September 22, 2017
Just the Beginning; Brace Yourselves
On September 23, 2017, Norbert Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Just the Beginning,” and Michael Link will present the sermon, titled, “Brace Yourselves.”
We will not publish an Update next week or the following two weeks as we observe Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. Our next Update will appear the week of October 20, 2017. Also, we will broadcast live services during this time—please go to www.eternalgod.org for further information.
by Robb Harris
It is common to see looting when natural disasters or social calamities occur. Based upon the number of incidents of this type of crime, many have formed a sense of justification for stealing—especially when the rule of law is absent.
One commentator, describing this attitude of looting during catastrophes, states, “Then one day disaster strikes – law and order break down. The structures of society around them collapse and no one cares what the other person is doing. In instances like this, personal morals and fear of the law disappear. Pent up emotions can rise to the top. An abnormal sense of entitlement and ‘group think’ takes over and people no longer feel guilty of taking what doesn’t belong to them” (“Why people loot after a disaster”, www.safetybasement.com).
In God’s eyes, theft of another’s property is absolutely unacceptable–so much so that it was one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses: “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). God didn’t mince His Words, the commandment was plain to read and understand.
While God allowed for restitution by those caught stealing He also gave dire warning to those who would do so as a means to satiate their desires, whether “justified” or not. “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed” (Exodus 22:1-2).
Some Korean shopkeepers staved off looting of their property during the 1992 Rodney King riots by arming themselves and guarding their stores. While some storeowners protected their property, an estimated 2300 Korean-owned stores in Los Angeles were burned or looted during the protests.
We are warned not to put our faith in treasures that are perishing: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…” (Matthew 6:19). Christ instead instructs us to put our faith in things that are eternal, “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).
Paul also reflected on the importance of the treasure we each possess, “…to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3). Everything that matters is built upon those two beings. They have given more than can ever be repaid so that we might share in their glory.
We must take on the same attitude of those shopkeepers in defending what really matters. Of course, we do not take up physical arms, but we must be engaged in a spiritual battle with wicked spirit beings in high places. We guard our spiritual existence from a beast that never stops attacking our spiritual fortifications. We need to cherish and protect what is truly lasting because our eternal life depends on it.
by Norbert Link
We begin this special edition with extensive quotes from President Trump’s speech to the United Nations in which he put the world on notice as to what America under his leadership is willing and prepared to do if the UN was unable or unwilling to deal with certain countries. He especially singled out North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. In this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Will the UN Prevent World War III?”
At the same time, Iran announced the development of the “father of all bombs,” and concerns are raised that we are getting closer to worldwide nuclear annihilation.
We report on another attempt by the Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare, which is not given any chance of success, as many of the proposed provisions are highly unpopular and as they would have terrible consequences for a large portion of the American people. We also speak on developments, apparently vindicating President Trump’s claim that the Obama administration did in fact wiretap the Trump campaign.
We report on another devastating hurricane—Maria—just following on the heels of Hurricane Irma; and a big earthquake in Mexico which struck on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 temblor in Mexico, prompting a CNN reporter to ask the question, “Hurricanes and earthquakes… what is going on?”
In the remainder of this edition, we focus on the important parliamentary elections in Germany, which will take place on Sunday, September 24.
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
President Trump’s First Speech to the United Nations
On September 19, President Trump delivered his highly anticipated speech to the UN. We are bringing you the following pertinent excerpts:
“Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been… we meet at a time of both of immense promise and great peril. It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights, or let it fall into a valley of disrepair…
“This institution [the UN] was founded in the aftermath of two world wars to help shape this better future… It was… exactly 70 years ago, that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe…
“This week… [we] are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution — the oldest constitution still in use in the world today… In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign…
“As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first. (Applause.)… As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else…
“No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.
