Update 531 for the Week ending March 2nd, 2012

NetServices Sacrifice
Editorial Can YOU Take It?
Current Events This Week in the News
Q & A Asian Attack after Christ’s Return
Matt 28:19-20 Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

 

NetServices

Sacrifice

On March 3, 2012, Wray Zehrung will give the sermon, titled, “Sacrifice.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

Editorial

Can YOU Take It?
by Dave Harris

Is correction merely an unpleasant enduring of punishment, or do you willingly and humbly accept correction as a means of improvement?
 
A recurring theme arises in the Bible--it is what God did, does now and will continue to do to correct His people. That fact has pivotal ramifications for each one of us!
 
It is quite plain, based on the many accounts preserved in the Word of God, that mankind has stubbornly rebelled against God through disobedience to His laws. In spite of His instructions and patient warnings, people seem to--for the most part--reject God's correction. One such example is that of the people of Judah, who simply went too far in their prideful dismissal of God:
 
"And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy" (2 Chronicles 36:15-16; compare also 2 Kings 17 regarding Israel's rebellion and the terrible penalty brought upon themselves).
 
We also know that in the future, God will punish the entire earth (Isaiah 26:21)--He will send His Son Jesus Christ to accomplish this. Even during this dramatic confrontation between God and mankind, most will continue to resist God and utterly refuse to repent (compare Revelation 9:20-21; 16:9, 11).
 
Both from history and from prophecy, then, we have clear and unambiguous examples of defiant human beings who neither would nor will listen to God's warnings--but what about right now?
 
When a sermon is presented; an article written; counsel given or any number of opportunities arise to be reminded of God's Will--are we going to be the exception and actually make it personal and improve?
 
No clearer message, no more urgent admonishment calls to us from God than that given to the Church of God in Laodicea, "'As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent'" (Revelation 3:19).
 
This is correction for the people of God from Jesus Christ, the One Who is our Lord and Master--can YOU take it?

Current Events

This Week in the News

We begin with a troubling report on America’s war in Afghanistan, which claims that the US military and the government have consistently misled the American public about the true conditions on the ground. We continue with frightening articles on the terrible state of affairs of the American economy, and even though optimists proclaim a bright future, several analysts predict another recession.

We also point out that Britain faces similar dire conditions; that the government is out of money; and that a devastating new virus is killing British lambs with potentially terrible consequences for the farmers.

Turning to the European continent, the German Parliament approved another bail-out for Greece AGAINST the wish of the majority of the German people, and in spite of its generosity, Germany is being libeled and slandered by the Greek media and the Greek people, which the Germans will not tolerate for much longer.

Focusing on the Middle East, the sabre rattling in preparation of a coming war in the Middle East must not be ignored, and as so often, politics and fanaticism seem to have again the upper hand—not what may be the right or wrong course of action. But God has long determined the outcome of any such war, which would have critical prophetic consequences.

After speaking on North Korea and Japan, we continue with reports on Yoga and Homeschooling in Canada; a possible violation of privacy rights in Europe; an article about hopelessly false and ignorant concepts by most famous atheist Richard Dawkins and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, about the origin of life; and we conclude with a discussion on when human life begins. Sadly, even those who believe that human life begins with conception are unwilling to draw the correct practical consequences from such knowledge.

Utter US Failure in Afghanistan

Foreign Policy wrote on February 23:

“If observers had any doubts about the failure of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, the past several days should have put them to rest. Since Feb. 21, anti-U.S. protests have erupted in virtually every major Afghan city over the revelation that American personnel had burned Qurans at Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. installation in the country. The demonstrations have at times turned violent… This wave of protest is just the latest example of how the United States has botched its attempt to win ‘hearts and minds’ in Afghanistan…

“But that's not the message you would hear from U.S. officials… public statements made from podiums in Washington and Kabul bear little resemblance to the reality of the Afghan war… the U.S. military leadership's glowing descriptions of progress against the Taliban insurgency did not jibe with the accounts of American soldiers on the front lines of the war… U.S. officials have so thoroughly misinformed the American public ‘that the truth has become unrecognizable’ and ‘deception [has] reach[ed] an intolerable low’ [according to inside reports of Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis]…

“U.S. officials work to spin a failing war as a success story…  As Davis wrote, Gen. David Petraeus's testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee on March 15, 2011, is a textbook example of how the military misled the U.S. public… American troops are also increasingly cynical about the mission to prop up the profoundly corrupt Afghan government. Working day in and day out with Afghan officials whom they knew often funneled American taxpayer dollars to the Taliban, U.S. soldiers and civilian officials were guaranteed to experience cognitive dissonance…”

WorldNetDaily wrote on February 29:

“In a development that could chill the dedication of every soldier in the field, the U.S. government has refused to deny reports by the government of Afghanistan that NATO has agreed to have the soldiers who burned copies of the Quran face trial…

“It appears that the soldiers may not have violated Islamic law at all by their burning of the Qurans. In a PBS interview, Imam Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California, said it was acceptable to burn the Quran if it was in a state of ‘disrepair.’ ‘When Muslims want to respectfully dispose of a text of the Quran that is no longer usable, we will burn it…’”

To please fanatical fundamentalist Afghans who have murdered American soldiers in “retaliation,” by now turning some US soldiers over to the Afghan government for trial would be an absolute outcry and constitute total derogation and dereliction of US authority.

