Current Events

We are reporting on terror attacks and violence in Germany, committed by foreigners, which may have some influence on the outcome of German elections in September; incredible incompetency of American agencies regarding illegal aliens; turmoil in the White House and the potentially disastrous consequences for many Americans of the inability of the Senate to repeal and replace Obamacare; threatening and dangerous actions by North Korea and the intimate collaboration between North Korea and Iran; troublesome comments regarding the willingness of the US military to launch a nuclear attack (note in this regard our new StandingWatch program, Obeying Trump to Launch Nuclear Strike?”; Russia’s and Europe’s willingness to retaliate against the USA which assures a most serious conflict between these countries; and the alignment of the USA and Jordan against Israel in the Temple Mount conflict and other matters.

We continue with interesting information about the Canaanites and modern Lebanese; report on chaotic conditions directed against British air travelers and appalling state-and court-sponsored violations of parents’ rights in Britain; and conclude with interesting developments regarding the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church pertaining to the “relic” of a legendary figure, referred to as “Saint Nicholas,” who is idolized and worshipped by followers of both churches and who is erroneously viewed today as Santa Claus.

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

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

Norbert and Johanna Link, along with Margaret Adair, have safely returned home after traveling to visit brethren in Oregon, British Columbia and Colorado. We are very grateful for this time together—especially, since they will travel to Germany for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Here are the dates for the 2017 Fall Holy Days:

Feast of Trumpets—September 21
Day of Atonement—September 30
Feast of Tabernacles—October 5-11
Last Great Day—October 12

“Obeying Trump to Launch Nuclear Strike?” is the newest StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

Adm. Scott Swift, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, said he would launch a nuclear attack against  a foreign country, if ordered by President Trump, stating that every member of the US military has sworn an oath to obey the Commander in Chief. This is the same reasoning which was employed by German officers for obeying Adolf Hitler. What is wrong with this rationale in the eyes of God and the Bible? Can a true Christian be a nationalist, defending his country, “whether right or wrong,” and fighting in his country’s wars?

“Der Baum der Erkenntnis des Guten und Bösen” is the title of this Sabbath’s German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.”

“Are You an Overcomer?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Dave Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We must continue to overcome and to advance as we make progress in Christian living. This is a life-long battle—nothing short of a personal “world war”!

“What Does the Bible Say About Smoking?” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Why do people smoke? Do they do it because they love God, their neighbor or themselves? Or do people smoke to satisfy their selfish passions and desires? Is smoking sin? Is a Christian free to smoke? Does the Bible condemn smoking in no uncertain terms? How can one overcome their addiction to tobacco, mind-altering drugs and pot?

Majoring in the Minors

When filling a jar with ping pong balls, it can be considered to be full when no more balls can fit into the jar. However, all of the space between the balls inside the jar can also be filled. By adding plastic beads to the jar, even more stuff will fit into the open space. Likewise, adding sand will fill the space remaining in the jar that the beads do not take up. Finally, adding water to the jar will fill in all of the last remaining air space, until no more stuff can fit. This illustrates how available capacity can be filled, even when it might appear to be full.

By adding things to the jar in order from largest to smallest, we can see that the space is consumed very efficiently. However, when adding the same quantity of the items in reverse order, the result is much different. If water, sand, and plastic beads are added to the jar in that order, there will not be enough room to add all of the larger ping pong balls. The way that we choose to fill available space has a significant impact on the result.

This phenomenon has a parallel in the way that we choose to use our time. The sand and the plastic beads are analogous to activities in our lives that don’t contribute very much to our well-being, but consume our time – such as watching a show on TV, surfing the web, mowing the lawn, or doing the dishes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these activities, and some of them are even necessary, but they probably don’t provide meaning in our lives or help us to grow. The ping pong balls are analogous to the large, important goals in our lives, such as our spiritual conversion, expressing love for our brethren and neighbors, and other virtuous life-goals. If we choose to fill our day with little things that are less significant and relatively unimportant in our lives, we will not have enough time to do the things that matter the most. The big, important, worthy goals in our lives need to receive the greatest priority to make sure that we have enough capacity in our lives to accomplish them. If we prioritize our activities in the right order, we will have enough space to be fulfilled, and have enough space remaining for the little trivial activities too.

The challenge, of course, is that the little things are generally much easier to do than the big, important things. If we want to use our time in the best possible way, the best place to start is with making a distinction between the big things and the little things in our lives. In his letter to Timothy, Paul provides some guidance to help him in making such a distinction, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Timothy is reminded that seeking godliness is one of the big things, and that it is worthy of a commensurate amount of attention. Bodily exercise is still a good thing, but compared to the activity of practicing godliness, it is less important. If we want to accomplish things that are meaningful and spiritually fulfilling, we are responsible to become conscious of where activities reside on the spectrum of importance.