“… now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life. It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict. No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime…
“We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime [Iran] — one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room…
“The Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me…
“The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more…
“We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse… The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people…
“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. (Applause.) From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems…
“History is asking us whether we are up to the task…”
The sad answer from the pages of the Bible is, sadly, “No, we are not up to the task.” From its inception, the UN has been a failed body of bickering disgruntled and competitive countries; far too often driven by antagonism towards the USA; unable to come to any meaningful consensus; and most certainly unable to bring peace to the world. President Trump has put the world on notice as to what America is willing to do if the UN fails. However, God has declared beforehand how the future will look like… and it is a grim future.
The Father of All Bombs
Israel National News wrote on September 18:
“A senior official in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claimed over the weekend that Iran is in possession of what he described as the ‘father of all bombs’. According to the official… Iran has produced a domestically-made 10-ton bomb with a high destructive power… The commander pointed to the ordnance as Iran’s ‘father of all bombs’ as compared with… MOAB…, also known as the ‘mother of all bombs,’ which the U.S. Air Force dropped on Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Afghanistan in April…
“It is difficult to determine whether Hajizadeh’s claims are true, but Iran often boasts of its military accomplishments. Earlier this year, the Islamic Republic claimed to have unveiled a domestically manufactured tank which ‘has the capability to fire missiles and precisely guide them.'”
Iran and North Korea belong to the most dangerous countries in the world, and they are apparently collaborating in their pursuit to advance their nuclear weaponry.
Closer than Ever to Nuclear Annihilation?
Sputnik wrote on September 17:
“Dr. Helen Caldicott, a well-known leader of the anti-nuclear movement in Australia and the United States during the Cold War, described the thinking behind the idea of a ‘limited nuclear war’ as ‘insane’… the activist warned that if the US goes ahead with the creation of new tactical nukes, other nuclear powers will be sure to go along…
“Caldicott described the policy of nuclear deterrence as ‘a policy of nuclear madness.’ ‘The fact that we have not yet experienced nuclear extinction is a matter of sheer luck. But considering the present political situation with volatile political leaders threatening each other with nuclear weapons, I think that we are closer to nuclear annihilation than we have ever been,’ Caldicott concluded.”
Sadly, the Bible prophesies a coming worldwide nuclear war, but it will be set in motion by powers, which will be a surprise to the world.
America’s Doomsday Planes
The Sun wrote on September 20:
“The four specially-designed secretive aircraft are called the E-4Bs. They are designed to allow US leaders and wartime hawks to issue orders and wage nuclear war from the sky… Known officially as National Airborne Operation Centres… they also feature a vast array of defence mechanisms, including the ability to withstand electromagnetic pulses… In operation since the 1970s, these airborne command posts were long considered the best chance for a Cold War president to survive a nuclear attack…
“Unlike the ceremonial and comfort-focused Air Force One, the E-4B airborne command posts are flying war-rooms—staffed by dozens of military analysts, strategists and communication aides who would guide the President through the first days of a nuclear war. The planes also include special gear like a five-mile-long trailing wire antenna that would ensure that the president could remain in contact with the nuclear submarine fleet even after ground-based communications had been destroyed.
“Through the final decades of the Cold War, an E-4B Nightwatch plane always stood on alert at Andrews Air Force Base, ready to whisk the president skyward with just 15 minutes’ warning. Even today, one of those four Doomsday planes, known to their crews as ‘Air Force One When It Counts,’ regularly travels with or near the President at all times. When the President is in the United States, an E-4B always remains on alert at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, its engines turning 24 hours a day, ready to launch and rendezvous with the President in the event of an emergency evacuation.”
The fact that these precautions exist should make all of us aware that the threat of nuclear war is real.
The Graham-Cassidy Proposals to Repeal and Replace Obamacare Will Fail, Of Course
The Week wrote on September 19:
“The best thing that can be said for the latest — and last — bill sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) is that it is of a piece with its forerunners. It would give the states (less) money to administer ObamaCare’s popular and successful federal expansion of Medicaid… It would cut subsidies for people buying health insurance in the individual market…
“It would also reduce, if not totally eliminate, protection for such pre-existing ‘conditions’… It would toss the individual mandate and presumably allow insurance companies to heap fees on those whose coverage has lapsed. It would be cruel, capricious, and unstable… There is simply no chance that it will pass the Senate, much less make it to President Trump’s desk and become law.”
