Not only the United States is celebrating Halloween. Germany, for example, began several years ago to adopt this terrible custom. The weekly magazine MAX reported: “Halloween is finally absolutely ‘in’ in Germany… During the night of November 1, vampires crawl out of their graves… Halloween… has its roots in Britain. The Celts kept it 5,000 years ago. This makes it one of the oldest festivals of man…. It was the time when the living were able to communicate with the dead…[ and when] the dead and ghosts appeared.”
As we mentioned before, Halloween is clearly a festival to worship the devil. Unbelievably, there are those, claiming to be Christians, who don’t seem to care, and who even try to justify its celebration. On October 29, 2004, The Californian published an editorial, titled, “Halloween works for Christians.” The article stated: “I believe that there is indeed an evil one. However…, the one thing Satan cannot stand is ridicule. And to have little kids running around in spooky costumes, dressed as ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night parodies the powers of darkness, thus insulting them.”
We may ask, how can anyone be so naive as to think that Satan will flee when little kids dress up in costumes, picturing the powers of darkness? The article continued:
“Some are put off by the fact that Halloween has roots in pagan religion, which is absolutely true — Samnhain was about darkness… And ‘All Saints Day’ was truly the Catholic Church’s way to adopt and change the holiday…”
One would think that with this kind of understanding, the author would come to the only right conclusion, that is, to strongly speak out against the celebration of Halloween. However, he continued:
“But if we’re to avoid holidays with Pagan origins, then we’d better forget about Christmas, for nobody really knows when Jesus was born, and at the time we celebrate Christmas near the winter solstice the Romans had a very raucous holiday called Saturnalia. Likewise, while we do know that Christ died during the Passover, the Church appropriated ‘Eostre’ — a celebration of an ancient goddess of fertility.”
So true! But what should be the consequence? Obviously, to AVOID the celebration of Halloween, AS WELL AS Christmas and Easter. However, that is not the conclusion of the article. Rather, the author argued as follows: “So, having Christian convictions doesn’t necessarily preclude celebrating Halloween… avoiding a cultural festival is not a way of doing it.”
Incredible! There is indeed a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). For more information, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas!“
The Second Amendment and Firearms
Several years ago, a member of the Global Church of God in England wrote to the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and received an interesting response. In the reply, it was stated: “We consider violent crime, especially crimes committed with guns, to be one of our predominant law enforcement concerns… Despite the arguments of opponents of gun control that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess firearms, the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have consistently rejected this argument. These courts have uniformly held that the Second Amendment protects only against federal attempts to disarm or abolish organized state militia, and does NOT confer upon an INDIVIDUAL the right to own or possess firearms.”
In addition, the same member wrote to the Home Secretary of the British Government. In their response, it was stated: “… the United Kingdom has a comparatively low rate of violent and armed crime compared with other countries in Europe and the rest of the world. We believe that in part this is due to our strict controls on firearms… As a matter of long-standing practice, firearms are not issued to civilians for personal protection.”
The Bible predicts that a time will come when the nations will destroy their weapons of war and violence, beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2:4). They will set on fire and burn their weapons (Ezekiel 39:9). This time has not yet arrived, but as ambassadors for Christ and as pioneers of that better world to come, we must show the way in our conduct and teaching.
US Citizens Immigrating to Canada?
On November 5, 2004, Reuters reported: “The number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada’s main immigration Web site has shot up six-fold as Americans flirt with the idea of abandoning their homeland after President George W. Bush’s election win this week… On an average day some 20,000 people in the United States log onto the Web site, www.cic.gc.ca — a figure which rocketed to 115,016 on Wednesday. The number of U.S. visits settled down to 65,803 on Thursday, still well above the norm. Bush’s victory sparked speculation that disconsolate Democrats and others might decide to start a new life in Canada, a land that tilts more to the left than the United States. Would-be immigrants to Canada can apply to become permanent residents, a process that often takes a year. The other main way to move north on a long-term basis is to find a job, which requires a work permit… Canada is one of the few major nations with a large-scale immigration policy. Ottawa is seeking to attract between 220,000 and 240,000 newcomers next year.”
