Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

The Church Conference for 2017 will be conducted in Escondido, California, with arrivals on March 23 and ending on March 28. Our first session will be on Friday, with subsequent meetings on Sunday and Monday.  We will also have Sabbath services in Ramona, California, during this time.

The Member Letter (March 2017), written by Kalon Mitchell, has been mailed to our subscribers, and it is now posted.

“Catholics and Protestants… Divided or United?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

About 500 years after the Reformation, the Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations or Evangelicals are still divided. But how divided are they really? In this program, we discuss eight major divisions, while showing that Catholics and Protestants are mostly unified in doctrine and practice, which are opposed to and in violation of the Word of God, the Bible.

“Ermordete Propheten in Jerusalem,” is the title of this coming Sabbath’s German sermon. Title in English: “Murdered Prophets in Jerusalem.”

The completed text of the new German booklet, “HIMMEL UND ERDE… vor und nach dem ersten Menschen!”— a translation of the English booklet, “Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man!”—is being finalized for printing.

“Separation,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

God instructs us to separate ourselves from exposure to a wide variety of things that can cause harm. Separation can serve as a life-saving tool in the life of a Christian when used properly.”

“Why Are There Christians?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Is there a purpose for Christianity in a world so utterly at odds with its teachings? Are Christians failing in the goals which are set before them? Why is it so difficult to clearly understand what it means to be a true Christian? Is it even worth the struggle?

Effects of Entropy; Is Now the Day of Salvation?

On March 18, 2017, Kalon Mitchell will present the sermonette, titled, “Effects of Entropy,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Is Now the Day of Salvation?”

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.

Are We Raising Children To Perish?

Adam and Eve were given clear instruction as to their role while in the Garden of Eden, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ ” (Genesis 1:27-28). We were created as two distinct sexes and told to multiply.  God considered this relationship to be complete because He blessed it.  We were also created as a type of the God Family and given dominion over the physical creation.  It was in a way a small semblance to the dominion God has over all of creation. His directive had the purpose of training mankind to become part of the God Family.

We read in Proverbs why it is so important to carry on Godly training, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).  But what way should we go?  Whom can we turn to today and find a path that leads to God?  It’s not within the understanding of our own cultural leaders and educators to point to that truth.  It’s only through the small remnants of God’s true church, by adhering to the Bible, that any lights still shine in this dark age.

One striking example of the extinction of godliness today is in our entertainment industry.  Many grew up watching Disney movies which portrayed a modicum of wholesomeness and family-oriented values.  But Disney is embracing a more contemporary outlook today.  In a recent online Glamor article, speaking about recent Disney XD teen shows they state, “Diversity seems to have become more of a priority for the brand in recent years. In 2014 the live-action Disney Channel show “Good Luck Charlie” proudly featured a lesbian couple, whose storyline was the episode’s main arc. In more subtle endorsements of equality, the Disney Channel show “Gravity Falls” featured two male cops who were a couple.”

“Train up a child in the way they should go…”  Embracing homosexuality and gender fluidity is the direction society wants our children to go and God abhors it.  Our culture isn’t just accepting of perverse ideals but pursues after them.  That behavior is instilled into our youth, and they in turn pass it to their offspring. We are warned by the apostle Peter about this cycle that ultimately leads to death, “…having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness…” (2 Peter 2:14-15).

It wasn’t hyperbole when Christ compared us to lights in a world filled with ungodliness. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

We must stand out and shine more and more as the return of Christ nears.  It won’t make us friends to this world, instead its enemies.  We will be hated like Christ was hated because He sought a better way.  We must be Godly examples to our children, teaching them God’s laws: “We will not hide them [God’s laws] from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done” (Psalm 78:4).

This Week in the News

“Can Merkel Bring Trump to Reason?”

Der Spiegel wrote on March 10:

“Trump is not only the most powerful man in the world. He has also shown that he cares nothing about the rules of Western political game…

“Trump has announced that he plans to fight Germany’s export surplus. And although his statements on NATO have been contradictory, it is clear that he wants alliance partners to increase their defense spending. Plans for his foreign policy with Russia are also half-baked. Will he back the Western sanctions against Moscow that Merkel worked hard to implement?…

“‘Trump’s actions are driven more by his instincts and business experience than by political rationality,’ says Norbert Röttgen, the foreign policy spokesman…

“Merkel and her staff are preparing for the worst when it comes to trade. Even as vague as they may still be, Trump’s plans could become the greatest threat to the global economy since the financial crisis, with Germany standing directly in the firing line. Almost 50 percent of all jobs in Germany are dependent on exports. The Americans alone last year purchased 107 billion euros worth of German goods, whereas only 57 billion worth of U.S. goods got imported to Germany. The country would suffer severely if the U.S. started a trade war with Europe or China.

“…what happens in the likely event that Trump sticks to his ‘America First’ plans? If that happens, then Merkel is expected to push for a united EU front to blockade Washington… The goal, in such a case, would be that of isolating the U.S… One idea would be to incrementally increase duties on American imports…

“Merkel is up for re-election in September and she will also have to keep voters in Germany in mind. She can’t alienate the new president, but it also wouldn’t play well domestically if she allowed herself to be treated as a supplicant the way British Prime Minister Theresa May recently did during her visit with Trump.

“The fact that a discussion in the Chancellery is even necessary regarding how far the chancellor can go in her criticism of Trump’s violations of Western values and principles is in itself indicative how the situation has changed. In the past, these were the kinds of considerations that Merkel’s staff made prior to trips to Russia or China. Now it’s the government in Washington, once one of Germany’s closest partners, that worries the government in Berlin…”

Merkel or Trump… Who Is the Leader of the Free World?