Let us hope that analysis of the future proves to be correct, because this bill would indeed have terrible and inhumane consequences for many people.
Report Alleges that Obama Administration Wiretapped Trump’s Campaign
Breitbart wrote on September 18:
“U.S. investigators wiretapped President Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to a report by CNN that vindicates the president’s earlier claims, which were mocked as a conspiracy theory.
“President Trump had tweeted on March 4: ‘Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!’…
“But a report Monday evening said U.S. investigators obtained a surveillance warrant on Manafort from a secret court and had monitored him before and after the election, including a ‘period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.’… ‘The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence,’ a source told CNN.
“However, the FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended early into this year. The report notably does not say when the new warrant was obtained. Manafort joined the Trump campaign as its chairman in May 2016. The new warrant was ‘part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives,’ according to the report.
“The report notes, ‘such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials’ — but doesn’t specify which top Justice Department and FBI officials had approved it.”
This report, if true, would indeed vindicate Donald Trump’s earlier claim of wiretapping, but it still would not be good news for him and his campaign, because surveillance warrants are not handed out easily.
Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall
The Huffington Post wrote on September 18:
“Hurricane Maria ‘rapidly’ intensified and slammed into the Caribbean island of Dominica as a powerful category 5 hurricane late Monday evening… with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph… Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the winds were ‘merciless’…
NBC News added on September 18:
“Hurricane Maria was strengthening fast into a monster storm Monday as it barreled toward Puerto Rico and other Irma-battered Caribbean islands… Puerto Rico has not been hit by a Category 4 or 5 hurricane since 1928…
“Maria, however, could be ‘catastrophic’ for Puerto Rico, which was largely spared by Hurricane Irma… It passed 50 miles north of the island and caused only wave damage, but even that was enough to knock out power to about 1 million people.”
NBC wrote on September 19:
“Authorities warned Puerto Ricans to evacuate or die on Tuesday as Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to threaten the region in almost 90 years, barreled toward the U.S. territory.”
Bloomberg wrote on September 19:
“Puerto Rico is facing an active hurricane season with little financial ability to navigate a natural catastrophe. It filed for bankruptcy in May after years of economic decline and borrowing to fill budget gaps. A series of defaults have effectively left it unable to raise money in the capital markets… Puerto Rico’s emergency fund stood at about $32 million before Irma passed through…
“Puerto Rico debt maturing in 2035 changed hands Tuesday at an average price of 56.7 cents on the dollar, the lowest level since Sept. 1…”
Maria’s Devastation in Puerto Rico
Deutsche Welle reported on September 21:
“Puerto Rico officials were weighing the damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria on Thursday, after the devastating storm destroyed buildings and knocked out power across the densely populated island…
“In the capital, San Juan, historic forts and buildings dating back to the Spanish colonial era were destroyed, leaving nothing but debris…
“Communication channels have been almost impossible to maintain, with roads destroyed and telephone towers knocked out across the island.
“US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the hurricane had ‘obliterated’ Puerto Rico and declared the island a disaster zone in a move that frees up federal relief funding.”
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Mexico
The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 19:
“A powerful 7.1 earthquake shook central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing homes and bridges across hundreds of miles, killing at least  people and sending thousands more fleeing into the streets screaming…
“The epicenter was about 80 miles southeast of Mexico City in the state of Puebla. It struck on the anniversary of a 1985 temblor [with a magnitude of 8.0], which killed thousands of people and devastated large parts of Mexico City — a tragedy that President Enrique Peña Nieto had commemorated earlier in the day…”
Is it mere coincidence that the 7.1 earthquake struck exactly on the day of the anniversary of the 1985 temblor?
German Election on September 24–AfD in Third Place?
