I was recently listening to the radio in the car and just caught the end of a conversation. I thought that I had heard everything but this was extreme. It was said that there were over 50 sexual orientation descriptions. I had read that a school in England a while ago had given a questionnaire to young people to see how they saw themselves from a list of over 20 definitions which, in itself was staggering, but over 50?

When I got home I googled this.   What I found was that the website stated the following: “It’s Complicated.  What Each of Facebook’s 51 New Gender Options Means.  For ten years, the social network limited billions of people identifying as either male or female. Now there are dozens of terms to pick from. Here’s how to understand them all.”   It then lists the definitions of all 51 genders.

Reading some of these definitions would be very amusing if it wasn’t so serious. I wonder how many reading this editorial, who have Facebook accounts, realised that Facebook was into this sort of thing?   It was quite shocking to think a seemingly harmless social networking site had been willing to go along with such perversion, and a site which now has two billion active users which is quite a sphere of influence!

As Christians, we should always ask ourselves: “Is this in accordance with Biblical instruction?” and “What must God think about this?”

First of all, we know that in the beginning God created man and woman (see Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:21-24). He didn’t create 51 different genders, He created just two, and in Genesis 1:31 we read: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…”  Therefore, God created just two genders, and to God it was very good!

Man comes along and two genders are not good enough for him. Of course, it has taken nearly 6,000 years to get to this stage, but it has been in the pipeline for quite some time with this being foisted on humanity through the “frog in boiling water” principle, and we know who is really the author of it all.  It is confusion.

God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), but Satan is. He is the author of all that is wrong and evil; he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44); he deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9); and “he has great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time,” referring to the end of this age (Revelation 12:12). Just about everything that is wrong in society has Satan at the root of it all, and giving a list of 51 supposed different gender definitions causes confusion–and it IS confusion.

This sort of nonsense is another sign of how far society has degenerated, but unfortunately, it is now common currency with the younger generation who have had this foisted on them without realising it.  In fact, for many, it seems to be a badge of honour to be different from normality – and the Way of God! How tough it must be for parents with young children today who, if they realise it is perversion, have to combat this approach and mindset.

It is yet another manifestation of Isaiah 5:20-21: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” This gender confusion fits into this category perfectly.

Let us make sure that we recognise the ruses of Satan at this end time, of which this is one!

The Week in the News

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Refuses to Lift Stay

The New York Post wrote on February 9:

“Three federal appeals judges unanimously upheld a decision that slammed the brakes on President Trump’s refugee and immigration ban — and he furiously fired back on Twitter that he would continue the fight in court.

“The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco means the temporary travel ban — which caused chaos and massive protests at airports across the US — cannot go into effect without further litigation. 

“‘The Government has pointed to no evidence that an alien of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,’ the three-member panel wrote. ‘Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all. We disagree.’ [In footnote 7 on page 27, the Court also addressed and rejected the argument that the Executive Order was justified as these countries had been previously declared as countries of concern in 2015 and 2016.]

“Trump responded in an all-caps post on Twitter: ‘SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!’ Trump said.

“He later told NBC the ruling was a ‘political decision’ and predicted ‘we’re gonna win the case.’

“The judges — who included one Republican — said that the states of Washington and Minnesota had shown that even temporary reinstatement of the ban would cause harm to their citizens. And the judges also took issue with the administration’s argument that the president had near absolute power over the nation’s borders and immigration policies…

“Trump has insisted his travel ban wasn’t aimed at Muslims. But the appeals judges said that issue remains to be decided. ‘The States have offered evidence of numerous statements by the President about his intent to implement a “Muslim ban” as well as evidence they claim suggests that the Executive Order was intended to be that ban,’ the judges wrote…”

The Los Angeles Times added on February 9:

“The court said the states were likely to succeed in their due process claim, noting that the due process protections provided under the Constitution apply not only to citizens, but to all ‘aliens’ in the country as well, as well as ‘certain aliens attempting to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.’”

Deutsche Welle added on February 9:

“The San Francisco court decision was not about the ban itself, but about whether it should be allowed to go into effect immediately.”

The Court Order includes many citations of case law, including decisions pertaining to the unconstitutionality of detention camps for Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II, and of denying passports to American members of the Communist Party despite national security concerns. 

For the entire 29-page order of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, refusing to lift the stay on the Executive Order, see this link:

We also include below several articles which were published prior to the decision of the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals.

Assessing Limits of Trump’s Executive Order in Light of Emergency Court Rulings

The Daily Journal wrote on February 6:

Seven emergency injunctions preventing parts of the President Donald J. Trump’s executive order on immigrant travel from being implemented have left attorneys scrambling to figure out who is affected, who is protected, and whether the government has complied with the rulings so far in sending some visa holders back to their home countries. Judges in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Detroit, New York, and Alexandria, Virginia have weighed in on the Jan. 27 order, with some tailoring their rulings more narrowly than others… What remains unclear about the various injunctions’ reach is the definition of ‘valid visa’ at the time each judge’s order took effect.

“That’s because within hours of Trump signing his executive order on Jan. 27, the State Department ‘provisionally revoke[d] all valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen,’ according to a letter published that day by Edward J. Ramotowski, deputy assistant secretary of the Department of State Bureau of Consulate Affairs. ‘Those visas are not valid for travel to or entry into the United States beginning Jan. 27,’ according to the department website. About 60,000 visas were preliminarily revoked, the State Department has said. As yet, no additional government statements have elucidated the meaning of ‘provisionally revoked.’”

Briefs Pour in Opposing Travel Ban

The Daily Journal wrote on February 7:

“… nearly 300 colleges, 100 technology companies, 16 state attorneys general and a host of civil rights organizations voiced their opposition to the ban in amicus briefs filed over the weekend. The legal argument behind each filing varies, with some focusing on the potential economic impacts, some focusing on the order’s alleged legal failings, while others raise concerns over human rights violations…

“Americans United claims the ban, which blocks entry for immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibiting Congress from establishing an official religion… The Korematsu Center, a social justice advocacy group, said the order relies on the plenary power doctrine, which holds that the legislative and executive branches are solely responsible for regulating immigration. Their brief criticized the doctrine as inapplicable and ‘a relic of an odious past that has no role in modern American jurisprudence.’… A coalition of 16 state attorneys general filed a brief Monday arguing the ban would undermine state law, as in many cases it would require a state to defy its own anti-discrimination law to stay in line with the federal order… Separate briefs filed by a coalition of law professors and clinicians and a group of nearly 100 tech companies emphasized the potential economic impacts of the ban…

“[Professor Andrew J. Pincus’] brief, signed by 292 universities nationwide, claims the ban would severely impact students from the seven affected countries, who would be prohibited from traveling outside the U.S. for academic or personal reasons out of ‘fear that they may fall out of legal status and suffer deportation.’ ‘Furthermore, if international students from the seven banned countries are no longer able to attend school in the U.S., either because they are denied entry to the country or their visas expire, our universities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars,’ the professors wrote in their brief.”

The New York Times added on February 5:

“In its argument for an appeal, the Justice Department had said the president had an ‘unreviewable authority’ to suspend the entry of any class of foreigners…”

Trump’s Attacks on Judges Will Backfire

The New York Times wrote on February 8:

“President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at federal judges considering a challenge to his executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, as his Supreme Court nominee called Mr. Trump’s attacks on the independent judiciary ‘demoralizing’ and ‘disheartening.’

“Mr. Trump escalated his public feud with the courts over his immigration order, saying that he had found a federal appeals court hearing on his executive order Tuesday night ‘disgraceful,’ and that the judges had failed to grasp concepts even ‘a bad high school student would understand.’