The Local and AFP wrote on March 12:

“Europe’s most powerful leader, Angela Merkel, meets for the first time on Tuesday America’s flamboyant President Donald Trump, whose arrival in the White House has sent shockwaves across the Atlantic… there has been little known contact between the German leader and Trump since he took office… The reserved German leader herself underlined that she is travelling to Washington not only as Germany’s leader, but also as an envoy of the EU…

“While Merkel is a firm believer in the European Union and globalisation, Trump cheers Britain’s departure from the EU and scrapped the TPP free trade deal in his first days in office. The two also differ on immigration policies – she slammed his ban on citizens from mainly-Muslim countries, while he criticised as ‘catastrophic’ her liberal refugee stance that led more than a million asylum-seekers into Germany…

“Merkel had already set the tone from the beginning, when in their first phone conversation, she reminded Trump of democratic values while offering cooperation. That phone call had led some to speculate that she may have taken on the mantel of the ‘leader of the free world’, a title usually reserved for US presidents…”

Due to extremely bad weather in America’s Eastern states, a planned meeting in Washington between Merkel and Trump on Wednesday (March 15) was postponed until Friday (March 17).

Piers Morgan: “Obama Deported Millions, Killed Thousands”

Newsmax reported on March 11:

“British TV personality Piers Morgan says he’s not ready to ‘join the ecstatic global race to canonize Mr. Obama quite so enthusiastically.’ Obama, Morgan admits in a column, in The Daily Mail Friday is ‘handsome, intelligent, charming, witty’ and is a good family man and friend, but beneath the surface lies a ‘rather different, far murkier reality,’ and said the former president should not be considered a ‘saint’ while current President Donald Trump is seen as a ‘monster.’

“For one, Obama is called the ‘Deporter-in-Chief’ by his critics for good reason…  Morgan writes, he deported almost three million. Obama ‘loved to pretend that he was only deporting criminals,’ said Morgan, but more than half those deported had no criminal convictions, and others were sent back for minor misdemeanors, such as traffic violations or marijuana possession.

“The former president also was not the man of peace he liked to portray himself as being, said Morgan, pointing out that Obama was at war longer than any president, and was the only president serving two full terms with the country at war. ‘By contrast, the much-maligned Jimmy Carter never ordered a U.S. military bullet to be fired in anger during his four-year tenure,’ said Morgan…

“During 2016 alone, U.S. special operations remained active in 70 percent of the countries around the world and the same year, Obama ordered at least 26,171 bombs to be dropped on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, seven Muslim-majority countries. He wasn’t submitting Muslims to ‘extreme vetting’ such as that Trump called for, but instead, killing them, said Morgan.

“Obama also ordered 10 times more drone strikes than former President George W. Bush, but his administration has claimed only 117 civilian deaths.”

Michael Flynn… a Paid Foreign Agent for Turkey!

The Huffington Post wrote on March 10:

“[Michael] Flynn, who was ousted from Trump’s government last month after he was exposed for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about contacts with the Russian ambassador, revealed this week that his lobbying firm was paid more than $500,000 for work on behalf of Turkey’s autocratic regime. During the three months he worked as an agent for Turkey, Flynn was also serving as chief national security adviser to candidate Trump. In that role, Flynn attended classified government briefings with Trump, and helped craft his foreign policy. Flynn did not publicly register as a foreign agent until Tuesday, more than seven months after his firm signed the lobbying contract, and three months after the contract ended.

“[White House Spokesman Sean] Spicer on Friday insisted that Flynn kept Trump and other aides in the dark about his foreign lobbying… This ignorance claim falls short for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that many people knew about Flynn’s lobbying work last fall, and it was reported in the media… Flynn even consulted a lawyer, who called a member of Trump’s transition team to disclose Flynn’s work for his Turkish client…”

It has also been reported that Flynn, in support of the Erdogan regime, advocated the extradition of Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen to Turkey, which would have meant his certain death. Erdogan has claimed, without evidence, that his key opponent Gülen was behind the putsch, allegedly trying to oust Erdogan, but serious concerns remain as to who really orchestrated the putsch. In any event, the putsch was used by Erdogan to create an even more autocratic and dictatorial Turkish state with massive persecution of virtually all Erdogan opponents.

Turkey vs. the Netherlands

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 11:

“The Netherlands has denied landing permission for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevut Casuvoglu’s plane… Erdogan said the Dutch policies were reminiscent of the Nazis…

“The feud with the Netherlands reflects broader tensions between Turkey and Europe, especially with Germany, after several cities there blocked Turkish ministers from addressing rallies, citing security concerns. A number of Turkish officials, including Erdogan, have accused Germany of Nazi and fascist-like behavior…

“[Germany’s] constitutional court [decided] on Friday [that] the [German] government can legally ban Turkish officials from campaigning in Germany…”

Europe’s War with Turkey Escalates

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 12:

“Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya flew back to Istanbul on Sunday after being expelled from the Netherlands and escorted back to Germany…

“Kaya tried to enter the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam on Saturday to address Turkish émigrés to drum up support for next month’s referendum to dramatically expand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers. Police prevented her from entering the compound…”

Dutch Embassy in Ankara Sealed Off

The Times of Israel wrote on March 11:

“The Dutch embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul have been sealed off for ‘security reasons’, Turkish foreign ministry sources said on Saturday, as tensions soar between Turkey and the Netherlands…

“The diplomatic row comes at a time when relations between Turkey and the European Union, of which the Netherlands is a member, have been steadily worsening, especially in the wake of Erdogan’s actions since last year’s failed coup. More than 41,000 people have been arrested and 100,000 civil servants fired from their jobs.”

Denmark Blocks Visit of Turkish Prime Minister; Germany “Mulls” Legal Options

Deutsche Welle reported on March 12:

“Danish public broadcaster DR reported [Turkey’s Prime Minister] Binali Yildirim had planned to visit the country on March 20 but Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said that such a visit could not take place in light of ‘the current Turkish attack on Holland.’

“… On Sunday, German lawmakers called for a withdrawal of German troops from Turkey.”

“Diplomatic Row between Europe and Turkey Escalates Further”

Deutsche Welle reported on March 13:

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of ‘supporting terrorists’… Erdogan also attacked Merkel for her public backing of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the ongoing diplomatic crisis with the Netherlands… Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim meanwhile also threatened to cancel the refugee deal struck between Turkey and the European Union one year ago, which has helped in keeping the number of migrants arriving in Germany and elsewhere in Europe at bay…

“The German Foreign Ministry meanwhile updated its travel advisory on Turkey, saying that Germans there should be worried about ‘heightened political tensions and protests that could be directed at Germans.’… The revision also recommends that German visitors to Turkey ‘stay away from political gatherings and from larger groups of people in general.’ The Netherlands followed suit and also revised their travel advice for Turkey, urging Dutch citizens visiting Turkey to exercise caution.”