The USA Is in DEEP Financial Trouble – Per Capita Government Debt Worse Than Greece

The Weekly Standard wrote on February 23:

“The office of Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, sends along [a] chart, showing that 'America’s Per Capita Government Debt [Is] Worse Than Greece,' as well as Ireland, Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain…”

Sky-Rocketing Personal Debts

The New York Post wrote on February 26:

“More American households are falling back into the debt hole, this time without the safety net of home values to help bail them out… Last year, total US consumer debt reached its highest point in a decade… In December 2011, the total consumer debt… rose by some 9.3 percent to $2.498 trillion… These numbers… mean that many middle-class Americans are taking big risks. In a weak economy with high unemployment… many people with big card balances become vulnerable to financial catastrophe.”

Terrible Prospects of Rising Gas Prices

Reuters reported on February 26:

“A jump in energy prices is jamming the slow-turning cogs of an economic recovery in the West, but that may be nothing compared to the economic shock an Israeli attack on Iran would cause.

“Oil rose to a 10-month high above $125 a barrel Friday, prompting responses from policymakers around the world including U.S. President Barack Obama, watching U.S. gasoline prices follow crude to push toward $4 a gallon in an election year.”

More Bad News—Now Rising Water Bills

The Examiner wrote on February 27:

“First high gas prices, now water. A shocking new report about the nation's crumbling drinking water system says that Americans should expect their bills to double or triple to cover repairs just to keep their faucets pouring. That means adding up to $900 a year more for water, nearly equal the amount of the newly extended payroll tax cut… Families can expect to pay at least $300-$550 more for water in taxes and fees just to keep their current systems operating. Add growth and improved systems, and that bill jumps to $900 for a family of three… Currently, Americans pay about $400 a month in water taxes and fees…”

Economist Warns—Recession Unavoidable

CNN wrote on February 24:

“While most economists have stopped worrying that the U.S. will fall into a double-dip recession, one influential economist maintains his position that the nation won't be able to avoid a new downturn. Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, said on Friday that his research firm is sticking with the forecast it made in September: A new recession is inevitable…

“ECRI is one of the more widely respected firms on economic recessions, as it has never been wrong when forecasting that a recession would start, or failed to predict a recession well before it was widely accepted. Achuthan predicts the recession will happen even without a new shock to the economy, such as a spike in oil and gas prices… If those things occur, he says they will simply make an inevitable recession more painful. In fact, Achuthan said data gathered since his September forecast only confirms his view that economic growth has slowed to such a degree that a downturn is now unavoidable, likely by late summer…

“Achuthan's views are not widely accepted… But more than 50 years of economic data followed by his firm has shown him that when underlying growth slows to this degree, a recession always follows.”

More “Doomsayers” Give Grim Warnings of Coming Crash

USA Today wrote on February 27:

“Behind the mainstream Wall Street happy talk about more stable financial markets and an improving economy are grim warnings of tough times ahead from a small cadre of doomsayers who warn that the worst of the financial crisis is still to come. Harry Dent, author of the new book The Great Crash Ahead, says another stock market crash is coming due to a bad ending to the global debt bubble… [a] crash is coming in 2013 or 2014, he warns. ‘This will be a repeat of 2008-09, only bigger, when it finally hits…’

“Gerald Celente, a trend forecaster at the Trends Research Institute, says Americans should brace themselves for an ‘economic 9/11’ due to policymakers' inability to solve the world's financial and economic woes. The coming meltdown, he predicts, will lead to growing social unrest and anti-government sentiment, a U.S. dollar with far less purchasing power and more people out of work. Celente won't rule out another financial panic that could spark enough fear to cause a run on the nation's banks by depositors. That risk could cause the government to invoke ‘economic martial law’ and call a ‘bank holiday’ and close banks as it did during the Great Depression…

“Robert Prechter, author of Conquer the Crash, first published in 2002 and updated in 2009, is still bearish. He says today's economy has similarities to the Great Depression and warns that 1930s-style deflation is still poised to cause financial havoc. Prechter predicts that the major U.S. stock indexes, such as the Dow Jones industrials and Standard & Poor's 500, will plunge below their bear market lows hit in March 2009 during the last financial crisis. The brief recovery will fail as it did in the 1930s, he says. If he's right, stocks would lose more than half of their value. These dire forecasts differ sharply with the brighter outlooks being espoused by the bulls, or optimists, on Wall Street. Recent stock performance and fresh readings on the economy also suggest a future that is less gloomy than the doomsayers predict.”

Sadly, as the Bible clearly shows, the “bulls” or optimists on Wall Street are wrong, and the “doomsayers” are correct. But as the next articles show, Britain is facing equally tough times.

British Government Out of Money

The Telegraph reported on February 27:

“In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the [British] Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy. Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the [perilous] state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers. ‘The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,’ the Chancellor said. ‘The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.’”