“The comments were a remarkable show of disdain by a sitting president for an independent judiciary, and they came at an awkward time for Mr. Trump, just as his newly selected nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the federal appeals court in Denver, was meeting with senators on Capitol Hill in the hopes of gaining support for his confirmation.

“Judge Gorsuch told Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, that he objected to Mr. Trump’s harsh criticism of the courts, including his attack over the weekend on a Seattle district court judge who temporarily blocked his immigration order. In a Twitter posting on Saturday, the president called Judge James L. Robart, a ‘so-called judge’ whose ruling was ‘ridiculous’ and would be overturned.”

The Telegraph added on February 8:

“Mr Trump told the crowd he had listened to Tuesday’s hearing with dismay… Mr Trump attempted to litigate the case himself, reading at length from a document and commenting on how it proved the legal foundations of his travel ban – which was halted on Friday. Mr Trump went on: ‘I listened to lawyers on both sides last night, they were talking about things that had nothing to do with it… courts seem to be so political… it would be so great for our system if they could read something and do what’s right.’”

Refugees in the USA Flocking to Canada

Reuters reported on February 6:

“Refugees in the United States fearing a worsening climate of xenophobia in the wake of a divisive U.S. presidential campaign are flocking to Canada in growing numbers…

“More… would enter at border crossings, advocates say, if Canada didn’t have a policy of turning many of them away when they do.  Prime Minister Trudeau took office in 2015 on a commitment to admit tens of thousands of Syrian refugees… But this year, Canada plans to take only 7,500 government-assisted refugees – less than half last year’s number. People eager to sponsor refugees find themselves waiting years to do so…”

Trump: “We have a Lot of Killers”

Fox News wrote on February 4:

“On Sunday, Bill O’Reilly… asked [Donald] Trump whether he ‘respects’ the former KGB agent [Vladimir Putin]… ‘[Putin] is a killer,’ O’Reilly said. ‘There are a lot of killers,’ Trump responded, ‘We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?’”

Deutsche Welle added on February 6:

“Trump’s comments, which were broadcast ahead of the Super Bowl, irritated a number of congressional Republicans, who swiftly dismissed any equivalence between the US and Russia. Speaking to CNN, Mitch McConnel, the Senate leader, said of Putin: ‘He is a former KGB agent (and) a thug.’”

The Guardian added on February 6:

“Putin, in his 17th year of dominating the Russian political landscape, is accused by some Kremlin critics of ordering the killing of opponents. Putin and the Kremlin have repeatedly rejected those allegations as politically motivated and false… In January last year, after a British judge ruled that Putin had ‘probably’ authorised the murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, Trump said he saw no evidence the Russian president was guilty.”

Trump’s Chief Political Strategist a Leninist?

The Guardian wrote on February 6:

“Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s chief political strategist and, after Trump, the most powerful man in Washington, once declared proudly: ‘I am a Leninist.’ He was talking to a New York university academic who had written extensively on communism and the former Soviet Union. ‘What on earth do you mean?’ the professor asked him. ‘Lenin wanted to destroy the state and that’s my goal too,’ replied Bannon. ‘I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.’

“… Bannon has an assortment of Leninist political tactics that could have come from the Bolshevik leader’s playbook… much of Lenin’s political style and strategy can be adapted to present conditions. He depended on constant conflict and drama. He deliberately used shock tactics. He was nearly always domineering, abusive and combative, and often downright vicious. He battered opponents into submission with the deliberate use of violent language…

“Lenin abolished the existing legal system and started afresh… In his quest for power, Lenin promised people anything and everything. He offered simple solutions to complex issues. He lied unashamedly. He justified himself on the basis that winning meant everything; the ends justified the means…”

Mr. Bannon also made remarks about the great power of Darth Vader and Satan. Business Insider quoted Bannon in this way on November 18, 2016: “Darkness is good… Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan. That’s power.”

This should wake everybody up. If not, maybe the next article will.

Do Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon Want a Holy War?

The Israeli paper, Haaretz, wrote on February 6:

“It’s an inconceivably scary thought that the Trump administration is simply winging it, breakneck, disrupting and detonating and taking America apart – and all of it without a plan. But here’s the even scarier possibility – that there is, in fact, a plan. A plan which would dramatically concentrate and expand Donald Trump’s power, inflame and mobilize his base, whip up and leverage racism, Islamophobia and, at a later stage, if needed, anti-Semitism, in order to slough all shortcomings onto scapegoats.

“… He needs a Holy War. And he needs a doomsday weapon he can rely on. As it happens, he already has one. It’s called Steve Bannon. And Steve Bannon… has been talking Holy War for years.

“In a speech to a Christian conference held in the Vatican in the summer of 2014, Bannon declared that ‘we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years… We’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism,’ he said. National security analyst Robert Baer said Tuesday that the Bannon speech sounded ‘like preaching for the First Crusade.’

“… Referring to the Friday presidential Executive Order which severely curbed immigration and entry from seven mostly Muslim countries, an order which Bannon is reported to have drafted without consultation with the office of the Attorney General nor with the Defense, Homeland Security, or State Departments, Baer said the ban could cripple U.S. intelligence gathering and America’s standing throughout the Mideast and the Islamic world… ‘None of this makes sense. We’re going to lose allies, and 99 percent of our intelligence in the Middle East comes from allies, from Iraqis, from Syrians.’ The ban could cause an Iraqi parliament to expel the 5,000 U.S. troops serving in the country in response, further hampering the battle against terrorists, he added…

“On Saturday night, amid the bedlam generated by the travel ban, as well as condemnations of Trump’s having marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day while refraining from any mention of Jews, the president named Bannon to the key Principals Committee of the National Security Council, at the same time dropping as regular members the chairman of the joint chiefs and the director of national intelligence…

“The war may not be underway just yet, but the Crusade certainly is. The Muslim Ban was just the staging area… And what about real war? Trump may well consider it a positive option precisely because he has no clue in [the] world what it’s like. What the horror of war means to the people whose lives are destroyed by it, whether they physically survive or not… His only experience with military service is evading it. His only experience with the innocent victims of war, is sending them back to Syria… God help us all.”

Underreported Terrorist Attacks?

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 7:

“The White House late on Monday issued a list of terror attacks over a 28-month period from September 2014 to December 2016, with US President Donald Trump saying that media had failed to cover them properly. The release of the list came after Trump continued to accuse the media of deliberately manipulating the news, saying that the press had been minimizing coverage of terror attacks and playing down the threat posed by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS). He stated that the ‘very, very dishonest press’ had ‘their reasons’ for not reporting what he referred to as a ‘genocide’ at the hands of the terrorist group.

“The list, which… was made available to journalists, details cities, months, years, targets, and attackers… fails to explain why the White House had assessed these events to be underreported, and how they were all supposedly linked to IS. The Washington Post published the actual list online, which is more than 1,600 words long and features 27 instances of the term ‘attacker’ misspelled.”

Trump’s Bogus List

The Local wrote on February 7, 2017:

“… the list includes a number of terror attacks that were widely covered internationally, such as the November 2015 Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed, as well as the 2015 shootings in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.

“The attacks mentioned in Germany include the recent Berlin truck attack on December 19th in which 12 people were killed. The attack continues to be covered widely in the German media, which debates new, increased security methods and more is revealed about how the main suspect, Anis Amri, managed to slip through cracks in German intelligence.

“Overseas, it made front page coverage worldwide on December 20th, and the memorial service attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel was the main image on the front page of The New York Times on December 21st. As recently as the end of January the LA Times was still reporting on the attack’s impact on German politics.