Geert Wilders of the Netherlands Projected to Lose

Bloomberg News wrote on March 15:

“Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals easily beat the anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in Wednesday’s election, an exit poll showed, as voters responded to Rutte’s plea to send a signal on halting the spread of populism. The Liberal Party is projected to take 31 seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament compared with 19 seats for the Freedom Party, according to the official exit poll conducted for national broadcasters released after voting closed. Wilders’s party has to share second place with the Christian Democrats and centrist D66, both of which are also forecast to get 19 seats.

“The outcome, if confirmed, would be a worse result than opinion polls had predicted for Wilders, and represent a rejection of his platform of pulling the Netherlands out of the European Union, abandoning the euro, closing Dutch borders and stopping all immigration to the Netherlands by Muslims. It would also suggest that the nationalist sentiment that promoted the U.K.’s Brexit vote and brought Donald Trump to the White House is struggling to secure as big a foothold in mainland Europe…

“The euro climbed to the highest level in more than a month on the result… Rutte will probably stay on as premier… the Christian Democrats and D66 are both ‘strongly pro-European.’”

“EU Court’s Ruling on Religious Clothing and Symbols Means Jews, Muslims Unwelcome”

JTA wrote on March 14:

“A European Union court ruled that companies can prohibit their employees from wearing religious clothing and symbols…

“The ruling Tuesday by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg also said that customers cannot simply demand that workers remove headscarves if the company has no policy barring religious symbols…

“The ruling, which came amid a rise in the popularity of anti-Muslim politicians in Europe over the proliferation of jihadist attacks on the continent and ethnic and religious tensions, was on two lawsuits filed by Muslim employees who were sanctioned for wearing religious symbols or prohibited from doing so. ‘This decision sends signals to all religious groups in Europe,’ Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement Tuesday. ‘With the rise of racially motivated incidents and today’s decision, Europe is sending a clear message; its faith communities are no longer welcome. Political leaders need to act to ensure that Europe does not isolate religious minorities and remains a diverse and open continent’…

“Marine Le Pen, the leading candidate in the presidential race in France, said she would ban Muslim headcovering if she were elected. Asked whether she would do the same for the [Jewish] kippah, the head of the far-right National Front party said she would do so to preserve equality.”

What It Means for Germany—Conflict with EU Ruling

The Local wrote on March 14:

“The European Court of Justice… said that employers may ban headscarves if the company has a general ban on ‘political, philosophical or religious’ symbols, and if there is good reason for a ban… German courts must now comply with this ruling. Article 4 of Germany’s constitutional law or Grundgesetz states that religious freedom is a fundamental right. ‘Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed, shall be inviolable,’ it states. ‘The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed.’ But how this principle applies in the workplace has been fiercely debated in Germany…

“In 2002, the Federal Labour Court ruled in the case of a store saleswoman that she should not have been fired for wearing a headscarf. Then in 2014, the same court ruled that church employers could forbid workers from wearing the Muslim headscarf. And in 2015, the Constitutional Court found that general headscarf bans for teachers… were unconstitutional. The court said that headscarves should only be banned if they were found to ‘constitute a sufficiently specific danger of impairing the peace at school.’ The Constitutional Court reiterated this in a 2016 decision regarding a Muslim child care worker, stating that ‘an “Islamic headscarf” is not uncommon in Germany.’

“The Central Council of Muslims said they felt the EU ruling was in direct contradiction with the 2015 ruling regarding teachers…”

The Protestant Church in Germany is also critical of the EU court’s decision, and so is Amnesty International.

Republicans Speak Out Against Paul Ryan’s Healthcare Plan

Breitbart wrote on March 11:

“House Speaker Paul Ryan… introduced what he calls the ‘American Health Care Act,’ a bill that does not repeal Obamacare but only amends it. For the last several days, senior Republicans ranging from members of the House Freedom Caucus to other House Republicans to Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), and more have raised serious concerns with the bill.

“… now [former Alaska Gov. Sarah] Palin… expressed serious concern with the fact that Ryan’s healthcare bill does not eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate. It just shifts the mandate—which requires all Americans to purchase a health insurance plan even if they do not want one. Under Obamacare, those who do not comply, pay a tax to the federal government. Under Ryan’s plan, those who not comply, pay a [30 percent additional] fee to the insurance companies.”

Paul Ryan’s American Healthcare Plan a Disaster?

Breitbart wrote on March 11:

“Analysis from the Brookings Institution says that 15 million people could lose coverage under Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act.

“The Kaiser Family Foundation states that the Ryan plan’s tax credits aid wealthier Americans more than lower-income individuals. Older Americans would face comparatively less aid through tax credits than younger counterparts. American Medical Association CEO James Madara also criticized the Republican leadership’s tax credits…

“Avik Roy, a health expert at Forbes, argued that tax credits in the Ryan plan will ‘price many poor and vulnerable people out of the health insurance market.’

“Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute’s director of health policy studies, believes that the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill will force the poor to lose their coverage. He lamented, ‘If the tax credits (read: subsidies) for low-income Americans are less than under Obamacare, many more low-income patients will lose coverage. Premiums will continue to rise. Republicans will take the blame for all of it, because they will have failed to repeal Obamacare, or learn its lessons, when they had the chance.’”

White House Defends Healthcare Plan

The Guardian wrote on March 14:

“The White House was forced to defend its healthcare plan on multiple fronts on Tuesday after a damning report found it would deprive millions of people of insurance, deepening divisions in the Republican party. A non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study released on Monday predicted that by 2026, the number of people without insurance would increase by 24 million if House Republicans’ legislation… is adopted.

“But during an hour-long briefing dominated by the issue, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, challenged the CBO’s figures… the non-partisan CBO report leaves Republicans with an uphill battle to sell the plan… in the Senate and possibly the House. It was thought to be no coincidence that Breitbart News… released a potentially damaging audio recording of the bill’s champion Paul Ryan, the House speaker, saying on a conference call with House Republicans on 10 October: ‘I am not going to defend Donald Trump – not now, not in the future.’…”

President Trump seemed to support the “Ryan Healthcare Plan” during a speech in Nashville on March 15, while addressing at the same time the need for negotiations.