New Virus Threatens Survival of Many British Farms

The Telegraph reported on February 27:

“Thousands of lambs have been killed by a new virus that is threatening the survival of many British farms. The Schmallenberg virus causes lambs to be born dead or with serious deformities such as fused limbs and twisted necks, which mean they cannot survive. Scientists are urgently trying to find out how the disease, which also affects cattle, spreads and how to fight it, as the number of farms affected increases by the day.  So far, 74 farms across southern and eastern England have been hit by the virus, which arrived in this country in January. A thousand farms in Europe have reported cases since the first signs of the virus were seen in the German town of Schmallenberg last summer.

“The National Farmers Union has called it a potential ‘catastrophe’ and warned farmers to be vigilant. ‘This is a ticking time bomb,’ said Alastair Mackintosh, of the NFU… Infected ewes do not show any symptoms of the virus until they give birth, with horrific results…

“Farmers fear the disease may spread to larger flocks in the north of England, Wales and Scotland. In Europe, Germany, Holland and France have suffered worst, while recent cases have been reported in Italy and Luxembourg… There are also fears that the virus may be seen later this year among cows, which have a longer gestation period… there is no vaccine, and Defra says a ban on imports would not work, because the disease ‘is already here’…

“The AHVLA identifies Schmallenberg as one of a group of viruses ‘typically primarily spread by biting insect vectors, such as midges and mosquitoes, although the routes of Schmallenberg virus transmission have not yet been confirmed. The potential for direct transmission (ie direct from one animal to another) is therefore, as yet, unknown.’”

The economic problems should not be underestimated, either. The Telegraph wrote:

“On the Continent, some farms have lost half of their lambs. So far the worst hit in Britain have lost 20 per cent… Approximately 16 million lambs are born in Britain every year and sell at market for about £100 each. The effect of the disease on farms that are already struggling in the downturn could be severe.

“‘For any business to lose 20 per cent of your stock would be a huge blow… For a farmer to lose 20 per cent of your flock is catastrophic. If it was 50 per cent you would be put out of action…’ [said Alastair Mackintosh, of the National Farmers Union].”

German Parliament Approves Greek Bailout Against the Will of the People

BBC News reported on February 27:

“German MPs have voted by 496 to 90 to back the second EU/IMF bailout for Greece. Chancellor Angela Merkel had urged them to back the deal, while conceding there was ‘no 100% guarantee’ it would work… Germany will have to pay more than any other country for the 130bn euro ($173bn; £110bn) package, agreed by eurozone states last week. Although the Bundestag (lower house) had the power to block the bailout, it was always expected to go through because of the support of two opposition parties, the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens…

“Under the front-page headline ‘Stop’, Germany's mass circulation Bild newspaper made a direct appeal to parliament: ‘Don't keep on going the wrong way.’ An opinion poll for Bild's Sunday edition suggested that 62% of those surveyed wanted MPs to vote against the package… Mrs Merkel told the Bundestag that she was aware that people were concerned that Greece was a ‘hopeless case’ and that the eurozone would be better off without it. But she had come to the conclusion that ‘the opportunities of this new package outweighed the risks. No-one can predict what the repercussions of a disorderly default would be for all of us and also for the people of Germany.’”

Bild wrote on February 27:

"Against its better judgment, Europe is pouring money into a bottomless barrel. Europe can only master this crisis if it does what most experts have long been demanding. The Greek economy can only become competitive and resume growth with its own currency -- not with the strong euro. Continuing with the old recipes won't work. That is why today's parliamentary vote [is] bad for Greece, bad for Germany and bad for Europe."

The Berliner Zeitung wrote on February 27:

"Let's remain realistic. Greece won't manage to get back on its feet even with the second bailout package. The planned debt cut won't be enough, the reforms aren't getting underway and the country is breaking down under the weight of the austerity programs… A Greek exit from the euro zone would not end the EU's solidarity with Greece. That's because Greece could still count on help from its EU partners. The rescue could end up being cheaper and -- far more importantly -- less painful for the Greeks.”

Der Spiegel Online added on February 27:

“In a slight setback for Angela Merkel, the chancellor failed to secure an absolute majority within her own government coalition. A total of 304 members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) voted in favor of the bailout, but 311 were required for a majority. Within the CDU/CSU bloc, 13 politicians rejected the bailout, with four members of the FDP joining them to oppose it. Ultimately, Merkel had to rely on opposition support.”

One must ask how long the German Parliament and Government can proceed as they do in light of growing opposition from the people. And as the next article shows, the criticism and verbal attacks on the “German villain” will not convince many Germans that continuing to help those ungrateful countries is the best course of action.

Germany—The New Villain

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 27:

“The German parliament… approve[d] a new multibillion euro bailout package for Greece on Monday, but instead of thanks, southern Europeans are expressing their dislike of us. Germans will have to get used to their new role: We have become the Americans of Europe…

“Sentiment towards the Germans isn't very good… right now. Hardly a day goes by without Chancellor Angela Merkel being depicted in a Nazi uniform somewhere. Swastikas are a common sight as well. It doesn't seem to help at all that we faithfully approve one aid package after the other… A good deal of the €130 billion [which were] approved by the German parliament on Monday will never be seen again. But if you read the editorial pages of newspapers in the crisis regions, for whom this money is intended, you would be led to believe that we are out to achieve what our grandfathers failed to do 70 years ago…

“It won't be long before they start burning German flags. But wait, they're already doing that. Previously we had only known that from Arab countries, where the youth would take every opportunity to run through the streets to rage against that great Satan, the USA. But that's how things go when others consider a country to be too successful, too self-confident and too strong. We've now become the Americans of Europe. The role reversal won't be an easy one either -- it is already safe to say that today. We Germans are accustomed to having people admire us for our efficiency and industriousness -- and not to hate us for it.