“The list also mentions an attack in Hanover that has been in the news recently. In February last year, a teen girl motivated by Isis stabbed a police officer in the neck, though not fatally. She was sentenced at the end of last month to six years in jail. The case made the pages of the Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, among others.

“Two other attacks in Germany linked to Isis on Trump’s list also did not result in deaths other than of the perpetrators. In Würzburg, an asylum seeker attacked and injured five people on a train with an axe last July. He was shot dead by police. Within a week, an asylum seeker in Ansbach blew himself up outside a bar, injuring 15 others. Both of these attacks were widely covered and discussed in German politics, especially because they happened within a week of one another, and also of a mass shooting in Munich that was not found to be linked to terror.

“Internationally, both the Würzburg and Ansbach attacks attracted large media attention, from the BBC to the Los Angeles Times. The Ansbach explosion was a top story for CNN on their homepage, as was the Würzburg attack.

“Before the two attacks last summer, a Sikh house of prayer was hit by a homemade bomb attack in Essen last April, injuring three. The suspected perpetrators are three teen boys, accused of being inspired by jihadist extremism. Again, this attack was widely covered by international media.

“The one German attack mentioned in the list that seems to have received the least attention was an attack in Hamburg last October that still has not been solved. No suspect has yet been found, though Isis did claim responsibility. In this assault, a 16-year-old boy was fatally stabbed by a man described as being ‘of southern appearance’. In Germany, the murder was covered by every major newsroom: Bild, Die Welt, Spiegel, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and more.

“Perhaps due to the lack of clarity about the crime’s motives, it was not as widely covered abroad, but a story about it by the Associated Press was published throughout local and national media in the US. In the UK, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph also covered the case.

“Of course, it is not known to what extent Trump hoped international news groups would cover these attacks. Some incidents mentioned on his list from Europe do not even appear to have solid links to terrorism, such as a drug bust gone wrong in Denmark and an arson attack in Sweden.”

No “Underreported” Terror Attacks in Israel Mentioned in Trump’s List

JTA wrote on February 7:

“No attacks in Israel were included on a list of 78 ‘underreported’ terrorist attacks released by the White House… Some of the dozens of attacks on the White House list were widely covered in the media, such as a series of attacks in Paris in November 2015, and mass shootings in Orlando, Florida, and San Bernardino, California, in June 2016 and December 2015, respectively.

“Attacks in Israel were omitted from the list, though over 350 terrorist attacks — including stabbings, shootings, vehicular ramming attacks and a bus bombing — have taken place since Sept. 13, 2015, according to a report released last month by Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. Daniel Shapiro, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, wrote on Twitter that the omission of attacks in Israel ‘is really hard to explain,’ adding that several attacks ‘were genuinely underreported.’

“Trump’s comments hinting at a journalists’ conspiracy to downplay terrorist attacks were widely derided by the media. ‘This appears to be a talking point that is in search of a set of facts that just doesn’t exist,’ said Jim Acosta, senior White House correspondent for CNN.”

A Long History of Presidential Untruths

The Los Angeles Times wrote on February 6:

“There’s a long history of presidential untruths…  As president, Ronald Reagan spoke movingly of the shock and horror he felt as part of a military film crew documenting firsthand the atrocities of the Nazi death camps. The story wasn’t true.

“Years later, an adamant, finger-wagging Bill Clinton looked straight into a live TV camera and told the American people he never had sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He was lying.

“Presidents of all stripes and both major political parties have bent, massaged or shaded the truth, elided uncomfortable facts or otherwise misled the public — unwittingly or, sometimes, very purposefully… But White House scholars and other students of government agree there has never been a president like Donald Trump, whose volume of falsehoods, misstatements and serial exaggerations — on matters large and wincingly small — place him ‘in a class by himself’…

“When Trump incessantly talks of rampant voter fraud, boasts about the size of his inaugural audience or claims to have seen thousands of people on rooftops in New Jersey celebrating the Sept. 11 attacks, all are demonstrably false…

“President Obama took his turn apologizing for promising ‘if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it’ under the Affordable Care Act; millions of Americans found that not to be true, and PolitiFact, the nonpartisan truth-squad organization, bestowed the dubious 2013 ‘Lie of the Year’ honor for Obama’s repeated falsehood…”

Speaker of the House of Commons Against Trump Addressing British Parliament

The Independent wrote on February 6:

“Donald Trump will not be welcome to address Parliament on his state visit to the UK because of its opposition to racism and to sexism, the Speaker of the House of Commons has said in a major snub to the American President. In a dramatic intervention, John Bercow, the Speaker, said he was ‘strongly opposed’ to Mr Trump speaking in the Commons as he stressed that being invited to address Parliament was ‘not an automatic right’ but ‘an earned honour’…

“The intervention will cause headaches in Downing Street, where Theresa May has bent over backwards to rekindle the so-called special relationship with the US… The Speaker’s intervention is a particularly stunning development because the post is politically neutral. Mr Bercow was previously a Conservative MP before he was elected to the role… Nearly two million people signed a petition calling for Mr Trump’s state visit to be cancelled in just days after it was announced. MPs are to debate the issue in Westminster Hall.”

JTA added on February 6:

“The Jewish speaker of Britain’s House of Commons said President Donald Trump should not be welcomed to address the British Parliament… [John] Bercow’s comments were greeted with enthusiastic applause… Bercow, whose paternal grandparents were Romanian Jewish immigrants to England, attended the Finchley Reform Synagogue and had a bar mitzvah, though he now considers himself secular.

“As one of the three so-called key holders at Westminster Hall, Bercow said he would use his position to prevent Trump from addressing Parliament. Saying the decision whether to invite him to England at all is ‘way beyond and above the pay grade of the speaker,’ Bercow said that opposition to racism and sexism and support for an independent judiciary are ‘hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.’”

German Public Trust in USA Plummets to Record Low

The Local wrote on February 3:

“A new poll shows that German trust in the transatlantic relationship has dropped to a level [equal] to public trust in Russia since Donald Trump was elected US President. In total, seven out of ten respondents told [a] research group…  that the US is not a trusted ally of Germany at the moment. That was a drop of 37 percent compared to a survey conducted in November, marking a record historic low for faith in the transatlantic partnership, Die Welt reports… Asked about their attitudes to US President Donald Trump, Germans expressed considerable disapproval.

“Eighty percent of respondents said that the EU must work more closely to oppose the US president. Similarly, 67 percent expressed fear that he would harm the German economy, while only 26 percent said they thought it was a good thing that Trump was implementing his election pledges. [Another] poll found similar concerns about the new head of the White House among the German public. Only three percent of respondents said they thought German-American relations would improve with Trump in power, while three quarters of respondents said they would get worse.

“Two thirds of Germans also said that Trump’s implementation of election pledges through executive orders is undemocratic. Eight out of ten respondents… said the travel ban for people from seven Muslim-majority countries was damaging for the US. And 85 percent said that Trump’s policies would do his country economic damage.”

“When Trump Makes America Small, Europe Must Stand Tall”

The EUObserver wrote on February 2:

“Donald Trump is certain he is going to make his country great again – by turning its back to the world, by building walls and by saying no to foreign people, goods and services. But it won’t work… It will lower the living standards of the average working American by making products more expensive, cutting off supply chains and reducing specialisation and competition. It is devastating not only to the United States but to all of us.

“When the US turns inwards, it leaves a void that needs to be filled… we need to remind ourselves that the second largest economy in the world is not China… The biggest one is the European Union. The most logical and well-suited actor to replace America’s leadership is Europe… The rest of the globe should turn to [Europe], not to China… Europe should be the shining city on the hill for the rest of the world…

“When the US goes home, Europe goes abroad. When Donald Trump turns friends into enemies, we remain friends. When he makes enemies into allies, we remain allies to our friends…”

This reaction is quite telling.

