Current Events

by Norbert Link

We begin with new developments about the coronavirus, President Trump’s convoluted explosive and strongly condemned announcement of a travel ban for most Europeans and man’s stupid and somewhat suicidal “attempts” to deal with the crisis. We should be able to see how quickly we are moving towards World War III and the end of civilization, as we know it.

We also speak on the shameful worldwide arms trade, which only manifests additional aspects of man’s self-destroying stupidity; as well as the election results in Israel and Biden’s victory over Sanders.

We conclude with interesting developments within the Catholic Church.

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

Conditional Friendship

Jesus said to His disciples, those with whom He had just observed Passover, “‘you are My friends,’” but He added this conditional requirement, “‘if you do whatever I command you’” (John 15:14).

The Bible shows that the building block for friendship in the Family of God is love, and it is what Jesus requires of us: “‘This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’” (John 15:12, also, verse 17). In fact, Jesus uses His own example to set the standard:

“‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another… as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another’” (John 13:34-35).

In what way has Jesus loved us? Just how far was He willing to go to prove His friendship with us? He defined it this way: “‘Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends’” (John 15:13); and we know that “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus magnified the second part of God’s commandments—“‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:39).

God, Himself, calls Abraham “‘My friend’” (Isaiah 41:8), and God “spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’” (Exodus 33:11). Both did what God commanded them to do.

Can it also be said that we are friends with the Father and Jesus Christ? Jesus prayed that this would take place among His disciples:

‘”I do not pray for these alone (those whom He had earlier called His friends), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me’” (John 17:20-23).

The depth of our relationship as friends with the Father and Jesus Christ is shown in that we share in the knowledge of what the Family of God is doing, and that we are part of it:

“‘No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you’” (John 15:15-16).

One thing we can ask the Father is that He will indeed help us to do whatever He commands. That is exactly what Jesus did! He depended on the Father, and the Bible reveals that Jesus prayed for help in the work given to Him to accomplish. Jesus was able to say: “‘I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do’” (John 17:4).

And so it likewise falls to us to finish the work God has commanded us to do. We are chosen for this—because we are the friends of God.

This Week in the News

Trump Bans Travel from Europe, but…

The messages from the White House and the Trump Administration have been as confusing as ever.

The Week wrote on March 11:

“In an address to the nation Wednesday night from the Oval Office, President Trump said because of the coronavirus pandemic, he is suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, with the restrictions not applying to the United Kingdom. The action will go into effect Friday at midnight. Trump did not say why the UK, which has 460 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, is exempt. Trump… criticized the European Union, saying it ‘failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.’

“After Trump’s address, Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said the travel suspension does ‘not apply to American citizens or legal permanent residents or their families.’”

But consider this, from ABC News, dated March 11:

“The new travel restrictions affecting Europe… will include exemptions for the United Kingdom and Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings.”

And then, here is this “clarification,” as reported by the AP, dated March 11:

“Trump said… the U.S. would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.

“Homeland Security officials later clarified that the new travel restrictions would only apply to most foreign nationals who have been in the ‘Schengen Area’ at any point for 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States [see below].”

The Sun wrote on March 11:

“He singled out the UK as an exemption to the ban – but there was confusion as a later statement from the Department of Homeland Security said only countries in the Schengen area of free movement would be barred, therefore meaning Ireland was also exempt.

“The Schengen Area is the term given to the 26 European states which allow passport-free travel through their borders. The Department of Homeland Security subsequently issued this statement:

“‘Several countries in the Schengen Area will be impacted by the travel ban.

“‘President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.

“‘These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.’…

“DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf said… he intends to implement a Notice of Arrivals Restriction which requires that US passengers who’ve been in the Schengen Area ‘to travel through select airports’ for enhanced screening procedures.”

Deutsche Welle added that, allegedly, the restrictions do not apply to “Any lawful permanent resident of the US and any foreign national who is the spouse of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. Foreign nationals who are parents or legal guardians of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. Foreign nationals who are siblings of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, and who are under 21 years old and unmarried. Foreign nationals who are foster children of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. Any member of the US armed forces.”