“But before we complain too much about all this ingratitude, we should remind ourselves that we ourselves spent years passing the buck. As long as the global villain was America, the Germans joined in when it came to feeling good at the expense of others. The Americans also had every reason to expect a little more gratitude -- after all, it was their soldiers who had to intervene when a dictator somewhere lived out his bloody fantasies while the international community stood by wringing its hands.

“People came to secretly rely on the USA as a global cop in the same way that Germany's neighbors are now expecting the Germans to save the euro. Unfortunately, however, the feeling of inferiority can be just as vicious as that of superiority. Of course, one can try to make oneself seem smaller than one really is. But this self-denial doesn't work. The Americans weren't much more popular under Jimmy Carter than they were under Ronald Reagan… Obama's election also didn't do a whole lot to help the US' image in the longer term. A giant can't conceal his size for long… We will probably just have to get used to the fact that, for a time, Germany won't be very popular in some countries in Europe…”

It is interesting that Germany is now described negatively as the “America of Europe”—showing the deep and ongoing antagonism of many Europeans towards America. These feelings are neither grateful nor justified.

“The Evil Spirits of the Past… Can Always Return”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 28:

“Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, one of the architects of the European single currency, has stepped into the German debate about the wisdom of providing Greece with further aid. On Tuesday, he urged Germany to stay committed to European unity, which he said remained a matter of war and peace, even 67 years after the end of World War II… Kohl repeated his mantra that the euro was about nothing less than preventing war…

“‘The evil spirits of the past have by no means been banished, they can always return. That means: Europe remains a question of war and peace and the desire for peace remains the driving force behind European integration,’ wrote Kohl… ‘Europe is our future,’ Kohl wrote. ‘There is no alternative to Europe. We have every reason to be optimistic that our Europe will emerge strengthened from this current crisis -- if we want it to. Let us not be misled.’”

Germany the Unquestioned Boss of Europe

The Los Angeles Times wrote on February 27:

“For nearly 70 years, Germany’s grand national ambition has basically been not to have one. After losing two world wars and carrying out a horrific genocide, the country set to working its way back into the European fold, content to focus on rebuilding its shattered economy while dutifully leaving continental leadership to the likes of France. The plan has been a roaring success — so much so that, in one of history's great ironies, Germany today finds itself right back where it wasn't supposed to be: dominating Europe.

“As the region's richest, most populous nation, with control over purse strings rather than panzers, Germany is the unquestioned boss amid Europe's stubborn debt crisis and deepening economic malaise… Potentially the fate of the global economy now lies in Germany's hands as it heads the effort to keep heavily indebted Greece (where people mutter about a ‘Fourth Reich’) from going under and pulling down other Eurozone countries with it. On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel successfully steered approval for a $175-billion Greek bailout through the German Parliament, a deeply divisive measure for German taxpayers who will foot more than half the bill.

“Even so, President Obama and other world leaders are urging Germany to contribute even more to a permanent European bailout fund that might stanch the debt crisis…

“The leadership role thrust onto Germany is turning out to be a minefield in many ways, complicated by the nation's past. Berlin is caught in a classic damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't position, its every move fodder for critics eager to spot signs either of Teutonic belligerence or a failure to exercise power responsibly… The plan that Europe is pursuing to save the euro currency bears an unmistakably German stamp… Despite the growing chorus of detractors and indicators showing that austerity is strangling economic growth in ailing nations, Merkel has refused to yield, and no fellow European leader has been strong enough to overrule her.

"‘She's the queen of Europe,’ said Josef Joffe, editor of the newspaper Die Zeit. Gone are the days when Germany was considered an economic giant but a political dwarf, as the cliche had it, Joffe said. ‘In an age where economic power suddenly moves to the fore, as it has in the last 18 months, the economic giant also becomes a political giant.'”

Coming--New War in the Middle East…

Fox News wrote on February 25:

“An Israeli pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear sites could draw the U.S. into a new Middle East conflict, a prospect dreaded by a war-weary Pentagon wary of new entanglements. That could mean pressing into service the top tier of American firepower -- warplanes, warships, special operations forces and possibly airborne infantry -- with unpredictable outcomes in one of the world's most volatile regions.”

The Guardian wrote on February 25:

“Iran has warned Israel against mounting an attack on its nuclear facilities amid rising international tension over its uranium enrichment programme. General Ahmad Vahidi issued a statement warning Israel that an attack would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state.”