McClatchy wrote on March 16:

“The much-criticized Obamacare replacement bill passed the House Budget Committee on Thursday with one vote to spare, as three conservative Republicans broke ranks to vote against Paul Ryan’s health care proposal… The bill now heads to the House Rules Committee, and GOP leadership aims to have a vote on the House floor by March 23.”

Scary… How Nuclear Bombs Are Being Transported in the USA

The Los Angeles Times wrote on March 10:

“The unmarked 18-wheelers ply the nation’s interstates and two-lane highways, logging 3 million miles a year hauling the most lethal cargo there is: nuclear bombs. The covert fleet, which shuttles warheads from missile silos, bomber bases and submarine docks to nuclear weapons labs across the country, is operated by the Office of Secure Transportation, a troubled agency within the U.S. Department of Energy so cloaked in secrecy that few people outside the government know it exists.

“The $237-million-a-year agency operates a fleet of 42 tractor-trailers, staffed by highly armed couriers, many of them veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, responsible for making sure nuclear weapons and components pass through foggy mountain passes and urban traffic jams without incident. The transportation office is about to become more crucial than ever as the U.S. embarks on a $1-trillion upgrade of the nuclear arsenal that will require thousands of additional warhead shipments over the next 15 years.

“The increased workload will hit an agency already struggling with problems of forced overtime, high driver turnover, old trucks and poor worker morale — raising questions about its ability to keep nuclear shipments safe from attack in an era of more sophisticated terrorism… [The] worst case would be a terrorist group hijacking a truck and obtaining a multi-kiloton hydrogen bomb…

“The United States has 4,018 nuclear warheads. About 450 are in underground silos in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota. An additional 1,000 or so are on submarines, which dock at bases in Washington and Georgia. Hundreds more bombs are assigned to the U.S. strategic bomber fleet, which is based in Louisiana, North Dakota and Missouri. And a reserve stockpile sits in bunkers near the transportation office headquarters at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

“Each weapon — a complex physics machine that contains as many as 6,000 parts, including tanks of gas, wheels and gears, batteries, wiring, plastic-type explosives and radioactive materials — requires routine inspection, testing and maintenance. The workers who perform those services don’t travel to the weapons. The weapons go to them. They are picked up by the transportation office and driven to the government’s sole plant for working on live nuclear warheads, the Pantex Plant outside Amarillo in the Texas panhandle. From there, various pieces are parceled out to government plants and laboratories across the country. Uranium assemblies travel to Tennessee, plutonium parts to New Mexico, radioactive gas canisters to South Carolina, non-nuclear classified parts to California and firing mechanisms to Kansas. Those parts are then returned to Texas so the warheads can be reassembled and trucked back to their silos or military bases…

“The result is an unwieldy system that requires some of the most dangerous and vulnerable components of the nation’s defense system to be routinely shipped on long-distance journeys from one end of the country to the other… More serious than the inefficiencies in moving so many parts is the vulnerability inherent in placing nuclear bombs on the highways…”

“Trump Administration Ups Drone Strikes, Tolerates More Civilian Deaths”

 NBC News wrote on March 13:

“The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News. The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — ‘areas of active hostilities’ in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible. That is part of a broad policy shift underway, U.S. officials say, to grant the CIA and the military more autonomy to target and kill al Qaeda and ISIS militants without presidential sign-off in countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan…

“The Obama administration put in place a rule that no drone strike could take place outside a war zone unless there was a ‘near certainty’ that no civilian would be harmed. Obama also put the White House in the decision loop on most strikes against high-value targets. And, outside a war zone, the military or the CIA had to show that the target posed an imminent threat to the United States… To be clear, none of this applied to the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which was and is being waged as a military campaign under the laws of war…

“A flurry of strikes in Yemen in recent weeks, against targets that had long been previously identified, was made possible by declaring parts of Yemen a war zone… The Pentagon no longer had to show that the targets posed an imminent threat to the U.S. or declare a near certainty that no civilian would be harmed. A military commander can decide whether the risk of civilian casualties is ‘proportional’ to the benefit of the strike, under the international law of war…

“Human rights groups, which fought for years to get Obama to rein in drone strikes, are dismayed by the Trump approach…”

Foreign Tourists Afraid of Visiting the USA

The Website of wrote on March 13:

“The fallout from President Donald Trump’s executive orders limiting travel from some Middle Eastern and African countries is having far-reaching implications for US tourism. It is not just visitors from the countries targeted by the bans that are souring on U.S. travel… Rather, an atmosphere of fear at the nation’s airports – and well-publicized incidents of visitors being detained and interrogated – are scaring off people without the slightest connection to the Muslim world.

“‘Think twice about visiting America…’ read a recent headline in the letters column of the Australian magazine Traveller, referring to the children’s book author who swore she would never return to the United States after being questioned at Los Angeles International Airport on her way to a literary conference. The Toronto Star newspaper in late January published a commentary calling on Canadians to forgo unnecessary trips to the US until Trump is out of office…

“An economic consulting company that has crunched the numbers from various airline and travel booking websites projects that the US will lose 6.3 million visits by the end of next year, which translates into $10.8 billion in spending. What the company, Tourism Economics of Wayne, Pa., is calling ‘Trump-induced losses’ could affect an estimated 90,000 Americans whose jobs are directly or indirectly dependent on tourism…

“Among the cities that stand to lose the most are New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York expects to lose 300,000 foreign tourists this year, a big worry because foreigners drop the big money, spending about four times as much as domestic tourists, officials said…”

“A survey released Wednesday by the Washington-based Global Business Travel Association found that 45 per cent of European business travel professionals say they are less likely to schedule meetings or events in the US…”

New Travel Ban Suffers Legal Setback

The Associated Press reported on March 15:

“U.S. President Donald Trump said a decision by a U.S. federal judge in Hawaii to issue an emergency halt on Wednesday to his revised travel ban was an example of ‘unprecedented judicial overreach.’…

“The ruling came as opponents renewed their legal challenges across the country, asking judges in three states to block the executive order that targets people from six predominantly Muslim countries. More than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban, and federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments about whether it should be put into practice early Thursday…

“Attorneys for the ACLU and other groups said that Trump’s statements on the campaign trail and statements from his advisers since he took office make clear that the intent of the ban is to ban Muslims. Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller has said the revised order was designed to have ‘the same basic policy outcome’ as the first…”

The New York Times added on March 16: “A second federal judge in Maryland ruled against Mr. Trump overnight, with a separate order forbidding the core provision of the travel ban from going into effect.”