Panic at the Airports

Reuters wrote on March 12:

“Bleary-eyed and stressed, travellers scrambled at European airports to board flights to the United States on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump announced sweeping travel restrictions… Trump’s announcement has disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of people and hit airlines already reeling from the coronavirus outbreak… ‘It caused a mass panic,’ said 20-year-old Anna Grace, a U.S. student at Suffolk University who was on her first trip to Europe…

“A Delta crew member said Trump’s travel ban had caught the airline off-guard. ‘It’s going to be a big mess,’ said the crew member, who asked not to be named. ‘We were not expecting something like that…’”

Trump’s New Travel Ban Condemned

Daily Mail added on March 12:

“Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday morning that all Americans returning from Europe would be asked to quarantine [for 14 days] when they return

“The State Department also warned Americans against all non-essential travel abroad, raising the prospect of mandatory quarantines and further bans that could leave people stranded…

“The announcement was quickly met with criticism from a range of industries. Dr Margaret Harris from the World Health Organisation was among those criticizing the travel ban…

“The Association of Flight Attendants was also quick to criticize Trump, branding his travel ban ‘irresponsible‘ and saying it is ‘about politics, not public safety’. ‘There is no explanation for how this will help fight the spread of the virus,’ a statement said. ‘It makes little sense when the virus is already in the United States. The President expressly stated the United Kingdom is not included in the travel ban and yet the UK health minister herself has the virus.’

It’s all politics… sadly. The Bible warns us that figurative “children” would run the USA.

Trump Has Declared War on Europe

CNBC wrote on March 11:

“Calling coronavirus a ‘foreign virus,’ Trump attacked Europe for not taking the same actions to control the disease that he had…

“Trump… later clarified in a tweet [the Daily Mail calls it an “astonishing clarification”] that cargo and goods would not be affected by the ban.”

He had originally said in his speech that the ban would apply to people AND CARGO. The White House later “clarified” that he had “misspoken.”

Reports alleged that the speech was written by right-wing hardcore anti-immigration guru and senior advisor to the President, Stephen Miller, and that Trump, unusually nervous as he was backtracking virtually everything that he had said earlier about the virus, gave the address by just reading from the teleprompter, without seemingly understanding himself WHAT he was saying (hence the subsequent numerous clarifications). His words of “foreign virus” sound like Miller’s handiwork. But this does not excuse Trump for what he said.

Those who are familiar with the history of the Worldwide Church of God after Herbert W. Armstrong’s death are reminded of the sermons and “speeches” by successor Joseph W. Tkach, who had received the scripts written by Mike Feazell and read those, without comprehending what he was saying, only to clarify later what he “meant,” but by that time, the damage had already been done.

Europe Responds

The Guardian wrote on March 12:

“The EU has condemned Donald Trump’s unilateral ban on travel from 26 European countries… In a joint statement, the presidents of the European commission and European council defended Europe’s record in managing the pandemic and sharply criticised the White House for its failure to consult its allies.

“… global markets reeled after Trump imposed sweeping restrictions on travel from the passport-free Schengen zone on Wednesday night, battering airlines and further straining ties with Europe.”

Trump’s action could be compared with that of an autocratic dictator. A NUCLEAR WAR between the US and Europe is prophesied!

Trump Failed Completely

AFP wrote on March 12:

“President Donald Trump had one job to do in a primetime address on coronavirus: reassure an anxious nation, a panicking stock market and divided world. Instead, he left many confused and more scared… Trump’s short speech late Wednesday featured a tired-sounding president responding to the global coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic fallout with a mix of bluster, blaming and a jaw-dropping error [regarding cargo and goods]…

“If Americans watching television might have been confused, investors were in shock. The White House quickly issued a clarification that no, trade was not being halted between the European Union and the United States. But the damage was done. The first sign that things were going wrong was when Wall Street stock futures nosedived the minute the cameras switched off. Less than 12 hours later, on Thursday morning, trading had to be stopped when the Dow Jones plummeted seven percent, mirroring 10 percent falls in European markets…

“Also, what Trump did not explain in his speech was that only European countries in the EU Schengen visa-free area are on the list. He said it wouldn’t include Britain, but this also means that 22 other non-Schengen countries are exempted. Questions were immediately raised over how this would prevent spreading of a virus already present in the United States. And why would travelers from Britain, for example, be any less likely to be infected?… As Politico noted drily, there was another ‘convenient side effect’ to Trump’s partial travel ban. ‘They exempt nations where three Trump-owned golf resorts are located.’”