The Economist wrote on February 25:

“The crisis has been a long time coming… Israel has nuclear weapons itself, including submarine-based weapons that could posthumously annihilate any aggressor who destroyed the country. But this deterrent is not enough to stop Israelis from seeing a nuclear Iran as the precursor to a second holocaust. The problem is that military action will not necessarily bring about what Israel wants—and could, in the medium to long term, make matters worse…

“Then there is the American presidential election. Like the Bush administration before it, Barack Obama’s White House sees Iran’s nuclear ambitions as a huge concern. But it worries that the consequences of an attack on Iran, whether by Israel or America, are unpredictable and scary: oil prices would rocket—at least for a while—endangering the economic recovery; allies in the Gulf already shaken by the Arab spring could be further destabilised; jihadist terrorism could be re-energised…

“But the election may give Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, something to bargain with. In the face of a hawkish Republican rival and in front of an electorate that is in parts fiercely pro-Israel, Mr Obama may feel he has to welcome, or even build on, an Israeli fait accompli in a way he would not have done earlier…”

It is so sad that the American election should have any influence on a decision whether or not to go to war—but sadly, in this politically motivated climate, the question of right or wrong far too often escapes the decision-making process. In fact, A-7 News reported on March 1, 2012 that “U.S. military officials say that America is preparing a plan to strike Iranian nuclear targets in the event that sanctions fail to persuade Tehran to halt its hurtle towards atomic development.”

Israel Won’t Inform USA Ahead of Military Action Against Iran

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the United States would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel's potential attack… But the apparent decision to keep the United States in the dark also stems from Israel's frustration with the White House… they became convinced the Americans would neither take military action, nor go along with unilateral action by Israel against Iran. The Israelis concluded they would have to conduct a strike unilaterally…”

Clashes at the Temple Mount

The Jerusalem Post wrote on February 24:

“A Palestinian protester died after being shot in the chest at the Kalandia checkpoint near Jerusalem as clashes with police beginning at the Temple Mount spread through the area… Security forces used force to disperse hundreds of Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount on Friday who rioted and threw stones following a tense week in the Old City… A number of youth barricaded themselves inside the mosque during the rioting, and dozens of police who responded to the incident used stun grenades and other riot control methods to disperse the crowd…

“A website called ‘Our Temple Mount’ has publicized a number of events at the Temple Mount encouraging religious Jews to go up to the site in order to exercise Jewish sovereignty over the religious area. The site advocates for destroying any Muslim buildings in order to rebuild the Third Temple…

“On Sunday, a group of approximately 50 Arabs threw stones at Christian tourists and police patrols, prompted by reports in the Jordanian press of more attempts by right-wing activists to ascend to the Temple Mount. Police arrested 24 people during the day on Sunday in connection with the stone throwing…”

Fundamental radicals, including Arabs and Israelis and even some “Christian” organizations, are playing with fire which could ignite the entire region.

North Korea—Cautious Optimism?

Deutsche Welle reported on March 1:

“The sudden agreement between the US and North Korea over its nuclear program was a positive surprise to many, but the reaction in Washington is still cautious… With the new bilateral agreement, North Korea has agreed to stop nuclear testing, stop building long-range missiles and stop enriching uranium, and has promised to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit its Yongbyon nuclear research center… The US has taken care to say that the 240,000 tons of humanitarian aid being shipped to North Korea is not a reward for its statement on the nuclear program… few people believe that North Korea really will give up its nuclear ambitions.”

“How Do You Clean Up After a Nuclear Disaster?”

PBS reported on February 28:

“The events last March in Japan couldn’t have presented Japan with a more difficult task. After record-setting earthquake, a massive tsunami and a nuclear disaster comparable in scale only to the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, how do you wrap your head around making once-vibrant villages habitable again? Where do you even begin?... Currently, there’s a 20 km (12 mile) exclusion zone around Fukushima Daiichi. No one is allowed to live inside it, and workers are bused in at all hours of the day and night to work at the plant. The goal is for the 80,000 or so residents forced to evacuate to eventually be able to return.

“Decontamination has never been done on such a large scale before. The only other nuclear accident to be rated a 7, the highest on the international scale, was Chernobyl in 1986 in Ukraine. In that case, the decision was made to evacuate the area — about 20 miles surrounding the plant — permanently. A protective sarcophagus was built around the plant, which is currently being updated because the original is crumbling…

“First you have to stabilize the nuclear reactors while limiting the release of radioactive materials. In part this requires keeping the nuclear fuel cool, until temperatures in the reactors reach 100 degrees Celsius or below — a point known as ‘cold shutdown.’ Three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi reached this mark last December, though because of leaks, a half-million liters of water is still being pumped in each day.

“Because of the initial flooding after the tsunami, and the gallons and gallons of water injected into the reactors, there was — and likely still is — radioactive water in the reactors. A lot of it…

 “Even if Japan’s nuclear crisis is contained, its earthquake and tsunami now seem certain to be, economically speaking, among the worst national disasters in history… [an] estimate right after the disaster placed the cost closer to 25 trillion yen, or $300 billion — four times the cost of cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina. In addition, containing and cleaning any radioactive material could cost $10 billion alone…

“Removing fuel that has melted in the Fukushima Daichii reactors will likely take 25 years. Decommissioning the plant will add another five to 10 years to this process… Japan’s government is currently working to establish long-term storage facilities, which will last about 30 years, but it estimates that their construction will take at least three more years…”

This article is astounding! The amount of time and the cost for this clean-up are staggering. It gives us a glimpse as to the momentous task ahead of us, after Christ has returned, to deal with the nuclear devastation which this world will have brought upon itself.