Deutsche Welle wrote on September 17:
“One week before the German election, the latest voter poll has put the far-right AfD barely ahead of the other ‘small parties.’… [The poll] showed support for the AfD at 11 percent, with the Left party just behind at 10 percent, followed by the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) at 9 percent and the Green party at 8 percent. Should the AfD’s double-digit polling numbers hold, the populist party would enter Germany’s national parliament for the first time after the September 24 election. Another poll carried out by the Infratest dimap research institute last Thursday showed the AfD polling at 12 percent…
“Support for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), was at 36 percent. The SPD, under party leader and chancellor candidate Martin Schulz, was polling at 22 percent in the poll. When asked by pollsters about the success of the AfD, 58 percent said they believed Merkel’s policies were partially responsible for the rise of the nationalist party while 34 percent disagreed…
“The FDP and the Greens said on Sunday that the battle for third place was hardly over. FDP leader Christian Lindner… said the Greens didn’t have a chance of taking third place and that his party would need to step up as the main opposition voice should Merkel’s CDU form another grand coalition with the SPD. Lindner emphasized that the opposition shouldn’t be led by the AfD, a party he described as having ‘nationalist-authoritarian’ ideals…”
Express wrote on September 18:
“Polls show Mrs Merkel is well on course to finish top of the polls but will have to negotiate a coalition with at least one other party. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party had been in a grand coalition with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) but they are not keen on recreating the arrangement. That could leave Mrs Merkel scratching around for support in the hope of forming a ‘Jamaica coalition’ with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens.
“But there has been hostility between the two potential coalition partners in recent days with the Greens accusing their pro-business rivals of being an ‘anti-party’ that stands against all they hold dear… A further obstacle could be caused by the FDP’s demands to get the finance ministry in exchange for joining a coalition. Current Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, of the CDU, has held the post since 2009 and is the most high-profile member of Mrs Merkel’s cabinet.”
The Fate of Refugees in Germany
The Washington Post wrote on September 18:
“While Merkel has defended her decision to allow the refugees to come, she has also said Germany will not be accepting large numbers of new arrivals again any time soon. She and her chief rival… Martin Schulz agree that the pace of deportations needs to be accelerated among those whose asylum claims have been denied.
“The party in third place, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), says that even those with legitimate asylum claims should be sent back, in part because the predominantly Muslim newcomers do not fit into German culture… The party frequently uses incendiary rhetoric to attack immigrants and their descendants; the party’s deputy leader, Alexander Gauland, recently suggested that Aydan Ozoguz, the integration minister and one of the few nationally known politicians with an immigrant background, should be ‘disposed of’ in Turkey.”
The results will be really interesting, and no matter who wins, the coalition “discussions” will no doubt be quite challenging, while the role of the AfD should not be underestimated.
Political Structural Change in the Making in Europe
The EUObserver wrote on September 20:
“In many Western countries, party structures are dissolving… There is not much left of the once-defining role of classical parties…
“In France, the traditional party system has decayed. The Socialists, after being the governing party in Paris until spring, have practically ceased to exist…
“The US‘ once-lofty Republicans – the self-proclaimed ‘Grand Old Party’ – have now disintegrated into separate wings… And the party organisation is so weak that it could be captured by a non-politician like Donald Trump.
“Until recently in the UK, the Labour Party, which had been positioned in the pragmatic centre, has moved vehemently to the left. It was infiltrated by an influx of often young new members, who celebrate the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn – formerly a marginal figure in the political life of the island – as a pop star.
“In Italy, the populist Five Star Movement of former comedian Beppe Grillo has been unsettling the political system for some years. On the right, the former regional party ‘Lega Nord’ is expanding with new national-populist content…
“Still, there’s a prominent exception: Germany. Or so it would seem… At the top are well-tempered characters like Angela Merkel, the chancellor, and Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic contender. And, above all, both of them promise that as little as possible is going [to] change. But this is just the visible surface. In Germany, like elsewhere in Europe, the political system is being transformed. Anger and frustration are on the rise – sentiments which parties like the far-right AfD are only able capture to a small extent… Even the supposedly stable Germany is not immune to sudden changes… political structural change will not spare Germany. Simply wishing for it to vanish will not make it go away.”