Once we are aware of activities that are truly important, we can begin to shift our attention to doing those activities first. Following his instruction to Timothy to focus on seeking godly growth, Paul continues to guide him in prioritizing his time, “… be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:12-15). Timothy is encouraged to grow and make progress! The prescription involves dedicating time, attention, and focused thought in the study of Scripture and conduct in godly love. The corollary to this instruction is to prioritize other activities to follow the more important ones that lead to spiritual growth. These are instructions that we need to take to heart as well. To do anything less is to risk neglect of the development of righteous conduct and spiritual understanding that is expected of us.

It is helpful to consider that time is one of our most valuable assets. By thinking this way, every activity that we give our attention to becomes an opportunity to invest in the fulfillment of the ultimate goal that all Christians share – to overcome sin, and live eternally in the Family of God. If we expect to overcome the sin that threatens us, and to grow in righteousness through the help of Jesus Christ, we need to consciously dedicate our time to activities that contribute to these results. The formula for fulfillment involves putting a stop to “majoring in the minors,” and dedicating the best portions of our time to nurturing the growth of the fruit of the Spirit (compare Galatians 5:22-25

Christ’s Praise and Rebuke; True Freedom

On August 5, 2017, Norbert Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Christ’s Praise and Rebuke,” and Michael Link will present the sermon, titled, “True Freedom.”

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.

Could You Explain More Fully Ephesians 4:11-16?

Here are the verses in question:

“(Ephesians 4:11) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

“(Verse 12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

“(Verse 13) till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

“(Verse 14)  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

“(Verse 15)  but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

“(Verse 16)  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

In analyzing these verses carefully, we find that verse 11 points out that it is Christ who gave or placed these ranks in the ministry—into His Body, the Church. These titles were not invented, decided or instituted by men, but by Christ, and we should have the faith and confidence that Christ knows what He is doing since He is the Head of the Body.

Also, men are not self-ordained into the ministry or to one of these offices, but they are ordained by other ministers. The process for ordination of ministers is outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, including the ordination of non-ministerial offices of deacon and deaconess.

Verse 12 explains the reason for these offices or ranks: It is for the equipping of the saints, to help the saints to be equipped with the whole armor of God, mentioned in Galatians 6:11-17, in order to overcome Satan’s attacks, and also for the edifying of the Body of Christ (the Church) to build it up and to encourage it; including the edification and sharpening of the ability to test the spirits.

Verse 13 shows us the purpose of this process: We all are to come to the unity (the same doctrinal beliefs), so that we are all on the same page. Notice that it says that we ALL come to that unity of faith–ALL, not just a few.

We are also to grow in the knowledge of the Son of God; that is, to know who and what God the Father and the Son of God are, and not to be confused by false doctrines about the Godhead like the doctrine of the Trinity or by the erroneous teaching that Christ was somehow fully God and fully man when on the earth. Rather, we are to understand the truth that He was fully man and gave up His divinity to become a man (Philippians 2:6-7). (Our booklet, Jesus Christ–a Great Mystery, goes into details about this fact.)

Verse 13 explains that we are to become more and more perfect, striving to attain the measure and the stature of Christ; that is, to have His mind in us (Philippians 2:5), as well as God the Father’s mind, as promised by Christ in John 14:23. We are to walk as He walked, according to His perfect example.

Verse 14 continues to show that we should be adults, mature in the knowledge of God and not be swayed by every wind of doctrine, distraction, conspiracy theory or so-called better understanding of certain aspects of the Bible, which may be twiggy—but  rather, we should stick to the trunk of the tree.  Hanging from a twig will offer little help when the winds of persecution and trials come, but hugging the trunk will preserve us.

Also notice, the winds of doctrine come from men and Satan, not from God. Trickery, cunning craftiness and deceitful plotting are characteristic of the adversary. They do not originate with God or Christ or His faithful and dedicated ministers.

Verse 15 shows that we are to speak the truth in love.  The truth is the Word of God, not some fanciful idea which does not square with Scripture. We must do it in love, with outgoing concern for those hearing the message, which makes it easier for them to assimilate and absorb it. The purpose is so that we may grow up, be adults, requiring meat and not just milk for our spiritual diet.

Verse 15 states that Christ is the Head of the Church. He is responsible for it, which does not mean we have no part in the process, but we are to follow Him as our Leader and we must not try to take over that responsibility.

Verse 16 explains that we are the members of that Body. The joints of a body supply movement; likewise, as God’s Church we must be moving forward in grace and knowledge, in truth and understanding.

Every part of the Body must do its share. If one is a little toe in the Body, then he or she must be the best little toe possible. We don’t all have the same functions in the Body but that does not mean that we cannot effectively do our part, regardless of how insignificant it seems.