Trump Sounded Incompetent and Markets Are Freaking Out

The Money Week wrote on March 12:

“Markets are having another bruising day. The specific catalyst today is Donald Trump’s somewhat garbled and last-minute decision [and “panicky pronouncement”] to shut the US to passenger air traffic from Europe… Basically, he sounded incompetent

“Are all these things we’ve been vaguely worrying about – carry trades, exchange-traded funds backed by illiquid underlying assets, massively overvalued private companies – going to blow up? And when and if they do blow up, what else might they take with them? Coronavirus might be the pebble (OK, the massive boulder) that starts an avalanche elsewhere in markets. That’s why markets are freaking out…”

Trump—a Lethal Combination

The Guardian wrote on March 12:

“Trump in a time of coronavirus is a lethal combination. Everything about the president… make him the worst person imaginable to hold the world’s most powerful job in the face of pandemic.

“Confronting the threat requires global cooperation, perhaps more than at any time since the second world war. But Trump and his junior imitators around the world have taken a sledgehammer to the very notion of international solidarity.

“America’s closest allies were given no [prior] notice… The EU mission in Washington only found out about it when journalists started calling.

“The president has dealt with coronavirus the same way he approached every other challenge in his administration, first trying denial – and when that failed, blaming outsiders… It came as little surprise that his speech had been written by Stephen Miller, the author of the administration’s cruelest anti-immigration policies.

One can only imagine what will happen under Trump when a military challenge develops between Europe and the USA, which is prophesied. 

Man’s Attempts to Deal with the Coronavirus Outbreak

The Associated Press wrote on March 9 about events PRIOR to Trump’s convoluted announcement:

“Stocks took their worst one-day beating on Wall Street since the global financial crisis of 2008 as a collapse in oil prices Monday combined with mounting alarm over what the coronavirus could do to the world economy… The drop was so sharp that it triggered the first automatic halt in trading in more than two decades…

“Together, the sell-offs reflected growing anxiety over the potential global economic damage from the coronavirus… prompting factory shutdowns, travel bans, closings of schools and stores, and cancellations of conventions and celebrations big and small…

“The market slide came as Italy, the hardest-hit place in Europe, began enforcing a lockdown against 16 million people in the north, or one-quarter of the country’s population, and then announced that travel restrictions would be extended nationwide [affecting 60 million people—an absolutely unparalleled and “unprecedented step for a democratic country” (The Week, dated March 9), and a highly controversial and extremely dubious measure with no guarantee for success] … The turmoil in Italy… is expected to push the country into recession and weigh on the European economy.

“Elsewhere around the world, Ireland went so far as to cancel St. Patrick’s Day parades, and Israel ordered all visitors quarantined [for 14 days] just weeks before Passover and Easter, one of the busiest travel periods of the year.”

The government of India has “strongly advised” to refrain from traveling to France, Spain and Germany. Saudi Arabia banned all travels to such countries.

Breitbart added on March 11, 2020 that on Wednesday, the Dow Jones plummeted again by 5%, and that “Many investors worry that a delay of several weeks could mean any economic stimulus could come too late to keep the U.S. economy growing. Some economists think that we may already be in a recession.”