Mount St. Helens
Associated Press reported on November 6, 2004, that the fear of an eruption of Mount St Helens is far from over. It stated: “A lava formation inside Mount St. Helens’ crater has a new, glowing protrusion the size of a 30-story building. The protrusion, which glows red at night, has risen by 330 feet in the past nine days, pushed up by magma, or molten rock, within the volcano, scientists said Friday… The overall lava formation began building last month and has grown to roughly the size of an aircraft carrier, 900 feet long and 250 feet wide. Magma is reaching at the surface at the rate of 7 to 8 cubic meters, about one large dump truck load every second… Like the old lava dome, formed in the six years after St. Helens’ devastating May 18, 1980, eruption, the new formation is made of a type of volcanic rock called dacite… Temperatures on the new protrusion can spike as high as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The volcano rumbled back to life Sept. 23, with shuddering seismic activity that peaked above magnitude 3 as hot magma broke through rocks in its path. Molten rock first reached the surface Oct. 11, marking the resumption of dome-building activity that had stopped in 1986. A more explosive eruption, possibly dropping ash within a 10-mile radius of the crater, is possible at any time, scientists have said.”
Does the U.S. Need Europe?
On November 5, 2004, Reuters reported about further European reactions relating to the re-election of President Bush. It was stated:
“The European Union urged re-elected President Bush on Friday to make a fresh start in transatlantic cooperation, but internal EU differences over ties with Washington refused to die down…. But the future of relations with the United States prompted a fresh outbreak of public sparring by European rivals Britain and France at an EU summit in Brussels. British Prime Minister Tony Blair rubbed salt into wounds opened by the Iraq war by saying that some leaders, whom he did not name, were in ‘a state of denial’ about Bush’s victory. In the anti-war camp, President Jacques Chirac said France would not forget its differences with the United States and believed a stronger Europe was the natural response to U.S. foreign policy assertiveness in ‘an ever more multipolar world.’… Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who chaired the summit, appealed to Bush to realize in his second term that he needed European help to meet global challenges from fighting terrorism, AIDS and poverty to stabilizing the Middle East… Several of the leaders who supported Bush in Iraq, including the Danish and Polish leaders, urged him to reach out to the whole of Europe and make more of an effort in his second term to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
OneWorld reported on October 25, 2004: “In addition to setting the stage for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force early next year, Friday’s overwhelming ratification by … Russia’s lower house of Parliament underlines the degree to which the administration of President George W. Bush has isolated the United States from its industrialized partners… With Russia’s ratification, the only remaining holdouts are Australia and the United States, which signed the accord under former President Bill Clinton but then withdrew from negotiations surrounding its implementation under Bush. Bush defended his decision by insisting that any attempt to reduce emissions as required by the treaty would unduly damage the U.S. economy.”
The article continued: “In 1990, the United States was responsible for more than [a] third of global greenhouse emissions, Europe for more than a quarter of emissions, while Russia claimed about 17.5 percent. Under the treaty’s terms, a minimum of 55 countries, whose combined emissions came to more than 55 percent of global emissions, had to ratify the treaty for it to take effect. All member states and aspiring members of the European Union (EU), which has been the treaty’s foremost champion, ratified the treaty, as did Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and all non-EU western and northern European nations. Altogether, however, the ratifies accounted for a total of only 44 percent of global emissions. With the U.S. boycotting the treaty, the only country that could put the Protocol into effect was Russia.”
On November 9, 2004, Associated Press reported about unified Germany – 15 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The article pointed out: “Germans marked a subdued 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Tuesday, with high unemployment in the formerly communist east and a sense in people’s hearts that the nation has not yet fully reunited. No big celebrations, parades or fireworks recalled Nov. 9, 1989, the day East Germany’s communist regime opened the wall almost by accident and set off national euphoria that peaked with German reunification 11 months later… As time has passed, Germans have focused on the staggering cost of rebuilding the east, not the peaceful revolution that toppled the wall and the Stalinist rulers who built it… The east’s jobless rate – 17.5 percent – is more than twice that of the west… Jewish leaders marked Nov. 9 for another reason. It’s also the anniversary of the Nazis’ 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom, or Night of Broken Glass, when synagogues and Jewish businesses across Germany were attacked.”