President Trump said during his speech in Nashville, Tennessee, (on March 15) that the second travel ban was a “watered-down” version of the first executive order, and that he would prefer to resurrect the first one and have it reviewed by the US Supreme Court: “We’re going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way to the Supreme Court. And we’re going to win. I think we ought to go back to the first [ban], and go all the way. That’s what I wanted to do in the first place.”

Newsmax added on March 15:

“Famed civil rights attorney Alan Dershowitz said a federal judge’s decision Wednesday to halt President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban proved ‘the whole effort to try to clean it up was futile.’ ‘I’m not surprised, because the attitude of the court is there can’t be any lawful order as long as candidate Trump said what he said and [former New York City Mayor Rudy] Giuliani said what he said,’ the Harvard Law School professor emeritus [said]. ‘That makes anything that happens thereafter simply a cover for a Muslim ban…

“Dershowitz referenced comments made by Trump during last year’s presidential campaign about banning Muslims from entering the United States, as well as Giuliani’s comments to Fox News in January on Trump asking him how to do such a ban ‘legally.’ But Dershowitz added that the Trump administration could eventually win at the Supreme Court, since the justices have taken ‘exactly the opposite attitude when it comes to looking at motive and intent. They said you don’t look at motive and intent. You look at the word of the regulation — and that’s what the Supreme Court will ultimately hold.’”

But Professor Dershowitz was wrong before when he predicted that the first travel ban would be upheld by the courts.

“Temple Mount Is the Foundation of the History of the Jewish People”

The Times of Israel wrote on March 13:

“Hitting back at a controversial UNESCO resolution ignoring the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, senior Likud ministers put forward a proposal to establish a new government body [that] would preserve the holy site and educate about its Jewish history.  Proposed by Culture Minister Miri Regev and Environmental Protection and Jerusalem Minister Ze’ev Elkin, the plan includes a NIS 2 million ($550,00) yearly budget to set up the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation that will be responsible for ‘research, information and advocacy’ about the Jewish connection to the site…

“… the new body would be based on the government-funded Western Wall Heritage Fund, which administers the site adjacent to the Temple Mount. ‘In recent years the State of Israel has been facing a deligitimization campaign based on a distortion of facts regarding the history, tradition and culture of the Jewish people,’ reads the explanation of the proposal… ‘One of the peaks of this trend took place recently with the October 2016 UNESCO decision to attempt to nullify the connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount. In light of this trend, the government of Israel sees itself as responsible to prevent this disinformation and distortion of historical truth,’ it says.

‘The controversial UNESCO resolution used only Muslim names for the Jerusalem Old City holy sites and was harshly critical of Israel for what it termed ‘provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity’ of the area. Lawmakers from both the right and left of the Israeli political spectrum slammed the decision and accused the UN’s cultural arm of anti-Semitism…

“The flashpoint Temple Mount, which is administrated by the Jordanian authorities, is the holiest site in Judaism, revered by Jews as the site where the biblical Temples stood. Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary and believe it is the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is the third-holiest site in Islam and houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine. The Palestinians have frequently charged that Israel is trying to change longstanding understandings, in place since 1967, under which Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray at, the site.

“Last week Regev unveiled the logo to be used in the upcoming celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli rule. The emblem features an Israeli flag flying atop the old city walls and the Temple Mount and is accompanied by the slogan: ’50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem.’… Regev… stressed that part of the image featured ‘an Israeli flag that has returned to fly above the old city walls, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount.’… In a Monday statement, Glick said he welcomed the plan for a Temple Mount Heritage Foundation and has personally lobbied for its creation. ‘We need to state clearly: The temple mount is the foundation of the history of the Jewish people and of the return to the land since the beginning of Zionism,’ he said.”

Persians Then and Now—the Book of Esther and the Purim Feast

Breitbart wrote on March 12:

“Just as the Persians failed to wipe out the Jewish nation some 2,500 years ago, the Iranians of today will also fail, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday night on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Purim.  The prime minister made his remarks before the reading of the Scroll of Esther at the central synagogue in Caesarea… He turned to the children surrounding him in costumes traditionally worn on Purim and asked them: ‘What is the holiday about, what do we celebrate, what do we remember, what did they try to do to us then?’ Several children replied, ‘To kill us.’ ‘Where?’ Netanyahu asked. ‘In Persia,’ they answered. ‘Did they succeed?’ the prime minister asked. ‘No,’ one child said, ‘the opposite happened.’ ‘It didn’t happen, the opposite happened,’ Netanyahu repeated. ‘Also, today they want to destroy us from Persia; they will not succeed.’…

“Today, Netanyahu said, Iran – the heir of the Persians – has similar designs: to wipe out the state of the Jews…

“In his speech to a special joint session of the U.S. Congress in March 2015, Netanyahu famously evoked the Purim story when explaining the threat posed by the nuclear deal signed by then-president Barack Obama. ‘We’re an ancient people,’ he said. ‘In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.’ He continued by saying that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Haman’s modern-day heir, had similar plans for the Jewish nation. ‘But I can guarantee you this,’ he said, ‘the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies – those days are over.’”

“‘Ghosts’ Drive Brazil’s President from Residence”

The website of and AFP wrote on March 12:

“Brazil’s president Michel Temer blames bad vibes and even ghosts for driving him from his sumptuous official residence in the capital Brasilia, a Brazilian news weekly reported Saturday.

“Temer surprised Brazilians this week with the revelation that he has decamped from the Alvorada Palace and moved with his former beauty queen wife (Marcela Temer) and their seven-year-old son down the road to the smaller vice presidential residence… According to a report in Globo newspaper, Marcela Temer brought in a priest to attempt to drive out any evil spirits, but to no avail… The house moving comes in the middle of a severe political crisis for Brazil, with many of Temer’s allies facing potential corruption probes.”