As mentioned above, the Dow Jones and stock markets in the USA and Europe plunged again on Thursday, following Trump’s speechA worldwide economic upheaval was prophesied, but it is amazing how man’s panic-stricken shortsightedness contributes to such catastrophic developments. Many times, our economic downfall is man-made. The reaction to the coronavirus is a prime example. Even prior to Trump’s ill-conceived speech, conflicting messages from governments, with advising against air travel or cruising (thereby completely destroying the airline and the cruise ship industries), combined with radical measures of cancellations of schools and universities and prohibitions of gatherings (such as sports events and music festivals) in the USA and in European countries led by Italy and now France and Germany (as well as Spain, for example, which closed all schools in and around Madrid) do little to install confidence and instead accelerate uncontrolled catastrophes and economic upheavals.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn (39), perhaps far too young and inexperienced to make such drastic decisions (but “old age does not protect against foolishness” either), asked for cancellation of all events with more than 1,000 participants. This includes soccer games. With that, Spahn sacrificed Germany’s “holy cow.” Bild Online wrote, “A soccer game without fans is a dead game. It is no more a soccer game. Without fans in attendance, soccer will die.” And that means, politicians recommending or ordering such measures may not survive either.

Spahn also said people should refrain from unnecessary travel to Italy, and also North Rhine-Westphalia, in the west of Germany. Angela Merkel said that 60 to 70% of Germans will be infected by the virus. German health experts say that this is unlikely and that in any event, the symptoms for most would be mild or negligible. Merkel also praised Spahn, saying that he does an excellent job. Austria closed all schools. France prohibited visits to all state health-care facilities for the elderly and recommended against visits to all such private institutions. Axios reported that “Google issued one of the most sweeping cautionary edicts, recommending on Tuesday that all its employees in North America work from home until at least April 10 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.”

The NBA announced it had called off the rest of its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gorbert tested positive for the virus just before tip-off. Teammate Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive. Oregon and California have also banned gatherings of more than 250 people state-wide, with smaller gatherings only permitted if a minimum distance of 6 feet can be guaranteed between people.

A Mad World Held Captive by Satan Is Shutting Down

Here are some more highlights from news articles which appeared on March 12:

CNBC wrote: “Stocks plummeted once again on Thursday after President Donald Trump and the Federal Reserve both failed to quell concerns over the economic slowdown stemming from the coronavirus, leading to a historic drop for the U.S. markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2,352.60 points lower.”

 AP wrote:

“France, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Lithuania,  Algeria and Slovakia joined the growing list of countries shutting down their school systems, and Europe’s most successful soccer team, Real Madrid, put all its players into quarantine after one tested positive… A rite of spring, college basketball’s NCAA tournament was canceled, while the NBA and NHL (National Hockey League) also decided their pros won’t play at all for now. Major League Baseball canceled spring training and postponed opening day for at least two weeks.”

The MLS (major league soccer) season has also been suspended. All of this will have an additional MAJOR impact on the economy.

The Week wrote:

“Starting Thursday, [Norway] announced measures… which involve practically shutting down the entire country.”

 Sacramento Bee wrote:

“The governor of Kentucky, a Bible belt state, has asked churches and other religious institutions to temporarily cancel services.”

Deutsche Welle wrote:

“Walt Disney Co will close its Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in California through the end of March over coronavirus fears… The Vatican ordered all Catholic churches in Rome to be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The measure has been described as unprecedented in the modern era.”

 It was also reported that Maryland and Ohio are closing all schools. France closed all schools. Spain closed all harbors. Princess Cruise cancelled all cruises for 60 days.

The Guardian reported:

Spain became Europe’s second worst-affected country with 2,968 cases and 84 deaths. Both houses of parliament are suspended and every cabinet member is being tested… Slovenia, Norway and Austria suspended teaching at schools and colleges, although the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, said working parents will still be able to drop off children for supervision. The Netherlands banned gatherings of more than 100… The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is self-isolating while his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau awaits results from a coronavirus test. India… has barred all foreign tourists for one month… The Philippines halted domestic travel to and from the capital, Manila, and banned mass gatherings and closed schools for a month.”

Project Syndicate wrote on March 6: “[President Trump] and his supporters don’t trust experts, and the man appointed to lead the fight against the coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence, is skeptical about science. But science, not prayers, will be needed to contain a disease that threatens the globe.”

With this kind of an arrogant and blasphemous recommendation of trusting “experts” rather than God, the way into the abyss would be unavoidable.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, stated that the coronavirus is allegedly 10 times more lethal than the ordinary flu. Fauci also advised older people not to fly anymore at all. 

