Unyielding Truth in the Midst of Confusion

Mankind’s vision of the universe is built upon an ever-changing landscape of understanding. The pursuit of scientific discovery, in what has become religion to many, causes foundations of knowledge to often shift.  What is understood today often replaces the understanding of our past. This fluidity of fact is considered part and parcel in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. No truth is unshakable if discovery proves it false.

In a recent web article entitled, “New Hubble Data Breaks Scientists’ Understanding of the Universe,” the author, talking about the Hubble Constant, states, “The value was first calculated by astronomer Edwin Hubble in the 1920s. But since then, astronomers observing and measuring the universe’s expansion have arrived at different values of the Hubble Constant, none of which seem to agree with one another. The discrepancy calls into question not only our idea of how old the universe is, but also our ability to fundamentally understand the physics that drive its behavior.”

The Hubble telescope, named in honor of Edwin Hubble, has called into question one of his fundamental truths. But for the scientific community, this is part of the process in gaining understanding. The earth was once flat until discovery proved it to be round. Today’s truth and understanding might end up as a simple footnote in the chronicles of our civilization.

How fortunate we are to have our eyes opened to Truth that doesn’t change! Truth that was set as a foundation for all eternity at creation when our God uttered the words, “Let there be light.” When Christ manifested Himself to mankind, He left us with examples of the unchanging Truth of God. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). We are warned to not take that Truth for granted by pursuing ungodliness.

Continuing in Hebrews, “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them” (Hebrews 13:9).

Man searches in vain because Godly wisdom has been wholeheartedly rejected. Instead, our scientific leaders posit ideas such of parallel universes (to name one) as a way to explain what they can’t understand.

Christ, the one through which creation was accomplished (see Colossians 1:16), was clear in how applicable His teachings were for all ages.  “‘Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 5:17-19).

We must stand firm in the Truth as this age draws deeper into ungodliness, and not be led away from Truth that doesn’t change.

Current Events

by Norbert Link

We begin with reports on the election of Ursula von der Leyen as the new president of the European Commission and Angela Merkel’s appointment of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) as Germany’s new Defense Minister, as well as British and German reactions; speak on a proposed law to make measles vaccinations mandatory in Germany; the rift between Turkey and the USA and Europe; heightened tensions with Iran; US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell; the military celebrations and their meaning during Bastille Day; and Russia’s alleged thirst for regional wars in Europe. We also speak on the find of a missile and other sophisticated weapons in the hands of Italian extremists.

We report on recent developments and their consequences pertaining to President Trump’s tweets on “progressive Democratic congresswomen” (in this regard, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Trump’s Reelection Is Assured!”);  and we point at Trump’s unwelcome and highly controversial criticism of Bitcoin.

We address the ever-increasing abnormal frequency of major earthquakes around the world; and we quote from articles about Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister; an alleged movement to destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque to prepare for the Third Temple; and rabbinic condemnation of all dogs and their owners.

What Does the Bible Say About Suicide?

In the first chapter of the first book in the Bible, we read that God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). Man was created for a purpose, and that ultimate purpose is to become an immortal member of the God Family.

In John 10, Jesus talks about Himself as being the good Shepherd and that He had “come that they have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (verse 10).  In this day and age, God has only called very few people for salvation, but everyone will receive their opportunity to inherit eternal life when God deems that the time is right.  Why would anyone who has received this marvelous calling today want to commit suicide? There are many “reasons” and “justifications” why even true Christians might erroneously think that this is the best course of action in their particular circumstances.

What circumstances would give rise to such a thought? Perhaps someone has an incurable disease (by man’s reckoning) and is in such severe pain that it seems to be the only way out of a terrible situation? Or someone doesn’t think him- or herself worthy of God’s calling and cannot reconcile the fact that he or she is a sinner who doesn’t seem to be making any progress in his or her life, perhaps even going backwards? What about someone who experiences demonic activity in his or her life which presses that individual to take such action as a way out of this misery? Drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, depression, family issues, bullying and marital and financial problems can also be reasons why suicide might seem to be the answer, but it never is. When someone commits suicide, he or she will have to give an answer to God for that course of action within his or her very next waking moment.

The definition of suicide is “the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally.” Taken from “Key trends from the Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2017,” 6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland, and the highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 40–44. According to “2016-National-Facts-Figures,” nearly 43,000 Americans die by suicide every year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death for ages 44 and under.

There are a number of examples in the Bible where suicide was committed. Ahithophel hanged himself (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri burned himself (1 Kings 16:18), Saul fell on his sword, as did his armorbearer (1 Samuel 31:4-5), Judas hung himself (Matthew 27:3-5), and Samson killed himself, while destroying the pagan temple, knowing that his actions would lead to his death (Judges 16:29-30). Abimelech, a son of Gideon, asked his armorbearer to kill him, which he did (Judges 9:54), but some might dispute this as an example of suicide as Abimelech died at the hand of someone else. Perhaps “assisted suicide” might be an appropriate term (in legal terms, helping someone to commit suicide might also qualify as “aiding and abetting of murder” or even as “murder” itself), but in any event, the outcome was that Abimelech wanted to die and did so.