There are many houses which are supposedly haunted… including governmental residences such as the White House. But there are no “ghosts” (of “departed ones”) who may live there, but evil spirits. After all, Satan and his demons are the real rulers of this present evil world.

The Main Differences between Catholics and Protestants

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 10:

“They worship the same God, but the principles of their faith are different. 500 years after Reformation, a Reconciliation service on Saturday is a reminder of the still painful division between Protestants and Catholics.

“In Germany, the country of Reformation, a deep animosity divided Catholic and Protestant Christians up until a few decades ago. This division had deepened over the centuries through religious conflicts and wars. It all started when Reformation took place, 500 years ago, as Martin Luther (1483-1546) tried to reform the Catholic Church. His attempt to do so instead led to a schism in the Church. On October 31, 1517, the publication of his 95 Theses, which outlined different abusive practices of the Church, is considered the founding event that led to this division in Germany and the creation of the Evangelical Church.

“Right from the beginning, on October 21, 2016, this year of commemoration of the Reformation was characterized by an ecumenical approach. In the past, protestant churches celebrated major Reformation anniversaries by worshiping Martin Luther as a hero – but this time it’s different. The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) wishes to turn the celebrations of ‘500 Years of Reformation’ into a common celebration of Christ with the Catholic Church. Through various events, both sides will pay tribute to Martin Luther while emphasizing their will to overcome divisions…

“Many of the aspects that were reformed by Luther at the time still divide both groups to this day. Here are the eight main differences:

“1. Understanding of the Bible:

“Catholicism and Protestantism have distinct views on the meaning and the authority of the Bible. For Protestant Christians, Luther made clear that the Bible is the ‘Sola Skriptura,’ God’s only book, in which He provided His revelations to the people and which allows them to enter in communion with Him. Catholics, on the other hand, do not align their beliefs on the Bible alone. Along with the Holy Scripture, they are additionally bound by the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.

“2. Understanding the Church

“Catholics and Protestants have a different view on the nature of the Church. The word ‘catholic’ means ‘all-embracing,’ and the Catholic Church sees itself as the only true Church worldwide, under the leadership of the Pope. In contrast, the Protestant Churches which have emerged from Reformation, also called ‘Evangelical,’ which means ‘according to the Gospel’ do not make up one united Church. There are rather several tens of thousands of different denominations around the world. Officially, all of these many Churches are considered equal.

“3. The Pope

“Protestants are not open at all to papal primacy. According to the Evangelical view, it contradicts statements in the Bible. Catholics see in the Pope the successor of the Apostle Peter, the first head of their Church, who was appointed by Jesus. The papal office is justified by an allegedly unbroken chain of consecrations, ranging from the first century to the present.

“4. Understanding of the office

“This continuous chain, known as the apostolic succession, is overall significant for different spiritual offices in the Catholic Church. With the Sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops, priests and deacons receive a lifelong seal of God giving them sacramental authority over Catholic laymen. This consecration can only be given to men. Protestants do not consecrate specific persons into office, but rather accept the principle that priesthood can be transferred to every believer – even to women.

“5. Eucharist or Lord’s Supper

‘The Catholics’ views on the spiritual office are reflected in the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, a rite commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples before his Crucifixion. Once consecrated by a priest in the name Jesus, bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Non-Catholics may not participate in communion. In the [Protestant] Church, every baptized person is invited to share and is allowed to lead the Lord’s Supper. This approach is not accepted by Catholics.

“Additionally, Eucharist has a different meaning for Catholics and Protestants. The bread, known as the Host, embodies Jesus and can therefore be prayed to. For Protestants, the ritual only serves to commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection.

“6. Sacraments

“In the Roman Catholic Church there are seven solemn rites, called Sacraments: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders and extreme unction. The Church believes these sacraments were instituted by Jesus and that they confer God’s Grace. Protestants only practice two of these sacraments: matrimony and the Eucharist. They are perceived as symbolic rituals, through which God delivers the Gospel. They are accepted through faith.

“7. Marian dogmas and the worship of Saints

“The Roman Catholic Church reveres Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as ‘Queen of Heaven’ and is in many aspects Jesus’ equal. However, there are little biblical references of Marian dogmas – which include Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity and her Assumption into heaven. This is why they are rejected by Protestants. The Catholic Church also practices the worship of Saints. Dead models of faith, recognized as ‘saint’ by the Church through canonization, can be prayed to for help in maintaining faith in God. There are over 4,000 Saints. Their remains are considered holy relics which are venerated. This worship is also categorically [rejected] by the Protestant Church as unbiblical. According to Reformation views, every person may and should pray directly to God.

“8. Celibacy

“All main world religions integrate in some way the concept of celibacy, the vow of abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, and the Catholic and Protestant Churches are no exception. In the Catholic Church, celibacy is obligatory for priests. It is seen as a symbol of the undivided succession of Christ. The Protestant Church rejects this obligation for priests. Already in 1520, Martin Luther demanded its abolition. He made a decisive personal contribution to this end in 1525: The former monk married the former nun Katharina von Bora. Initially unsure of whether he should marry, Luther finally determined that ‘his marriage would please his father, rile the pope, cause the angels to laugh, and the devils to weep.’”

What is even more problematic than the differences between Catholics and Protestants is their common beliefs, which are in opposition to the Bible.

Current Events

We begin with the strained relationship between Donald Trump and Angela Merkel; continue with Piers Morgan’s interesting perspective regarding Messrs. Obama and Trump; report on the dubious role of Michael Flynn as a foreign agent for Turkey and the White House’s alleged “ignorance”; and speak on the ongoing diplomatic feud between Turkey and the rest of Europe, especially Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark; the Netherland’s election; and a controversial decision by the European Court of Justice.

We address the opposition by many Republicans against Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill; and we present a scary report about the insecure transport of atomic bombs on America’s roads, as well as plans to make it easier to use American drones for attacks, leading to more civilian casualties. We also speak of the fears of foreign tourists to visit the USA; and Donald Trump’s revised travel ban’s legal challenges and setback.