The human body is a fully functional entity with all its systems working together. We have eleven systems in the body, including the circulatory, productive and nervous systems. Each system is working in harmony for the general well-being of the body as a whole.

We have five vital organs in the body, the heart and the liver being two of them. If we remove one or seriously damage it beyond repair, the body cannot survive. Each vital organ does its part and they are not in competition with one another. This is a good lesson for us to work in harmony.

We have a job to do as the Church or Body, and that is to preach the gospel to the world as a witness. We don’t all have the same function or responsibility, but we should work in harmony to that end (compare 1 Corinthians 12:12-31).

As Paul states, we are all part of the Body of Christ, but we are not all the same part, and each part is important and works in harmony with the other parts to achieve the goal set before us.

Regardless of how insignificant we may think we are, we all are important and we are all working towards the same goal, which includes the hope of achieving eternal life. In the process, we must be faithful servants.

White blood cells in the body may seem insignificant and we may not be able to see them, but they are vital for fighting infections and diseases. They are like a small army of soldiers fighting germs. If they all were to lay down their arms, as it were, the body would be subject to infections and diseases and would die in short order. White blood cells are small and out of sight, but are necessary for a person’s health.

Christ as the Head of the Church can also eradicate infections from His Body, the Church, through various means to keep the Church in a healthy condition.

Each member of the Body is a potential son or daughter of God, regardless of his or her responsibility within the Body, so let us never forget that fact. Each one of us is precious in God’s eyes.

Verse 16 states that the proper functioning of every part of the Body causes growth (spiritual growth). Growth can only occur while living and being actively engaged. It will edify the Body, which includes building it up in truth and knowledge, as we grow in those spiritual areas.

Verse 16 concludes that the edification of the Body must occur in love. This refers to the love of God. He gave up His Son to save the world, and part of our job as the Church, the Body of Christ, is to bring the message of salvation to this world.

Furthermore, we should be growing in grace and knowledge and true love, always remembering that no matter how small or seemingly insignificant we are, it is important that all the parts work smoothly and in harmony.

Christ is the living Head of the Church. As members and parts of the Body, we need to be healthy in order to accomplish our task given to us by God.

Lead Writer: Rene Messier (Canada)

This Week in the News

Terror Attack in Hamburg, Germany

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 29:

“Police have searched a refugee shelter where a man who stabbed Hamburg shoppers, killing one of them, had stayed. Authorities said the suspect, from the United Arab Emirates, is mentally unstable and a known Islamist. City-state Interior Minister Any Grote on Saturday thanked bystanders who caught the fleeing knife assailant near the supermarket in Hamburg’s Barmbek district in scant minutes before police arrived. The attacker, a rejected asylum seeker, who earlier on Friday had inquired at a city office for foreigners on whether expulsion papers had arrived, had become radicalized… The suspect had no criminal record in Germany, with the exception of an alleged shoplifting incident in April that was dropped as a ‘slight’ matter… the assailant had first purchased bread at a branch of the German supermarket chain Edeka. He briefly boarded a bus, but got off, and returned to the supermarket’s entrance, according to Henning.

“He ripped the brand new knife, with a 20 centimeter (8 inch) blade, from its wrapping and ‘brutally’ attacked two men, including a 50-year-old man who died… Among those injured was a 19-year-old and two persons on bicycles, she added. A 50-year-old woman and four men aged between 19 and 64 were also all injured, as well as a 35-year-old man who chased and overpowered the suspect. The attacker, who was arrested by police, was said to have shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is the Greatest) during the rampage… Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz said the attack had been motivated by ‘hate.’ It appeared that the suspect was facing deportation but this had not proceeded because necessary papers were lacking, Scholz said… Scholz added that the case showed ‘all the more urgently that these legal and practical barriers to deportation must be removed.’

“… The website of the Spiegel news magazine said the individual was named Ahmad A., who had arrived in Germany seeking asylum and had contact with the Islamist scene, as well as a history of drug use and mental health problems. Germany has been on high alert over the possibility of another Islamist attack since Anis Amri drove a truck into a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market in December last year, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others. Like the alleged Hamburg attacker, Amri was a failed asylum seeker who could not be deported for lack of documents. The similarity between the cases risks reopening wounds over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow more than a million migrants into Germany since 2015.”

Violence in Constance, Germany

Regarding a separate incident in Germany, Deutsche Welle reported on July 30:

“A discotheque shooting in Constance in southwestern Germany has left two people dead, including a patron, say police. The attacker died after a subsequent shootout. Police have ruled out terrorism.  A terrorist motive was ruled out by a police spokesman, who said the incident appeared to have been a crime of passion by a sole perpetrator.

“Three other persons inside the venue had been injured as well as a police officer hurt during the later shootout. [The police] declined to confirm multiple reports that the dead suspect was an Iraqi who had long lived in Constance and was not an asylum seeker.”