We read in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who (better “which”) is in you, whom (better “which”) you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” How could we even consider taking such drastic action, irrespective of our individual situation, when the Holy Spirit lives within us? Life belongs to God and the 6th Commandment tells us: “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). We are not to kill either someone else or ourselves. Suicide, the taking of one’s own life, is equal to murder.

After Job had lost his property and his children, he stated that “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away” (Job 1:21). When someone takes their own life, it is an ungodly act because it rejects the life that God so graciously gave them in the first place. The meaning of Job 1:21 is that it is God who gives life and it is His prerogative and authority to take life away. It is not within a human being’s right or authority to do so.

King David stated in Psalm 31:15 that “my times are in Your hands.” Albert Barnes observed: “All that pertained to us is under the control and at the disposal of God. We shall live as long as God has appointed; we shall pass through such changes as he directs; we shall die when and where and how he chooses.”

In Deuteronomy 30:19, God told the ancient Israelites to choose life: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” It was blessings or cursings – blessings for living the life that God would have us lead, or cursings for choosing to disobey God, leading to death.

What about those who have been baptised in the Church of God and received the Holy Spirit, and who subsequently take their own life? Are they lost forever? They would certainly have known that it was wrong, but we all sin in many different ways, and we don’t know another person’s heart or situation. We do read in Psalm 103:11: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.” In James 2:13, we read: “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” God is a merciful God, and He will always make the right decision about everyone. For instance, even though Samson committed suicide, he will be in God’s Kingdom, as Hebrews 11 tells us. On the other hand, it appears that King Saul will not be, but he had lost the Holy Spirit quite a while before his final act, and it is for God to make these kinds of ultimate judgments.

Suicidal thoughts can happen to the best of people. Towards the end of his life, Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 2:17: “Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” In Ecclesiastes 12:13, he also wrote: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all (or: “the whole duty of man”). For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether it is good or whether it is evil.”

Both Elijah and Jonah at one point wanted to die; Jeremiah encountered serious moments of despair;  and the apostle Paul and his friends were under significant pressure at times. We read in 2 Corinthians 1:8: “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.” Even great men in the Bible had their very difficult moments, as we ourselves can have those today.

But this does not justify suicide, assisted suicide or aiding and abetting murder by any stretch of the imagination. Taking one’s own life or helping someone else to do so is a sinful act. Even though there are usually extreme circumstances that may have driven people over the edge to do this, and even though we may have no idea of the pressure that others may be under, nor do we know their hearts, we also know that we must never take such action. God, as a merciful and loving God, will judge them righteously and fairly, something that any man would be incapable of doing.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

Wholehearted Choice; Don’t Get Too Comfortable

On July 20, 2019, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Wholehearted Choice,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “Don’t Get Too Comfortable.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (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.

This Week in the News

Germany’s von der Leyen New European Commission President

Deutsche Welle reported on July 16:

“German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has won the vote to become the next president of the European Commission, and will be the first woman to hold the post. She received 383 out of 747 possible votes, just nine more than the minimum for her election. 327 lawmakers voted against her and 22 abstained.

“In brief remarks after the final tally was announced, she said her aim was for a strong and united Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated von der Leyen, calling her a ‘committed European’ who would ‘tackle with great vigour the challenges facing us as the European Union.’ ‘Though I am losing a long-standing minister, I am winning a new partner in Brussels,’ Merkel said, via her spokesman Steffen Seibert on Twitter…

“Von der Leyen will step down as defense minister on Wednesday and will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker at the helm of the commission on November 1. She will be the first German to lead the EU executive branch since the creation of the modern European Union…”

The Guardian wrote on July 16:

“German commission secretary-general Martin Selmayr… has said he will leave his post by the end of the next week. By convention, the two top posts in the commission should not be held by nationals of the same country…

“French and German MEPs representing the far left and the far right [had] railed against Von der Leyen’s previously stated aspiration to forge a ‘United States of Europe’ and establish an EU army

“On Brexit, she was booed by Brexit party MEPs as she reiterated her openness to a further extension of the UK’s membership of the EU after 31 October… The leader of the Brexit party, Nigel Farage, accused Von der Leyen of wanting to build ‘a centralised, undemocratic, updated form of communism where nation state parliaments will cease to have any relevance at all.’ ‘Be in no doubt: five years of these people [and] the European Defence Union will be complete,’ Farage said. ‘And what is there for defence can also be used for attack.’”

In a related article, the Guardian wrote on July 16:

“If Von der Leyen’s approval ratings have recently plummeted, making her the least popular minister in Merkel’s cabinet, it is because her handling of Germany’s notoriously under-funded military at times displayed… deficiencies.

“When she diagnosed the troops with an ‘attitude problem’ after the emergence of stories about rightwing extremist activities and hazing of new recruits, she was accused – and not only by members of the Bundeswehr – of choosing a good write-up over loyalty to her staff… More recently, Von der Leyen grabbed negative headlines over the accusation that her defence ministry had allocated over-inflated contracts worth hundreds of millions of euros to external consultants. A parliamentary committee is investigating the ministry for accusations of nepotism, and Von der Leyen is expected to be invited as a witness in December. In Brussels and Berlin, she will have two stages to manage.”

Prophecy marches on. With Von der Leyen at the European helm, a European army is only a matter of time.