Europe Is “Forced” to Unite

The EUObserver wrote on February 3:

EU leaders pledged the need for unity and for Europe to stand on its own two feet at their meeting in Valletta on Friday (3 February), during a discussion on how to handle US president Donald Trump…Leaders… said they would… move toward more independent European action on issues where the EU and the US administration disagree…  Merkel said that this is an opportunity for Europe to redefine itself and become more self-reliant.”

Europe Sees Trump as a Threat

The New York Times wrote on February 2:

“Like much of the world, the European Union is struggling to decipher a President Trump who seems every day to be picking a new fight with a new nation, whether friend or foe. Hopes among European leaders that Mr. Trump’s bombastic tone as a candidate would somehow smooth into a more temperate one as commander in chief are dissipating, replaced by a mounting sense of anxiety and puzzlement over how to proceed.

“If many foreign leaders expected a Trump administration to push to renegotiate trade deals, or take a tough line on immigration, few anticipated that he would become an equal opportunity offender. He has insulted or humiliated Mexico, Britain, Germany and Iraq; engaged in a war of words with China and Iran; and turned a routine phone call with the prime minister of Australia, a staunch ally, into a minor diplomatic crisis.

With the possible exception of NATO, where he has softened his tone, Mr. Trump has expressed disdain for other multilateral institutions such as the European Union. His praise has been reserved for populists and strongmen, like Nigel Farage, the former leader of the U.K. Independence Party, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and, of course, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“Mr. Trump is convinced that the United States has been played for a patsy by the rest of the world and is vowing to set things straight. ‘We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually,’ he said on Thursday at a prayer breakfast. ‘It’s not going to happen anymore.’

“Against this forbidding backdrop, some European leaders are urging their counterparts to recognize that Mr. Trump may represent a truly dire challenge, one that threatens to upend not only the 70-year European project of integration and security, but just about everything they stand for, including liberal democracy itself…

“Traditionally, Europeans view Germany as the bulwark of the European Union, its largest, richest and most influential country, but uncomfortable with open leadership. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, up for re-election this autumn, is seen as practical, pragmatic and devoted to the European project, and Germans see the euro as a political sacrifice they made of the revered deutsche mark to please the French. So they deeply resent Mr. Trump’s attacks on Ms. Merkel for her refugee policy and his statements that the European Union itself is a ‘vehicle’ for German self-interest. Ms. Merkel was angry over comments by Peter Navarro, the director of Mr. Trump’s new National Trade Council, that Germany was manipulating a ‘grossly undervalued’ euro to gain trade advantages over other Europeans and the United States.”

All of this will lead to a stronger united Europe in our time.

Europe a Nuclear Super Power?

Die Zeit wrote on February 6, that the Chairman of Poland’s governing party and former leader of Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, advocates the creation of a “European nuclear super power” which is to equal that of Russia.

The Express added on February 7:

Warsaw sensationally called for a new ‘nuclear Europe’ complete with its own gargantuan defence force and missile armoury to help keep the Kremlin’s ambitions in check. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, widely seen as the most powerful man in eastern Europe’s biggest country, said a radical rethink of the EU’s defence policies was the only way to secure peace in the region…

“But the political heavyweight, seen as the power behind the throne of Poland’s government, admitted his plan may not be popular with other member states. And he conceded it would require ‘tremendous expenditure’ to get off the ground, which is an unlikely course of action given the economic malaise which has gripped the eurozone for the last decade.

“Both Berlin and Warsaw are keen on further EU integration of military spending and operations with the eventual aim of creating a Brussels army…”

Coming—a New Pro-European Alliance between Germany and France?

MarketWatch wrote on February 8:

“Come the autumn, the eurozone may have its most pro-Europe, reformist leadership for a couple of decades. The centrist Emmanuel Macron is getting closer to power in France, while the Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz looks to have a decent chance of replacing Angela Merkel in Germany.

“A Schulz-Macron alliance could finally re-boot the euro, creating the momentum for the genuine fiscal, monetary and economic union that the single currency needs…

“Start with France. With the Republican Francois Fillon sinking deeper into a scandal over vast sums paid to his wife from the state, the centrist Emmanuel Macron looks more and more likely to make it into the second round of voting in early May.

“The basic rule of French politics is very simple. Whoever makes it into the second round again Le Pen wins the presidency… Macron looks a surer bet with every week that passes.

“Over in Germany, something just as dramatic is happening. Switching Martin Schulz from Brussels to Berlin has given the center-left Social Democrats a huge boost in the polls. One this week showed his party overtaking Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, while all of them have shown significant rises in support. Add in the Left Party and the Greens, and come September Schulz may have enough support to finally bring Merkel’s long reign to an end…

“If Schulz takes power, the Berlin-Paris axis, the most important relationship in European politics, would suddenly look very different. There would be the opportunity to accelerate economic integration — and give the euro a final chance to succeed. Far more than the leaders they would replace, both Macron and Schulz are passionate believers in the EU, and they are willing to sacrifice national sovereignty to make integration work.

“Merkel was always portrayed as a great champion of the EU, and on paper she was. But in practice, she didn’t do much about it…

“Between them, Macron and Schulz would agree on one thing. The eurozone, as Macron argued in a speech in Berlin last month, needs to radically change if it is to prosper. It needs to be turned into a fully functioning economic union.

What would that look like? For starters, there would be a banking union, with a single regulator… There would be a EU Treasury, with powers to raise taxes, harmonize rates, and spend money right across the continent… In short, Brussels would look a lot more like the federal government in Washington.

“True, that might create intense political opposition. Lots of people won’t like it. But… Macron and Schulz as president and chancellor would have the will and momentum to make it happen…”

Merkel Says Europe’s Future Could Be Two-Speed

The Local wrote on February 4:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European leaders may commit to a union of ‘different speeds’ when they make a major declaration on its future at a summit in Rome next month. The European Union has long been riven by debate about whether all countries must commit to full integration including the single currency, or whether some can go at different paces. The 27 leaders minus Britain are due to make a declaration at the summit in Rome in March marking the 60th anniversary of the EU, in which they will set out a post-Brexit roadmap.

“‘We certainly learned from the history of the last years, that there will be as well a European Union with different speeds, that not all will participate every time in all steps of integration,’ Merkel told reporters after a summit in Malta. ‘I think this may be in the Rome declaration as well.’ Merkel said the idea was to set out a plan for the next ten years of the EU, which has been buffeted by the eurozone crisis, Brexit, migration, the Ukraine conflict and now faces a new challenge in the form of US President Donald Trump. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, a group of the EU’s founding members, also issued a statement on Friday backing a two-speed EU.”

Deutsche Welle added on February 8:

“… it was the first time that Merkel clearly claimed this old idea [of a two-speed Europe] as her own. Whoever believed it was an exclusive statement had to think again on the following Tuesday. In a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Merkel once again spoke of a Europe of ‘two speeds.’… ‘That should be taken seriously,’ an EU diplomat in Brussels told DW.

“… Right now it looks like a two-speed Europe will be part of this vision… The truth is that Europe has worked at different speeds for decades. The eurozone, the freedom of movement embedded in the Schengen agreement and the Maastricht Social Protocol are already part of a ‘phased integration’ in which not all EU member states take part. In the future, different combinations are conceivable, like the eurozone, a core Europe driven by Germany and France or a circle of the EU’s founding members…

“The goal is to save the European project. This applies to the common currency and the economy in particular. The next Greek crisis is at Europe’s doorstep – maybe even a trade war with Donald Trump’s United States. Before everything goes down the drain, Merkel is trying to at least maintain the shell of the union… The idea of a multi-speed union is perhaps Angela Merkel’s last attempt at saving Europe.”

