Current Events

by Norbert Link

In this edition, we discuss, among other news, ongoing developments stemming from the controversial politics and confusing conduct of the Trump administration, and ask the frightening and unsettling question as to what would happen to the USA if it would be faced with a real crisis, such as a nuclear attack (as distinguished from some usual internal blunders). In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, Coming–Nuclear War With No Survivors?”, as well as our previous StandingWatch program, titled,FBI Director Comey Fired–Another Trump Debacle.” 

We continue with the worldwide ransomware attack and point out growing discomfort between the Trump administration and the state of Israel.

We speak on election results in Germany and interesting developments in Austria and Europe; and we conclude with the alleged sightings of the “Virgin Mary” in Fatima and Lourdes.

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

Success in Overcoming; Zeal

On May 20, 2017, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Success in Overcoming,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Zeal.”

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.

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

A new Member Letter (May 2017) has been written and mailed to our subscribers. In this letter, Pastor Rene Messier reminds us of God’s promises of help as we face more and more trials. He draws special attention to our need to not become complacent as we anticipate the establishment of God’s Kingdom.

Michael Link has produced a new German video for the German booklet translated from, “Heavens and Earth…Before and After the First Man!” The booklet was just distributed to our German subscribers. He will also be producing an English version very soon.

“Coming—Nuclear War without Survivors?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Jesus Christ told us that an unparalleled time of disaster would strike this planet which could eradicate all life on earth. Many feel today that nuclear war is inevitable… that it is not a question of “if,” but of “when,” killing billions of people. The Hill wrote on May 15 that the world may be on the “threshold of a ‘new nuclear age'” where “the likelihood of nuclear use is greatly increasing.” The Bible prophesies worldwide nuclear war. But there IS hope for us!

“FBI Director Comey Fired–Another Trump Debacle,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Given the timing, manner and underlying circumstances, as well as the many glaring inconsistencies in the reports from the White House and President Trump, the US President’s controversial termination of FBI director James Comey has been described as a “massive cover-up” and a “perilous moment in American history,” with parallels to “Watergate” and the “Saturday Night Massacre.” The President’s actions opened wide the floodgates of speculation in the liberal and conservative national and international media, portraying the Trump Administration as a laughing stock and a government which cannot be trusted. What does this all mean in the light of biblical prophecy?

“Missverständnisse über König David, Teil 3,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon. Title in English: “Misunderstandings about King David, Part 3.”

A new German APS program was recorded and posted. It covers God’s 6,000 year-plan, and the new video of our booklet, “Heavens and Earth…Before and After the First Man!”, is embedded. Title in English: “God’s 6,000-Year-Plan.”

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

A meal is a common and essential occurrence for everyone, everyday. What does the Bible say about the daily event of eating a meal?

“The Time of the End,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

The consummation of the ages is prophesied as being an incomparable time of trouble—a period of great tribulation for all those who dwell on the earth! Do you believe the warnings from God which are written throughout the pages of the Bible? Are you preparing to face what is coming?

Pentecost will be observed on Sunday, June 4, 2017.

That Which Is Unavoidable

The current situation which our nations face looks grim and is headed towards self-destruction.  This is certain to happen – it is unavoidable.  Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything that we can do about it, in terms of the economy and other various laws that the government has put into place, and we in the Church feel the effects as well. Yes, our nations are in a big mess and solutions to fix the problems are becoming more and more extreme.  This should be no surprise to us as the Bible is clear not only about the future of our nations, but also the whole world.

The book of Isaiah is full of prophecies of what is to come in the future.  We read about how Assyria (modern German speaking nations) will fight against Egypt in due course; how Judah will fight against Jerusalem; how our nations will also be in war and will lose.  It is hard to imagine this right now and many people do not take it seriously because they also don’t believe it.  It will most certainly happen.  But why? What have the nations of this world done to make God so angry?

The first chapter of Isaiah talks about the wickedness of modern Israel (mainly the USA, Great Britain, Canada and Australia) and Judah.  “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: ‘I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.’ Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward. Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment… Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.  When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:2-6, 13-15).

The modern nations of Israel and Judah have forsaken God and taken matters into their own hands, either keeping feast days not of God or keeping godly days in a wrong way, and, due to their sins, God has not listened to their prayers.  God is angry because of their pagan-related worship (Isaiah 2:6-9), and as God responded in the past to their sinful conduct, He will once again respond to their wickedness (Isaiah 5:24-25).  For us however, the true Church of God, He tells us to continue to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God until the end (Matthew 24:14).

God has instructed us to be vigilant and NOT to stumble as many have (compare Isaiah chapter 8),  for they go the way of the pagans and not of God.  The leaders of the people are to blame (Isaiah 9:13-17).  They do not look to God for answers, but they look to their own reasoning, what appears best in their own eyes and to the eyes of the public, to gain popularity.  For all those who don’t put their trust in God will have to face serious consequences (Isaiah 31:1-3).  This is inevitable!  This happened back then; it is happening now and it will continue to happen until Christ’s return.

What about us? The Bible is very specific on what we are NOT to do. In a prophecy in Deuteronomy 28:15, it also warns those who disobey, saying, “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.”