The fact that attacks in Germany by foreigners hit the news could have some influence on the parliamentary elections in September; especially if Angela Merkel does not take a strong stance regarding the migrant crisis.

Incredible Neglect and Incompetency

The website of in Portland, Oregon, reported on July 29:

“A man accused of breaking into a 65-year-old woman’s home, sexually assaulting her and stealing her car was arrested after allegedly assaulting another woman and running from police… According to court documents filed in March 2017, Martinez has a history of illegal entry into the United States. He has been a transient in the Portland area for more than a year and has been deported 20 times. Martinez has at least five probation violations for re-entering the United States. His most recent removal was in November 2016, according to the March court documents.

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged an immigration detainer against Martinez, asking authorities to notify them before releasing Martinez to allow ICE to take him into custody. The Department of Homeland Security said… the authorities did not notify ICE

“Prior to the July 24 arrest, Martinez’s criminal record shows a felony conviction for burglary and three misdemeanor convictions for battery, theft, and obstructing a public officer… The new charges Martinez is facing include first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery (two counts), second-degree assault, first-degree sex abuse, first-degree sodomy and first-degree burglary. Martinez threatened to kill the woman while he sexually assaulted her, according to the probable cause affidavit. Before he left, he punched her in the head several times and slammed her head onto a wood floor… Police said the suspect, Martinez, was armed with a knife and he assaulted the woman.”

This whole immigration system is indeed broken. THESE are the individuals the ICE should be most concerned about.

Trump’s Distorted View of Loyalty

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 29:

“One week after the resignation of Donald Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer and the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as the president’s chief communicator, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is also out the door… Two other embattled officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon have survived the week, but it is unclear for how long. Both Sessions… and Bannon… are portrayed as not loyal enough to the president by Trump himself and by the new key player in the White House, Scaramucci.

“…To appoint [John] Kelly, the former Homeland Security secretary, as his chief of staff, is a huge gamble… The president’s much bigger gamble, however, is severing the already frayed ties with the Republican Party. Spicer and Priebus, both creatures of the GOP, played a key role in trying to align Trump’s agenda with Congressional Republicans. That this did not work well was evident…

“Firing Sessions or special counsel Robert Mueller – a move that has reportedly been considered by Trump and that would effectively end the Russia probe that has been vexing him – could be one step too far even for this president… Trump’s distorted view of loyalty essentially means fealty and can come only from family and people who are close to him personally…”

Subsequently, President Trump fired Anthony Scaramucci after only ten days in office. The White House is in turmoil, as the next article shows as well.

“Anthony Scaramucci Not the Problem—Trump Is”

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 31:

“Even for the Trump administration the reign of chaos that has engulfed the White House in the past few days is unprecedented… the removal of President Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer, his chief of staff Reince Priebus and his newly minted communications director within days of each other is in reality too serious to poke fun at…

“The incessant intrigue that has been the one constant in Trump’s White House has left it completely rudderless and chaotic in a time of numerous domestic and international challenges…  And while the political and professional inexperience of many key Trump aides certainly has helped to create it, it is not the main reason for the inability of this White House to get the Trump presidency on track. The main reason, make no mistake, why this White House has been largely dysfunctional until now, is the president himself. That’s because President Trump not only handpicked most of the staff himself, often against the advice of experienced observers, but also that he appears to think that a cut-throat culture that mercilessly pits individuals and factions inside the White House against each other, will produce a good outcome. It doesn’t…

“Coupled with Trump’s penchant to stir up trouble via Twitter and his – let’s call it...unusual – way of looking at current events – it amounts to making the White House and by extension his administration ungovernable… The latest case in point came this morning when Trump ended a tweet pronouncing ‘No chaos in the White House’ only hours before Scaramucci’s exit…”

President Trump would be well advised to read our Current Events sections for a better understanding as to what is really happening in the USA and around the world.

Bible Studies in the White House

Israel National News reported on August 2:

“… senior cabinet members are holding weekly sessions dedicated solely to Bible (both Old and New Testament) study. Ralph Drollinger, a retired NBA player, who has taught weekly Bible lessons in the Senate and the House of Representatives and initiated religious studies in the US House of Representatives of about 40 American states, recently began a weekly class of about 12 members of the Cabinet.

“The lessons include Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. The meetings are headed by Vice President Mike Pence, whose passion for Bible study is well known…”

“US President Donald Trump is not known to be particularity devout, having once called the Bible only his second favorite book, after the bestseller which he penned, ‘The Art of the Deal.’ He did win large amounts of evangelical support however, carrying 80% of the vote, the most since George W. Bush took 78% in 2004.”

The big question is: Will their Bible studies conducted by a retired NBA player influence and help them to make right and godly decisions?