The Bible prophesies that a two-speed Europe is coming. Ten core nations or groups of nations will develop from the Eurozone, and they will transfer, at that time, their power and authority to a charismatic political and military leader who will promise safety and security for Europe and the entire world. Note the next article.

Adolf Hitler: “Wait Calmly”

Die Zeit wrote on February 1:

“Few sensed what Hitler’s appointment as chancellor actually meant, and many reacted to the event with shocking indifference.

“… This, despite the fact that Hitler had plainly explained in ‘Mein Kampf’ and countless speeches before 1933 what he wanted to do once in power: to abolish the democratic ‘system’ of Weimar Germany, to ‘eradicate’ Marxism (by which he meant both social democracy and communism) and to ‘remove’ the Jews from Germany. As for foreign policy, he made no secret of the fact that he wanted to revise the Versailles Treaty and that his long-term goal was the conquering of ‘Lebensraum in the East.’

“German President Paul von Hindenburg’s camarilla, which had hoisted him to power through a series of intrigues, agreed with Hitler’s goals of preventing a return to parliamentary democracy, of cutting the chains of the Versailles Treaty, massively arming the military and once again making Germany the dominant power in Europe. As for the rest of Hitler’s stated intentions, his conservative coalition partners were inclined to dismiss them as mere rhetoric. Once he was in power, they argued, he would become more reasonable…

“The fact that Hitler’s appointment meant that a fanatical anti-Semite had come to power should have made Germany’s Jews, above all, nervous. But that was not the case at all. In a statement given on Jan. 30, the chair of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith said, ‘In general, today more than ever we must follow the directive: wait calmly.’ He said that although one watches the new government ‘of course with deep suspicion,’ President Hindenburg represents the ‘calming influence.’ He said there was no reason to doubt his ‘sense of justice’ and ‘loyalty to the constitution.’ As a result, he said, one should be convinced that ‘nobody would dare’ to ‘touch our constitutional rights.’ …

“French Ambassador Andre François-Poncet called the Hitler-Papen-Hugenberg cabinet a ‘bold experiment,’ but he also suggested his government remain calm and wait for further developments… Rarely has a political project so rapidly been revealed to be a chimera as the idea that the conservatives would ‘tame’ the Nazis. In terms of tactical cunning, Hitler towered high above his cabinet allies and opponents. In a short time, he had upstaged them and driven them against the wall…

“Hitler needed only five months to establish his power. By the summer of 1933, fundamental rights and the constitution had been suspended, the states had been forced into conformity, the unions crushed, the political parties banned or dissolved, press and radio brought into line and the Jews stripped of their equality under the law. Everything that existed in Germany outside of the National Socialist Party had been ‘destroyed, dispersed, dissolved, annexed or absorbed,’ François-Poncet concluded in early July. Hitler, he claimed, had ‘won the game with little effort.’ ‘He only had to puff — and the edifice of German politics collapsed like a house of cards.’”

We should take this warning from the past very seriously today.

The Brutal Murders of the Syrian Regime

The Guardian wrote on February 7:

“As many as 13,000 opponents of Bashar al-Assad were secretly hanged in one of Syria’s most infamous prisons in the first five years of the country’s civil war as part of an extermination policy ordered by the highest levels of the Syrian government, according to Amnesty International.

“Many thousands more people held in Saydnaya prison died through torture and starvation, Amnesty said, and the bodies were dumped in two mass graves on the outskirts of Damascus between midnight and dawn… for at least five years.

“The report, Human Slaughterhouse, details allegations of state-sanctioned abuse that are unprecedented in Syria’s civil war, a conflict that has consistently broken new ground in depravity, leaving at least 400,000 people dead and nearly half the country’s population displaced.

“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed last May that at least 60,000 people had died as a result of torture or dire conditions in Syrian prisons from the earliest months of the anti-Assad insurrection…”

Fox News added on February 7:

“The 48-page report claims Syria secretly carried out mass hangings at the Saydnaya Military Prison to eliminate those who spoke out against the government… There are two detention centers at Saydnaya Military Prison, which, according to the report, may hold up to 20,000 people.

“In the ‘red building’, the majority of detainees are civilians who have been arrested since the beginning of the crisis in 2011. In the ‘white building’, the majority of the detainees are officers and soldiers in the Syrian military who have been arrested since 2011. The report said the detainees were never given a fair trial. Instead, they were tortured until they gave false confessions. Government leaders, the report said, knew the prison was a human slaughterhouse yet turned a blind eye to it.”

Botched Raid on Yemen

The Guardian wrote on February 8:

“The Yemeni government said on Wednesday it wants a rethink of US counter-terrorist operations on its territory after a botched commando raid on 29 January that left more than 30 civilians dead. The Navy Seal operation, aimed at gathering intelligence on al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap), has shone light on chaotic decision-making in the Trump White House, where presidential aides, many with little foreign policy or national security experience, are competing for influence…

“In the White House press briefing on Wednesday, the press secretary, Sean Spicer, insisted that the raid in Yemen was a success and said anyone questioning its success owed an apology to the family of Chief Petty Officer Ryans Owens, the Navy Seal killed in the operation.

“When asked if that criticism applied to Senator John McCain, who deemed the raid a failure after receiving a classified briefing on the operation, Spicer repeated: ‘Anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens.

“The night raid on a village in the central Yakla region appears to have gone wrong from the start, with the crash landing of an Osprey aircraft. According to the accounts of local villagers, about 50 US troops began by shooting villagers and tribal elders, and Aqap militants camped nearby only joined the fight after many civilians were already dead. Villagers told the Bureau of Investigative Journalists (BIJ) that 31 people had died, including nine children under the age of 13. Of the nine young children who died, the smallest was only three months old. Seven women were killed, including one who was heavily pregnant. Seven more women and children were injured. The dead also included the eight-year-old daughter of al-Qaida propagandist and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a September 2011 US drone strike in Yemen, her family said…

“The circumstances of Trump’s authorisation of the raid, at a dinner on 25 January, have drawn scrutiny of how the new White House makes such life and death decisions. The plan was presented to Trump at the dinner by the defence secretary, James Mattis, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Joseph Dunford. The president was flanked by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his chief strategist and former Breitbart news executive, Steve Bannon. Apart from Bannon’s seven years as a navy officer more than three decades ago, neither has foreign policy experience.

“The casual format differed markedly from previous practice, where such decisions would have been taken in the White House situation room and involved top officials from the state department and intelligence agencies, convened by the national security council (NSC)…”

This is stunning and sad, indeed.

Germany “Disappointed” with Israel

JTA wrote on January 8:

“Germany condemned a controversial new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes settler homes built on private Palestinian land. Berlin said Wednesday that the ‘regulations law’ undermines trust in Israel’s seriousness about reaching a compromise with the Palestinians. ‘Many in Germany who stand by Israel and feel great commitment toward it find themselves deeply disappointed by this move,’ a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement. ‘Our trust in the Israeli government’s commitment to the two-state solution has been fundamentally shaken.’

“The law, which the Knesset passed in a raucous late-night session Monday, allows the state to seize private Palestinian land on which settlements or outposts were built, as long as the settlers were not aware of the status of the land. In cases where the landowners are known, they are entitled to compensation.