“Yoga Began as a Sex Cult”

The New York Times wrote on February 27:

“The wholesome image of yoga took a hit in the past few weeks as a rising star of the discipline came tumbling back to earth. After accusations of sexual impropriety with female students, John Friend, the founder of Anusara, one of the world’s fastest-growing styles, told followers that he was stepping down for an indefinite period of ‘self-reflection, therapy and personal retreat’…  this is hardly the first time that yoga’s enlightened facade has been cracked by sexual scandal. Why does yoga produce so many philanderers? And why do the resulting uproars leave so many people shocked and distraught?

“One factor is ignorance. Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult — an omission that leaves many practitioners open to libidinal surprise. Hatha yoga — the parent of the styles now practiced around the globe — began as a branch of Tantra. In medieval India, Tantra devotees sought to fuse the male and female aspects of the cosmos into a blissful state of consciousness.

“The rites of Tantric cults, while often steeped in symbolism, could also include group and individual sex… Candidates for worship included actresses and prostitutes, as well as the sisters of practitioners. Hatha originated as a way to speed the Tantric agenda. It used poses, deep breathing and stimulating acts — including intercourse — to hasten rapturous bliss. In time, Tantra and Hatha developed bad reputations. The main charge was that practitioners indulged in sexual debauchery under the pretext of spirituality.

“Early in the 20th century, the founders of modern yoga worked hard to remove the Tantric stain… modern practitioners have embraced a whitewashed simulacrum of Hatha. But over the decades, many have discovered from personal experience that the practice can fan the sexual flames…Since the baby boomers discovered yoga, the arousal, sweating, heavy breathing and states of undress that characterize yoga classes have led to predictable results. In 1995, sex between students and teachers became so prevalent that the California Yoga Teachers Association deplored it as immoral and called for high standards…

“If yoga can arouse everyday practitioners, it apparently has similar, if not greater, effects on gurus — often charming extroverts in excellent physical condition, some enthusiastic for veneration…

“Swami Muktananda (1908-82) was an Indian man of great charisma who favored dark glasses and gaudy robes. At the height of his fame, around 1980, he attracted many thousands of devotees — including movie stars and political celebrities — and succeeded in setting up a network of hundreds of ashrams and meditation centers around the globe. He kept his main shrines in California and New York. In late 1981, when a senior aide charged that the venerated yogi was in fact a serial philanderer and sexual hypocrite who used threats of violence to hide his duplicity, Mr. Muktananda defended himself as a persecuted saint, and soon died of heart failure…

“Another case involved Swami Rama (1925-96), a tall man with a strikingly handsome face. In 1994, one of his victims filed a lawsuit charging that he had initiated abuse at his Pennsylvania ashram when she was 19. In 1997, shortly after his death, a jury awarded the woman nearly $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

“So, too, former devotees at Kripalu, a Berkshires ashram, won more than $2.5 million after its longtime guru — a man who gave impassioned talks on the spiritual value of chastity — confessed to multiple affairs…”

The article speaks for itself…

Homeschooling in Canada Must Not Tell It as It Is

LifeSiteNews reported on February 28:

“Homeschooling families will soon be forbidden from teaching that homosexual sex is sinful as part of their schooling program, according to the government of Alberta, Canada. Under the province’s Education Act, homeschoolers and religious schools will be banned from ‘disrespecting’ people’s differences…  ‘Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,’ said Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications. ‘You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction.’

“…when McColl was asked… to explain the distinction between homeschoolers’ education and their family life, she replied that the question involved ‘real nuances’ and said she would need to get back to reporter with specifics… In 2009, the Alberta Human Rights Act was amended to classify marriage as an institution between two ‘persons,’ rather than a man and a woman.”

Google In Breach of EU Privacy Laws?

BBC News reported on March 1:

“Changes made by Google to its privacy policy are in breach of European law, the EU's justice commissioner has said… The policy change, implemented on Thursday, means private data collected by one Google service can be shared with its other platforms including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger…

“Google… went ahead with the changes despite warnings from the EU earlier this week. Data regulators in France had cast doubt on the legality of the move and launched a Europe-wide investigation. More than 60 sets of guidelines for its individual Google-owned sites were merged into a single policy for all of its services. It means browsing data and web history, which is gathered when a user is signed in with a Google account, can be shared across all of the websites…”

Dawkins and Williams Terribly Wrong

The Telegraph wrote on February 24:

"Richard Dawkins… is regarded as the most famous atheist in the world but last night [he] admitted he could not be sure that God does not exist. He told the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that he preferred to call himself an agnostic rather than an atheist… For an hour and 20 minutes the two men… discussed ‘The nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin’ touching on the meaning of consciousness, the evolution…

“Prof Dawkins told him: ‘What I can’t understand is why you can’t see the extraordinary beauty of the idea that life started from nothing – that is such a staggering, elegant, beautiful thing, why would you want to clutter it up with something so messy as a God?’ Dr Williams replied that he ‘entirely agreed’ with the ‘beauty’ of Prof Dawkins’s argument but added: ‘I’m not talking about God as an extra who you shoehorn on to that’…

“During a wide-ranging discussion the Archbishop also said that he believed that human beings had evolved from non-human ancestors but were nevertheless ‘in the image of God’. He also said that the explanation for the creation of the world in the Book of Genesis could not be taken literally. ‘The writers of the Bible, inspired as I believe they were, they were nonetheless not inspired to do 21st Century physics,’ he said.”