Trump’s Disasterous Threats re Health Care

Newsmax wrote on July 29:

“President Donald Trump threatened on Saturday to end government payments to health insurers if Congress does not pass a new healthcare bill… ‘If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!’ The tweet came a day after Senate Republicans failed to muster enough votes to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare bill commonly known as Obamacare.

“The first part of Trump’s tweet appeared to be referring to the approximately $8 billion in cost-sharing reduction subsidies the federal government pays to insurers to lower the price of health coverage for low-income Americans…

“Many insurers have been waiting for an answer from Trump or lawmakers on whether they will continue to fund the annual government subsidies. Without assurances, many insurers plan to raise rates an additional 20 percent by an Aug. 16 deadline for premium prices.

“With Republican efforts to dismantle Obamacare in disarray, hundreds of U.S. counties are at risk of losing access to private health coverage in 2018 as insurers consider pulling out of those markets…

“Regardless of the stance of congressional lawmakers, the healthcare law has frayed edges as some Americans are forced to pay exorbitant rates in order to have health insurance, while the burden of funding has not diminished to subsidize those who qualify. Some are left without a choice or only one choice at all and CNBC predicts health insurers will likely pull out completely from 49 counties in the nation in 2018…”

The disastrous Obamacare, coupled with the incompetence of the Trump Administration and the bickering and disunited House and Senate will lead to the suffering of millions of Americans. Far from making America great again, America is facing an abyss of disastrous proportions.

Mueller Impanels Grand Jury in Russia Probe

The Wall Street Journal reported on August 3:

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections…

“Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime

Thomas Zeno, a federal prosecutor for 29 years before becoming a lawyer at the Squire Patton Boggs law firm, said the grand jury is ‘confirmation that this is a very vigorous investigation going on.’…

“According to a January report from the U.S. intelligence community, the highest levels of the Russian government were involved in directing the electoral interference. Its tactics included hacking state election systems; infiltrating and leaking information from party committees and political strategists; and disseminating through social media and other outlets negative stories about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and positive ones about Mr. Trump, the report said…”

North Korea’s New Missile Launch Threatening American and European Cities

Reuters wrote on July 29:

“North Korea fired a missile on Friday that experts said was capable of striking Los Angeles and other American cities, and the United States and South Korea responded by staging a joint missile exercise…

“The unusual late-night launch added to exasperation in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo over Pyongyang’s continuing development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to deliver them. North Korean President Kim Jong Un’s military had already raised alarms early this month with its first ICBM launch.”

“Had it been fired at a standard trajectory, the rocket could have reached Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago and would have even had New York and Boston within its sights, according to analysts… Although Kim Jong-un hasn’t expressed a strong desire to attack mainland Europe, the new analysis would suggest London, Paris, Berlin and Rome are all within range although the missiles would have to soar above land as opposed to the Pacific… The French Foreign Ministry condemned the launch and called for ‘strong and additional sanctions’ by the United Nations and European Union.”

“The United States was considering ‘military response options’ on Friday night after North Korea carried out its second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in a month… Washington,  which has branded North Korea the ‘most urgent and dangerous threat to peace,’ condemned the launch as reckless. ‘By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people,’ Donald Trump said in a statement. ‘The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.’

“South Korea said it was ready to take its own steps to deal with the threat… US and South Korean military officials were discussing military options last night. Donald Trump’s administration has said that the period of ‘strategic patience’ towards North Korea is over. US officials have also expressed growing frustration with Beijing for not doing more to pressure its neighbour to rein in its military ambitions. Britain and Australia this week joined the US in calling for China to exert more pressure on Pyongyang. However, China says it has little leverage over leaders in Pyongyang…”

Newsmax wrote on July 29:

“President Donald Trump slammed China Saturday for doing ‘nothing for us with North Korea’ in light of Pyongyang’s latest missile test, vowing that ‘we will no longer allow this to continue.’”

The New York Times wrote on July 29:

“The United States agreed to start negotiations to allow South Korea to build more powerful ballistic missiles in order to counter North Korea’s fast-advancing missile technologies, the office of the South’s president said on Saturday… Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Moon also ordered his government to cooperate with the United States to install an advanced American missile defense battery… But China has adamantly opposed installing the Thaad missile defense system in South Korea…

The situation with North Korea has indeed reached a stage of unprecedented dangers.

The Week wrote on August 2:

“The State Department announced Wednesday that starting Sept. 1, U.S. passport holders will be banned from traveling to North Korea, and urged Americans already in the country to leave before then… The ban makes passports invalid for travel to, in, or through North Korea, and will be in place for one year, unless the secretary of state extends or revokes it. Humanitarian workers and journalists will be able to apply for exceptions to the ban.”

Iran’s and North Korea’s Friendship Leading to Nuclear War?

Breitbart wrote on July 28:

“The only thing more difficult than attempting to stop one rogue nation from acquiring nuclear weapons is attempting to stop two rogue nations collaborating to do so.