“Censure of the law has come from governments around the world, including the United Nations, the European Union, France, Britain, Turkey, Jordan and the Palestinians. The United States has refused to comment…

“Most of Israel’s political opposition and even members of the governing coalition oppose the legislation. Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has said he would not defend it before the Supreme Court. It was the first time that an Israeli attorney general has made such a refusal, legal experts told JTA.”

Of course, when the acting US attorney general made a similar comment regarding the executive order of a travel ban, President Trump fired her immediately. Does this mean that Israel is more of a democracy than the current USA?

Whatever Happened to Repeal and Replace Obamacare?

The New York Times wrote on February 6:

“In a brief aside in an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News broadcast before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Mr. Trump went further than he ever has in acknowledging the reality that any hope of quickly replacing the Affordable Care Act has been dashed. ‘Yes, I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year,’ the president said. That admission is sure to be a serious disappointment for the president’s most fervent supporters, who sent him to Washington believing that he would move quickly to dispatch the health law.

“The uncertainty is already reflected in the way Republicans talk about the health care law. Some now talk about ‘repairing’ the law, rather than repealing it entirely… ‘I don’t really know what he’s referring to in terms of a year,’ said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican. He added that Republicans hoped to get their replacement plan in place ‘well before that.’ Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 Republican in the chamber… expressed hope that ‘at some point,’ if Mr. Trump has a health care proposal, ‘he’ll engage and that we’ll be able to work together with him on it.’…

“Insurance executives say immediate action is needed to stabilize insurance markets, or else more insurers will withdraw from the public marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. Insurers deciding whether to participate in the market in 2018 face a May deadline for submitting rate proposals to the federal government.”

Obamacare is indeed a disaster, with sky-rocketing premiums and continuously increasing co-payments. But so is the delay in keeping the clear promise to replace and repeal Obamacare.

Climate Change Exaggerated?

The Daily Mail wrote on February 4:

“The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change…

“The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers. But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data. It was never subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process – which Dr Bates devised.

“His vehement objections to the publication of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a ‘blatant attempt to intensify the impact’ of what became known as the Pausebuster paper…

“Official delegations from America, Britain and the EU were strongly influenced by the flawed NOAA study as they hammered out the Paris Agreement – and committed advanced nations to sweeping reductions in their use of fossil fuel and to spending £80 billion every year on new, climate-related aid projects. The scandal has disturbing echoes of the ‘Climategate’ affair which broke shortly before the UN climate summit in 2009, when the leak of thousands of emails between climate scientists suggested they had manipulated and hidden data…”

This is indeed shocking. Truth does not seem to be an issue in light of political agendas.

Remarkable Words from Pope Francis

On February 7, Zenit reported the following:

“According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on how ‘God created us as children in His image.’ Drawing inspiration from the Book of Genesis’ account of the Creation of man and woman, Francis recalled how God has given us His DNA and spoke about the first of three great gifts, which God gave humanity in Creation.

“‘… First of all, He gave us His “DNA”, that is, He made us His children, created us in His image, in His image and likeness, like Him. And when one makes a child, he cannot take it back: the son is made, he exists. And whether or not he resembles the father, he is a son; he has received his identity…’ Jesus, he noted, taught us how a father waits for his children. (He gave us the identity of a child: ‘to “man and woman”, we must add the identity of “child”. We “are like gods”, because we are children of God.’…

“God’s second gift in Creation, Pope Francis said, is a ‘task,’ namely the work of advancing Creation. ‘Not to destroy it; but to make it grow, to care for it, to keep it and make it carry on…’

God’s third gift in Creation, the Pope stressed, is love. Beginning with the love shared between a man and a woman. ‘Male and female He created them. It is not good for the man to be alone. And He made his partner,’ the Pope said…”

It is indeed the potential of man to become a born-again God being in the Family of God. God made man in His image… first as a physical being, but with the potential of becoming a Spirit being—a God being. Those who have received God’s Holy Spirit are already begotten children of God, but it has not been manifested what they will be. But they will be like Christ in His glory, when He returns.

How Does the Church of the Eternal God and its International Affiliates Differ From Other Christian Churches? (Part 6)

One of the most distinguishing and defining differences between most Christian organizations and the Church of the Eternal God and its international affiliates is the observance of the biblical Sabbath and the biblical annual Holy Days.  In our Statement of Beliefs, we state the following, under “Observation of God’s Commanded Holy Days”:

“We believe that we are to observe certain weekly and annual Holy Days, during which time we are to attend Church services and to refrain from secular labor, including school, college or university attendance, and which time we are to dedicate and devote to worship, spiritual study, prayer, fellowship with Church members, and physical rest.”

This shows that the biblical Holy Days are sanctified by God. God set those days aside for a holy purpose; it is not for us to determine when certain times are holy, since only God can and does decide this. God wants us to remember those days to keep them holy. And so, we continue in our Statement of Beliefs to list those Holy Days, introducing them as follows: “These weekly and annual Holy Days are…”

We begin with the weekly Sabbath, showing that we observe the “seventh-day weekly Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. The day symbolizes God’s resting on the seventh day, after having recreated the surface of the earth in six days, and the forthcoming Millennium which is also referred to as a Sabbath lasting for 1,000 years (Leviticus 23:3; Exodus 20:8-11, Hebrews 4:3-11).”

It is important to realize that the weekly Sabbath is a Holy Day, which lasts from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. God reckons each day beginning at sunset and continuing through until the following sunset. We know from the Jewish people when to keep the Sabbath. It is the Jews to whom God committed His revelations or His “oracles,” as Paul clearly explains in Romans 3:1–2. These “oracles of God” included the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as the knowledge of the week and of the Sacred Calendar. (We accept the Sacred Calendar, as used by the Jewish community, and reject the idea of having to create our own calendar. Many have tried to do so without godly authority, and hopeless confusion has been the result.) The Jews preserved the knowledge of which day the seventh day of the week is. Without an understanding of when a week begins and ends, we would not have been able to tell, from the Bible alone, which day the seventh day of the week actually is. Today, the Jews keep the Sabbath on Saturday, beginning Friday evening, at sunset. Nobody questions today that the Sabbath, as preserved by the Jews, is the seventh or last day of the week. All understand [or should understand] that Sunday is the first day of the week.

Some few organizations may keep the weekly Sabbath, but they do not keep [any or most of] the annual Holy Days and Festivals (For the correct dates of the annual Feast days, please note our Holy Day calendar).

We continue in our Statement of Beliefs with a reference to the Passover, stating that we observe the “Passover once a year in the evening by engaging in a footwashing service as an example of humility in accordance with Christ’s example, and partaking of the unleavened bread and wine, symbolizing physical and spiritual healing and forgiveness of sin. The entire service symbolizes a remembrance of Christ’s death (Leviticus 23:5, Luke 22:14-20; John 13:1-5; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).”

After the 24-hour Passover day had begun at sunset, Jesus changed the symbol of the Passover lamb to the symbol of footwashing, bread and wine. Subsequently, He was betrayed and arrested that same night, and He was beaten and killed during the daylight portion of the Passover day. He was laid in the grave just before sunset, at the end of the Passover day. The entire 24-hour day of the Passover is not a Holy Day per se, in that we are not required to keep the entire Passover day holy, but the service at the beginning of the Passover evening is holy time.