Human Race in Grave Danger

The Daily Star wrote on March 11:

“The human race is in grave danger. Thousands of people are showing severe symptoms already and there is no known cure. No, not coronavirus, but sheer… stupidity. Never have so many brain cells been sacrificed on the altar of toilet paper fever

“Those efficient German types actually have a word for panic buying – hamsterkauf… Hamsters hoard stuff in their cheeks. They also have very small brains. Go figure… if you’re one of those… who have cleared the shelves of stuff to decontaminate your hands with, you’re depriving everyone else. Which means they’ll be wandering around happily infecting us all…

“Even worse are those who have purchased every painkiller they can get… people are ill with other stuff, especially little kids… this applies to almost every aspect of this latest panic pandemic. Rather than all the deliberately scaremongering headlines and ­reports I’d love to see a story telling me how many people who have contracted coronavirus survive. Thousands.

“Respiratory diseases are responsible for killing thousands of Brits every year. In 2017-18 the Office for National Statistics recorded 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales which they attributed to the strain of flu that year, an ineffective vaccine and weather. Yet did that send you into a tailspin of bog roll and pasta? No. So can we all stop being hysterical… and get a grip. Just wash your hands first, okay?”

This convincing article shows indeed the absolute stupidity man is able to display.

The Fear of the Black Death

New Statesman America wrote on March 6:

“When a ship sailed into one of the ports along England’s south coast in the summer of 1348, its unwitting crew also delivered ashore the most deadly cargo to ever reach the British Isles: Yersinia pestis, a bacterium causing bubonic plague. Having erupted out of Asia, the disease had travelled along the Silk Road and torn through Europe via rats roaming merchant ships.

“The symptoms of such a virulent infection, which would devastate England’s infrastructure, were as dramatic as its spread. First a fever, cold and general flu-like symptoms, followed by blackening buboes forming in the joints, most commonly the groin or the armpits. It was these buboes that would later give the disease its nickname: the Black Death. Sometimes people survived this stage, but usually the infection would reach the bloodstream and death was inevitable – and swift.

“Over the next few months the highly infectious disease ravaged the south of England, wiping out entire towns such as Bristol, and reaching London in November 1348. By New Year’s Day 1349, the mood was apocalyptic. The panic, fear and hysteria surrounding the Black Death were unprecedented…

“Following the 1348 Black Death, three decades of recurrent epidemics halved the British population from around five million to 2.5 million, until the infection eventually slowed in 1377. There was no cure for the Black Death… The plague returned in varying degrees over the next three centuries, until its final shattering year in 1665, when it devastated England yet again, acquiring the name the Great Plague. In London alone, almost 70,000 people died…

“After 800 years of enlightenment, medical advancement, antibiotics, vaccines and information, coronavirus has resurrected our dormant fear of the Black Death.”

These 800 years of so-called “enlightenment” have not prevented ancient and modern pandemics. The Bible indicates that even the Black Death will return.

Global Arms Trade Helps Destroying the World

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 9:

The world is in turmoil, and the global arms trade is flourishing. No country exports more military equipment than the United States. And no country buys more weapons than Saudi Arabia… since 2015, 61% more weapons have been sold to the Middle East than in the preceding five years… more than a third of all weapons traded worldwide are now manufactured in the US

Russia is still the second biggest arms dealer in the world, but the gap is increasing…  France has established itself as the third-biggest arms dealer, exporting 72% more military equipment from 2015-2019 than in the previous five-year period…

Germany continues to rank fourth among the world’s most important suppliers of arms, making it one of the five countries whose exports account for more than three-quarters of global trade in military equipment. Despite this, the German government likes to say it pursues a ‘restrictive’ arms export policy. However, between 2015 and 2019 Germany’s exports rose by 17%… NATO-member Germany is also supplying significant quantities of arms to non-NATO countries, or so-called third countries…”

Shame on those who profit from killing others. God’s intervention is coming soon, and His retribution will be swift and just.