Violence at Ivory Coast
On November 9, 2004, CNN reported that “South African President Thabo Mbeki has flown to Ivory Coast to launch an African effort to reign in chaos here, amid four days of sudden mob and government confrontations with French troops that have wounded more than 600 and killed at least 20 others…. The bloodshed began when Ivory Coast warplanes killed nine French peacekeepers and an American aid worker in an air strike on the rebel-held north. France, Ivory Coast’s former colonial ruler, wiped out the nation’s airforce on the tarmac in retaliation, sparking massive anti-French rampages by mobs of thousands in the fiercely nationalist south… At the United Nations, Security Council diplomats weighed a French-backed draft resolution for an arms embargo on Ivory Coast and a travel ban and asset freeze against those blocking peace, violating human rights and preventing the disarmament of combatants.”
The fact that the Security Council of the United Nations has not authorized France’s use of force prompted CNN to criticize, in a broadcast on November 9, 2004, the “incredible hypocrisy of France.” The newscast stated that France condemned the U.S. for invading Iraq without a Security Council’s resolution, while it is now doing exactly the same.
EU Sanctions US and Canada
As Euobserver reported on November 8, 2004, “The EU on Monday (8 November) announced the launching of WTO action against the US and Canada. Both countries are refusing to lift trade sanctions on the EU amounting to 116 million US dollars per year plus 11 million Canadian dollars per year, which were imposed after the EU slapped a ban on importing hormone beef. The World Trade Organization (WTO) deemed the EU ban illegal because it was not based on proper scientific research. The EU consequently conducted an independent scientific research project and changed its laws to comply with the WTO ruling. But the US and Canada have still not lifted their sanctions, prompting Monday’s action.”
The Netherlands and Muslims
The New York Times reported on November 11, 2004, about growing problems with The Netherlands’ Muslims. It was pointed out:
“Anger toward the Netherlands’ Muslim community percolated among the crowd that gathered outside the funeral for the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was killed by an Islamic extremist a week ago. The public debate over how conservative Islam fits into Europe’s most tolerant, liberal society had already become a no-holds-barred affair before the killing of van Gogh, who had publicly and repeatedly used epithets against Muslims. But his killing has now polarized the country, giving the rest of Europe a disturbing glimpse of what may be in store if relations with the continent’s growing immigrant communities are not managed more adeptly. The anger is such that for the second time in two days an Islamic elementary school was attacked Tuesday, this time in Uden, part of what Dutch authorities fear are reprisals after van Gogh’s killing, The Associated Press reported. The authorities said that Muslim sites had been the target of a half-dozen attacks in the past week, The AP reported. In apparent retaliation, arsonists attempted to burn down Protestant churches in Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amersfoort, the news service quoted the police as saying. The attacks have scratched the patina of tolerance on which the Dutch have long prided themselves, particularly here in their principal city, where the scent of hashish trails in the air, prostitutes beckon from storefront brothels and Hell’s Angels live side by side with Hare Krishnas. But many Dutch now say that for years that tradition of tolerance suppressed an open debate about the challenges of integrating conservative Muslims.”
The article continued:
“For many years, such criticism of Islam and Islamic customs, even among Dutch extremists, was considered taboo, despite deep frustrations that had built up against conservative Islam in the country. Many here say that began to change after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, when the Netherlands, like many countries, began to consider the dangers of political Islam seriously. The debate fueled an anti-immigration movement and helped propel the career of the populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who was murdered by an environmental activist shortly before national elections in 2002.”
The Inquisition Overrated?
As Associated Press reported on November 9, 2004, “Church, academic and cultural experts will work together to gather documentation on religious and civil trials for witchcraft, heresy and other crimes against the faith during the Inquisition, the Vatican said Tuesday… Earlier this year the Vatican presented researchers’ findings that victims of torture and burning at the stake during the Inquisition were far fewer than widely thought.”