Von der Leyen Another Reason for Brexit?

The Sun wrote on July 17:

“The new woman running the EU is the perfect advert for Brexit. Ursula von der Leyen narrowly squeaked into power in a secret ballot against no rival candidates in another triumph for European democracy. This unpopular, failed German defence minister is a fanatical federalist who longs for the Brussels club to become a single country made up of client states.

“‘The world needs more Europe,’ declared the new EU president, falsely. Ursula is dead set too on a European army, with Eurocrats ordering national troops to war. Remember when Remainers sneered that was just a paranoid scare story told by Leavers?

“Good luck to Ursula and her EU. She’s welcome to it… We can’t wait to be out.”

Boris Johnson UK’s last PM?

The Guardian wrote on July 18:

“Boris Johnson could be the UK’s last prime minister, Gordon Brown has warned… Brown, the former Labour prime minister, warned of an approaching ‘head-on conflict’ between Johnson’s hardline views and the Scottish National party’s ‘extreme nationalism’, with its intention to abandon the pound and leave the UK single market and customs union

“Brown said Johnson’s brand of anti-Europe conservatism was regarded in Scotland as anti-Scottish…”

AKK new Germany’s Defense Minister

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 17:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s surprise decision on Tuesday to hand AKK (Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer) the Defense Ministry immediately came under fire from the opposition, largely due to her lack of experience in the field. The leader of Germany’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) joins the Defense Ministry in the middle of extensive reforms and on the tail-end of countless scandals left behind by her predecessor Ursula von der Leyen…

“On the international stage, how AKK addresses the German defense budget will be of huge interest to Germany’s fellow NATO allies — not least of all for the Trump administration. US President Donald Trump has been particularly vocal in his criticism of Berlin for failing to spend 2% of its GDP on defense — a target which NATO adopted at its 2014 Wales Summit in response to the Ukraine crisis. AKK, too, has previously advocated the 2% target. But… reaching such a target in the current legislative period is seemingly impossible. Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), staunchly positioned themselves against the 2% goal in Germany’s 2017 federal elections and have remained resolute…

“Underfunded and overflowing with scandals, the German Defense Ministry can quickly become a political minefield and is prone to making headlines with ongoing scandals. AKK will be hoping that she won’t be part of the next one.”

According to Der Spiegel, two-thirds of Germans disapprove of AKK’s appointment as Defense Minister.

Spahn Was Considered Favorite as Defense Minister

Fox News reported on July 17:

“An ambitious younger conservative who also ran in last year’s CDU leadership election [but was defeated by AKK], Health Minister Jens Spahn, had been considered favorite to become defense minister. Kramp-Karrenbauer’s move to take the job avoids giving a potential rival more exposure.”

Spahn, who is openly gay, was again defeated by AKK. In his present role as Health Minister, he has made quite a few controversial and problematic decisions, if compared with biblical concepts (see also the article on vaccinations below).

Mandatory Measles Vaccinations in Germany

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 17:

“Germany’s Cabinet on Wednesday backed a draft law that would make it compulsory for all children at kindergartens, schools and daycare centers to be vaccinated against measles. The measure, which would go into force on March 1 2020, still needs to be passed by Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag.

“Under the proposed bill, children at daycare and education institutions, as well as employees there, have until July 31, 2021 to provide proof of vaccination. Kids who aren’t immunized won’t be able to attend daycare, while parents who refuse to vaccinate their school-aged children could face a fine of up to €2,500 ($2,800). Fines may also apply to facilities that allow unvaccinated children to attend. ‘We want to protect all children from measles infection,’ Health Minister Jens Spahn said… He added that he also hoped to boost voluntary vaccinations in schools for other infectious diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

“The law also covers medical staff, and residents and workers at asylum seekers and refugee accommodations… the law would obligate around 600,000 children and adults in Germany to get a measles vaccination. Exemptions apply to people born before 1970, those who cannot tolerate the vaccination on medical grounds, as well as those who can prove they have already had the disease.”

US and Turkey… Edging Closer to Crisis?

The Associated Press wrote on July 12:

“The U.S. edged closer to crisis Friday with NATO ally Turkey, which began receiving components of a Russian-made air defense system in defiance of Trump administration warnings that the deal would mean economic sanctions and no access to America’s most advanced fighter jet… For months, Washington urged Turkey to buy the American-made Patriot air defense system instead and has insisted that buying from Russia would result in economic and military penalties. Turkey has said it was not offered favorable terms on the Patriot…

“Turkey has long been a key to the defense of NATO’s southeastern flank, and some believe its willingness to buy key weaponry from Russia — long identified as NATO’s main adversary — suggests the possibility that its alliance status is in jeopardy… ‘By accepting delivery of the S-400 from Russia, President Erdogan has chosen a perilous partnership with Putin at the expense of Turkey’s security, economic prosperity and the integrity of the NATO alliance,’ the top members of the Senate committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services said in a joint statement…

“Some see the Russian sale as an attempt to drive a wedge between NATO allies. In their joint statement, the Senate committee leaders also called the Turkish action ‘a troubling signal of strategic alignment with Putin’s Russia’…