That the leader of the Anglican Church should deny the Genesis account and accept instead the false teaching of the evolution theory shows once more the terrible state of affairs of our “Christian” world, which is rejecting the Word of God so that it can uphold its own traditions. But neither Atheists and Agnostics, nor “Christian” leaders seem to understand that their denial of God’s Word is at least partially responsible for the lack of standards and morals with which we are confronted today. Please view our new StandingWatch program on this often-overlooked connection, titled, “Religious and Scientific Deceptions”

Human Life Begins at Conception

The New American wrote on February 20:

“Lawmakers in Virginia and Oklahoma approved ‘personhood’ legislation last week to recognize that human life begins at conception, drawing praise from pro-life activists and fury from abortion advocates. Analysts say neither of the bills would immediately ban abortions, but a prohibition would kick in if and when the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade ruling is undone…

“Both Colorado and Mississippi held popular elections to decide whether to amend their state constitutions to legally recognize the personhood of unborn children. Those measures failed.

“… state legislatures across America have been taking more and more action in recent years to protect the unborn… Americans overwhelmingly support restrictions on abortion… it appears increasingly likely that America’s four decades of legalized abortion will come to an end sooner or later…”

The question of when human life begins is not just a theoretical concept which can be used, at will,  in political campaigns in order to gain votes. It is a fundamentally important question. When human life begins with conception—which it does!—then every act to destroy such conceived life is murder, as it is the killing of helpless innocent human life. This does not only include abortion for ANY reason, but also the taking of contraceptives after conception. It seems that very few agree with God’s Word that the taking of innocent helpless human life is ALWAYS wrong—under ANY circumstance. This truth includes so many facets of life—for instance the killing of innocent civilians in war. Since every war leads to the killing of innocent people, every war, fought by humans, is wrong for that reason alone. This is not only true for aggressive or preemptive wars, but also for so-called defensive wars, even though “Christian” churches may justify those. As no political candidate or governmental leader holds such wide-ranging, godly positions, we feel compelled not to vote for ANY political candidate for THAT reason alone… but there exists a myriad of additional reasons as well.

Q & A

Does Ezekiel 38 describe events before, during or after the Millennium?

The events described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 will occur after Christ’s return, at the very beginning of His rule over mankind—not 1,000 years later. In a previous Q&A, we discussed the fact that Jesus Christ will have to complete 3 ½ years of His public ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, before His rule over all nations in the Millennium can really begin to flourish. We saw that Christ will free the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah from captivity and bring them into the Promised Land. They will build the waste cities and inhabit them, live in peace and safety, and God will forgive all their iniquities and enter with them into the conditions of the new covenant.

To live God’s way of life is a learning process. For instance, we read in the book of Isaiah, that Gentile nations will hear about the law of God which will be taught by Christ in Jerusalem, and they will flock there to learn God’s laws as well (Isaiah 2:1-3). They will reach the point when they do not want to learn war anymore (verse 4). We also read that some nations will at first refuse to live by God’s law to observe His annual holy days (Zechariah 14:16-19). So Jesus will have to deal with all these problems.

We must view the events described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 in this light. We read that a great army from mostly Far Eastern countries will try to fight against the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah who had returned to the Promised Land and who will be living peacefully. God will allow those Gentile nations to advance against Jerusalem for several reasons. He will show these nations that He is LORD and that war and rebellion will not be permitted under Christ’s rule—so He will deal with those hostile armies very quickly. Also note that these events will apparently take place during the remaining 3 ½ years of Christ’s public ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This ministry will include, first and foremost, the important teaching that man is not to fight in war—ever. Before Israel can become an example of peaceful coexistence with other nations, it has to learn and embrace this understanding itself. After all, Israel has been a war-waging nation throughout most of its existence, without ever really trusting in God that He would fight their battles for them. Christ told Peter to put his sword away (Matthew 26:52), and this is the same teaching which Christ will bring to all of the survivors of Israel and Judah, as well as to the rest of the world.

We published a Q&A on the timing of the events, as described in the 38th and 39th chapters of the book of Ezekiel. Let us quote here from this Q&A:

“Ezekiel 38:8, 16, tells us that the events will occur ‘in the latter years’ or in the ‘latter days.’ Verse 8 emphasizes that it will happen at the time when those living in the land have been ‘brought back from the sword and gathered from among many people.’ We are also told that ‘they were brought out of the nations’ and led to ‘the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate.’ It is emphasized that they are NOW dwelling ‘safely.’ Verse 12 also reiterates that these former ‘waste places’ are ‘again inhabited,’ and that the people of Israel, who were gathered from the nations, ‘have acquired livestock and goods.’ Since there will be no desolate mountains of Israel throughout the Millennium, and since the people of Israel have been living in safety during the Millennium, and since they were gathered out of the nations and brought to the Promised Land at the time of Christ's return, it is clear that the events described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 do not occur 1,000 years AFTER Christ's return.”