Yes indeed, the terrible things to come, because of man’s selfish desires, are certain to happen. We have to be prepared for what is to occur.  There are certain things that are out of our control, but we have to recognize the fact that it is God who will take care of us.  We are often times faced with situations which might lead to doubt, and we may question why things are happening the way they are, especially during these times of uncertainty.  It is easy to lose focus, to get off track, to sometimes forget about God.  He tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry about our future. Christ’s death was inevitable. It had to happen for the sake of mankind, or we would all die the eternal death, and we could not experience everlasting life. There would be no purpose for us. We could never be in God’s Kingdom, which is why God created us in the first place!

The immediate future for the entire world is heading towards a destructive and terrible time, leading to the Great Tribulation, as the Bible predicts, and it is unavoidable, since mankind is unwilling to repent and change.  At the same time, we know what God has in store for us when Jesus Christ returns. We will experience the end to all the misery, so we can finally live a peaceful and eternal life in God’s Kingdom, and teach mankind God’s Way of happiness and tranquility, and that too is inevitable and unavoidable.

What Does It Mean to “Confess Christ”?

Many denominations encourage their members to publicly “confess Jesus Christ.” Oftentimes, this proclamation is presented in the context of “finding the Lord” or of “being saved.” Along with this personal “witnessing” others are then encouraged to “accept Christ” in order that they, too, might be “saved.” A favorite Scripture for this approach is Romans 10:9:

“[T]hat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Indeed, this statement and others, such as John 3:16; 6:40; and 6:47, all point to necessary actions for salvation. But is professing Jesus Christ and merely appropriating His name all that God requires? Jesus addressed those who would falsely believe they were serving Him by using His name:

“‘Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied IN YOUR NAME, cast out demons IN YOUR NAME, and done many wonders IN YOUR NAME?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

In the Book of Acts, we find an example of those who took it upon themselves to indiscriminately use the name of Jesus:

“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13-16).

From this example we learn that the men who falsely invoked the name of Jesus did so with terrible consequences. In the statement of Jesus as quoted above and by this example in Acts, we should understand that the name of Jesus Christ is to be revered! It is the divine name of the Son of God! (Philippians 2:9-11).

Using the name of Jesus Christ bears great responsibility—and power. Through the ministry appointed by Jesus, salvation is preached, and Jesus has given His ministry power to heal. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Peter healed a man who had been lame from his birth (compare Acts 3:1-9). Note this powerful testimony from the apostle Peter regarding this healing:

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the “stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’”  (Acts 4:8-12).

On the Day of Pentecost—the beginning of the New Testament Church of God—Peter preached to those assembled, saying, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

A true minister of God will baptize “in the name of Jesus Christ”—pointing to His sinless Sacrifice as payment for one’s sins (1 John 3:5; Romans 5:6-11). But before a person is baptized, real repentance must take place (Matthew 3:8). Applying Romans 10:9-10, the minister will also ask if the individual believes that Jesus Christ is his or her Savior, and in that sense one “confesses”—that is—openly acknowledges the supreme role of Jesus Christ in their salvation.

How, then, do people continue to “confess” Christ—or should they even do so?

First of all, it falls to the ministry of the Church of God to PREACH! Jesus Christ has set the ministry in place with different roles (compare 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-16). Furthermore, no one should presume to have this responsibility who has not been ordained by the laying on of hands by other ministers. Carefully note what is written in Hebrews:

“And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was” (Hebrews 5:4).

Jesus chose twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-16); Jesus chose seventy men to preach (Luke 10:1-12); and, Jesus chose Paul “‘to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel’” (Acts 9:15). Paul wrote to Titus that he “should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city…” (Titus 1:5).

Throughout the New Testament, the Church of God is reported as preaching the gospel in a very organized way. While the ministry was given specific roles, all the members participated in supportive ways. Romans 16:1-16 records the names of certain people and how they contributed to the Work of the Church. Several Books of the New Testament cite the positive actions of other Christians.

While preaching is not the role given to members of the Church of God, being an EXAMPLE of Christianity is! Jesus said, “‘You are the light of the world’” (Matthew 5:14). In this context, Paul writes:

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15).

When we live according to the Way of Jesus Christ—when our example “speaks” to others, we may be asked about our beliefs. Here is how Peter said we should RESPOND:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…” (1 Peter 3:15).

While some may think that they can push Christ onto others through their personal evangelism, THEY ARE UTTERLY WRONG! Christ said, “‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…’” (John 6:44); and, “‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).

Ultimately, to really “confess Christ,” you must become perfect, “‘just as your Father in heaven is perfect’” (Matthew 5:48). That is accomplished by “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Lead Writer: Dave Harris

This Week in the News

Justice Department Appoints Special Prosecutor

The Associated Press wrote on May 17:

“The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday as a special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into allegations that Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign collaborated to influence the 2016 presidential election, giving Mueller sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes uncovered in the probe… The White House counsel’s office was alerted only after the order appointing Mueller was signed

“Mueller’s broad mandate gives him not only oversight of the Russia probe, but also ‘any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.’ That could well include the firing last week of FBI Director James Comey… GOP lawmakers have grown increasingly anxious after… Comey associates said he had notes from a meeting in which Trump asked him to shut down the investigation into the Russia ties of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn…

“The latest political storm, coupled with the still-potent fallout from Trump’s recent disclosure of classified information to Russian diplomats, overshadowed all else in the capital and beyond. Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street as investors worried that the latest turmoil in Washington could hinder Trump’s pro-business agenda…

“Russia’s Vladimir Putin… offered to furnish a ‘record’ of the Trump-diplomats meeting in the Oval Office if the White House desired it. There was no word on what that record might entail, a question many were likely to raise in light of Trump’s recent warning to Comey that he had ‘better hope’ there were no tapes of a discussion they’d had…

“Trump is preparing to leave town Friday on his first foreign trip, and aides have been hopeful the journey will be a chance for the administration to get back on track after weeks of chaos and distractions. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speculated Trump was probably happy to get out of town — ‘and a lot of us are glad he’s leaving for a few days’…”

Questions abound. How can Putin have a record? Did the Russians bug the White House? Are there tapes of private conversations between Trump and Comey? How reliable are Comey’s alleged notes, and why did he not reveal their existence earlier? And the biggest question of all: Which disaster will President Trump cause next?