“The prospect of a further rupture in Turkey’s relations with Washington also raises a delicate issue rarely mentioned in public: the status of American nuclear weapons stored at Turkey’s Incirlik air base. Turkey has had a nuclear role in NATO for decades, but this new split is likely to cause some in Washington to question the wisdom of keeping those nuclear bombs at Incirlik…”

American Nukes in Europe

The Sun wrote on July 17:

“The United States and its allies in the Nato military alliance never disclose the locations of the nuclear arsenal but it appears… six sites have inadvertently  been   disclosed… A draft version of the document entitled ‘A new era for nuclear deterrence? Modernisation, arms control and allied nuclear forces’ was published earlier this year. But Belgian newspaper De Morgen spotted that it contained details about the nuke sites. A section on the nuclear arsenal read: ‘These bombs are stored at six US and European bases — Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in The Netherlands, and Incirlik in Turkey.’

“The study was written by a Canadian senator Joseph Day for the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The final version of the report has now been published online with specific reference to where bombs are stored deleted.”

Sanctions against Turkey

Bloomberg wrote on July 14:

“Relations between the European Union and Turkey are set to hit a new low… the bloc’s foreign ministers [were to] announce a suspension of most high-level contacts with Ankara, confirm another cut in financial aid, freeze negotiations on an aviation accord and reaffirm the threat of sanctions targeting companies involved in energy exploration off the coast of Cyprus.

“The spat over Mediterranean natural-gas reserves adds to a series of disagreements straining ties between European nations and their NATO ally — from democratic standards to the purchase of Russian missiles. While an escalation is in no-one’s interest, so much is piling up that it looks increasingly difficult to avoid.”

Richard Grenell—America’s Controversial Ambassador to Germany

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 13:

“Berlin’s political class… has been struggling to come to terms with Mr. Grenell’s unorthodox diplomacy since he arrived last year, delivering to Berlin a shock similar to President Trump’s own disruption of establishment Washington.

“Mr. Grenell, a confidant of the president and former adviser to his campaign, embodies both the diplomatic doctrine of the Trump administration and its new posture toward U.S. allies in Europe: engagement, public criticism that rankles host nations, some achievements and some unbridgeable divides… ‘Trumpian foreign policy is obviously more confrontational,’ said Cliff Sims, Mr. Trump’s former White House director of strategic messaging…

“On his first day in his new post, Mr. Grenell, 52 years old, sparked outrage in Germany with a tweet demanding German companies wind down their operations in Iran. The acrimony was compounded by his call in a Breitbart News interview for empowering conservatives across Europe—a statement German officials viewed as political meddling exceeding the mandate of a diplomat. A senior member of a governing party compared Mr. Grenell to a far-right colonial officer, while opposition politicians, including a vice chairman of the German Parliament, called for the U.S. ambassador to be expelled

“Mr. Grenell also has campaigned relentlessly against Nord Stream 2, a controversial Russian-German pipeline opposed by Washington, as well as on Germany’s failure to meet its North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense-spending targets. Those initiatives have ruffled feathers in Berlin but haven’t led to changes… Ms. Merkel… has ignored U.S. objections to the pipeline, which is due to double Russia’s gas shipments to Germany…

“Mr. Grenell’s undiplomatic manner has made him the president’s favorite ambassador, according to current and former officials… Mr. Grenell’s approach has rankled others in the White House, where some advisers complain that the ambassador doesn’t accept direction on policy or communications and is too quick to exceed his mandate, according to a senior administration official. This official said Mr. Grenell has ‘made more enemies than friends, both inside and outside of Germany.’

“Mr. Grenell in some ways is following the president’s lead. Mr. Trump has taken a confrontational stance toward Germany since the earliest days of his administration. In an early 2017 meeting with Ms. Merkel at the White House, Mr. Trump went on a lengthy riff about German car imports, describing American streets as being flooded with Mercedes… He has since repeatedly chided Germany over its military spending and has threatened tariffs against Germany’s flagship car industry… The president views Mr. Grenell ‘not just as his man in Germany, but his man in Europe,’ said Mr. Sims, the former White House director of strategic messaging.

“That close relationship has at times created tensions between Mr. Grenell and his boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mr. Grenell, who is openly gay, appealed to Mr. Trump this spring when he felt the State Department was slow to issue guidelines on how to mark Pride Month… The president issued two tweets in support of Mr. Grenell’s campaign…

“Rufus Gifford, the former ambassador to Denmark, called “Mr. Grenell’s tactics… embarrassing to the United States… It’s irresponsible. It’s not the role of an ambassador. It’s disrespectful to the host government…’”

The rift between the USA and Germany is bound to continue.

Heightened Tensions with Iran

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 18:

“President Trump said the U.S. Navy downed an Iranian drone that was flying too close to a U.S. warship in the Strait of Hormuz, hours after Iranian forces said they had seized a foreign tanker, the latest in a series of incidents that have ratcheted up tensions in a vital oil shipping route.

“Mr. Trump said the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, took defensive action against the drone, which he said was ‘threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew’ in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel leading into the Persian Gulf through which a third of the world’s seaborne oil is transported.