We can expect future dramatic sudden changes in Germany. A charismatic powerful political leader will arise and surprise most people.
Interview with Germany’s Foreign Minister
On September 19, Bild Online conducted an interview with Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel. We are publishing the following comments by Herr Gabriel:
“‘North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, is not crazy at all. He is following a carefully developed strategy. He thinks that his regime will be safe if he has a nuclear bomb. Nobody will dare to threaten him… If North Korea achieves its aims, other states will follow its example and obtain nuclear weapons. Our children would then live in a very dangerous world…
“‘To this day, the CDU and Chancellor Merkel want to deliver a German arms factory to Saudi Arabia, where a quarter of a million German assault rifles could be produced. The same applies to tanks and other heavy weapons… Angela Merkel and the CDU/CSU hope to revive this arms deal after the federal election, together with the FDP…”
Such an arms deal with German weapons would indeed be appalling, as are all of these kinds of arms deals by every nation.
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.
Should a Christian Use Marijuana Under Any Circumstances?
To answer this question, we need to distinguish between recreational and medical marijuana. Much controversy exists in the USA and around the world, especially when it comes to legalizing marijuana either for recreational or medical purposes.
The Bible does not specifically mention marijuana but it gives us some principles that we can apply for guidance on this subject. We will show why recreational marijuana is not to be consumed by Christians under any circumstances, but why a different perspective might have to be considered in certain circumstances regarding the use of medical marijuana.
We will begin our discussion with a general overview over marijuana’s history.
“Marijuana, also known as cannabis or pot [also known as hemp], has a long history of human use. Most ancient cultures didn’t grow the plant to get high, but as herbal medicine [as well as for clothing, paper, sails and rope, and its seeds were used as food]… likely starting in Asia around 500 BC.
“The history of cannabis cultivation in America dates back to the early colonists, who grew hemp for textiles and rope. Political and racial factors in the 20th century led to the criminalization of marijuana in the United States, though its legal status is changing in many places. The cannabis or hemp plant originally evolved in Central Asia before people introduced the plant into Africa, Europe, and eventually the Americas.
“In the early 1600s, the Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut colonies required farmers to grow hemp. These early hemp plants had very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects…”
Focusing on the history of medical use, the Huffington Post wrote on May 25, 2011:
“History tells us that the medicinal properties of cannabis have been recognized for centuries. The medical use of marijuana is documented in Egyptian papyri dating back to 1,550 BCE. It was used in ancient India to treat insomnia, headaches and labor pains. And the ancient Greeks used cannabis for tapeworms, nosebleeds and ear infections.”
History.com continues to say:
“In the 1830s, Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish doctor studying in India, found that cannabis extracts could help lessen stomach pain and vomiting in people suffering from cholera.
“By the late 1800s, cannabis extracts were sold in pharmacies and doctors’ offices throughout Europe and the United States to treat stomach problems and other ailments.
“… the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two drugs with THC that are prescribed in pill form (Marinol and Syndros) to treat nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy and loss of appetite in AIDs patients.”
Addressing the history of recreational use, History.com states:
“Hashish (a purified form of cannabis smoked with a pipe) was widely used throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia after about 800 AD. Its rise in popularity corresponded with the spread of Islam in the region. The Quran forbid the use of alcohol and some other intoxicating substances, but did not specifically prohibit cannabis.
“In the United States, marijuana wasn’t widely used for recreational purposes until the early 1900s. Mexicans that immigrated to the United States during the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution introduced the recreational practice of smoking marijuana to American culture.
“Massive unemployment and social unrest during the Great Depression [resulted in] 29 states [outlawing] cannabis by 1931. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first federal U.S. law to criminalize marijuana nationwide. The Act imposed an excise tax on the sale, possession or transfer of all hemp products, effectively criminalizing all but industrial uses of the plant…”
With this background, we are now going to address the hot topic of marijuana’s legalization.