We continue with reports pertaining to the Temple Mount and the Purim Feast; as well as the fear of “ghosts” in Brazil’s presidential residence. We conclude with an eye-opening article about eight differences between Catholic and Protestant beliefs. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Catholics and Protestants… Divided or United?” 

What Did Christ Mean When He Said in Luke 13:33: “… it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”?

The entire passage reads, in context: “On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, ‘Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ And He said to them, ‘Go, tell that fox, “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem’” (Luke 13:31-33).

Christ made the statement in the context of His violent death which would occur in the city of Jerusalem. Halley’s Bible Handbook points out that Jesus spoke His words when He was “in Perea, Herod’s domain. He was safer there than in Judea. His answer: ‘You, not Herod, are my murderers. Jerusalem, not Perea, the place for it.’”

In fact, many prophets were and are going to be killed in that city (compare the death of the prophet Zechariah, 2 Chronicles 24:20-22; the death of the prophet Urijah, Jeremiah 26:20-23; and the future death of the two witnesses, Revelation 11:3, 7-8).

As we explain in our Q&A about the role of Christ as a prophet, Christ was indeed a prophet, and He was recognized as such by the people and the religious establishment (Matthew 21:11; John 9:17; Luke 7:16; Luke 24:19). He referred to Himself as a prophet in the above-quoted passage in Luke 13:33. In fact, He was THE Prophet spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 (compare Acts 3:19-26), and some recognized Him as such (John 6:14; 7:40).

But did Christ mean to say that every prophet was or will be killed in the city of Jerusalem?

In addressing the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and lawyers who resided in Jerusalem, He said in Luke 11:49-51:

“… ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.”

Christ might have had in mind that His generation would be severely punished through the Romans in 70 AD when Jerusalem was occupied and the temple was destroyed. Or, He could have referred in general to the Jewish race (note our Q&A on the meaning of “generation”).

His recorded words in Matthew 23:34-35 shed further light on His statement:

“… I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come  all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”

Notice that He says in Matthew 23:34 that the prophets, wise men and scribes would be persecuted from city to city… showing that His statements (including in Luke 13:33) were not limited to the city of Jerusalem.

Not every prophet was killed in the city of Jerusalem. Abel was not killed in the city of Jerusalem (the city did not even exist at that time), even though Christ called him a prophet. As Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5), warning the people of the coming flood, so Abel probably prophesied to Cain and others about the consequences of their evil lifestyle; and we read that Abel’s blood still speaks to us today in a figurative sense (Hebrews 12:24).

We stated in a previous Q&A on the death of Paul:

“It is therefore reasonably certain that Paul was murdered under Nero through beheading. He was buried in Rome, but his body was later transferred to England, where it is today.”

Paul was a prophet (Acts 13:1), but he was apparently not killed in the city of Jerusalem.

What, then, might Christ have meant with His statement that “it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem”? Did He utter an historically and prophetically inaccurate statement?

Several explanations are possible.

(1)  Exception: Death of a Prophet through Foreigners

John the Baptist was a great prophet (Matthew 11:7-9; Luke 1:76), but he was not THE Prophet (John 1:21-25). He was beheaded in the palace of Herod (called the fortress Machaerus), which was not in the city of Jerusalem, but which was a fortified hilltop palace located in Jordan 25 kilometers (16 miles) southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river on the eastern side of the Dead Sea (compare Wikipedia on Machaerus; note also comments in the Nelson Study Bible).

But “John died at the hands of Herod and Herodias, neither of whom were, properly speaking Jews. John, therefore, died as a prophet to foreigners rather than as a prophet to the Jewish people” (The Fourfold Gospel).

The same can be said about the murder of other prophets through foreign people. We read in Revelation 18:24 that the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth, were found in “Babylon”—the Gentile political, military and religious Babylonian system (compare Revelation 16:6; 18:20; 19:2).

The Schlachter Bible comments that Jesus wanted to show that most prophets in the Old Testament had not been killed by foreign enemies, but by the Jewish people. At the same time, Christ would have excluded those prophets in His statement in Luke 13:33 who were not killed by Jews.

Passages such as Acts 7:52 and 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 reiterate the murder of the prophets through Israelites and Jews. Hebrews 11:37 speaks of the death of God’s followers, and that some were sawn in two. Tradition has it that the prophet Isaiah was killed in this manner.

(2)  “Jerusalem” Symbolic for Jewish Nation

From the previous statement, it would follow that Christ’s use of the word “Jerusalem” in Luke 13:33 was not limited to the city.

The Life Application Bible says:

“Jerusalem, the city of God, symbolized the entire nation. It was Israel’s largest city and the nation’s spiritual and political capital, and Jews from around the world visited it frequently. But Jerusalem had a history of rejecting God’s prophets … and it would reject the Messiah just as it had rejected his forerunners.”

(3)  “Jerusalem” Symbolic for “Forces of Evil” and Babylonian System

However, the term “Jerusalem” might have a much broader application than just referring to the nation of Judah.

The Bible Study New Testament writes:

“Jerusalem (the earthly city) was symbolic of the forces of evil which fight against God (see Revelation 11:8). Jesus would die there, and his church would begin there!”

Note that Revelation 11:8 states that the two witnesses will be killed in Jerusalem, “which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Note also God’s harsh condemnation of end-time Israel and Judah in Isaiah 1:10; 3:9, describing them as “rulers of Sodom” and “people of Gomorrah.”

As mentioned above, Revelation 18:24 says that the blood of ALL who were slain on the earth can be found in “Babylon.” It is clear that this statement must include the blood of those who were killed in “Jerusalem.” This means that “Jerusalem” is part of the worldwide ancient and modern Babylonian system which reigns over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18; Isaiah 47:5); which deceived ALL the nations through its sorcery (Revelation 18:23; Isaiah 47:9); and which has made the inhabitants of the earth drunk with the wine of her fornication (Revelation 17:2; Jeremiah 51:7). Revelation 18:2 tells us that Babylon is fallen twice (“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen”), referring to ancient Babylon in Old Testament times and modern Babylon with its capital Rome, under the rule of the beast and the false prophet.

This is the reason why God’s people throughout the centuries and millennia are told to come out of Babylon, so that they don’t have any part in this rotten ancient and modern system (compare Revelation 18:4; Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 50:8; 51:6, 45, 50). Rather, God’s people wait for a heavenly, better country and a continuing city (Hebrews 11:9-10, 14-16; 13:14).