“The drone was ‘immediately destroyed,’ Mr. Trump said. The president called the approach by the drone the latest “of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters.’…

“Tensions are rising in the region. Earlier in the day, a Wall Street Journal reporter aboard the USS Boxer witnessed close encounters between a group of U.S. ships and the Iranian military.”

“Bastille Day Parade Showcases European Military Cooperation”

Deutsche Welle reported on July 14:

“German Chancellor Merkel and other European leaders have highlighted their shared defense potential on Bastille Day amid rifts with the US. Troops from 10 countries participated in the annual Paris parade.

“Key European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte joined French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday to commemorate France’s national holiday, Bastille Day, which marks the July 14, 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress in Paris during the French Revolution… Heads of state and government from Belgium, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands and Portugal also joined Merkel and Macron in the reviewing stand… European leaders are under pressure to boost their military ties amid growing rifts with Washington and Britain’s looming exit from the European Union.

“On Saturday, Macron had issued a statement heralding a new national military space force command from September. The president said space has become a ‘true national security issue’ due to increased spending and interest in the area from the United States, India, China and Russia. ‘Never since the end of World War II has Europe been so important,’ Macron said in a statement to mark July 14…

“In November 2018, defense ministers from 10 European countries gathered in Paris to set the agenda for the EI2, which is spearheaded by President Macron. ‘To face new threats, Europe needs a strong defense,’ the French Defense Ministry said in a tweet after the meeting. ‘With the European Intervention Initiative, 10 European countries are committed to its protection.’

“[Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko] Maas [agreed, saying:] ‘We need a true European security and defense union’…”

Fox News added on July 14:

“The annual Bastille Day celebration in Paris this year was not just about showcasing France, but also military cooperation among European [countries]. The flags of 10 countries of the European Intervention Initiative, a joint military pact created last year, led Sunday’s military parade down the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris… Some 4,300 soldiers, around 200 vehicles and over 100 aircraft, some from other European countries, were taking part in the parade that was opened by Spanish troops…

“Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, one of the key events of the French Revolution. The day has become a national holiday in France.

“The European Intervention Initiative is a 10-country coalition of European militaries ready to react to crises. The French-led initiative, which includes Germany, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal [as well as Finland], was launched last year, according to Reuters.”

Bloomberg wrote on July 14 under the headline, “European Army”:

“France’s long-term ‘ambition’ is to work with several other states to create a European Army to share in procurement, command and operations, Defense Minister Florence Parly said, reaffirming the plan announced by President Macron. While details and the time-frame are still unclear, the plan has led to tensions with Donald Trump, who has interpreted the initiative as an effort to shut out the U.S.”

Ultimately, 10 European nations or groups of nations will combine their efforts to create a powerful army under the command of a charismatic political and military leader. However, it won’t be the ten nations currently forming the EI2. For instance, Britain will most certainly not be part of the final configuration, while countries such as Italy will most certainly be part of it.

Russia Prepares for Regional Wars in Europe

Express wrote on July 15:

“Heinrich Brauss, who is also a retired German lieutenant general, claimed while Europe, the US and UK’s attention is more focussed on issues world leaders have deemed more pressing, Russian President Vladimir Putin is plotting a regional war with member states right under their noses. He told Berlin publication Welt am Sonntag: ‘At a time when our political attention is shrouded in climate change, the migration crisis, the EU crisis and many other issues that call for cooperative solutions, Russia is preparing under Putin – totally unprovoked – for regional wars in Europe, which they want to end with the help of nuclear weapons threats.’

“Mr Brauss and Joachim Krause, director of the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University, said the aim of Russia’s strategy is to seek confrontation with the West and undermine the unity of the Western alliance. Both men say that while President Putin is aware he would have little chance of success in a NATO-wide conflict, Mr Brauss added the Russian leader wanted ‘the ability to escalate dominance in a regional conflict in Europe’.

“Mr Brauss and Mr Krause said that in the event of an armed conflict, Russia could try to launch a ‘limited-scale surprise attack backed by a nuclear threat before NATO can respond effectively’. They have predicted this would most likely take place on the Black Sea region and the Baltic states. The warnings come weeks after Moscow officially suspended the INF treaty, sparking fears of a conflict that could escalate to World War 3.

“Military experts are even more alarmed by the fact Russia continues to arm itself with super and hypersonic missiles. The US has also been urged to disarm itself along with Russia, as tensions between the two power nations hit boiling point… Russia, the US and China are all battling to dominate previously unclaimed territory adding even more fuel to fears of conflict. Beijing has claimed waters in the South China Sea, Moscow has claimed ice in the Arctic regions and the US is battling for space in the solar system.”

The Bible prophesies that in the end time, a nuclear war will break out between Russia and Europe.

Missiles and other Sophisticated Weapons by Far-Right Italian Extremists

The Local wrote on July 15:

“Anti-terrorism police in northern Italy have seized an air-to-air missile and other sophisticated weapons during raids on far-right extremist groups, police revealed on Monday. Three people were arrested – two of them near Forli airport.

“Police also seized Neo-Nazi propaganda in raids in several cities. Italian media say the raids were part of an investigation into Italian far-right help for Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.”

ABC News added:

“… police found a French-made missile at an airport hangar that they apparently were seeking to sell.”

This is frightening indeed.