Repercussions of Trump’s Disclosure of Classified Information

 JTA wrote on May 17:

“An undercover Israeli agent inside the Islamic State has been put at risk by President Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russia… The spy had provided Israel with intelligence about a plan by Islamic State, or ISIS, to cause the crash of a passenger jet on the way to the United States… Israel had shared the intelligence with the United States on the condition that it not be identified as the source of the information

“In January, an Israeli newspaper reported that American intelligence officials warned their Israeli counterparts not to share sensitive information with the Trump administration because of the threat that it could be leaked to Russia. On Wednesday, Yediot Acharonot cited an unnamed Israeli intelligence source as saying that Israel will have to reassess what information it shares with the United States and not hand over the most sensitive of it.”

Newsmax reported on May 16:

“The revelations could further damage Trump’s already fraught relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies… The disclosure also risks harming his credibility with U.S. partners around the world… A European security official said sharing sensitive information could dampen the trust between the United States and its intelligence sharing partners…”

Why Trumponomics Is Dangerous for America… and the Entire World

The Economist wrote on May 13:

“Contrary to the Trump team’s assertions, there is little evidence that either the global trading system or individual trade deals have been systematically biased against America… Instead, America’s trade deficit—Mr Trump’s main gauge of the unfairness of trade deals—is better understood as the gap between how much Americans save and how much they invest… Textbooks predict that Mr Trump’s plans to boost domestic investment will probably lead to larger trade deficits… If so, Mr Trump will either need to abandon his measure of fair trade or, more damagingly, try to curb deficits by using protectionist tariffs that will hurt growth and sow mistrust around the world

“Trumponomics is a poor recipe for long-term prosperity. America will end up more indebted and more unequal…  when the contradictions become apparent, Mr Trump’s economic nationalism may become fiercer, leading to backlashes in other countries—further stoking anger in America. Even if it produces a short-lived burst of growth, Trumponomics offers no lasting remedy for America’s economic ills. It may yet pave the way for something worse.”

The economy of the USA is bound to collapse. The results will be devastating for many Americans.

Colossal Blunders, Mistakes and Unfulfilled Promises

The New York Times wrote on May 13:

“Pretty much every reason they [The White House] gave [for firing Comey] was utterly dismantled, if not by F.B.I. agents, who rejected the contention that they had turned on Comey, then by enterprising reporters or by the president himself in his interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. Seldom has an administration operated in such a transparently dishonest, determinedly self-destructive and spectacularly inept fashion. That ineptness may be the scariest takeaway of all.

“… no sugarcoating can survive the developments of the past few weeks. Congress approved a budget agreement at stark odds with Trump’s wish list, revealing that he’s no ace negotiator after all… The House passed health care legislation that blatantly contradicted his incessant promises of terrific, inexpensive coverage and betrayed the hard-luck Americans whose champion he purported to be. The Senate made clear that it was going nowhere anyway… He’s not draining the swamp…

“And to top it all off: the Comey fiasco, which will be remembered as a case study in misjudging a situation, mismanaging the easily foreseeable fallout and achieving the exact opposite of one’s aims… Trump reportedly thought that Democrats, so sour on Comey themselves, wouldn’t balk at his exile. No way. Trump’s aides tried to use a hastily composed memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as cover…

“With no media plan in place, they tripped over their own inventions and exaggerations. And Trump bumbled into a horrendously timed photograph of an all-smiles meeting of him in the Oval Office with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister…

“Please show me the strategic wisdom in threatening to cancel White House press briefings because Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders can’t be expected to achieve ‘perfect accuracy’ at the rostrum… the farther away the media is kept, the more we’re convinced that something is being hidden from us, and the harder we dig.”

Even strong supporters of President Trump, such as conservative Columnist and Author Ann Coulter, have voiced their agreement with the critical comments in the above-quoted article, stating, as quoted in the Daily Caller, dated May 14:

“‘I hate to say it, but I agree with every line in my friend Frank Bruni’s op-ed in The New York Times today. Where is the great negotiation? Where is the bull in the china shop we wanted? That budget the Republicans pushed through was like a practical joke… Did we win anything? And this is the great negotiator?’”

White House Beset by Leaks

The Week wrote on May 15:

“… there may never in American history have been an administration that leaks as promiscuously as this one… The Comey firing is hardly the first time that the White House has been beset by leaks. They come from everywhere and on every subject, from the high and the low, and from staffers in the White House, in agencies, and among the president’s putative allies on Capitol Hill…

“That’s one reason why this administration leaks so much: Half the time it can’t figure out what it wants to say, or it changes its story from one moment to the next. The communication chaos is often a result of the fact that the president himself is so impulsive. His every tweet and bleat can send his aides scrambling…

“The fact that Trump came into office with no government experience, then proceeded to hire a senior staff who also lacked experience, exacerbates the problem. An inefficient White House without clear lines of authority — who’s in charge, anyway? Priebus? Bannon? Kushner? Nobody knows for sure — inevitably produces warring factions who will use the media as a way to push their preferred stories, make themselves look good, and undermine their competition.“And when things go wrong, as they have so often with this administration, everyone has an incentive to talk to reporters and point fingers somewhere other than themselves. Whoever comes out looking worse in the ensuing stories is then more likely to go to another reporter to get their side told — all anonymously, of course…

“Watching it all, of course, is the president himself, a man consumed with his image in the media and incensed by leaks… It’s probably driving Trump absolutely bonkers, which means he could start acting even more erratically. And if he does, we’ll hear all about it, from 30 or 40 anonymous officials.”