“As we explore our options in shutting down North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, we must recognize we are also dealing with Iran’s programs, which have piggybacked upon Pyongyang’s. Ever since Iran’s war with Iraq (1980-1988), during which North Korea began providing Tehran with SCUD missiles, both countries nurtured a relationship that would allow them eventually to gain membership into the nuclear arms club. In recent years, the evolution of this relationship has allowed Iran to step into the shoes of North Korea’s former and longtime best friend, China. It is also why China has been unresponsive to U.S. calls to reel Pyongyang in…

“Tehran’s mullahs have not hesitated to use Pyongyang over the past several years as a test case for American resolve. As such resolve has been non-existent, Iran came to recognize it could move forward simultaneously and in coordination with Pyongyang. Having developed this close working relationship, Iranian observers began showing up at North Korean military tests. It was also this relationship that led to North Korean technicians working secretly to build a nuclear facility in Syria. Its development was closely monitored by Israel which, after the U.S. refused to take action to stop construction, destroyed it in an air attack in September 2007… a North Korea capable of striking the US with nuclear weapons will result in nuclear conflict…”

These are frightening thoughts. Is there anything that America can do to avoid a nuclear conflict with North Korea and Iran?

Ready to Obey a Trump Nuclear Strike Order

ABC News reported on July 27:

“The U.S. Pacific Fleet commander said Thursday he would launch a nuclear strike against China next week if President Donald Trump ordered it, and warned against the military ever shifting its allegiance from its commander in chief. Adm. Scott Swift was responding to a hypothetical question at an Australian National University security conference following a major joint U.S.- Australian military exercise off the Australian coast…

“Asked by an academic in the audience whether he would make a nuclear attack on China next week if Trump ordered it, Swift replied: ‘The answer would be: Yes… Every member of the U.S. military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us…’”

This is the same flawed reasoning which was employed by German officers for obeying Hitler’s orders. Note our new StandingWatch program, Obeying Trump to Launch Nuclear Strike?”.

Russia’s Retaliation Against the USA

The Guardian wrote on July 31:

“When it comes to diplomatic expulsions… the Russian move is so severe that… it is likely to paralyse the work of US diplomats in Russia… [Russia demands] that the Americans reduce their presence in Russia —the Moscow embassy, as well as consulates in St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and Vladivostok – to a total of 455 people… Putin said on Sunday evening that the Russian order meant that 755 employees would have to ‘cease their work’

“The cuts will be a huge challenge for the incoming US ambassador Jon Huntsman, who – if he is confirmed by the Senate – is expected to arrive in the Russian capital at the end of the summer…”

President Trump Signs Russia Sanctions Law

The EUObserver wrote on August 2:

“US leader Donald Trump has signed into life new Russia sanctions that put EU firms… at risk of fines. The president said in a note published the same day (2 August) that the sanctions bill was ‘significantly flawed’ because it undermined his ‘exclusive constitutional authority’ on foreign relations… The law… stops Trump, who is under suspicion of colluding with Russia to sway last year’s US election, from undoing Russia sanctions without a Congressional review… The bill was earlier backed by a huge majority in Congress meaning that Trump’s veto would likely have been overturned had he chosen to wield it

“The EU has… threatened to react, with the European Commission having said last week that it would act within ‘days’ of the sanctions becoming law. Its options, as set out in a leaked internal memo, included trying to circumscribe US jurisdiction or imposing counter-sanctions on US firms.  Germany and Austria have also threatened retaliation because the fines could hit Austrian firm OMV and German firms Uniper and Wintershal, as well as French firm Engie and Anglo-Dutch firm Shell, for their role in Nord Stream II, Russia’s planned gas pipeline to Germany…”

Reuters added on August 2:

“New sanctions on Russia which U.S. President Donald Trump has signed into law are tantamount to a ‘full-scale trade war,’ Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday. Medvedev also said in a Facebook post that the sanctions showed the Trump administration was utterly powerless. ‘The hope that our relations with the new American administration would improve is finished,’ he wrote.”

The Washington Post wrote on July 29:

Russia is now Washington’s greatest political foe… The Russian establishment has been angry with the West before but rarely so filled with contempt.

“Predictions for autumn are frank: economic war… One idea voiced by the Kremlin is to expand cooperation with Europe, and possibly with China, to counterbalance U.S. power. European leaders have expressed anger over the planned U.S. sanctions, saying they could backfire, dealing a blow to transatlantic efforts to curb Russian aggression against Ukraine and sparking a trade war between Europe and the United States…

“Meanwhile, dialogue between the countries is minimal… The impasse is total. Conflict is assured.”

Wherever America turns, it is facing conflict. God has clearly withdrawn His blessings from the USA.