At the same time, it is evident that these events do NOT take place PRIOR to Christ’s return. Continuing with our Q&A on Ezekiel 38 and 39:

“We read in Ezekiel 38:11 that the people of Israel will live in ‘unwalled villages’; that they are a ‘peaceful people, who dwell safely,’ ‘without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.’ This shows that the events will not occur PRIOR to Christ's return, as the modern descendants of the houses of Israel and Judah -- mainly the USA, Great Britain, Canada and the state of Israel--do not live in peace today, and they will not live in peace, without walls, bars or gates, prior to Christ's return (For proof, please read our free booklets, ‘The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,’ and ‘The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.’)… Also, Ezekiel 38:8 refers to the ‘mountains of Israel’ where the modern houses of Israel and Judah will live at that time--but the modern house of Israel does not presently reside there at all, nor will they live there prior to Christ's return.”

To fully grasp the importance of the events, which are described in Ezekiel 38 and 39, we must realize that God will be intervening very mightily. He will show mankind that He does not need their help in fighting against His enemies, as Moses told the Israelites at the time of their Exodus from Egypt: “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:14).

We say in our Q&A on Ezekiel 38 and 39:

“Ezekiel 39 emphasizes in numerous places that God will destroy the invading army, and that because of God's intervention, the nations, and especially the nation of Israel, will know that He is the Lord. Verse 22 states: ‘So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward.’ This is clearly a reference to the BEGINNING of the Millennium--not to the END when God has ruled over the world and Israel for 1,000 years. Verses 23-29 add that the Gentiles will know by then that ‘the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity’--a reference to the coming slavery of the modern house of Israel, prior to Christ's return. Christ will free the modern nations of Israel and Judah out of their slavery when He returns--not 1,000 years later (compare verses 25, 27-28). It is THEN that God will begin to convert the survivors of the modern houses of Israel and Judah (verse 29)--not 1,000 years later.”

In our Q&A on the timing of the events in Ezekiel 38 and 39, we also identify the Gentile nations mentioned in these passages which will build a coalition against Israel and Judah. They include peoples from China, Russia, Iran, Libya, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, as well as peoples from the vast regions in northern Eurasia extending from the Baltic to the Pacific. As we put it in our Q&A, “But when they attack, GOD will do the fighting for His people… He would do the same for our peoples today, if we would only let Him do so, submit to HIM and be obedient to His commands.”

We also briefly allude to another attack of hostile armies against the camp of the saints in Jerusalem at the very END of the Millennium, stating the following:

“A similar… attack on Jerusalem will occur about 1,000 years later, after Satan has been ‘released from his prison’… He will ‘go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea’ (Revelation 20:7-8). As they did 1,000 years earlier, they will try to conquer Jerusalem, but God will destroy them (verse 9). Again, no human being will fight against those warring and attacking nations--it will be GOD who will do the fighting for His people. This is the last time that we read that humans--deceived by Satan the devil--will fight. Satan will be removed forever, unable to deceive humans anymore to fight and kill in war. Ultimately, ‘God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’ (Revelation 21:4).”

At the beginning of the Millennium, after Christ has returned and while He is fulfilling the remaining 3 ½ years of His public ministry, hostile nations will try to attack Israel and Judah because they still have Satanically-inspired feelings and habits to contend with. When moving ahead 1,000 years, the peoples in the Millennium did not know Satan and his demons who were imprisoned during that time. They were unaware of Satan and his evil devices. Once he is released from prison for a short while, he goes out to deceive the nations, as he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. And as Eve fell for Satan, so will those people, choosing to believe Satan rather than God. Having lived all this time in a peaceful “Garden of Eden,” they still want to believe Satan. This shows us how powerful Satan is, and we must never underestimate him. Today, he is still very much free, roaming around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). But God will make a quick end to Satan’s influence then, as He promised to do for us now, if we are submitting to God and let Him fight our battles (James 4:7; Romans 16:20).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Matt 28:19-20

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

New Video Programs

A new StandingWatch program was posted on YouTube and on our Website www.standingwatch.org. It is titled, “Religious and Scientific Deceptions.” In a recent public debate on the origin of life between the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, both gentlemen presented utterly false ideas. The wrong concept that man has evolved from non-humans, whether by accident or with godly involvement, rejects God's Word and has contributed to a world without true moral and ethical standards.

A new German sermon was posted on YouTube, titled, “Weinen Hat Seine Zeit!” (“A Time to Weep”).

New Radio Programs

Three new radio programs (Numbers 15, 16 and 17) were recorded this week, titled, “Why Did the Father Forsake Christ?”, “Was Christ a Hippie?” and “Why No Moral Standards?”
They will be broadcast, respectively, beginning Sunday, April 8, 15 and 22, 2012. Our radio broadcasts are being posted on our Website, www.standingwatch.org.

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, Joan Pope, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Noelle Link, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Regular Contributors: Terry and Connie Grade, Kalon Mitchell

How This Work is Being Financed:

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermon tapes, 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 2111, Derby DE1 1ZR, England

Matthew 5:14

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