This sounds again like a self-inflicted wound, leading perhaps to more “injuries.”

Further Disarray in Trump Administration over Medical Marijuana?

Newsmax wrote on May 15:

“Accompanying the spending bill President Donald Trump signed last month was an objection to a 2014 provision that prevents Justice Department from interfering with state-run medical marijuana programs…  And given Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ opposition to medical marijuana, advocates are worried that the administration is planning a full frontal assault on the programs that have been authorized in 29 states and D.C…

Trump ran on a platform of supporting medical marijuana, but Sessions is launching a new war on drugs, rolling back easement measures on drug offenders instituted during the Obama administration.

“If the Trump administration did try to move on the signing statement in question, he’d face opposition from within his own party, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., [said], a user of medical marijuana himself and co-author of the provision. ‘I think there are a lot of people running around trying to paint the president into a corner on this,’ Rohrabacher told the Post.

“The provision, which prevents the Justice Department from spending money in any attempt at inference with the state-run programs, expires in September.”

The Week added on May 15:

“Sessions’ well-documented and troubling attitudes about marijuana could have significant consequences in states that have liberalized their pot laws. While weed is permitted for medical purposes in more than half of the United States, and legalized recreationally in seven states plus the District of Columbia, it remains illegal federally and also absurdly classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule I narcotic — the classification reserved for substances with a high probability for abuse and no accepted medical use.

“Just last year, Sessions said he would like ‘to send that message with clarity, that good people don’t smoke marijuana,’ and now that he is endowed with the broad discretion of one of the most powerful Cabinet positions and best-resourced federal agencies, there’s little to stand in the way of Sessions’ throwback crusade.”

In a related article, the Local wrote on April 20 about the medical marijuana laws in Germany:

“The debate about legalizing cannabis continues in Germany – the Bundestag (German parliament) in January 2017 passed a law to officially legalize medical marijuana… As of the 2017 law, medical marijuana can be prescribed for seriously ill patients, such as those suffering from multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, serious appetite loss or nausea from chemotherapy. Still, the law didn’t give an exact definition of what ‘seriously ill’ means. It does state that doctors can write such prescriptions when they see a ‘not so remote chance’ of it resulting in a positive effect… Pharmacies can sell it in the dried bud form, as an extract, or as an oil from the plant…”

The incredibly false classification of the DEA pertaining to medical marijuana and the rather offensive viewpoints of the Attorney General are frightening prospects of completely unreasonable conduct of the Trump administration, unless the President sticks to his original promise.

What If There Was a REAL Crisis?

Politico wrote on May 14:

“After [a] chaotic, self-inflicted week many fear chaos Trump can’t control… what if there’s a real crisis? Something, and likely more than one thing, is inevitable, because he’s the leader of the country and the free world, and something always does… Trump’s behavior [and] chaotic management style… has people throughout politics and national security terrified.

“For all that’s happened in the 114 days of the Trump administration, nothing major has gone wrong, foreign or domestic. The president and his staff have scrapped through explosions of their own making, Twitter meltdowns included. But they don’t stack up to the BP oil spill, or the Sept. 11 attacks, or Katrina, or the Branch Davidians, or an Ebola outbreak, or an embassy bombing, or a hostage situation, or a combative nuclear test…

“Kori Schake, a fellow at the Hoover Institute who served on the National Security Council and State Department under Bush, said she worries what might happen if, for example, Trump declared the need for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea…

“Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and occasional Trump whisperer, … admitted that the melee set off by Trump’s canning Comey, and repeatedly revising his account of why, without including the aides meant to defend him, has created needless problems… But, Gingrich added, try telling a man who built a billion-dollar empire and world-famous name, and who then won the White House on his own gut instincts, that he should change how he operates.”

These are very sobering questions indeed. The Bible prophesies that America will experience a nuclear attack in the very near future. Note the following articles.  

North Korea Continues Missile Tests

CNN wrote on May 15:

“North Korea tested a Hwasong-12 missile Sunday which reached an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometers (1,312 miles) and flew 787 kilometers (489 miles), according to state news agency KCNA. Analysts estimated its [range] as 4,500 kilometers which would put the US territory of Guam within its reach. A small island in the Pacific, Guam is home to Andersen Air Force Base, through which the US Air Force rotates heavy bombers including B-1s, B-2s and B-52s.

“KCNA said the test showed North Korea ‘has all powerful means for retaliatory strike’ should Washington take any military action to stop its nuclear weapons program…”

Nuclear War… Not a Question of “If,” but “When”

The Hill wrote on May 15:

“Since Sept. 11, 2001, analysts have been increasingly concerned terrorists might steal, buy, build, or be given a nuclear weapon—and the War on Terrorism would become a nuclear war. The Department of Homeland Security’s National Planning Scenario #1 is detonation of a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon, as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb, in a location such as New York City or Washington, D.C.  Many experts warn an act of nuclear terrorism is not a question of if, but when.