How Trump Conquered the Republican Party

The Week wrote on July 14:

“Republican members of Congress said nothing when President Trump told minority congresswomen to ‘go back’ to where they came from.

“Trump tweeted this morning that ‘Progressive Democrat Congresswomen’ should ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.’ Trump was almost certainly talking about the group popularly known as ‘the squad’ — Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

“WaPo’s Phil Rucker points out that ‘three of the four members of “the squad” were born in the United States, so they would ‘go back’ to Cincinnati, Detroit and New York.’ (Omar was born in Somalia and came to the U.S. as a refugee.)…

Trump knows he can say whatever he likes and face no consequences from the party he has conqueredNo modern president, besides George W. Bush immediately after the 9/11 attacks, has enjoyed such popularity with Republican voters.”

The Guardian wrote on July 16:

“The president seems to regard divisive… rhetoric as his best chance of staying in the White House. Analysts say he may be right…

“John Zogby, an opinion pollster and author, said: ‘… Trump is a guy obsessed with winning and a guy who has demons… Going for the base has worked for him…’

“Trump is breaking from every previous incumbent president in modern times by not even attempting to reach across the divide and broaden his coalition… Immigration and border security is set to be the defining issue… Ron Brownstein, a senior editor at the Atlantic, told CNN: ‘Under Trump, the Republican coalition has become overwhelmingly centered on the voters and the parts of the country that are most uneasy with demographic change… And what’s striking is how few Republicans, however much they may grumble privately, have been willing to stand up against this redefinition of the party.’

“Indeed, the Republican response was muted with only a small number of current and former office holders stepping forward to condemn Trump’s behaviour. Many seem willing to ride this tiger into the 2020 contest…

“Michael Steele, the former chairperson of the Republican National Committee, said: ‘There are people out there who believe what Trump says… this speaks to our history, how we look at each other, how we view people who are not from here and people who are from here. It’s a sad statement about the state of America that some of our political leaders are silent because they are afraid of Donald Trump.’”

Reuters reported on July 17:

“Support for U.S. President Donald Trump increased slightly among Republicans after he lashed out on Twitter over the weekend in a racially charged attack on four minority Democratic congresswomen… The national survey, conducted on Monday and Tuesday… showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll that ran last week.”

Britain Not Happy With Trump

BBC News wrote on July 15:

“UK Prime Minister Theresa May has criticised US President Donald Trump for calling on several Democratic congresswomen of colour to ‘go back’. The outgoing PM called Mr Trump’s words ‘completely unacceptable’…”

The Sun added on July 15:

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt (both contenders for the post of Prime Minister) [were] grilled [during their last TV debate] on today’s comments from President Trump… Hunt says it’s ‘totally offensive’ for him to say such things, and Boris adds it is ‘unacceptable’…

“Mr Johnson said: ‘If you are the leader of a multiracial multicultural country, you simply cannot use that kind of language about sending people to where they came from. That went out decades and decades ago and thanks heavens. So it’s totally unacceptable and I agree with the Prime Minister [Margaret Thatcher].’

“Hunt… said: ‘I have three half-Chinese children and if anyone ever said to them “go back to China” I would be utterly appalled. It is totally un-British to do that. So I hope that would never happen in this country.’”

The ongoing controversy between Britain and the USA does not seem to end; rather, further comments by Trump only seem to acerbate the situation.

In Defense of Israel?

JTA added on July 15:

“President Donald Trump said that his call for some Democrat congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries also was in defense of Israel… Amid the outcry [by Democrats] over Trump’s suggestion, he wrote on Twitter: ‘So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion.’…

“He also wrote: ‘They talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of thugs, not victims of the entire region.’… Ilhan and Tlaib have been especially outspoken in their criticism of Israel, and have been widely criticized by Jewish groups on the right and in the center…”

While most Trump supporters did not choose to criticize Trump for his above-described comments, they were surely extremely unhappy with his condemnation of Bitcoin, as the next article points out. Insofar, Trump’s words might have been a bridge (almost) too far even for many of his base and the conservative media such as Breitbart.

Trump Attacks Bitcoin and Faces Strong Backlash from his Supporters

Breitbart wrote on July 15:

“President Donald Trump faced a backlash from his online supporters last week after he condemned the Bitcoin cryptocurrency as ‘highly volatile’ and a facilitator of illegal activity. Trump called for Facebook’s new ‘Libra’ cryptocurrency to be regulated like a bank.

“Many of the president’s biggest fans are users and supporters of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As companies like PayPal, Patreon, and various major credit cards conduct financial blacklisting to impoverish the political right, and as the far left demonize, harass, and even assault those suspected of supporting conservative causes, Bitcoin provides an escape route financial blacklisting and a method to discreetly support conservatives.

“But President Trump is not on board. In a string of tweets during his social media summit last week, he derided Bitcoin as ‘not money,’ accused it of being ‘highly volatile and based on thin air.’ Filmmaker and author Mike Cernovich, who strongly supported the president’s campaign in 2016, said the president had received bad advice on cryptocurrencies. ‘Trump is usually a visionary,’ said Cernovich. ‘He has clearly been misled by advisers who don’t have his best interests in mind. Bitcoin offers a way for freedom-minded people to buy and trade without having to submit to Wall Street.’