The Passover is only to be observed by properly baptized persons (those who are spiritually circumcised, Colossians 2:11-14), who have received the Holy Spirit; otherwise, they would partake of it in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). [This is the ONLY service of the Church which is for baptized Church members only. Otherwise, we state in our Policy Statement that “we welcome guests to our Church services, as long as they are not contentious and worship with us in peace and harmony and in accordance with our doctrines and practices.”] The Passover is observed once a year as a memorial; the concept of keeping it more often throughout the year, perhaps calling it “communion” or the “Lord’s Supper,” is not biblical and constitutes partaking of the “Passover” in an unworthy manner. Also, the Passover is to be observed with UNLEAVENED bread and wine—not grape juice. Finally, the Passover is to be kept at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan, NOT at the end of the 14th of Nisan or the beginning of the 15th of Nisan, and it is NOT to be kept as a meal.

We continue to explain in our Statement of Beliefs that we observe the “Days of Unleavened Bread once a year by not partaking of any food prepared with leaven for a period of seven days following the Passover [It is not commanded to abstain from leavened products during the Passover day; however, as mentioned above, the piece of bread which will be partaken of during the Passover service must be unleavened, as it symbolizes the sinless body of Christ]. The partaking of the unleavened bread during the Days of Unleavened Bread symbolizes our commitment to live a sinless life (Leviticus 23:6-8; Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).”

While we observe the entire seven days by avoiding leavened products, only the first and the last day of this seven-day period are annual Holy Days. Numerous Scriptures tell us to remove leavened bread from our houses before the Days of Unleavened Bread begin, and not to eat leavened bread during these seven days. At the same time, we are told to eat unleavened bread during these days. Biblical passages containing this command can be found in Exodus 12:15-20; 13:7; 23:15; 34:18; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17; and Deuteronomy 16:3, 8. As a general rule, we are to eat unleavened bread every day during the Days of Unleavened Bread (barring emergencies or other extraordinary circumstances), as we are to replace sin (symbolized by leaven) with righteousness (symbolized by unleavened bread). Compare 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Luke 12:1; Matthew 16:12. Even those who normally don’t eat bread should still eat a little bit of unleavened bread every day during the Days of Unleavened Bread (in addition to their normal food which must not contain leavened products of any kind), to remind them of the symbolism conveyed during those seven days.

The Church of God has never taught that beverages [such as beer or wine] or items not meant or fit for human consumption [such as dog food, tooth paste, fire extinguishers, cleaning material, medication] are to be removed. In addition, though, the Church of God has consistently preached and taught that certain “leavening agents,” which the Jews don’t remove, SHOULD BE removed. These leavening agents include baking soda and baking powder, but not “brewer’s yeast,” “yeast extracts,” or “cream of tartar.” Whether or not baking soda or baking powder are active agents, they would clearly be used as a substitute for leavening to puff up any flour or meal product, thereby violating the spirit of God’s commands.

We have prepared an extensive list of products which should be removed and avoided during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

The Church also keeps the Night to Be Much Observed at the beginning of the 15th day of the first month (after sundown on the First Day of Unleavened Bread) when members gather together for an evening meal. On that occasion, they reflect on how the events of the exodus of ancient Israel, when they came out of physical slavery in Egypt, foreshadowed their spiritual exodus from their slavery of sin (Exodus 12:42; Numbers 33:3).

Today’s Jewish community is totally confused about the distinction between the Passover night and the Night to Be Much Observed. In fact, they keep the PASSOVER at the END of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th day, TOGETHER WITH the Night to Be Much Observed, as if the two events were one and the same. But these are two separate events that are to be observed at two separate times. Scripture commands that the Passover is to be observed at the BEGINNING of the 14th day, while the Night to Be Much Observed is to be kept at the beginning of the 15th day—one entire day LATER! God said that at the END of the 14th day (or the beginning of the 15th day) unleavened bread is to be eaten until the END of the 21st day—that is, for seven days (Exodus 12:18).

We continue to explain in our Statement of Beliefs that as the next annual Holy Day, we observe the “Feast of Pentecost once a year. This day symbolizes the coming of God’s Holy Spirit for the purpose of converting those called by God at this time (Leviticus 23:15-16, 21; Acts 2:1-4; 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8).”

The Church of God understands and teaches that only very few are called today to salvation, which fact is pictured by the Feast of Pentecost or the Feast of the Firstfruits (Exodus 23:16; compare James 1:18; Romans 8:23; Revelation 14:4). While there is much confusion in the Christian and Jewish world regarding the correct date of Pentecost, the Church of God determines it by counting 50 days from the Sunday [after the weekly Sabbath], on which the wave sheaf was offered and which falls within the annual Holy Days of Unleavened Bread, as instructed in the Bible (Leviticus 23:11). The Feast of Pentecost also tells us that today, both “Jews and Gentiles” are called; that is, “in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him’” (Acts 10:35; compare Acts 10:45; 11:18).

The Feast of Pentecost also teaches us that we are not yet born again, when we receive the Holy Spirit at the time of our proper baptism; but that we are Spirit-begotten children of God. Our Spirit birth will occur later.

We proceed to state in our Statement of Beliefs that we observe as the next Holy Day the “Feast of Trumpets once a year. This day symbolizes the soon coming return of Jesus Christ to this earth (Leviticus 23:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16), and our resurrection or change to immortality, to be born again into the Kingdom or Family of God (1 Corinthians 15:50-54, 42-49; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; John 3: 3, 5-8).”

The Feast of Trumpets must be seen in connection with the Feast of Pentecost, as Pentecost reminds us that only very few are chosen at this time to receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit and to prepare for the time when God will replace Satan and restore His government on and over all the earth (Revelation 5:10). These few are being taught and trained by God so that they can later teach mankind to reject the rule of Satan and to submit to God’s authority. That time of massive re-education will begin when Jesus Christ returns—in great power and great glory—as the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. He is coming back once (not twice; a secret rapture is nowhere taught in Scripture) to restore ALL THINGS on this earth. God wants us to keep the annual Holy Day of the Feast of Trumpets as a reminder of the monumental future event of Christ’s return. Those in Christ still alive when He returns will be changed to immortality, and those who have died in Christ, will be resurrected from the dead to eternal life. This will be the time when we will be born again; when we will be born of the Spirit; when we will BE Spirit (John 3:6).

Following the Feast of Trumpets is the Day of Atonement which we observe, as we state in our Statement of Beliefs, “once a year by refraining from partaking of any and all solid food or liquid for a period of 24 hours. This day symbolizes those called by God during this life, having received at-one-ment with God; those who can receive at-one-ment with God after Christ’s return; and the transfer of sin to Satan as the one who is ultimately responsible for all sin (Leviticus 16:1-34; Leviticus 23:27-32; Acts 27:9).”

This is not God’s world, but it is Satan the Devil’s world. In order to bring perfect peace and happiness to this earth, Satan—the arch-enemy of God and man—will have to be removed from his power over this earth (compare Revelation 2:13). Only then can man truly become “at one” with God. God created the annual Holy Day of Atonement to foreshadow the event of Satan’s removal in the near future (Romans 16:20). In order to impress on us the seriousness of this event, we are commanded to fast for 24 hours (people with serious health concerns should consult a doctor before fasting; and young children should not be compelled to fast.)

Following the Day of Atonement, we state in our Statement of Beliefs  that we observe the “Feast of Tabernacles once a year, for seven consecutive days, by attending one of the Church’s designated sites around the world. This period symbolizes the reign of Christ for 1,000 years, together with His saints made immortal, during which time Satan will be bound and the entire world will be living under the government of God (Leviticus 23:33-35; Daniel 7:27; John 7:2-8, 10-14; Revelation 20:4).”

After Satan has been removed, Christ and His saints will begin the awesome task of restoring all things on earth. Those who qualify will rule with Christ on this earth (not from heaven over this earth) for 1,000 years (the “Millennium”) (Revelation 20:4), governing those human beings who survived the incredible time of suffering just prior to Christ’s return, as well as those who will be born during the Millennium. Under Christ’s leadership—and along with Him—the saints will restore what had been taken away through Satan’s rebellion and what Adam and Eve failed to restore (see Daniel 7:27). We celebrate this unique and unparalleled time in the entire history of mankind every year for seven days when we observe the Feast of Tabernacles (see John 7:2–14).