“Until the recent protracted nuclear crisis with North Korea, relatively less attention has been paid to the increasing possibility of nuclear war between nations. India and Pakistan are widely regarded as the most likely candidates for a nuclear conflict between states. Although North Korea, Russia, and China have all made nuclear threats against the United States recently, in the case of North Korea and Russia repeatedly, most analysts dismiss these as mere ‘bluster’ and ‘nuclear sabre rattling’ not to be taken seriously. One day, perhaps soon, this may well prove to be a fatal mistake for millions.

“In the West, generations of leaders and citizens have been educated that use of nuclear weapons is ‘unthinkable’ and the ultimate horror. Not so in Russia, China, and North Korea where their nuclear capabilities are publicly paraded, missile launches and exercises are televised as a show of strength, an important part of national pride… Russia and China run TV documentaries describing how they would win a nuclear war with the United States…

“An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack… would be the most militarily effective use of one or a few nuclear weapons…  High-altitude EMP attack entails detonating a nuclear weapon at 30-400 kilometers altitude—above the atmosphere, in outer space, so high that no nuclear effects, not even the sound of the explosion, would be experienced on the ground, except EMP. An EMP attack will kill far more people than nuclear blasting a city through indirect effects—by blacking out electric grids and destroying life-sustaining critical infrastructures like communications, transportation, food and water—in the long run. But the millions of fatalities likely to eventually result from EMP will take months to develop, as slow as starvation… an EMP attack or demonstration made to ‘de-escalate’ a crisis or conflict is very likely to raise a chorus of voices in the West against nuclear escalation and send Western leaders in a panicked search for the first ‘off ramp’…

“[There are] a dozen possible nuclear EMP attack scenarios that could plausibly happen in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and against North America—tomorrow.

“Some analysts think the world is on the threshold of a ‘new nuclear age’ where… the likelihood of nuclear use is greatly increasing…”

Please view our new StandingWatch program, “Coming—Nuclear War without Survivors?” 

Putin Blames USA for Global Ransomware Attack

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 15:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied Moscow was behind a global ‘ransomware’ attack that hit 150 countries… Putin’s comments backed up a blog post by Microsoft President Brad Smith over the weekend. Smith criticized US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and National Security Agency, for ‘stockpiling’ software code that can be used by hackers…

“The malicious software encrypted data stored on hundreds of thousands of computers, while on-screen messages ordered users to pay a ransom of $300 to $600 (273 to 546 euros) in the internet currency Bitcoin. As well as Britain’s National Health Service, Deutsche Bahn train information screens were infected, along with Renault and Nissan car factories in Europe. The Spanish phone company Telefonica and US courier FedEX were also affected.

“The virus used vulnerability in the Windows operating system. Microsoft said it had released a security update in March but that many computers ‘remained unpatched globally.’ The IT giant said the attack should be a ‘wake-up call’ for governments worldwide. But Germany’s interior ministry hit back, saying that software companies needed to do their own homework, rather than blame governments for security flaws.”

EU Alarmed by US Laptop Plans

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 12:

“The suggested US extension of bans on laptop and tablet usage during flights from the EU has prompted urgent talks. A French government source said Paris would resist such strictures.

“European governments and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hastily arranged a telephone conference Friday, with Washington saying no final decision had been made on expanding the restriction. An electronics ban went into effect on March 21 for passengers on direct flights to the US from 10 Middle East airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco. According to those regulations, laptop and tablet computers, e-book readers and cameras must be placed in checked luggage. Approved medical devices are exempt, but must go through additional screening…

“The Associated Press quoted a French government source as saying there was no information to suggest that cabin usage of such devices posed a significant terror threat increase. European airlines likely to be affected include Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France-KLM.

“On Thursday, Olivier Jankovec, the director-general of the ACI Europe airport trade association said it was worrying that there appeared to be little coordination between the EU and the United States… European regulators have already warned that placing hundreds of devices in the holds of aircraft on long-haul flights could compromise safety by increasing the risk from poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries.”

The EUObserver wrote on May 18:

“US authorities discussed an in-cabin laptop ban on transatlantic flights from the EU following a meeting with their European counterparts in Brussels. Officials from both sides of the Atlantic on Wednesday (17 May) agreed to meet again next week to work out the technical details, but said no definitive decision had been made…

“A Europe-wide ban could affect well over 3,000 direct flights made every week to the US, likely causing disruptions.  The five airports with the largest number of US weekly flights are: London-Heathrow (761 flights), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (353 flights), Frankfurt (291 flights), Amsterdam-Schiphol (242 flights) and Dublin (179 flights)… Together, these five airports accounted for nearly 50 percent of the weekly flights to the US… The four-hour meeting on Wednesday was held between US deputy secretary of homeland security Elaine Duke and her counterparts from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.”

To request of tourists and business travelers to place their laptops, tablet computers, cameras and other electronic equipment into their main luggage is plain unconscionable. The luggage might get stolen or at least misplaced for days, as is happening many times, or the equipment might get damaged due to the handling of the luggage. It appears that none of these factors are being seriously considered.

Netanyahu vs. Trump Administration on Embassy Move

Haaretz wrote on May 15:

“The possibility of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is becoming the first public disagreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration…   After U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted that Israel might have objections to the embassy move, Netanyahu’s bureau quickly responded that Netanyahu had made clear to the new U.S. administration that he wanted the embassy to move to Jerusalem.

Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would not harm the peace process with the Palestinians but would help peace efforts, the Prime Minister’s Bureau said on Sunday…

“Shortly after Tillerson’s remarks aired, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who is also the leader of the hard-line Habayit Hayehudi party, responded by calling on Netanyahu to tell Trump that Israel expects the embassy to be moved and the U.S. to recognize ‘united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.’… ‘Any agreement based on dividing Jerusalem is sentenced to failure,’ Bennett wrote on his Twitter account…

“A second response, which was directed at Bennett’s tweet, was issued by Netanyahu’s Likud party. The Likud party, it said, welcomes Bennett’s comments…

“Meanwhile, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and the secretary general of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, met on Sunday in Amman to coordinate their positions ahead of Trump’s arrival in the region…  In a statement released after the meeting, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority stressed that the only way to achieve peace and stability in the region is by establishing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines whose capital is East Jerusalem and living in peace alongside Israel. Erekat spoke of the need to freeze construction in the settlements as an essential condition to progress in any diplomatic process…”

Will President Trump buckle and refuse to move the US embassy to Jerusalem? Or will he keep his promise which might in turn cause upheaval in the Middle East? The White House announced on May 17 that “for now,” no move of the US embassy to Jerusalem is planned. Also, note the next article.

Senior Member of Trump Delegation Outrages Israel

Times of Israel wrote on May 15:

“In a bitter diplomatic incident, a senior member of the US delegation making preparations for Donald Trump’s visit to Israel next week angrily rejected a request that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accompany the president when he visits the Western Wall, and then sniped at his Israeli counterparts that the Western Wall is ‘not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank,’ Israeli television reported on Monday night.

“An official at the Prime Minister’s Office, apparently confirming the report, told Channel 2 that Israel has asked the Trump administration about the incident, and said that Netanyahu is certain that the comment does not reflect President Trump’s policy.

“The Western Wall, part of the retaining walls of the ancient Temple compound, is the closest point of prayer for Jews to the site of the Temple itself and thus the Jewish people’s holiest place of prayer. It was captured along with the rest of the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and annexed by Israel as part of its united capital — a move not recognized internationally…”

Tel Aviv’s Large-Scale “Bisexuality Visibility” Parade in June

JTA wrote on May 11:

“‘Bisexuality Visibility’ will be the theme of the 2017 LGBT Pride Parade in the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the municipality announced. The march, scheduled for June 9, will be the first large-scale pride parade in the world to celebrate the theme of bisexuality, according to the municipality. It is expected to draw some 200,000 participants from inside and outside of Israel.

“Each year, members of Tel Aviv’s LGBTQ community choose a theme for the week of events in June. Past themes included last year’s ‘Women for a Change’ and ‘Transgender Visibility.’ ‘Both in Israel and around the world, many bisexual people feel that they are an invisible group within the LGBTQ community,’ Efrat Tolkowsky, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council member in charge of LGBTQ affairs, said in a statement issued by the municipality. ‘Here in Tel Aviv, we are committed to celebrating each and every LGBTQ person and ally equally, so that we can all be out and proud together.’”

Nothing to be proud about, really, if one believes the Bible.

Eastern Nations Disagree on Russia’s Role and Orthodox Church

The EUObserver wrote on May 11:

“Orthodox Christian societies in Europe are more likely to endorse Vladimir Putin’s revanchist vision of Russia than Catholic ones, according to a new survey.

“Most people in the majority-Orthodox bloc, which includes EU and Nato states Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece, as well as EU-aspirant states such as Georgia, Moldova, and Serbia believe Russia should act as a ‘buffer’ against the West and should ‘protect’ them if need be.  Orthodox societies also voiced more nationalist, homophobic, and sexist views, the survey, which was published by US pollster Pew on Wednesday (10 May)…

“By contrast, people in majority Roman Catholic countries, such as Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, and Hungary, looked to the West for leadership. Orthodox affiliation was also rising sharply in central and eastern Europe…

“Seventy percent of Greeks and more than 50 percent of Bulgarians and Romanians agreed with the statement that: ‘A strong Russia is necessary to balance the influence of the West’. The figure was 80 percent in Serbia, which is an EU candidate. It was 61 percent in Moldova and 52 percent in Georgia, which also want to join the EU and which host Russia-occupied breakaway territories. The figure was just 22 percent in Ukraine, where pro-Russia feelings nosedived after the invasion.  Sixty nine percent of Greeks, 65 percent of Romanians, and 56 percent of Bulgarians also endorsed the idea that Russia was ‘obliged to protect’ Orthodox believers abroad.

“Meanwhile, large majorities of people in Orthodox societies, rising to 89 percent in Greece, said their ‘culture was superior to others’, compared to 55 percent in Poland – the most nationalist state in the Catholic bloc.  Homosexuality was seen as ‘morally wrong’ by more than 90 percent of Georgians and Moldovans and 82 percent of Romanians, compared to 48 percent of Poles… Seventy one percent of Russians said they were Orthodox Christians today, for instance, compared to 37 percent in 1991. But the number of Catholics fell from 96 percent to 87 percent in Poland and from 44 percent to just 21 percent in the Czech Republic in the same time period…

“In other findings, Pew noted that most Orthodox believers (except those in Greece) looked to the Russian patriarch, Kirill, who is a close Putin ally, as their spiritual leader. It found that just two countries in the region – Greece (77%) and Lithuania (64%) – voiced strong endorsement of the idea that democracy was ‘preferable to any other form of government’. The figures in Poland (47%) and Hungary (48%), which both have illiberal parties in power despite their EU membership, fell below the half-way mark.  It found that 58 percent of Russians had a positive view of Stalin…

“Amid a heated EU debate on migrant relocations, Pew… found there was ‘widespread scepticism’ that the US would honour its Nato obligation to defend allies in the event of a ‘serious conflict’ with Russia. Estonia and Romania were the only Nato states in the region where most people believed the US would come to their aid. But the figures were just 31 percent in Poland and 25 percent or less in Estonia and Latvia.”