Biden’s Victory

The Associated Press wrote on March 11:

“Joe Biden decisively won Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary, seizing a key battleground state that helped propel Bernie Sanders’ insurgent candidacy four years ago. The former vice president’s victory there, as well as in Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho, dealt a serious blow to Sanders and substantially widened Biden’s path to the nomination…

“Now it is Sanders… who must contemplate a path forward. He said at a news conference in Vermont on Wednesday afternoon that he will stay in the race and plans to appear at the Democratic debate against Biden on Sunday. The Democratic National Committee also said that Sunday’s debate between Sanders and Biden would be conducted without an audience.”

 It appears that Biden will become the Democratic nominee, but he will be defeated by Trump.

Why Netanyahu Won… and Still Might have Lost

Breaking Israel News wrote on March 8:

“As last week’s third round of elections approached, it became clear that every mandate was crucial to form a majority coalition. It seemed clear that fringe right-wing Otzma Yehudit was not going to pass the minimum threshold to earn a seat in the Knesset but their votes could earn Likud another vital two seats. With that in mind, Netanyahu tried to persuade Otzma Yehudit’s leader, Itamar Ben Gvir, to drop out of the race in January…

“Less than one week before Israelis headed for the ballot boxes, Ben Gvir [revealed] the condition that would persuade him to drop out of the race and put his power behind Netanyahu.  Most prominent among those conditions was the removal of the Waqf’s authority on the Temple Mount, thereby paving the way for a Jewish return to their holiest site.

“Netanyahu refused and Likud went on to win 36 seats. Their rival, Blue and White, won 33. As expected, Otzma Yehudit did not pass the threshold, winning a mere 20,000 votes. But those votes, if applied to other right-wing parties or to Likud, would have enhanced Netanyahu’s ability to form a right-wing coalition. It now seems doubtful that this will happen…

“Netanyahu admitted that his rejection of Ben Gvir’s offer hurt the party… But Netanyahu revealed that the Temple Mount condition was indeed the deal-breaker that led him to reject Ben Gvir’s offer. ‘But he had one condition that I permit Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount… this would have ignited the Middle East and brought down the anger of one billion Muslims on us…’

“The Sanhedrin weighed in… ‘The People of Israel were commanded by HaShem, the Creator of the universe, God of Israel to sacrifice the Passover lamb on the appointed time according to the Torah and on the very site designated to do so according to our traditions,’ wrote Rabbi Dov Stein, Secretary of the Sanhedrin… ‘The Deal of the Century signed between Israel and the United States contains a pledge to support the protocols of each religion on the Temple Mount…

“‘Thus, the Jewish People, represented here by the Court of the Sanhedrin, are expecting you, Mr. Netnayahu, to allow us to sacrifice our Passover lamb on the 14th day of Nisan (April 4, 2020) in the afternoon on a suitable altar we will build on-site near the site where the Jewish Temples once stood. This is in the hope that at some time in the future the Temple itself will be built in its full glory and the entire Jewish Nation can celebrate according to the Passover Laws.’…

“‘Mr. Netanyahy turned his back on the Temple Mount knowing that it would be his downfall. And it was. The only hope Mr. Netanyahu has is to act as a leader of Israel should and to open the doors to the Temple Mount… The same will be true of Donald Trump. His ability to resist all of the forces that have come up against him is to continue to pave the way for the Third Temple.’”

The Third Temple is at the forefront of the minds of many in Israel and elsewhere. And it appears that Trump will help in building the Third Temple, and THEN, Christ will return.

Catholic Church in Germany Supports Ecumenism  

CAN wrote on March 10:

“The new president of the German bishops’ conference [Bishop Georg Bätzing] has emphasized his support for… intercommunion with Lutherans… Bishop Bätzing also claimed Pope Francis supported the controversial process…

“Asserting that ecumenism is ‘on the right track’ in Germany, Bätzing reiterated his support for a document [promoting] non-Catholics receiving the Eucharist at Catholic Mass. Bätzing also suggested in future, Christians of any denomination should simply decide on their own, individual accord if – and when to receive [communion].

“Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has dismissed the document, saying it was based on [a wrong] ‘assumption… that the Catholic Eucharistic celebration and the Protestant last supper are identical.’”

The position of the Pope is less than clear, seemingly playing to both sides of the “debate.”

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.