Trump Helps King of Jordan in Opposition to Israel

The Jerusalem Post wrote on July 30:

“US President Donald Trump and Jordan’s King Abdullah II spoke by phone on Friday to discuss the Temple Mount crisis, with the king expressing his appreciation of Trump’s support and ‘the important role that the US administration played to help contain the Aksa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif crisis.’ ‘His Majesty also stressed the importance of intensifying coordination to avoid the recurrence of such crises and preserve the historical and legal status quo at al-Aksa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif,’ Amman said in a statement.

“The president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, spoke on the phone with Abdullah last weekend as the crisis was at its peak – when Israel was standing its ground on the implementation of new security measures on the holy plateau, as riots were raging in the streets and spreading to Arab capitals. Those measures have since been rescinded… President Trump also emphasized Jordan’s important role in regional security… Abdullah said, had a historical, political and legal role to play in stopping the ‘Judaization of holy sites.’ It was important, he said, for all parties to work together to ensure that the status quo on the Temple Mount was respected.

“Aside from the Temple Mount, Abdullah has had harsh words with regard to the July 23 incident in which an Israeli security guard at the embassy in Amman, killed a Jordanian teenager who attacked him with a screwdriver… Abdullah said Saturday that his government would work to ensure that justice was served. Two days earlier, he demanded that Israel put the security guard on trial. He was particularly upset that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had embraced the guard as a hero after his return to Israel… Protesters gathered near the Israeli Embassy in Amman on Friday to protest the incident, with scores chanting ‘Death to Israel‘ and calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and scrapping of an unpopular peace treaty with Israel.”

The Trump administration’s “involvement” in the Middle East leads to a more and more adversarial position against Israel.

Lebanese Descendants of Canaanites?

Israel National News reported on July 29:

A new genetic study proves the modern-day Lebanese are descendants of the ancient Canaanites (Phoenicians)… The Canaanites’ genetic material was found to be 93% similar to that of 99 modern Lebanese… In addition, the Bronze Age inhabitants of Sidon, a major Canaanite city-state in modern-day Lebanon, have the same genetic profile as people living 300 to 800 years earlier in present-day Jordan…

“Researcher Dr. Marc Haber of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said, “The present-day Lebanese are likely to be direct descendants of the Canaanites, but they have in addition a small proportion of Eurasian ancestry that may have arrived via conquests by distant populations such as the Assyrians, Persians, or Macedonians.’ … When Lebanon was founded in 1929, the Christians said, ‘We are Phoenician.’ The Muslims didn’t accept that and they said, ‘No, we are Arab.’… Ancient Canaan occupied all of modern-day Lebanon.”

We are presenting this article for the reader’s information, without taking a definitive position on it. It is also believed that some Canaanites migrated to America and became known as belonging to some of the American Indians tribes.

Europe Retaliates Against UK

The Daily Mail wrote on August 1:

“British holidaymakers faced further travel misery today as security staff at Barcelona airport took industrial action causing long queues [with up to four hours waiting time] and missed flights. Staff at the El Prat airport were working to rule and deliberately taking the maximum of ten minutes to pass each passenger through security. The industrial action during peak holiday season has caused around 1,000 people to miss flights at the airport in the past few days, airline bosses said….

“Airports popular with British tourists, including Paris, Madrid and Lisbon, have seen queues stretching hundreds of yards as the stricter checks are imposed on entry and exit… British and Irish passengers have already faced long delays at other airports in Spain and around Europe because of tough new border controls.

“Last month the new EU controls – coupled with a lack of staff – caused Brits to miss flights out of Palma airport in Majorca. Passengers have been warned to expect queues of ‘hundreds of meters’ at airports including Madrid, Palma, Lisbon, Lyons, Paris Orly and Milan. The new rules, requiring checks on passengers from non-Schengen countries including the UK and Ireland, were introduced following terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.”

The Telegraph added on August 2:

“Ministers have been accused of ignoring warning over the passport chaos causing misery to British airline passengers as the busiest week of the holiday season approaches… The delays continued on Wednesday with some flights half-empty as a result, and there were separate problems for British Airways passengers flying out of the UK because of fresh problems with its check-in computers. Airlines UK, the industry body for British-registered carriers, said it had written to the Department of Transport in May warning ministers of trouble ahead. But it was only on Wednesday that Lord Callanan, the aviation minister, called his counterparts in the worst-affected countries to demand action.”

The State’s Dictatorial Oppression of Parents’ Rights

The website of wrote on July 29:

“It’s a case where a family in the U.K. was told their son was terminally ill and there was nothing that could be done to save his life; that was, until doctors in the U.S. thought they could save him with experimental treatment. Charlie’s parents wanted to do everything to save their baby so they raised the money to be able to bring him to the U.S. for that treatment. And that’s when things got ugly. The government told Charlie’s parents that they couldn’t take their own child from the U.K. to seek experimental treatment elsewhere.