In this day and age, “Jerusalem” is part of this present evil world, which is ruled by Satan the devil (Luke 4:5-7), who is responsible for the persecution of the saints and the murder of God’s prophets. God’s people are to worship God the Father in spirit and in truth, and not in Jerusalem (John 4:20-24).

(4)  Only Jewish Court in Jerusalem Could Legally Condemn a Prophet

At the same time, Christ might have focused on legal requirements.

The Benson Commentary says:

“… the supreme court, whose prerogative it was to judge prophets, had its seat at Jerusalem. Inferior courts did not take cognizance of such causes; and therefore, if a prophet was put to death, it must be at Jerusalem… Our Lord, ‘in saying a prophet could not perish out of that city, insinuated, that he knew the intentions of the Pharisees too well to pay any regard to their advice respecting departing from Galilee for fear of Herod…”

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says:

“… the great sanhedrim only sat at Jerusalem, to whom it belonged to try and judge a prophet; and if found false, to condemn him, and put him to death… Not… that prophets sometimes perished elsewhere, as John the Baptist in Galilee; but not according to a judicial process, in which way Christ the prophet was to be cut off, nor was it common; instances of this kind were rare, and always in a violent way; and even such as were sentenced to death by the lesser sanhedrim, were brought to Jerusalem, and publicly executed there, whose crimes were of another sort; for so runs the canon…”

Meyer’s NT Commentary disagrees with Gill’s conclusion, saying:  “‘it cannot be done, it is not possible’… with ironically excited emotion makes the frequent and usual hyperbolically [sic] to appear as necessary (for all the prophets were not actually slain in Jerusalem, as is shown even in the instance of the Baptist) for the purpose of showing how empty the threatening of Herod appears to Jesus, since He must rather go to Jerusalem to die. The opinion… that He refers to the right belonging exclusively to the Sanhedrim of judging prophets and condemning them to death… is mistaken… since Jesus could not place Himself on a level with those who were condemned as false prophets.”

But Meyer’s conclusion is wrong. The people demanded Christ’s death because they considered Him to be an imposter, a false prophet, someone who did not come as their King to free them from the Romans, even though they had thought at one time that He had promised them such deliverance (Luke 19:38). They later changed their minds, claiming that they had no king but Caesar (John 19:14-15).They simply did not understand—nor do people understand this today—that His Kingdom was and is NOT of this world (John 18:36), and that He had not come to establish the Kingdom of God on earth at that time (Acts 1:6-7), but “to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

Compare Adam Clarke’s commentary: “A man who professes to be a prophet can be tried on that ground only by the grand Sanhedrin, which always resides at Jerusalem; and as the Jews are about to put me to death, under the pretense of my being a false prophet, therefore my sentence must come from this city, and my death take place in it.”

(5)  Greek Meaning of the English Words “Cannot Be”

Reviewing the Greek, the translation “cannot be” is not compelling.

The Greek word for “can be” is endechomai and is defined in Young’s Analytical Concordance as “to receive” and “to admit.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible adds the additional meaning (under Number 1735), “it is accepted.” Strong’s explains that the word dechomai (under Number 1209) means, “receive” (in various applications, lit. or fig.).” The Greek words for “it cannot be” are ouk endechomai.

This Greek expression is only used in the passage in Luke 13:33. Therefore, its meaning is somewhat open to interpretation.

Several alternate renderings have been proposed: “impossible” (New Revised Standard Version); “unthinkable” (Revised English Bible); “it would not be right” (New Jerusalem Bible); “it will never do” (Amplified Bible); “it’s against the rules” (Gaus, The Unvarnished Gospels). The German Bibles have virtually unanimously: “es geht nicht an” (“that won’t do”).

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says:

“The reason why he said that a prophet could not perish elsewhere than in Jerusalem might be:

“1. That he knew that he would be tried on a charge of blasphemy, and no other court could have cognizance of that crime but the great council or Sanhedrin, and so he was not afraid of any threats of Herod,

“2. It ‘had been’ the fact that the prophets had been chiefly slain there. The meaning is, ‘It cannot easily be done elsewhere; it is not usually done. Prophets have generally perished there, and there I am to die. I am safe, therefore, from the fear of Herod, and shall not take the advice given and leave his territory.’”

Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible states:

“It does not usually happen… It usually happened that the prophets were slain there…”

Bengel’s Gnomen states:

“… it is not usual… This phrase admits of exceptions: for instance, John the Baptist was ‘a prophet’ who ‘perished out of Jerusalem.’”

(6)  The Prophet Had to Be Condemned in Jerusalem

There is still another possibility as to what Christ might have meant, considering that He was THE Prophet.

In the Greek, there is no indefinite article (“a”). There is only a definite article (‘the”). But when a definite article is omitted, that does not necessarily mean that an indefinite article must be used in the English. Compare our Q&A on 2 Corinthians 6:2 and the day of salvation.

According to the Disciples’ Literal New Testament, the literal Greek wording is as follows (quoted from the original; note that the English words in italics and underlined are not in the literal Greek):

“Nevertheless, I must proceed today and tomorrow and the next day, because it cannot-be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”

So, it is possible that the definite article (“the”), rather than the indefinite article (“a”) must be added here in reference to the word prophet, so that Christ was actually referring to Himself, saying that it is impossible that THE prophet would be condemned to death outside of Jerusalem. The modern Weymouth New Testament seems to imply this conclusion, by rendering Christ’s wording in this way: “Yet I must continue my journey to-day and to-morrow and the day following; for it is not conceivable that a Prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”  Even though they do not say, “the” Prophet, they do capitalize the word “prophet.” The word “prophet” is also capitalized in the following older renditions: King James Bible 1611; Geneva Bible 1560; The Great Bible 1539; and Tyndale Bible 1534.

This understanding finds support in the very next two verses, in Luke 13:34-35, where Christ speaks about Himself, stating: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see ME until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is HE who comes in the name of the LORD!’”

In conclusion, Christ’s words might have had a variety of meaning, but it is clear that He spoke with compelling and indisputable accuracy, while in no way contradicting other biblical passages, history or the prophesied future.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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