The first day of that seven-day Festival is to be observed as an annual Holy Day. The entire time will be observed in “temporary housings” such as hotels or motels, and barring extraordinary circumstances (such as poor health), members of the Church should be assembling at and attending one of the designated Feast sites of the Church for the entire time. The idea of just building a “booth” in which to eat a meal, while living in our homes, is not biblical.

In order to be able to finance staying in hotels and eating in restaurants for the entire time of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day (discussed below), God has instituted the concept of a SECOND tithe (or a second ten percent of one’s earnings or other income). This is an additional tithe of one’s “increase” (Deuteronomy 14:22-26). Soncino confirms that Deuteronomy 14:23 discusses the “second tithe.” They state, “This refers to the second tithe, because the first tithe was to be given to the Levites who were allowed to eat it anywhere (cf. Num. xviii. 26, 31).” The Ryrie Study Bible has a similar comment pertaining to Deuteronomy 14:22-27, confirming the existence of a “second tithe.” So does “The New Bible Commentary: Revised,” copyright 1970, on page 220: “This is the so-called ‘second tithe,’ as contrasted with that tithe of the produce given to maintain the Levites (see Nu. 18:26-28).”

The individual who wants to obey God by keeping the Feast of Tabernacles (FOT) in the correct way saves the second tithe each year for his or her use in observing God’s annual Holy Days – mainly the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, as members are commanded to travel for the FOT to one of God’s designated feast sites. This tithe is to be saved for use by the individual. Only “excess second tithe” — the portion of the second tithe exceeding appropriate individual use — should be sent to the Church. The “excess second tithe” can be used by the Church for members who were unable to save sufficient second tithe for the Holy Days, and for necessary Church-related Feast expenses (such as hall rentals). As mentioned, the Second Tithe is mainly for the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, but it can also be used, in addition, for the other Holy Days (such as costs for travel and restaurants), as long as sufficient funds remain for the FOT.

We explain in our Statement of Beliefs that we also keep one more Holy Day, the “Last Great Day which immediately follows the Feast of Tabernacles, once a year. This day symbolizes a 100-year period called the ‘Great White Throne Judgment,’ during which all persons who have ever lived and who were never called by God for salvation during this life, will have their first opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior (Leviticus 23:36; John 7:37; Revelation 20:11-12). At the end of that period, there will be a judgment during which all people who have ever lived and who have refused to accept Christ as their Savior, will be finally condemned to eternal death and destroyed in Gehenna fire (Revelation 20:13-15).”

Church members keep the entire time of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day in temporary housing (such as hotels) at one of the designated feast sites.

The final annual Holy Day of the Last Great Day, which immediately follows the Feast of Tabernacles, symbolizes a period of—most likely—100 years (Isaiah 65:20), called the “Great White Throne Judgment” (Revelation 20:11–12). This is that time during which all persons who had not been called before will be resurrected to physical life and will then be given their first real opportunity to accept or to reject God’s calling (John 7:37).

The fact that the Bible reveals more than just one resurrection is neither understood nor believed by many professing Christians, let alone the rest of the world, but Revelation 20:4-6, 11-12 clearly describe the SECOND resurrection—the resurrection of those who will live again AFTER the thousand years are finished.

Most of the dead, who were not in the first resurrection, will be in the second resurrection—a resurrection to physical life. They will be taught God’s way of life and they will then be judged according to their works. Jesus Christ will be their Judge (Acts 17:30–31). It does not say that they are judged based on the works that they did in their prior life, although this might be included.

Sadly, though, there are those who have had their chance, but have rejected it. At one time, they knew and understood perfectly well that they had to submit to Christ, but they permanently refused to do so. In most cases, they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit, but they had subsequently lost it. They became bitter, hateful, resentful and malicious. They made the unchangeable decision NEVER to repent again! If a person has reached the stage that he can no longer repent, because he has made a firm decision NOT to repent, then God will not force repentance on such a person. God grants repentance, but a person must want to receive it. A person who maliciously rejects Christ, would only continue to live in misery and pain, and that is why God will save such a person from eternal misery, by destroying him in a lake of fire.

After those described in Revelation 20:11–12 are resurrected in a second resurrection, a third category of people is addressed in verses 13–15. These will be raised in a third resurrection, to receive their sentence and be thrown into the lake of fire—to be exterminated, permanently. This is another truth which virtually nobody outside the Church of God understands (and even some in the Church of God who once understood this truth of a third resurrection have rejected it as well). Nowhere does the Bible teach an everlasting hell fire in which the “souls” of the unrepentant sinners would be tortured forever and ever. Rather, the soul is mortal as the soul IS the person. Those in the third resurrection will be resurrected to physical life to be DESTROYED in the lake of fire.

Those who will have become immortal born-again members in the very Family of God, will rule with God and Christ for all eternity over all things (Revelation 22:5). This will be the KINGDOM OF GOD ruling over creation, with God’s plan for mankind having been completed.

For more information on the subject of this installment, please read our free booklets, The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days and The Meaning of God’s Fall Holy Days:

In the next and last installment, we will discuss remaining major differences between doctrines of the spiritual Body of Christ—the Church of God—and deviating teachings and practices of “orthodox” Christianity.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Current Events

We begin with ongoing developments regarding President Trump’s travel ban for seven predominantly Muslim countries and the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refusing to lift the stay on the Executive Order; speak on more controversies surrounding President Trump and his administration, including disconcerting reports on Stephen Bannon (please view our new StandingWatch program, Meet the Real Stephen Bannon”); Mr. Trump’s defense of Vladimir Putin and his bogus claim regarding “underreported” terrorist attacks; and the move to bar President Trump from addressing the British Parliament.

We report on Germany’s and Europe’s distrust of Mr. Trump; as well as ideas to unite Europe as a nuclear super power and to establish a Europe with two speeds. We also speak on the mass massacres perpetrated by the Syrian government and the botched raid on Yemen.

We close with frustrating reports on Obamacare and scientific exaggerations regarding global warming, as well as some remarkable words by Pope Francis.

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

“Meet the Real Stephen Bannon,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Is Stephen Bannon really the second most powerful man in Washington? If so, who is Mr. Bannon? Why are many concerned? This program will quote some of his most controversial statements, as reported in the American, British and Israeli press.  And it encourages you to look at the facts objectively, in the light of biblical prophecy.

Gottes Heilige Festtage—Warum die Kirche des Ewigen Gottes? Teil 6,” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon. The title in English: “God’s Holy Feast Days—Why the Church of the Eternal God? Part 6.”

“Prophetic Developments in the USA and Europe,” a special report presented last Sabbath during the sermonette time by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

What are the facts behind President Trump’s executive immigration order regarding a “travel ban,” and its worldwide condemnation? Why did a federal court temporarily block the ban? Why do we in God’s Church report about these events? Do they have prophetic significance? And are some, if not many members still too much involved in this political world?

“Establish Our Hearts,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Our emotions and desires dwell within our hearts.  What does it mean when we put our hearts into something? How do we establish our hearts and for what reason?

The Church Conference for 2017 will be conducted in Escondido, California, with arrivals on March 23 and ending on March 28.

The Long Game; Empowering Our Relationship with God

On February 11, 2017, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “The Long Game,” and Robb Harris will present the sermon, titled, “Empowering Our Relationship with God.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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