These opinions are interesting in light of the fact that some of those Eastern nations might become part of a future core Europe, while others will become part of the Russian dominance, which will end up in opposition to core Europe. But it is also remarkable that many Eastern nations do not believe in US decisiveness.

Merkel’s Strong Win Against Schulz

The Local wrote on May 14:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel dealt a devastating blow to her main rival on Sunday, four months before national elections, when early results showed her party securing a strong win in a regional vote in Germany’s biggest state. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) clinched 33 percent of the vote in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), preliminary results showed, snatching control of the sprawling industrial region which has been a Social Democratic Party (SPD) stronghold for decades. The SPD only managed to garner a little over 31 percent, its worst score in history in the state and sharply down from its 2012 showing of 39.1 percent, in a serious hit to confidence ahead of general elections in September.

“SPD leader Martin Schulz admitted that the loss in his home state marked a ‘difficult day for the SPD’ and for him personally, but urged supporters to battle on. ‘We received a body blow, but we are still striving in the ring… now we’re going into the next round, the deciding round. At the end, when we look to the judge, it’s going to be the voters who raise the winner’s arms,’ he said.

“The former European Parliament president turned to France for courage. ‘My friend Emmanuel Macron was at the bottom five months ago, and now, he is president,’ said Schulz of the new French leader who took office on Sunday. But Germany’s best-selling daily Bild noted that ‘with the clear state election failures, it would be very difficult for the SPD to win the general elections in September.’ Likewise, Spiegel Online said: ‘Martin Schulz now needs a miracle.’

“… The SPD had already suffered two setbacks since Schulz took over, with the CDU scoring strong victories in the small states of Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein.”

Deutsche Welle added on May 15:

“Sunday’s outcome has paved the way for alternatives to the ‘grand coalition’ of the SPD and CDU, currently ruling the country from Berlin. With the revival of the Free Democrats (FDP), the CDU’s traditional coalition partner is making a comeback, meaning old and new combinations may become a real possibility for Germany’s future.”

The EUObserver added on May 15:

“CDU’s Armin Laschet, who will likely become the new state premier, said on Monday that he would have discussions not only with the FDP, but also with the SPD and the Greens. He noted that the citizens of Germany’s biggest state ‘wanted a government change’, but that coalition talks do not need to be finished ‘during this morning’. Laschet excluded working together with Alternative for Germany (AfD) – a far right, anti-immigration, anti-EU party – which received 7.4 percent of the vote, entering the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia for the first time.”

The immediate future will show whether Angela Merkel’s time as the German and European leader is over, or whether she is still needed to bring about further unification of Europe and the creation of a core Europe under German leadership.

Hamburg, Germany, Begins to Confiscate Residential Property for Migrants

The European Union Times wrote on May 14:

“Authorities in Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, have begun confiscating private dwellings to ease a housing shortage…  City officials have been seizing commercial properties and converting them into migrant shelters since late 2015, when Merkel opened German borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Now, however, the city is expropriating residential property units owned by private citizens.

“In an unprecedented move, Hamburg authorities recently confiscated six residential units in the Hamm district near the city center. The units, which are owned by a private landlord, are in need of repair and have been vacant since 2012. A trustee appointed by the city is now renovating the properties and will rent them — against the will of the owner — to tenants chosen by the city. District spokeswoman Sorina Weiland said that all renovation costs will be billed to the owner of the properties.

“The expropriation is authorized by the Hamburg Housing Protection Act (Hamburger Wohnraumschutzgesetz), a 1982 law that was updated by the city’s Socialist government in May 2013 to enable the city to seize any residential property unit that has been vacant for more than four months…”

Infowars added on May 15:

Similar expropriation measures have been proposed in Berlin, the German capital, but abandoned because they were deemed unconstitutional.”

These are surely not good signs for many German property owners.

Interesting Developments in Austria

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 15:

“Austria moved closer to snap elections on Monday after Chancellor Christian Kern called for all-party talks to set an election date following a major political shake-up inside his conservative junior coalition partner party. Sebastian Kurz, the 30-year-old foreign minister called on Sunday for early elections to be held in the autumn after he was elected to head the center-right People’s Party (ÖVP).

“It capped a heady week in Austrian politics which saw the conservative party leader and Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner resign amid internal squabbling and after months of deadlock in talks with Kern’s Social Democrats (SPÖ). Kern, who admitted on Sunday he could not stop an early election, held a meeting with President Alexander Van der Bellen and spoke to Kurz by phone on Monday. The SPÖ and ÖVP are three seats short of the majority needed to call snap elections.

“The Greens and the anti-immigration, populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) said they would support a parliamentary vote to call snap elections but demanded that a parliamentary investigation into a Eurofighter deal from a decade ago be finished. The investigation is expected to be completed in June.