“One potential source of pressure against cryptocurrencies at the federal level may be the FBI. Under James Comey, the Bureau launched its ‘Going Dark’ initiative, a multi-million dollar investigation of encrypted technologies like bitcoin, based on concerns that federal agencies are unable to snoop on encrypted communications, devices, and transactions. The program was continued by Comey’s successor, Andrew McCabe.

“Bill Ottman, CEO of the free-speech friendly social network Minds, was in attendance at the President’s social media summit last week, but expressed concern at Trump’s statements about cryptocurrencies…

“Gab, the internet free speech project that develops platforms and technologies aimed at bypassing Big Tech censorship… was even blunter in its assessment of Trump’s comments. ‘You are wrong about this’ said Gab’s official account on Twitter in a response to the President’s account. ‘Bitcoin is free speech money.’

“Preston Byrne, a technology lawyer, fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, and Trump voter said the President was correct to criticize Facebook’s Libra coin, but is wrong on Bitcoin… ‘Facebook already controls how we make social communications. Now it wants to control financial communications as well.’ Byrne suggested that Facebook might use control of a currency in the same way that they use their dominance in communications to censor conservatives

“Byrne urged the President to differentiate corporate-controlled cryptocurrencies like Facebook’s Libra from decentralized tech like Bitcoin. ‘The President is clearly advised on Bitcoin by Steve Mnuchin and others in the Treasury Department and the Fed, at the direction of bank lobbyists,’ said Byrne. ‘This view doesn’t really accord with what’s going on with the main regulatory agencies…’ Far from being more susceptible to crime than other forms of monetary exchange, Byrne also pointed out that using Bitcoin to commit crime, with its public ledger of all transactions, is ‘actually a really good way to get arrested.’”

Fox News added on July 15:

“The price of bitcoin tumbled Monday after President Trump tweeted Thursday that he was ‘not a fan’ of cryptocurrencies… Bitcoin price briefly hit below $10,000 just after midnight Monday, a two-week low for the leading digital coin… The cryptocurrency appeared to rebound slightly to bring it past $10,000 as of Monday morning. It’s unclear what caused the sudden price drop, but it comes just days after Trump took to Twitter to slam cryptocurrencies.”

This won’t make many Trump supporters too happy. Regardless, we are convinced that he is going to be re-elected as he has to fulfill a prophetic role… for better or for worse.

Please view our new StandingWatch program, “Trump’s Reelection Is Assured!”  

Earthquakes in Indonesia and Australia

Fox News wrote on July 14:

“A 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook the Moluccas islands on Sunday… creating panic and causing damage to houses in eastern Indonesia… Indonesia is located on the so-called Ring of Fire, a major area in the Pacific Ocean where about 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur. It’s also home to nearly 452 volcanoes.

“Last week, a 6.9 magnitude quake rocked the northeast shore of Sulawesi, located west of the area impacted on Sunday… Sunday’s earthquake produced at least seven aftershocks, each stronger than 5 magnitudes…

“The most powerful earthquake to hit the area occurred in 2004 when a 9.5 magnitude quake triggered a huge tsunami that killed 226,000 people and 126,000 in Indonesia. Just last year a tsunami killed thousands in the area of Sulawesi…

“The quake struck just hours after a 6.6 magnitude impacted Western Australia (This was the strongest earthquake in Australia for more than 30 years). The agency asks residents to remain calm and be on alert for more aftershocks…”

On July 15, the Drudge Report linked to the following article by Infowars:

“… a magnitude 6.1 quake just hit Japan, a magnitude 6.6 quake just hit Australia and a magnitude 7.3 earthquake just hit Indonesia.  And of course all of this comes just about a week after southern California was hit by the two largest earthquakes that it has experienced in more than two decades.  So is all of this shaking unusual?…

“Within the last seven days, our planet has experienced an average of more than 677 earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater per day.  That means that the number of global earthquakes right now is more than 3 times above normal. And the number of very large earthquakes is at a frighteningly high level as well… there have been 121 earthquakes of at least magnitude 4.5 around the world within the last seven days, and that includes the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that just hit Japan.

“None of this is ‘normal’… In fact… a 4.0 earthquake has rattled Manhattan, Montana. This earthquake follows the string of quakes that have rattled the globe over the past few weeks producing powerful earthquakes in Southern California and rattling Seattle, Washington… we definitely need to keep a close eye on the Northwest, because they are definitely overdue for a ‘Big One’ of their own and there are several volcanoes in the region that could literally go off at any time.

“Meanwhile, the shaking in southern California simply will not stop… there have been 10,303 earthquakes of all magnitudes in California and Nevada within the last seven days… if a magnitude 9.0 earthquake were to hit southern California someday, it would be 707 times more powerful than the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that we just witnessed…

“Our entire planet is being greatly shaken, and many believe that what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.”

Subsequently, further major earthquakes struck, including a 5.7 earthquake, hitting the island of Bali on July 15. Christ DOES talk about the “beginning of sorrows,” to be followed by the “Great Tribulation.”