“As part of the ‘War on Drugs,’ the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, signed into law by President Richard Nixon, repealed the Marijuana Tax Act and listed marijuana as a Schedule I drug—along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy—with no medical uses and a high potential for abuse…
“California, in the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use by people with severe or chronic illnesses. Twenty-nine states now allow the use of cannabis for limited medical purposes… Cannabis is still illegal under U.S. federal law…”
What makes marijuana such a controversial topic in the USA is the rather disturbing fact that the federal government still classifies it as a Class I controlled substance, which is illegal to possess, but over half the states in the U.S. have approved the prescribing of marijuana for medical purposes. Many other countries around the world prescribe medical marijuana to some patients.
We need to point out that presently, this unique American conflict between federal law and state law has been addressed by President Obama in a directive and has not been revoked by President Trump, to the effect that the Department of Justice is not to prosecute people possessing and consuming marijuana in states where such practice is legal. The New York Times wrote on October 19, 2009:
“People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it to them should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said Monday in a directive with far-reaching political and legal implications.”
In addition, USA Today reported on August 29, 2013 about another directive, clarifying the previous one:
“… federal authorities still will prosecute individuals or entities involved in: The distribution of marijuana to minors; Directing revenue from marijuana sales to gangs and cartels; Diverting marijuana from states where it is legal to other states where there are no laws allowing for marijuana use; Using legal sales as cover for trafficking operations; Using violence and or firearms in marijuana cultivation and distribution; Driving under the influence of marijuana; Growing marijuana on public lands; Possessing marijuana or using on federal property.”
To obtain a better understanding of the different schedules and classes in federal law, we are quoting from verywell.com:
“Schedule I: [According to the federal law:] These are drugs that are the most easily abused but have no known, researched, medical application. They include heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy… these drugs may not be prescribed for any reason…
“Schedule II: [According to the federal law:]… Their use can lead to dependence, both physical and psychological. They include morphine, opium and opioids, methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl.
“Schedule III: [According to federal law:] Drugs which may lead to high psychological dependence, but lower levels of actual physical dependence. Included in Schedule III are many of the combination pain relief drugs such as those which combine hydrocodone or codeine (Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine).
“Schedule IV: [According to federal law:] [These] drugs have a low potential for abuse… and may include Xanax, Valium, and Restoril.
“Schedule V: [According to federal law:] These drugs may contain limited amounts of narcotics, and are considered to present a very low risk of abuse. Many cough medicines and antidiarrheals are listed in Schedule V such as Robitussin and Phenergan with Codeine.”
In reviewing these categories of classes, we must point out that many of these drugs listed above in Schedules II to V carry dangerous side effects which most certainly affect the body and mind and have led to many deaths due to overdosing and mixing medications, yet these prescription and “Over-the-Counter” [OTC] drugs are considered “legal” by the government and covered by (profit-making) insurance companies.
A 2014 mercola.com article, titled “The Benefits of Medical Cannabis,” explains:
“Many fail to realize that prescription drugs actually have FAR greater potential to turn you into ‘a junkie’ [than medical marijuana]. Legal drug addiction is also taking lives in record numbers. In the UK, one million people are addicted to over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription painkillers and tranquilizers…
“Pharmaceuticals in general are among the leading causes of death in the US, and some medicines have killed tens of thousands of individuals. The painkiller Vioxx is one classic example, which killed over 60,000 before being pulled off the market.
“The diabetes drug Avandia is another, and most recently, a study estimated that in a five-year span, some 800,000 people in Europe were killed from inappropriate use of beta-blockers in non-cardiac surgery patients…”
Whatever medicines one may take, God expects of us to be responsible, having done diligent research beforehand. Suffering and dying Church members were given morphine, which was prescribed by their doctors, to ease their pain, and the Church never felt that this would have been inappropriate or ungodly. Also, if one is in a hospital recovering from surgery or going through a lot of pain, one needs some relief, and morphine and dilaudid are the two most commonly used drugs.
In light of this, we will address now the medical benefits of marijuana.