“Kern has warned that dissolving the coalition would open the way for the FPÖ to win the election. The FPÖ is currently leading in opinion polls, followed by the SPÖ and ÖVP in second and third place, respectively.

The 30-year-old Kurz is a rising star within Austria politics, boosted by his tough stance against immigration. Led by Kurz, who has some similar positions as the FPÖ without the xenophobic rhetoric, the conservatives appear to believe they can outmaneuver their right-wing rivals, who last year came close to taking over the presidency amid voter backlash over immigration. Some surveys suggest that with Kurz at the helm of the party it can jump ahead of the FPÖ.

“The ÖVP executive committee granted Kurz unprecedented powers, meeting seven of his demands to take over the party leadership. The Austrian press dubbed it a “coup” within the party. Among other things, Kurz will be able to name candidates for parliamentary elections even if they are from outside the party, appoint all ministers in a potential conservative-led government and change the party name for the next election… Forming a government in Austria usually requires two parties. A SPÖ- ÖVP coalition has ruled Austria for many years in the last decades.”

Developments in Austria should be watched carefully, as modern Germans and Austrians are descendants of ancient Assyria, and the Bible has much to say about the prophetic role of modern Assyria in these end times.  

New HQ to Take Charge of EU Military Missions

The EUObserver wrote on May 18:

“EU states have cleared the way for a new HQ to take charge of three military missions in a ‘couple of days’, as well as broader plans for joint defence. The HQ will, in the words of 28 defence ministers adopted on Thursday (18 May), ‘assume responsibilities at the strategic level for the operational planning and conduct of the EU’s non-executive military missions’ including ‘the three EU Training Missions deployed in Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia’.

“EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said ‘the political decision is finalised’ and that it would take ‘a couple of days’ to have the new HQ ‘officially in place’… The HQ will be located in a building that already houses Mogherini’s military staff in Brussels, and will take over command tasks previously handled out separate locations in member states. The EU defence ministers decided additionally on Thursday that deployment of EU ‘battlegroups’ in the field would in future be paid for out of the EU budget and not by participating member states.  They also decided on a new legal framework for core groups of member states to create and command their own military projects under the EU flag in a mechanism called ‘permanent structured cooperation [Pesco]’…

“Mogherini… expected member states to put forward the first Pesco projects by the end of the year, adding that if EU countries were to pool their military budgets they would be the second-biggest military spenders in the world after the US… The EU defence surge… comes amid warnings that the US wants to spend less on European defence and amid the departure of the UK, the EU’s top military power, from the bloc in 2019.

“With US president Donald Trump arriving in Brussels for a Nato summit next week, 19 EU countries led by France, Germany, Italy, and Spain agreed, prior to the defence ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Thursday, to create a joint defence procurement fund, or ‘Cooperative Financial Mechanism’. Mogherini added on Thursday that the UK would be welcome to contribute assets to EU military missions in future but would not take part in decision-making after it left…

“The new French administration of Emmanuel Macron also showed that it was serious about EU military integration on Thursday via two appointments. Macron picked Sylvie Goulard, an MEP and a europhile, to lead his ‘ministry of the armed forces’. He also picked Jean-Yves Le Drian, the former defence minister, to lead a new hybrid ministry that brought together EU and foreign affairs for the first time.”

Slowly but surely, a powerful European army will be formed.

100th Anniversary of Fatima Apparition –Lying Signs and Wonders

Newsmax wrote on May 12:

“Catholics and believers worldwide will celebrate Saturday’s 100th anniversary of the first Fatima apparition in which the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared before three shepherd children in the remote village north of Lisbon, Portugal…

“The Lady of Fatima delivered messages during the visions on the 13th day of each month from May to October 1917 to Lucia dos Santos and her two young cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto…

“An attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II mysteriously coincided with the anniversary of the first Fatima vision on May 13, 1981, in St. Peter’s Square in Rome…

“The world was in turmoil during the 1917 apparitions with the ending of World War I and the beginning of the Communist revolution in Russia. The most riveting sign occurred on Oct. 13 [1917] when some 60,000 people witnessed the sun appearing to spin and nearly crash toward the ground

“A three-part secret from Our Lady was revealed to the children on July 13, 1917, during the apparitions. These included a vision of Hell and a prayer to recite, a warning that Russia would bring calamity to the world if people did not convert, and a vision of conflict between clergy and soldiers only disclosed in 2000 by Pope John Paul II. Lucia was 10 during the apparitions and died a nun at the age of 97 in 2005. Francisco, 9 at the time, and Jacinta, 7, died in 1919 and 1920, respectively, following the global influenza epidemic.

The Fatima incidents are considered among the most spectacular Marian apparitions along with Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a peasant girl, St. Bernadette, in 1858, and Guadalupe, where an appearance occurred several times northwest of Mexico City to St. Juan Diego in 1531.”

The New York Times added on May 13:

“The children’s apparitions were officially recognized as a miracle by the Roman Catholic Church in 1930…”

The Bible prophesies that many will be deceived by lying signs and wonders. The true Mary—mother of Jesus—died and is dead in her grave, without any consciousness. She will be resurrected, with all true Christians, at the time of Christ’s return. The alleged apparitions of the “Virgin Mary”—if they are not outright frauds—would have been of demonic origin. These would have been forerunners of a worldwide end-time religious deception, coupled with true and false signs from heaven, as prophesied throughout the Bible, including in the books of Matthew, Thessalonians and Revelation.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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