This last statement is incredible. As the article continued to point out: “Starting in the Middle Ages, the Inquisition was a systematic crackdown by church officials intent on defending doctrinal orthodoxy. Catholics suspected of being heretics… or others considered of dubious faith, including Muslims and Jews who had converted to Catholicism, were among the targets.”
History has established the terrible pain and suffering inflicted by the Catholic Church on countless victims who did not share the official orthodox “Christian” belief. It is only hoped that any attempts to “re-write” history and in some way belittle the horrors of the Inquisition will fail.
EU Constitution Signed
Although this fact did not receive much attention in the United States, the members of the EU signed their first Constitution. Even more remarkable, perhaps, is where it was signed. On October 29, 2004, MSNBC.com pointed out:
“The EU leaders signed the document at the Campidoglio, a Michaelangelo-designed complex of buildings on Rome’s Capitoline Hill. Also present at the ceremony were the leaders from Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia — four candidates for EU membership… The constitution foresees simpler voting rules to end decision gridlock in a club that ballooned to 25 members this year and plans to absorb half a dozen more in the years ahead. It includes new powers for the European Parliament and ends national vetoes in 45 new policy areas — including judicial and police cooperation, education and economic policy — but not in foreign and defense policy, social security, taxation or cultural matters. [It also created the office of a powerful European Foreign Minister, in addition to the office of the European President]. The constitution was signed in the sala degli Orazi e Curiazi, the same spectacular hall in a Renaissance palazzo where in 1957 six nations — Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg — signed the union’s founding treaty.”
The place where the Constitution was signed has great symbolic significance. Euobserver stated on October 29:
“EU leaders from the 25 member states will arrive in Rome today for the formal signing of the new European Constitution – officially starting the two-year ratification period. Symbolically, the ceremony will take place in the same room as the signing of the original Treaty of Rome by the then six member states – France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg – in 1957. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fought a hard battle to get the document signed in Rome – although Italy failed to get the document agreed under its EU Presidency in the second half of last year. It was eventually agreed under the Irish EU Presidency in June.”
The EU Constitution was signed in the same room in Rome where the original Treaty of Rome was signed, which gave BIRTH to the European Unity. That all of this happened in Rome is highly significant. The Bible shows that a final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire will occur in Europe, just prior to the return of Christ. And the very foundation of that final resurrection will be a city which is built on seven hills — Rome (compare Revelation 17:9, 18).
For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.“
The Constitution must still be ratified by the 25 member states. What happens if not all ratify? The article of Euobserver continued to point out:
“There is much speculation over whether a no vote in a small country would be allowed to sink the whole ship. However, a no vote in a larger country or in several countries would be difficult to overcome and could send politicians back to the drawing board. In any case, Europe is entering a new two-year phase today of national ratification – the Constitution will enter into force on 1 November 2006, provided it has been ratified in all 25 member states.”
IF the target date of November 2006 can be met, then this, too, might have some interesting significance. It would be exactly 49 years (7X7) after the Treaty of Rome was signed. In the Bible, the number 7 stands for completeness.
Euro at All-Time High
On Wednesday, November 10, 2004, the dollar fell to an all-time low against the euro, with analysts forecasting more declines to come. The euro crossed the “magical line” of 1.30 dollars. As Der Spiegel Online reported, the euro is now more expensive than ever before since its creation in January of 1999. Reasons given for this unprecedented climb were the fragile state of Arafat at that time and the re-election of George Bush to the U.S. Presidency.
Joerg Haider Speaks… Again
Some have been waiting for Joerg Haider’s official response to the re-election of President Bush. Although, reportedly, a friend of California’s governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supported Bush during the election campaign, Austria’s Joerg Haider has been an outspoken critic of Bush. News Networld published Haider’s statements, as follows:
“With Bush’s victory, a prolonged continuation of American politics of arrogance and self-aggrandizement has been assured. The consequence will be a world of additional radicalism and increasing fanaticism. The trenches between the Western and the Muslim world will become deeper, and the threat of terrorism will remain evident. In addition, the relationship with Europe will continue to be tense, as Bush carries out his politics without consideration for international treaties and cooperation. The tendency of a basic anti-American feeling of society will be strengthened. The re-election of Bush could have unimaginable consequences for the world. In particular, the danger of war in the Middle East is great.”