In an article titled, “Medical Marijuana: The Pros and Cons of Legal Cannabis” by the Huffington Post, it was stated:
“The medicinal use of marijuana is well known to be of benefit in the treatment of nausea and other side effects from chemotherapy. It also helps improve the diminished appetite that patients undergoing cancer treatment can experience. It lowers intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients, decreases spasticity and other neurologic symptoms in multiple sclerosis…
“Its value in medical practice in allopathic, herbal and homeopathic forms is an open-and-shut case. Any resistance to its medical use from the mainstream medical community is likely to be a function of political expediency because to reject it on scientific grounds is just plain silly. When we consider that physicians legally prescribe powerful and addictive drugs like morphine, codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydromorphone (Dilaudid), to name just a few, it is hard to see the justification for outlawing medical cannabis.”
According to verywell.com:
“Marijuana is effective at relieving nausea and vomiting, especially caused by chemotherapy used to treat cancer. It can relieve the spasticity of the muscles that is sometimes associated with multiple sclerosis and paralysis, help treat appetite loss associated with HIV/AIDS and certain types of cancers, relieve certain types of pain…”
The 2014 mercola.com article, titled “The Benefits of Medical Cannabis,” explains:
“A good candidate for medical cannabis are those suffering from various types of cancers, mood disorders, pain disorders, Degenerative neurological disorders such as dystonia, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, Seizure Disorders and also… nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, improving appetites for cancer and AIDs patients, reduction of pressure in the eyes, depression, cramps, panic attacks, itching, chronic pain, glaucoma (relief of eye pressure), HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea and Tourette’s syndrome.
“Research has found that, compared to other pain drugs, cannabis takes less of a toll on the liver, kidneys and possibly other organs.”
The Washington Post stated the following in an article in December of 2016, titled, “A powerful new form of medical marijuana, without the high”:
“What makes CBD [cannabidiol, an ingredient of marijuana] especially appealing is that it doesn’t get the user high… Its safety and lack of psychoactivity undermines any argument that it should be illegal… Studies have shown that CBD may have benefits in both heart disease and diabetes. One key area of CBD research is epilepsy… Patients receiving CBD in addition to their usual medicines had 39 percent fewer convulsive seizures than patients who remained on their normal drug regimen…
“German researchers showed in 2012 that giving CBD to schizophrenic patients reduced psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and disordered thinking. CBD seems to have anti-cancer properties, too. At the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco, researchers Sean McAllister and Pierre Desprez have found that CBD can block cancer cells from metastasizing…”
In February of 2017, the website of endoca.com published this article, “CBD medical marijuana without the high”:
“The cannabinoid that is most famous, or perhaps infamous, is THC or… tetrahydrocannabinol, known for the high or euphoric effect it has… But THC is only one of the many cannabinoids. Not all of them share its psychoactive properties.
“THC is used to treat pain, loss of appetite, or wasting in cancer and HIV patients, nausea and many other conditions. Generally, breeders find that cannabis plants, or hybrids of the plant, contain inverse amounts of these two compounds. In other words, strains high in CBD will be low in THC, and strains high in THC will be low in CBD. What’s more, CBD naturally counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC…”
However, patients must be aware and responsible enough to know what they are taking for whatever condition they are suffering from. They ought to be under medical supervision, and medical marijuana, if at all, should be prescribed by a licensed doctor and experienced physician who specializes in medical marijuana. It should never be obtained by other means, as the next quote explains:
Consumerhealthdigest.com states in an article, entitled, “Pros and Cons Of Using Medical Marijuana”:
“Some street dealers have been known to lace their product with powerful drugs in order to enhance the high, or its inherent potency may be higher. According to Rehab Center Rankings, there is a discrepancy between the motivations of licensed medical practitioners and drug dealers which affect the buyer’s intended outcome.”
The discussion in this article regarding the potential use of medical marijuana does not apply to recreational marijuana. Just like with anything that we do, we need to be careful and also make sure that we don’t affect our godly character. Insofar as recreational marijuana is concerned, the Church of the Eternal God and its affiliates teach against it because there is no basis for it and its use can lead to emotional and psychological problems.