God’s Design Plan / A Reason For The Hope That Is In You

On March 14, 2020, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “God’s Design Plan,” and Eric Rank will present the sermon, titled, “A Reason For The Hope That Is In You.”

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

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

The final text of our new book on the Ten Commandments has been sent to graphic artist Shelly Bruno in preparation for printing.

“Gottes Sendschreiben an Seine Kirche (Teil 2),” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “God’s Letters to His Church (Part 2).”

“Können wahre Christen glücklich sein?”, the sermonette presented last Sabbath in Germany by Djmitry Niemann, is now posted. Title in English: “True Christians Can be Happy.”

“The Coronavirus and the Migrant Crisis–Comments on News and Prophecy ( March 7, 2020),” the first message presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Europe and especially Germany are facing a most serious challenge in form of another migrant crisis, while the hysterical reactions to the coronavirus outbreak are reaching astronomical proportions. At the same time, it has been stated by experts that within the next 18 months, 65 million people might die of the virus. The global economy is already at the brink of recession, if not depression, and there is fear that another pandemic, much more deadly than the coronavirus, is on the horizon.

“The Heart of God,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Michael Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Does God have a heart? What does it mean to put your whole heart into something?

  • Initial information about our 2020 Feast sites (US and Germany) is posted on our website along with contact information.
  • The 2020 Church Conference is scheduled to be conducted in Escondido, California. Arrival is scheduled to be Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and departure is scheduled for Monday, March 30, 2020.

Should We Be Afraid of the Future?—Part 3

(Español: ¿Deberíamos tener miedo al futuro?)

In the previous two Q&As, we spoke of one of the greatest fears which we could have—the fear of man—the fearful concern what man may think about us or do to us. We also addressed other fears which we might encounter, and we began to discuss that no matter what situation we might find ourselves in, and what circumstance might tempt us to become afraid, God shows us the way of escape from fear.

We saw that when they were facing or finding themselves in an extremely difficult situation, God’s servants turned to God for help, peace, security and salvation. We also spoke of a vital key when we are in the midst of uncertainty—the conviction and persuasion that God hears us when we call on Him, and we pointed out that to allow in our minds the possibility of such powerful godly intervention requires much faith on our part—which must be accompanied, at times, with godly encouragement.

When Paul and his companions were in a ship on the ocean and being confronted with a terrible storm which appeared likely to kill them all, God gave Paul a powerful encouraging promise. God might not act in exactly the same way with us today, but we need to know that God is there and able and willing to encourage us in ways which we would be able to understand.

We read in Acts 27:18-25:

“And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.” Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.’”

Paul had the absolute faith that God would intervene and protect and save him and his companions. One might say that this was an unusual circumstance in that God only saved Paul at that time because He wanted Paul to appear in Rome before Caesar, but this argument would miss the mark.

We find almost identical circumstances in the life of the original twelve apostles at the time when Jesus was dwelling with them as a Man.

We read in Mark 4:35-40:

“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’”

They were lacking faith—having no faith at all—and as a consequence, they were fearful. Christ asked the question whether He would find faith on the earth upon His return. Without faith, we will be afraid. And even without enough faith, we will be fearful.

In another situation, we find the following, as recorded in Matthew 8:23-27:

“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

Here, Christ is telling them that they did not have enough faith, which explained their fearfulness. Although the records in Matthew and Mark sound similar, they are not identical, but depict two separate events. Matthew describes a “tempest” or a shaking—a seaquake—, while Mark speaks of a “windstorm” or a whirlwind or a hurricane. The disciples showed and expressed fear in both incidents, lacking faith completely or not having enough faith.

Again, one might respond that Christ only saved the disciples at that time as He had plans for them. The Bible does not say this; and in addition, Christ has plans for every one of us whom He has called to salvation in this day and age.

We need faith in God to conquer fear. Christ tells us in John 14:1: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

This belief in God can be undermined when we are surrounded by evil occurrences or when we hear false or even correct rumors. These physical circumstances can undermine and destroy our faith, when we are not careful.

In Mark 5, we find an interesting example. Beginning in verse 22, we read:

“And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.’ So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.”

But while on the way, “some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’” (verse 35).