Cat Stevens Honored with Peace Award
In what might be viewed as a direct response to the recent bizarre events involving the refusal of the United States to allow Cat Stevens to enter the country, the famous singer received a peace prize for his humanitarian efforts. As AFP reported on November 10, 2004:
“Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev presented singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, with a peace prize, two months after he was refused entry to the United States on ‘national security grounds’. The ‘Man for Peace 2004’ prize was presented at a ceremony in Rome city hall marking the opening of the Fifth World Nobel Summit, an annual gathering here of Nobel peace laureates led by Gorbachev, who won the prize in 1990. The award is given annually ‘to a distinguished personage of culture and entertainment for peace messages, fraternity and integration between nations.'”
Reuters added the following:
“Yusuf Islam, the pop star formerly known as Cat Stevens, says he has received ‘more apologies than you can count’ from Americans embarrassed after their government deported him over potential terrorism links…. ‘So, I’m quite satisfied with the spirit of most people and probably it was a mistake. But let’s hope it will be solved soon. The lawyers are looking into it,’ he said…. The citation [as ‘Man for Peace 2004’] commended Islam ‘for having condemned terrorism’ and contributing to charities that helped victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.”
Arafat – Dead At Age 75
AFP reported on November 11, 2004:
“Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat… died at the age of 75, plunging the Middle East into a new era of uncertainty… Fears of violence were underlined when the radical Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades… urged its fighters to attack Israel to avenge the ‘Zionist assassination’…Israel, which has long accused Arafat of being the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East, did not try to mask its delight at his death.”
Bild Online asked the question: “Will Violence Explode in the Middle East?”
According to AFP, Tony Blair is flying to the USA to discuss with President Bush the “international community’s highest priority” to create “peace in the Middle East,” following Arafat’s death.
Associated Press reported about the condolences received from world leaders:
“Egypt called him a ‘historic leader’ who strove for ‘peace, security and stability.’… Condolences came from as far away as China, where President Hu Jintao said Arafat was ‘an outstanding leader of the Palestinian cause.’ Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi praised Arafat’s efforts on behalf of peace and his people, citing his signing of the 1993 Israel-PLO accord that gave him control of most of Gaza Strip and 27 percent of West Bank. ‘Yasser Arafat spent his entire life for the Palestinian cause. We pray that his mission is completed after his death,’ Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The Associated Press from Saudi Arabia, where he was performing the Muslim pilgrimage.
“German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder credited Arafat with striving to lead the Palestinians to independence, regretting that ‘it was not granted to Yasser Arafat to complete his life’s work.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Palestinians had suffered a heavy loss, and his Foreign Ministry called for the international community, Israel and the Palestinians to redouble peace efforts. French President Jacques Chirac, who had visited Arafat days before his death, called him a ‘man of courage and conviction who, for 40 years, has incarnated the Palestinians’ combat for recognition of their national rights.’ Praise also came from the European Union, the Arab League and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said Arafat had ‘expressed and symbolized in his person the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.’
“Even Arafat’s critics acknowledged his death was ‘a significant moment in Palestinian history,’ as President Bush put it. Bush, who had accused Arafat of blocking peace with Israel, expressed condolences to the Palestinian people… British Prime Minister Tony Blair, expressing his condolences to Arafat’s family and to the Palestinian people and noting that Arafat was a Nobel Peace laureate, also looked ahead… Australian Prime Minister John Howard said history would judge Arafat harshly. Arafat could have helped secure Middle East peace by accepting a deal in 2000 that would have resulted in the Israelis ‘agreeing to about 90 percent of what the Palestinians had wanted,’ Howard said. Howard said he also found it hard to believe that Arafat could not have done more to restrain terrorists.”
Der Spiegel Online published the following additional comments:
“Josef Lapid, Israel’s Minister of Justice, said during a radio broadcast: ‘I hated Arafat…’ Former leader Shimon Peres said, ‘It was Arafat’s biggest mistake to move toward terrorism… He accomplished the most when he tried to create peace.'”