Consumerhealthdigest.com continues to state:
“… marijuana has a clear tendency to diminish motivation, blunt ambition and generally stunt normal emotional growth. While it can stimulate the mind it seems to interfere with emotional maturation in some individuals. It can also cause confusion and disorganized thought patterns…
“Marijuana is well known to be able to induce anxiety disorders, including panic attacks. More rarely, when used by the wrong individuals, it may serve as a trigger for psychotic states, including schizophrenia. The problem with recreational use is that it usually happens in uncontrolled situations with no serious purposeful agenda other than to get ‘high.’”
When we apply biblical principles to the use of recreational marijuana, we need to keep these Scriptures in mind:
We are to glorify God in body and spirit and we shouldn’t intentionally do things that hurt our bodies, as recreational marijuana might do (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
We need to be sober minded, and recreational marijuana may affect our minds (1 Peter 5:8-9).
We need to discipline our bodies and keep them under control (1 Corinthians 9:27).
However, when addressing medical marijuana and its undeniable benefits, a different picture might emerge. Ultimately, as is the case with ANY medication, it is an individual decision. The Church does not take any position on the particular use of any medication, and neither endorses nor rejects it, but biblical principles should be kept in mind.
Obviously, no medication should be used which is clearly detrimental to our health, or which hurts our bodies and our minds. In the case of medical marijuana, the complicating factor emerges in the USA that it is legal in some states, while still illegal, rightly or wrongly, under federal law, and that Christians are to be subject to the law of the land, while obeying God rather than man (who wants all of us to be healthy and of a sound mind). This requires an individual decision, considering the fact that under President Obama’s directive to the DOJ, medical marijuana users are not to be prosecuted by the feds, if certain conditions are met.
Generally, we read in Genesis 1:29 that God created herbs, which are good for food and, in some cases, for medicine, and our free booklet, “Sickness and Healing… What the Bible Tells Us,” gives further examples of healing medicines in the chapter, “What about Medicines?”, beginning on page 13.
We know that God created everything but we also need to be wise in discerning the use of something made by God. Some uses of various products do not involve ingestion. God created poisonous mushrooms but we know that they are deadly as food. The same is true for the prohibited consumption of the meat of unclean animals. God created various natural plants that can be used as food, material and also as medicine. It is the individual’s decision as to what to use.
Lead Writers: Michael Link and Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
“Will the UN Prevent World War III?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
On September 19, 2017, President Trump addressed the UN and placed it on notice as to what the USA is prepared to do if the UN does not succeed. From its inception, the UN has been a failed body of competitive hostile nations. Listen to the report of an accredited journalist who attended the UN’s first conference in April of 1945 in San Francisco, and judge for yourself whether matters have greatly improved since then. The truth is, no human body will prevent World War III, but ultimately man will experience enduring peace. This program shows you why and how.
“Das Posaunenfest 2017–Missverständnisse über die Auferstehung und das Heil,” is the title of the German sermon given on the Feast of Trumpets and presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Feast of Trumpets 2017–Misunderstandings regarding the Resurrection and Salvation.”
“Was für Himmlische Zeichen?,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link.
Title in English: “What Heavenly Signs?”
The new German promo video ad for Angels, demons and the Spirit World has been posted on the Internet.
Our German sermon about the future of America and Europe (“Was demnächst in Europa und Amerika geschieht!”) has received so far over 100,500 view.
“The Time Has Come To…” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:
We live in an age of uncertainty. From one day to the next we do not know what is going to happen. But as Christians we can be fairly certain of the things that we need to accomplish on a regular basis. The time for us to accomplish things is upon us. We need to be “about our Father’s business” now more than ever. What are we busy trying to accomplish? And how can we know that we are succeeding?
Here are the dates for the remaining 2017 Fall Holy Days:
Day of Atonement—September 30
Feast of Tabernacles—October 5-11
Last Great Day—October 12
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Noelle Link, 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:
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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