But Jesus was already on the way to heal the daughter. All seemed lost, when the terrible news came, but Jesus gave the following encouraging words to the father, in verse 36: “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.’” And so, He went and resurrected the daughter who had in fact died. With God, nothing is impossible—even when it might appear to our limited understanding that nothing could be done. Rather than being discouraged by negative false rumors or even seemingly devastating statements of fact, we are to continue to believe in God and His help.

When we have no faith or not enough faith, we will fear. We must believe in God and His help. But the ultimate faith of which we speak and which is required to conquer all fear is not something which originates within us and which we can create. It is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).

Faith, hope and love belong together (1 Corinthians 13:13). And so, we will also fear if we do not have enough love. And we are not talking about some theoretical and esoteric concept of “love.” Rather, 1 John 5:3 tells us: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” With that kind of godly love, we will conquer fear. 1 John 4:18 says:

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

Fear involves torment, or is afraid of the penalty to be expected for violating God’s Law and not repenting of it, but the concept of love and lack of fear goes even deeper. When God’s love is in us, which is manifested by our obedience to His Word, then we know that nothing can and will happen to us which God, who is a God of love (1 John 4:8), will not allow, and everything will work out for our own good (Romans 8:28) .

How can God’s love be in us? The answer is given in Romans 5:5: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us.”

God’s Holy Spirit in us gives us God’s love (the first of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23), as well as God’s faith (another characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit), and it also gives us God’s hope which does not disappoint. With God’s Spirit in us, we will conquer all fear.

God describes His Spirit in us in this way in 2 Timothy 1:7: “… God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

With the Holy Spirit in us, we will have God’s peace (the third characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit). Christ had the Holy Spirit of the Father in Him, which destroyed all fear and which enabled Him to sleep in a boat when it was threatened by earthquakes and hurricanes.

We read in Psalm 119:165: “Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” This peace is a gift from God which Christ will share with us, as He said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” And with that mindset, we conquer fear and can even have joy (the second characteristic of God’s Spirit) in the face of adversity.

We are told that even when we find ourselves in big trouble, we have no reason to be afraid, always knowing that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and that we must allow and agree with the fact that His Will must be done in our lives.  But with God’s Spirit in us, we will conquer fear and anxiety.

Some converted Christians might feel fear and anxiety for their unconverted loved ones—especially in the face of the terrible events which are prophesied to occur very soon in the unparalleled awful Great Tribulation.

But we must remember that our unconverted young children and even our unconverted mates who are not hostile to God and who are willing to dwell with us in peace are “sanctified” or “holy” in the eyes of God (1 Corinthians 7:14). And as God promises His faithful people protection from the evil days to come to test everyone on earth, so God DOES promise protection for them as well.

We read in Proverbs 14:26: “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.”

When God brought Israel out of Egyptian slavery, He allowed others to accompany them. Exodus 12:38 says: “A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock.”

We must also not forget that God hears our prayers for others. Moses prayed repeatedly to God for the people of Israel when they had sinned and God was about to destroy them, but because of Moses’ plea, God heard his prayers and relented. Abraham prayed for the people of Sodom, and God would have heard him and He would have refrained from destroying Sodom, if there had been at least 10 righteous people in the city.

God listens to our intercessory prayers—especially for our brethren and even our unconverted loved ones. We read in 2 Thessalonians 3:1, 3: “Finally, brethren, pray for us…  the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”

Paul says in Romans 15:30: “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me…”

Also in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11: “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. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.”

As Paul asked the brethren to pray for him, so we in the ministry are asking the same of you today.

God will not allow evil to come upon us that we would not be able to bear—and that includes evil for our children and unconverted loved ones. As we are in God’s hands, there is no reason to be afraid or to fear. But this lack of fear we can only have if we know—and we know that we know—that God is with us; that His Spirit is in us; and that He helps us and protects us.

Fear will hinder us to stand up boldly for God without compromise or shrinking back, and it will hinder us from proclaiming God’s whole counsel (Acts 20:27). It will prevent us from keeping His Law. Unless we conquer fear with God’s boldness and courage, His love and His faith, it will ultimately destroy us in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8 Authorized Version).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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