Benjamin Netanyahu Israel’s Longest-Serving Prime Minister

The Associated Press wrote on July 17:

“As Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, he is solidifying his place as the country’s greatest political survivor and the most dominant force in Israeli politics in his generation. He has persevered through scandals, crises and conflicts, winning election after election even as the country grows more bitterly polarized. His supporters credit him with keeping Israel safe and prosperous, maintaining its Jewish character and boosting its standing internationally. His opponents… claim he has dashed hopes for peace with the Palestinians…

“But as the longevity of his 13-year rule is set to surpass that of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion on July 20, all agree Netanyahu has left a permanent imprint on Israel… Just as he is about to cross a milestone, Netanyahu faces perhaps his greatest political challenge yet. After failing to form a parliamentary majority following April elections, the country is holding a repeat vote on Sept. 17. The following month, he faces a hearing with Israel’s attorney general, who has recommended indicting Netanyahu on corruption charges. If formal charges are filed, Netanyahu could be forced to step aside.

“In contrast to his predecessors, the 69-year-old hasn’t left his mark by winning a war or signing a peace accord… In confronting President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran in a brazen 2015 speech to Congress, Netanyahu also debunked the conventional wisdom that an Israeli leader could not survive an open clash with an American president. Since Trump’s election in 2016, Netanyahu has enjoyed unprecedented backing, drawing frequent accusations of partisanship.”

Al-Aqsa Mosque Targeted for Destruction in Lieu of Third Temple?

Mint Press News wrote on June 24:

“The iconic golden dome of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque, located on the Temple Mount or Haram el-Sharif, is the third holiest site in Islam and is recognized throughout the world as a symbol of the city of Jerusalem. Yet, this ancient site that dates back to the year 705 C.E. is being targeted for destruction by increasingly influential… groups…

“Some observers may have noticed the growing effort by some Israeli government and religious officials to remove the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque from the Jerusalem skyline, not only erasing the holy site in official posters, banners and educational material but also physically removing the building itself. For instance, current Knesset member of the ruling Likud Party, American-born Yehuda Glick, was also the director of the government-funded Temple Institute, which has created relics and detailed architectural plans for a temple that they hope will soon replace Al-Aqsa… ‘In the end we’ll build the temple and it will be a house of prayer for all nations,’ Glick told Israeli newspaper Maariv in 2012. A year later, Israel’s Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel stated that “we need to build a real Temple on the Temple Mount.’ Ariel stated that the new Jewish Temple must be built on the site where Al-Aqsa currently sits

“In recent years, a centuries-old effort by what was once a small group of extremists has gone increasingly mainstream in Israel, with prominent politicians, religious figures and political parties advocating for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque in order to fulfill a specific interpretation of an end-times prophecy… this movement has gained powerful allies, not just in Israel’s government, but among many evangelical Christians in the United States, including top figures in the Trump administration who also feel that the destruction of Al-Aqsa and the reconstruction of a Jewish Temple are prerequisites for the fulfillment of prophecy… Furthermore, given the influence of such movements on the Israeli and U.S. governments, these beliefs of active Messianism… are pushing the world towards a dangerous war.”

We are not aware of any evangelical Christians in the USA who are openly advocating the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque, but there are many who in some way participate in the preparation of the building of the prophesied Third Temple.

“All Dogs Are Bad and Their Owners Accursed, Israeli City’s Rabbis Rule”

JTA wrote on July 12:

“More than a dozen rabbis from the city of Elad near Tel Aviv issued an edict declaring all dogs bad and warning residents that keeping them will make them accursed. The edict, dated June 14, contains the signatures of all the Sephardic rabbis in Elad, a city of about 46,000 residents where most of the population is haredi Orthodox. The city’s chief rabbi, Mordechai Malka, also signed the edict…

“‘We have heard and have seen that lately, a serious phenomenon has spread in our city Elad, in which young boys and children walk around publicly with dogs. This is strictly forbidden. As explained in the Talmud and by the Rambam, anyone raising a dog is accursed and especially in our city where many women and children are afraid of dogs,’ the anti-canine edict states.”

“The rabbi of neighboring Holon, Avraham Yosef, is quoted as writing: ‘I do not find any grounds for permitting any dog whatsoever in any manner.’ The term ‘bad dog’ means ‘any dog, for it barks on whomever it does not know and because of its bark it is a bad dog even if does not bite,’ the edict also states…”

This is stupid and ridiculous. How crazy can this world get?

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.

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Trump’s Reelection Is Assured!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

President Trump’s recent tweets regarding four young Democratic Congresswomen have created a lot of attention and speculation. Inaccurate conclusions were drawn, and only very few seem to understand what is actually happening here, and why Trump’s tweets and comments are contributing to his assured reelection in 2020. Apart from this, it is very clear from the Bible that Mr. Trump will stay in power, even though the statement of this fact could be misunderstood as well.

“Wie Satan die Bibel verfälscht!” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “How Satan Distorts the Bible!”

Also check our German website for weekly German sermonettes which are regularly posted.

“Anticipation For What?” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We are expected to be anticipating great things as Christians. When we anticipate we also need to be having actions that align us with what we are anticipating. How does this all relate to being a Christian?

“Right and Wrong Righteousness,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Are there differences between man’s righteousness and God’s righteousness? Is there a right way and a wrong way? What are some of the examples the Bible talks about when explaining both ways?

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