“The case was brought to court and the courts refused to order the child be released into his parents’ custody, thus preventing him from receiving any of the care which was offered… What’s most disturbing about this case is that the State believes they know better than parents on what’s best for their own child. What’s even more disturbing is those on the left believe the same thing…

“In a piece for The Guardian entitled ‘Despite Charlie Gard’s Tragic Story, We Must Respect The Process Of Our Courts,’ UCL health professor, Ian Kennedy, expressed sympathy for the plight of Charlie, but ultimately justified it on the basis that ‘children do not belong to their parents.’… In other words, parents have no actual rights to make decisions for their children if the State doesn’t agree with those decisions…”

This is a horrible position for the British state and the courts to take, which is usually employed by hostile dictatorships.

“Saint Nicholas Back in Italy”

Zenit wrote on July 28:

“Today, Friday, July 28, 2017, a mixed Italian-Vatican delegation will bring back from St. Petersburg to Bari the relic of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Mira, which has been exhibited for the veneration of Russian faithful since last May 21… Saint Nicholas is invoked by the faithful of different Christian Churches and denominations as Defender of the weakest and persecuted, and as Protector of girls, of sailors and of children. The universality of his devotion transforms the Paleo-Christian Saint into a true and proper ‘bridge between East and West,’ said Dominican Hyacinthe Destivelle, official of the Vatican Dicastery…

“Saint Nicholas is very popular in Russia… a good… third of churches are under his patronage and in all rooms there is his icon before which protection of the family is requested

“For his part, the Archbishop of Bari-Bitonto, Monsignor Francesco Cacucci, who is also part of the delegation, welcomed an ‘ecumenism of the people‘ as being particularly significant. In his address on the arrival of the relic, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russians, Cyril I spoke, in fact, about ‘an intervention open to Christian unity.’

“Saint Nicholas of Mira was born to a Christian family at Patara in Lycia around the year 270. Remaining an orphan after the plague, the future Saint, heir of a large patrimony, dedicated his fortune to good works. He was one of the 318 Bishops that condemned Arianism during the First Council of Nicea (325). After his death, perfumed oil or essence gushed from his tomb… After the fall of Mira to the Seljuk Turks, in 1087 an expedition of Bari businessmen took the Saint’s relics from his tomb and brought them to Puglia.”

The entire concept of Saint Nicholas, being the modern Santa Claus, is a hoax and an invention. It is doubtful whether a Saint Nicholas ever existed. We say the following in our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas”:

“According to legend, there was a Catholic priest who allegedly gave gifts to children in December. This priest was supposedly the Bishop of Myra, and he was called ‘Nicholas.’ He reportedly died on December 6, 326 AD.  This is the ‘official’ explanation, as to why the ‘day of St. Nicholas’ is celebrated today on December 6. Many historians doubt, however, that there is any legitimacy to this legend. They even question whether such a priest ever existed.

“One record that was published under Pope Paul VI in 1969 raises doubts whether Nicholas was a saint or whether he was only a ‘legendary’ hero, if he even lived at all. Since 1969, the Catholic Church has left it to its followers to decide for themselves whether or not to worship Nicholas as a saint.

“On the other hand, it is a historical fact that pagans did worship a pagan god that shows great similarities with the modern Santa Claus. This pagan deity was the old Germanic god ‘Wodan.’ He was called ‘Odin’ in Scandinavia.  Wodan or Odin was a sun god. According to pagan belief, he gave his life for the world by ‘hanging on a tree’ or a cross for nine nights, after which he was ‘pierced by a spear.’

“… Earl W. Count, B.D., Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, states in ‘4000 Years of Christmas,’ on pp. 11 and 54: ‘We do not really know when the Christ Child… was born; or the time and place when Christmas was first celebrated; or exactly how it was that, over the centuries, a bishop-saint of Asia Minor and a pagan god of the Germans merged to become Santa Claus… Of most interest to us, however, is the fact that Wodan [or Odin] has become – Santa Claus, or, as he is better called, St. Nicholas.’…

“In pagan legends… Santa Claus or St. Nicholas is accompanied by a servant, called ‘Knecht Ruprecht.’ In ‘The Pageantry of Christmas,’ published by the editors of Life magazine, we are told on page 62: ‘Knecht Ruprecht, the assistant to St. Nicholas, … was as capable of punishing as he was of rewarding, and the horns on his head reveal his demonic origin… He was also known as Black Peter.’”

Legends seldom die, and so the “Christian” world celebrates and idolizes Santa Claus, erroneously thinking that they are thereby honoring and worshipping a mysterious “saint.” Whatever the “relics” are which have been transferred from Russia to Italy, the collaboration between the two big “Christian” churches should remind us of the description of Babylon the Great in Revelation 17.

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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