ by the church… Matthew Despard was suspended from his duties in 2013 after making the claims in a self-published book. A ruling made by the Vatican in 2016 said he could return to work- but only if he makes a public apology for his claims… Despard has refused, saying that he is not sorry for ‘telling the truth’…
“Despard remains in employment with the Church, but has been banned from performing certain religious duties, such as saying Mass…
“He raised his case with the Roman Rota in Italy in 2016 – an internal court for the Catholic Church, where he was told to withdraw the book, which he has. But Joseph Toal, the Bishop of Motherwell, said that Father Despard must apologise for any ‘hurt and offence’ caused by his book. But the suspended priest has said his claims have been shown to be true after reports about the Scottish Catholic Church. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who was once the most senior Catholic cleric in Britain, resigned in 2013 after claims of sexual misconduct against priests as far back as the 1980s…
Why did he withdraw his book? That appears to have been a big mistake.
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.
Why does the Bible say that some are called and chosen in this day and age? (Part 1)
The apparent distinction between being called and being chosen has confused many people. As we will show in this new series, these words are addressing different aspects of the same concept.
We will, in this installment, concentrate on people who are called and chosen for salvation; that is, who have been elected by God long before they were born to be given an opportunity in their lifetime to inherit salvation when Christ returns.
Quoting from our free booklet, “Are YOU Predestined to be Saved?”, https://www.eternalgod.org/booklet-605/ we say this on page 52:
“The Bible teaches that in this day and age, God calls just very few to salvation. Those who respond to the call and become converted are referred to as the firstfruits (compare James 1:18; Revelation 14:4). Some try to defeat the Biblical concept of predestination, as explained in this booklet, by stating that God does not know ahead of time whom He will call and choose. Rather, they claim that God ‘calls’ many, based on their prior conduct in this life, and that He then decides to choose or accept those who respond to His call, while rejecting those who reject His call.
“However, those who are truly called today have been first foreknown and predestined by God (Romans 8:28)…”
Notice the wording of Romans 8:28-30:
“(28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
Paul says here that God foreknew and predestined those whom He called. The next step in the process would be justification—upon repentance and belief in Christ’s sacrifice, they would obtain forgiveness and would thereby become justified in God’s eyes—their former sins were blotted out—and if they remain faithful to God and His Way of Life, they would be glorified—obtain glorification—being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. In God’s eyes, those who were foreknown and predestined to be called would make it into His Kingdom—only they could prevent this from happening.
Continuing with our quote from the above-stated booklet:
“They were singled out BEFORE they did right or wrong—that is, they were NOT called because of their works (compare Romans 9:11; 2 Timothy 1:8–9).”
Let us focus on the exact wording of Romans 9:10-12:
“(10) And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (11) (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), (12) it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’”
We read here that God’s purpose according to election must stand regarding those whom God calls.
Also notice the wording in 2 Timothy 1:8-9:
“(8) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, (9) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…”
According to this passage, those who are called with a holy calling were not called because of their works, but according to God’s purpose and grace which was given to them “before time began.”
In Romans 8:28, the Greek word for “called” is “kletos.” In Romans 8:30, the word is “kaleo.”
In Romans 9:11, the Greek word is also “kaleo,” So is the word for “calls” in 2 Timothy 1:9, whereas the word for calling, in “holy calling,” is “klesis.”
Regarding the meaning of the verb “kaleo,” W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words writes:
“Kaleo is used… with a personal object, to call anyone, invite, summon…; it is used particularly of the Divine call to partake of the blessings of redemption… of vocation… Thus it suggests either vocation or destination; the context determines which…”
Vine’s defines the adjective “kletos” and the noun “klesis” as a calling and is used “especially of God’s invitation to man to accept the benefits of salvation.”
We see, then, that God has called some for salvation before they were born; in fact, before time began. He foreknew them, predestined them, called them.
We continue with quoting from our before-mentioned booklet:
“Those who are truly called are also chosen and faithful (compare Revelation 17:14). The Bible does not teach that God calls many today to salvation, but that most reject their calling and that only a few will respond and become chosen and faithful. If that were true, then those who have rejected their spiritual calling to eternal salvation would have committed the unpardonable sin—and this is decisively not correct. Today, God only calls and chooses the few (compare 1 Corinthians 1:26–29), and when He brings them to true conversion, they, for the most part, will stay loyal to Him (although it is possible, that some, who are truly called to salvation, will commit the unpardonable sin).”
Many have stumbled over the fact that those who were predestined to be called were also predestined to be chosen—and that, long before they were born. If we wanted to draw a distinction between being called and being chosen by saying that some would be called first, and only later, after having proven themselves to be worthy, they would become chosen, then we would also have to say that God, even though He foreknew and predestined some to be called in this day and age, engaged in a big gamble as to who would also advance to become chosen, and that most of those whom God predestined to be called would not make it, and would fall away, and that God knew this ahead of time; in fact, before time began. This is truly a preposterous concept. Why would God call those whom He had foreknown and predestined, knowing that they would not make it, but fall away? After all, we read Paul’s words in Philippians 1:6: “… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”
God did not call the firstfruits so that most would fail; rather, He called them “before time began” so that they would succeed. God calls [“kaleo”] us into His own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12). We are also told: “He who calls [“kaleo”] you is faithful, who also WILL DO it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). We are “the called [“kletos”] of Jesus Christ”—the “saints” (Romans 1:6, 7; 8:28). Jude 1 refers to us as “those who are called [“kletos”], sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” In Hebrews 3:1, we are referred to as “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling [“klesis”].” And 2 Peter 1:10 admonishes God’s true disciples “to make your call [“klesis”] and election sure.”
In focusing now on the fact that those who are called were chosen by God, we continue with quoting from pages 52 and 53 of our before-mentioned booklet:
“Those who are called by God and whose names are written in God’s Book of Life are God’s ‘chosen’ generation or people (1 Peter 2:9; Acts 9:15; James 2:5). They are ‘the elect’ or ‘chosen ones’ (Matthew 24:24, 31). We read in Ephesians 1:3–5 that ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… chose us in Him before the foundation of the world… having predestined us… as sons [the rendering “adoption as sons” is incorrect] by Jesus Christ to Himself.’
“We also read in 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14: ‘But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
“Christ says in John 15:16, 19: ‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain… I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
“When the Bible talks about the predestination of those truly ‘called’ to salvation in this day and age, it includes the concept that they are also ‘chosen’ to be numbered among the ‘elect’…
“At the same time, we read in Mark 13:20 about the coming Great Tribulation: ‘And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.’”
Rather than teaching that some are called first, and if they overcome and don’t fall away, then they are also chosen, the Bible teaches the exact opposite. Remember, we read that those whom God foreknew and predestined, He also called them before time began. We also just read above, in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, that God from the beginning chose us for salvation to which He called us. So, if anything, the order would be reversed. But the Truth is that some were preordained or elected or chosen to be called in this day and age. And that, before the foundation of the world (compare again Ephesians 1:3-5).
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 uses the words “calling” and “chosen” interchangeably:
(26) For you see your calling [Greek: “klesis”], brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called [Note that the words “are called” are not in the Greek and were added by the translator]. (27) But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; (28) and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, (29) that no flesh should glory in His presence.”
We need to review the different Greek words, all being translated as “chosen,” to get a clearer picture of their meaning.
In 1 Corinthians 1:27-28, the Greek word for “chosen” is “eklego.” It is also used in John 15:16, 19 (see above), and in Ephesians 1:4 (see above). It is also used in James 2:5: “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom…?”). According to Vine’s, it means “to pick out,” “select”, “to choose for oneself.”
The Greek word “eklego” is also used in Mark 13:20, where the words “elect” and “chosen” are used interchangeably: “… for the elect’s sake, whom He chose…”
The Greek word for “chosen,” “eklektos”, is used, for example, in 1 Peter 2:9 (“you are a chosen generation”). It means “chosen out, select.” It is rendered as “elect” in Matthew 24:22, 31. The New King James Bible includes an annotation to Matthew 24:31 (“they will gather together His elect,” “chosen ones”).
“eklektos, lit. signified picked out, chosen (ek, from, lego, to gather, pick out) and is used of… believers… Believers were ‘chosen before the foundation of the world… The source of their election is God’s grace, not human will…They are given by God the Father to Christ as the fruit of His Death, all being foreknown and foreseen by God.”
The Greek word “ekloge” in Acts 9:15 (“a chosen vessel”) has a similar meaning; it refers to choice and selection. It is sometimes rendered “election.” It is used in Romans 9:11 in reference to the election of Jacob, which can also be rendered, according to Vine’s, as “that which is chosen.”
So, the firstfruits were selected or picked out, before the foundation of the world, to be called in this age. To put it differently, if we belong to the firstfruits, we were called before time began; that is, God had already decided before He created anything physical, that He would call us in our lifetime for salvation.
An unusual word is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, where we read that God chose us from the beginning. The word is “aireomai” and means, to take or to lift up for oneself. Again, the thought is conveyed that God, for Himself and for His plan, predestined and chose certain elected ones to be called in this age, for His purpose.
In this context, how are we to understand Revelation 17:14, which says: “These [10 nations] will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called [“kletos”], chosen [“eklektos”], and faithful.”
Barnes Notes on the Bible gives the following explanation:
“Are called – That is, called by him to be his followers; as if he had selected them out of the world to maintain his cause…
“And chosen – … In their steadfast adherence to the truth, they had shown that they were truly chosen by the Saviour…
“And faithful – They had shown themselves faithful to him in times of persecution, and in the hour of darkness.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible adds:
“… are called, and chosen, and faithful; they are chosen in Christ from all eternity… and though their calling is here set before election, as in 2 Peter 1:10, yet it does not precede it; the Arabic version reads, ‘chosen, called, faithful’; first ‘chosen’ by God the Father, then ‘called’, … being called they remain ‘faithful’:..”
The Geneva Study Bible speaks here about “those that are elected, called, and are his faithful ones in Christ.”
Rightly understood, this passage does not convey the thought that the firstfruits are called, and only when they have proven themselves, then they become “chosen.” Rather, our calling and election (being chosen) were determined by God before the foundation of the world—before time began.
We are admonished to make our calling (“klesis”) and election (“ekloge”) sure (2 Peter 1:10) because even though we were predestined and chosen to be called in this age, we must make sure that we do not receive our calling in vain. We prove to God through our conduct that we, having been foreknown and predestined for the Kingdom of God, are fulfilling our destiny of becoming immortal God beings when Christ returns.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Tôi muốn xem Phim Sex Hay khiêu dâm của những em gái châu Á, PhimTan ạ! Những trang web khiêu dâm châu Á miễn phí này có những gì tôi cần không? Vâng, bạn có phải là fan của những trang web khiêu dâm JAV (Video Người lớn Nhật Bản) không? Bạn có muốn tải xuống hoặc xem trực tuyến những video khiêu dâm châu Á (thời lượng dài hoàn chỉnh) trên máy tính của bạn không? Bạn có muốn thủ dâm với những bức ảnh lồn lông của những em gái trẻ châu Á nóng bỏng với những Phim cấp 3 vú nhỏ trên xe buýt hoặc thủ dâm với những bức ảnh của những em nữ sinh với cặp mông săn chắc trong chiếc váy cao đẳng trên điện thoại di động của bạn? Bạn thích xem những thần tượng trẻ tuổi nóng bỏng trong những bộ đồ bơi, những người mẫu ảnh khiêu dâm nhẹ nhàng và những diễn viên khiêu dâm Nhật Bản nổi tiếng với cặp vú to? Thế còn việc xem những nữ diễn viên JAV như Yuma Asami, Maria Ozawa, Tila Tequila và Asa Akira tất cả đều ướt sũng, chịch nhau và chịch đa sắc tộc với những con cặc đen to lớn trên máy tính bảng của bạn thì sao?
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Trump Frightens Europe,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Trump’s recent comments about NATO and delinquent NATO members have led to fear and panic in Europe. Europeans are deeply concerned about a return of Trump. They feel that they need to act quickly if Europe is to survive. What are they planning to do, and will they be successful? How dangerous are their ideas and proposals?
“Trump macht Europa Angst,” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link. This German program covers the topic described above.
“Zwanglos,” last Sabbath’s German split sermon presented by Manuel Müller, is now posted. Title in English: “Casual.”
“Das Werk der Liebe Jesu Christi,” last Sabbath’s German split sermon presented by Thilo Hanstein, is now posted. Title in English: “The Work of Love of Jesus Christ”
“Biden’s Two Alternatives: Prosecution or Resignation—Comments on News and Prophecy, February 10, 2024,” last Sabbath’s first message presented by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:
Special Counsel Robert Hur concluded in his report that Biden “willfully retained” highly classified and top secret documents at unsecured locations, but recommended against prosecuting Biden as a jury might not convict him because of his “perceived mental decline,” “confusion,” “diminished faculties” and “poor memory.” Democrats quickly condemned Hur for his “inaccurate, inappropriate and gratuitous comments.” But as this program will show, Hur’s comments were none of the above. Many examples are given which seem to support the concerns of a vast majority of Americans about Biden’s mental health. Which leaves us with two alternatives: If Biden is too senile to stand trial, then he must resign as President. If he is not mentally incompetent and his memory is good, as he claims, then he must be prosecuted. But replacing Biden with another candidate might already be too late and may constitute other serious challenges for the Democratic Party.
”Before It’s Too Late,” last Sabbath’s sermon presented by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
As we continue to watch the world descend into chaos, we are admonished that we need to be the opposite – we need to draw closer and closer to God so that we are not sucked into the coming destruction. To do this, we need to make sure we are fully focused on our Christian lives. It will become too late at some point!
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
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom