Adapting to Change / Parallels With Ancient Israelites

On February 27, 2021, Michael Link will present the sermonette, titled, “Adapting to Change” and Kalon Mitchell will present the sermon, titled, “Parallels With Ancient Israelites.”

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.

How do you understand Deuteronomy 18:20-22, and weren’t some of the early apostles guilty of preaching wrong information?

It is interesting to review this section of Scripture although Mr Norbert Link has already addressed aspects of this recently in a member letter and a StandingWatch programme.  In this Q&A, we want to show specific details of some of the New Testament apostles and make appropriate observations on a number of Scriptural references.

First of all, let us read what Deuteronomy 18:20-22 says:

“But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death. You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.”

Mr Link observed in his member letter that “On the face of it, that would mean that the early New Testament apostles would have been false prophets, because they all believed and proclaimed dogmatically, undoubtedly with the conviction that they were inspired by God, that they would still be alive at the time of the return of Jesus Christ. Later it became clear to them that they would all die, but that was not clear to them at first.

“It is obvious that Deuteronomy 18:20-22 does not address these kinds of scenarios. Matthew Henry explains that the false prophet makes wrong predictions, contrary to the plain meaning of Scripture, to encourage people to sin (cp. Jeremiah 23:20-22). The false prophet claims to speak in the name of the LORD, but it is his goal to lead the people to wrong gods. In reality, a false prophet speaks in the name of other gods, either expressly (cp. Deuteronomy 13:1-5), or clandestinely.

“The Nelson Study Bible points out that false prophets might even predict events which do come to pass, while true prophets may predict events which do not materialize.  A classic example is Jonah who proclaimed that God would destroy sinful Nineveh in 40 days. Due to the sincere repentance of the Ninevites, God relented from the calamity which He had planned to bring about (compare Jeremiah 18:7-8; 26:3). This did not make Jonah a false prophet.”

For the purpose of this presentation, let us look at the statements of several apostles in the New Testament who thought that Christ would return in their lifetime.

In Acts 2:16-21 we read the passage where Peter was speaking on the day of Pentecost in 31AD and written by Luke some 30 years or so later:

“But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,  That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;  Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,  Your young men shall see visions,  Your old men shall dream dreams.  And on My menservants and on My maidservants   I will pour out My Spirit in those days;  And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above  And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness,  And the moon into blood,  Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.  And it shall come to pass  That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’”

Peter was quoting the prophet Joel and while this happened in part with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, this prophecy has to be fulfilled at the end of this age. It seems fairly obvious that Peter thought that they were in the last days then; otherwise, why would he have quoted this prophecy at that time?

Also, Peter thought it was the end-time with his comment in 1 Peter 1:20:

“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”

This was written nearly 2,000 years ago, but does that make Peter a false prophet?   If he was, we might as well throw the Bible away because all Scripture stands, without exception, or it falls.   We believe that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Further, Peter was joined by Paul in thinking that time was short then. We read an interesting verse in 1 Corinthians 7:29.   This was written by Paul between AD 50-52:

“But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none…”

Paul thought that the time was short and that the Great Tribulation was imminent, but here we are nearly 2,000 years later, still awaiting Christ’s return.

Over a few pages in 1 Corinthians 15:50-52, we read the following:

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

The last four words of verse 52 are very revealing – “we shall be changed.”   When we use the word “we,” it obviously includes ourselves, and in this case it included Paul himself.

The first letter that the apostle Paul wrote was 1 Thessalonians, around AD 50-52. The disciples’ early epistles reveal that some, if not most of them, thought that Christ’s return was imminent. So, what does he write in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18?

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

We read here that Paul expected, at that time, that Jesus would return in his lifetime as again, the word “we”—that inclusive term— is used.  He even said that he was passing this information on to the readers as “the word of the Lord.”

In Hebrews 1:1-2, we again see Paul referring to the last days:

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…”

There are four different references of Paul, and we need to fully realize how some—or maybe all of the early apostles—felt on this matter. There are of course many more references where Paul expressed his conviction that Christ would come soon (compare for example Philippians 4:5: “The Lord is at hand.”)

Let us see what James, the half-brother of Jesus, had to say.

He stated in James 5:1-3:

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!  Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.”

Yet again, the phrase “the last days” has been used.  Compare also James 5:8: “…the coming of the Lord is at hand” or, as the margin in the New King James Bible has it, “has drawn near.”

The apostle John felt exactly the same. As we read in 1 John 2:18:

“Little children, it is the [or: a] last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the [or: a] last hour.”

The or a last hour is quoted twice in the same verse.

In this Q&A, we have quoted numerous references for Peter, Paul, James and John.  Were any of these disciples of Christ a false prophet? If they had been, they would have been condemned in the Bible, but they are not. They were men of God, but none of these men were perfect, nor were any of them false prophets.

With the wrong idea that they were false prophets, we might as well conclude that Jesus Christ was a false prophet. In the book of Revelation, we read that God the Father revealed to Christ “things which must shortly take place” (1:1). Christ passed the information on to an angel to communicate to the apostle John. John then adds in verse 3: “the time is at hand.” In Revelation 3:11, Christ Himself is quoted as saying: “I come quickly.” The Greek word for “quickly” is “tachu” and has the meaning of, shortly, without delay, soon. It can also mean, suddenly. Christ repeats this in Revelation 22:7, 12, 20. John understood Christ’s words as saying that He was coming soon, because he responds: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

We must remember, though, that Christ said this and that He inspired His apostles to write what they did, because “they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Even though their words were meant for the last generation—for us today–, still, they believed when they wrote them down, that what they wrote would be fulfilled in their lifetime.

In our anxiety as the people of God, and having been given such a tremendous calling with the promise of a wonderful future, it is unsurprising that members and ministers of the Church have eagerly looked forward to the time when Jesus Christ will return to the earth to set up the Kingdom of God and rule in peace.  This may also be partially due to the fact that they have been very well aware of Christ’s warning in Matthew 24:48-51:

“But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (New International Version).

With such an incredibly marvellous and magnificent future in store for us, we may well have been over-anxious for this time to arrive before it is God the Father’s time to send Jesus back to this earth to save mankind from extinction. But this does not make us to be false prophets. We are certainly getting close to that point now but we all have to remember that God is the Master of timing and it will happen at exactly the right time – in His own time!

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

This Week in the News

Lies about the January 6 Riot

On February 19, the Ron Paul Institute republished, in part, the following article by Glenn Greenwald. After condemning the inexcusable violence of the mob, the author went on to say:

“One of the most significant of these falsehoods was the tale… that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick was murdered by the pro-Trump mob when they beat him to death with a fire extinguisher… It took on such importance for a clear reason: Sicknick’s death was the only example the media had of the pro-Trump mob deliberately killing anyone…

“But none of the other four deaths were at the hands of the protesters: the only other person killed with deliberate violence was a pro-Trump protester, Ashli Babbitt, unarmed when shot in the neck by a police officer at close range. The other three deaths were all pro-Trump protesters: Kevin Greeson, who died of a heart attack outside the Capitol; Benjamin Philips, 50, ‘the founder of a pro-Trump website called Trumparoo,’ who died of a stroke that day; and Rosanne Boyland, a fanatical Trump supporter whom the Times says was inadvertently ‘killed in a crush of fellow rioters during their attempt to fight through a police line.’

“… Without Sicknick having his skull bashed in with a fire extinguisher, there were no deaths that day that could be attributed to deliberate violence by pro-Trump protesters. Three weeks later, The Washington Post said dozens of officers (a total of 140) had various degrees of injuries, but none reported as life-threatening, and at least two police officers committed suicide after the riot…

“After the media bombarded Americans with this story for a full month without pause, it took center stage at Trump’s impeachment process. As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy noted, the article of impeachment itself stated that ‘Trump supporters ‘injured and killed law enforcement personnel.’ The House impeachment managers explicitly claimed on page 28 of their pretrial memorandum that ‘the insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher’…

“The problem with this story is that it is false in all respects. From the start, there was almost no evidence to substantiate it. The only basis were… two original New York Times articles asserting that this happened based on the claim of anonymous law enforcement officials. Despite this alleged brutal murder taking place in one of the most surveilled buildings on the planet, filled that day with hundreds of cellphones taping the events, nobody saw video of it. No photographs depicted it. To this day, no autopsy report has been released. No details from any official source have been provided.

“…On the same day the Times published its two articles with the ‘fire extinguisher’ story, ProPublica published one that should have raised serious doubts about it. The outlet interviewed Sicknick’s brother, who said that ‘Sicknick had texted [the family] Wednesday night to say that while he had been pepper-sprayed, he was in good spirits.’ That obviously conflicted with the Times’ story that the mob ‘overpowered Sicknick’ and ‘struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher,’ after which, ‘with a bloody gash in his head, Mr. Sicknick was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support.’…

“The fire extinguisher story was now a matter of lore. Nobody could question it. And nobody did: until after a February 2 CNN article that asked why nobody has been arrested for what clearly was the most serious crime committed that day: the brutal murder of Officer Sicknick with a fire extinguisher… the middle of the article provided evidence which essentially declared the original New York Times story false: ‘In Sicknick’s case, it’s still not known publicly what caused him to collapse the night of the insurrection. Findings from a medical examiner’s review have not yet been released and authorities have not made any announcements about that ongoing process. According to one law enforcement official, medical examiners did not find signs that the officer sustained any blunt force trauma, so investigators believe that early reports that he was fatally struck by a fire extinguisher are not true.’

“The CNN story speculates that perhaps Sicknick inhaled ‘bear spray,’ but like the ProPublica interview with his brother who said he inhaled pepper spray, does not say whether it came from the police or protestersCNN noted that investigators are ‘vexed by a lack of evidence that could prove someone caused his death as he defended the Capitol during last month’s insurrection.’ Beyond that, ‘to date, little information has been shared publicly about the circumstances of the death of the 13-year veteran of the police force, including any findings from an autopsy that was conducted by DC’s medical examiner.’

“Few noticed this remarkable admission buried in this article. None of this was seriously questioned until a relatively new outlet called Revolver News on February 9 compiled and analyzed all the contradictions and lack of evidence in the prevailing story, after which Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, citing that article, devoted the first eight minutes of his February 10 program to examining these massive evidentiary holes.

“That caused right-wing media outlets to begin questioning what happened, but mainstream liberal outlets — those who spread the story aggressively in the first place — largely and predictably ignored it all. This week, the paper that first published the false story — in lieu of a retraction or an explanation of how and why it got the story wrong — simply went back to the first two articles, more than five weeks later, and quietly posted what it called an ‘update’ at the top of both five-week-old articles: ‘New Information has emerged regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police.”

“With the impeachment trial now over, the articles are now rewritten to reflect that the original story was false. But there was nothing done by The New York Times to explain an error of this magnitude, let alone to try to undo the damage it did by misleading the public. They did not expressly retract or even ‘correct’ the story…”

That is another example as to how the left-wing mass media fabricates and invents fake stories. Note the next article for another example as to how alternate viewpoints are being suppressed.

Facebook’s Censorship Continues

Breitbart wrote on February 21:

“Actor Kevin Sorbo was banned from Facebook for posting content that the platform’s ‘fact checkers’ have deemed to be ‘debunked’ information regarding coronavirus vaccines. Sorbo reacted to the ban by saying: ‘All I can say is that I find it amazing that a place like Facebook has more power than our government, apparently. And the government allows them to do what they’re doing right now, in terms of just canceling people that they don’t agree with…

“‘I post things that usually come from what other doctors are saying about the virus, or what other people are saying about the voter fraud, and if that doesn’t fit their narrative, they just get rid of you,’ he added. ‘Freedom of speech, obviously, as we know, has gone out the window,’ said Sorbo. The actor also mentioned that he is ‘more than happy to leave Facebook,’ but wishes that he had the chance to at least tell his 500,000 Facebook followers where they can follow him on CloutHub or Parler before he got banned from Zuckerberg’s platform… ‘Being a Christian and a conservative in Hollywood, that’s kind of is like being a double leper, so I’ve got my own battles to deal with,’ Sorbo added. ‘And thank God for independent movies, otherwise I wouldn’t have a career right now.’”

Sorbo became famous through his portrayal of Hercules in a long-running TV series. Subsequently, he did other TV series and played in numerous movies, until he began to make Christian-oriented movies, such as “God’s Not Dead” and “Let There be Light.”

60 Million Americans Don’t Believe in Biden’s Legitimacy as President

Breitbart wrote on February 22:

“A USA Today/Suffolk University poll found that only 17 percent of Trump voters believe… Joe Biden was legitimately elected, while 73 percent said he was not

“Of course, there was voter fraud! Does this mean there was enough fraud to overturn the presidential election? We don’t know… And one thing that makes us suspicious is that no one wants to find out if there was voter fraud, most especially the establishment media. Instead of looking into the 2020 president election, instead of investigating what happened and taking people’s concerns seriously, the corporate media are only increasing our suspicions by refusing not only to look into what happened, but by writing those of us off who have questions as terrorists and conspiracy theorists. People with nothing to hide don’t freak out when you ask a question. Governments with nothing to hide don’t freak out when you make an inquiry…

“Trump voters have every reason to believe the 2020 election was stolen. That doesn’t mean it was stolen, but when you behave as though you have something to hide, people have every right to believe you have something to hide… We are unceasingly lied to by the corporate media, Big Tech, and the federal government. Whenever we ask questions, we are shouted down as liars and conspiracy theorists just before we are blacklisted. No one tells us the truth. No one is interested in discovering the truth. Anyone who questions any of this is canceled and attacked. Of course, this is going to breed suspicion, and it should breed suspicion… If three-quarters of Trump supporters do not accept Biden’s legitimacy, you’re talking about some 60 million Americans.

This almost sounds like a quote from Isaiah 59:4, which reads: “No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies…”

US Supreme Court Won’t Hear Election Cases Alleging Voter Fraud

Breitbart wrote on February 22:

“[On] Monday… the Supreme Court decided — by one vote –to hear none of the 2020 election cases raising issues of voter fraud and illegal votes. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett voted with the liberal justices to deny review of the lower court decisions.

“Four justices must vote to hear a case to put it on the Court’s docket, but only three justices — Thomas, fellow conservative Samuel Alito, and libertarian Neil Gorsuch — voted to take at least two of four of the key cases from November 2020. All three dissenting justices took the unusual step of writing opinions as to why the Court should have taken at minimum two of these cases.

“‘The Constitution gives to each state legislature authority to determine the “Manner” of federal elections,’ began Thomas. ‘Yet both before and after the 2020 election, nonlegislative officials in various States took it upon themselves to set the rules instead. As a result, we received an unusually high number of petitions and emergency applications contesting those changes. The petitions here present a clear example… That is not a prescription for confidence. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is bad enough. Such rule changes by officials who may lack authority to do so is even worse. When those changes alter election results, they can severely damage the electoral system on which our self-governance so heavily depends… Because fraud is more prevalent with mail-in ballots, increased use of those ballots raises the likelihood that courts will be asked to adjudicate questions that go to the heart of election confidence… ‘

“Quoting the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s concurring opinion from the 2000 case Bush v. Gore, Alito [wrote in his dissenting opinion which was joined by Gorsuch]: ‘Now, the election is over, and there is no reason for refusing to decide the important question that these cases pose. The provisions of the Federal Constitution conferring on state legislatures, not state courts, the authority to make rules governing federal elections would be meaningless if a state court could override the rules adopted by the legislature simply by claiming that a state constitutional provision gave the courts the authority to make whatever rules it thought appropriate for the conduct of a fair election…’

“Thomas concluded his dissent with: ‘One wonders what this Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.’”

Why wouldn’t the Supreme Court look into these charges?

Civil War in the GOP… Trump vs. McConnell

Newsmax wrote on February 19:

“Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will… attempt to ease tensions with Republican leaders…  Graham hopes to be ‘constructive’ in his talks with Trump, who recently met with the second-highest ranking Republican in the House, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

“Trump recently hit out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for saying that the former president was ‘practically and morally responsible’ for the Capitol riot, saying that the longtime GOP leader is a ‘dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack’… Graham told Fox News after the exchange: ‘President Trump is the most consequential Republican in the party. If Mitch McConnell doesn’t understand that, he’s missing a lot.’”

Daily Mail added on February 19:

“Trump also accused McConnell of ‘destroying’ the GOP and urged the party’s senators to end his leadership…. The former president blamed McConnell… for causing the loss of two GOP Senate seats… ‘The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political “leaders” like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,’ Trump began in a letter… ‘McConnell’s dedication to business as usual, status quo policies, together with his lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality, has rapidly driven him from Majority Leader to Minority Leader, and it will only get worse,’ he wrote.

“‘The Democrats and Chuck Schumer play McConnell like a fiddle—they’ve never had it so good—and they want to keep it that way! We know our America First agenda is a winner, not McConnell’s Beltway First agenda or Biden’s America Last… Likewise, McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings,’ wrote Trump. ‘He does nothing on this tremendous economic and military threat.’”

CNN wrote on February 19:

“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell vowed never to [meet with Trump]… ‘They’re now at each other’s throat,’ Graham said on Fox News this week. ‘I’m more worried about 2022 than I’ve ever been…’ Trump remains the GOP figure whose words and actions reliably command the most attention. And in his lengthy Tuesday statement blasting McConnell, Trump included a veiled threat to support his own candidates in Republican primaries….”

Trump was invited and agreed to speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida. Pence was also invited, but reportedly declined.

Trump 2024 the Republican Presumptive Nominee?

Newsmax reported on February 22:

“Former President Donald Trump plans to use his appearance at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference as a ‘show of force’ that will send the message that he will be the Republican ‘presumptive 2024 nominee’ for the presidency, according to top Trump allies. ‘Trump effectively is the Republican Party,’ Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Axios’ Mike Allen for a report Monday that Trump will claim ‘total control’ of the party during his speech this coming Sunday at CPAC…

“Trump will meet with his advisers this week at his Mar-a-Lago estate to map out his next political moves and to set up his plans for kingmaking actions for the 2022 midterm election, including stoking primary challenges for lawmakers who have voted against him. He’s also expected to pour both money and endorsements on his biggest backers… Meanwhile, Save America, Trump’s leadership PAC, has $75 million on hand, as well as a database containing tens of millions of names. However, Axios reports that there are many Trump confidants that think the former president will pretend like he’s running in 2024, but will ultimately pass that by.

We must wait and see.

Biden Speaks at Munich Security Conference

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 19:

“At the Munich Security Conference, Joe Biden proclaimed the revival of the trans-Atlantic alliance with a forward-looking agenda that puts democratic resilience first. But the US still has much to prove to a wary Europe

“Joe Biden couldn’t resist repeating his foreign policy mantra (“America is back”) during his debut on the (virtual) international stage of the Munich Security Conference… Biden is well aware that on neither side of the Atlantic are citizens longing for restoration of a… Western order in which the US led, materially as well as morally, and Europe followed.

“Though he made only polite and passing reference to NATO budgetary contributions in his MSC speech, it was clear that he expects his international partners to leverage and buttress US resources, sharing burdens not only on defense spending, but also on health, climate, trade — and, most particularly, in relations with China. Europeans, too, are wary and weary, well aware that in a deeply polarized US, today’s restart could come to a grinding halt four years from now…

“Whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron will grasp the hand Biden is extending depends on the degree to which the French president, in particular, sees his quest for strategic autonomy as compatible with trans-Atlantic multilateralism, and on whether the European partners are serious about boosting cooperation not only with the US but, first and foremost, amongst themselves…”

Breitbart added on February 19:

“President Joe Biden reassured European leaders Friday that he would once again work with them, apologizing for former President Donald Trump’s approach while in office… ‘The last four years have been hard but Europe and the United States have to lead with competence once more,’ he said. While not naming Trump explicitly in his speech, Biden repeatedly lamented damages to the European relationships with the United States and promised to revert back to the way it used to be…

“Biden specifically promised to work with European leaders including his ‘good friends’ and ‘outstanding leaders’ like German Chancellor Angela Merkel… Biden said he appreciated a ‘whole’ Europe united under the European Union and spoke about their goal to unite against global competitors like Russia and China…”

Focus asked on February 19 why Merkel responded so emotionless and indifferent to Biden, continuing, “Many conflicts between the USA and Germany remain.”

Allies Remain Doubtful

Yahoo News wrote on February 19, thereby republishing an article which had originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times:

“President Biden tried to reassure U.S. allies Friday that he is turning the page on his predecessor’s ‘America first’ approach, and restoring a foreign policy that values cooperation with the world’s major democracies to tackle global challenges. In two virtual appearances before world leaders, his first as president, Biden emphasized that he would be restoring and building upon the Obama administration’s diplomatic achievements, including the 2015 multination nuclear deal with Iran and the 2016 Paris climate accord, and would be seeking to work collaboratively to contain threats from Russia and China… Biden reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to NATO’s Article V, the mutual-defense promise among treaty members…

“The president nonetheless faces a hard job persuading allies, many of whom have emerged from the Trump years nervous about U.S. reliability, said James Townsend, a former deputy assistant secretary of Defense now at the Center for a New American Security, a centrist Washington think tank. ‘The big issue for Biden is trust, in the sense that a lot of allies are still not convinced where our politics are heading,’ Townsend said…

“Allies’ skepticism about U.S. reliability… were evident Thursday in remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron. He renewed his call for European ‘strategic autonomy’ from Washington, diverging from Biden’s support for a return to reliance on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. ‘I am a defender of European sovereignty, of strategic autonomy…’ Macron said in an interview with the Financial Times. ‘Europe cannot delegate its protection and the protection of its neighborhood to the USA.’

“Such splits between Washington and Europe may become even more visible if Biden pushes NATO members to take a more confrontational stance toward Beijing and Moscow. Many European governments favor less confrontational approaches to both countries. Nor will U.S. frustration likely abate at Europe’s go-slow approach to meeting NATO’s goal that each member spend at least 2% of its gross domestic product on its defense. Nine of the 30 NATO members will reach the target this year; three met it in 2014. But Germany and other allies still lag behind.

“In earlier remarks to a separate virtual session of allies in the Group of 7, made up of leaders of major industrialized nations, Biden announced a $4-billion U.S. investment in COVAX, a cooperative global vaccination effort…”

Translation: America will spend $4 billion dollars for global coronavirus vaccination efforts in foreign countries, while the USA is suffering economically at home, without getting a meaningful handle on the pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s Praise for Biden

Breitbart wrote on February 20:

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that ‘America is unreservedly back’ with the election of Joe Biden as President… ‘and that is a fantastic thing.’ In an apparent jab at Donald Trump, Johnson added: ‘The gloom has been overdone…  I’m delighted that America under President Biden’s leadership has rejoined the Paris Agreement’…

“While the relationship between the two leaders was reportedly tense over the issue of Joe Biden’s anti-Brexit attitude, the pair seem to have mended the ‘special relationship’…”

With Boris Johnson, one never knows where his true loyalties lie. But if Trump were to return to power in some way, he wouldn’t forget what he must view as Johnson’s betrayal. The Bible says that the USA will be against Britain, and vice versa, and both will be against Israel.

Macron’s European Army

MSN wrote on February 18:

“Speaking to, Peter Kofod claimed the French President’s vision for a unified defence corp in the EU could risk Europe its biggest allies within NATO, the US and the UK. The Danish People’s Party’s MEP dismissed the idea as ‘ridiculous’ as he blasted the French leader’s ‘worrying’ ambitions…

“[Macron’s] position was underlined by French Minister for Europe Clement Beaune during an interview with French broadcaster CNews earlier this month. In remarks which have likely raised eyebrows in the new administration of Joe Biden, Mr Beaune appeared to take a swipe at the new US President and question the USA’s commitment to Europe, while highlighting the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China. Mr Beaune said: ‘The Americans want to do less for European defence, the French want to do more for European defence. I think that’s the big European project for the years to come. Our European partners are close to this path.’”

Express wrote on February 19:

“Macron has said that European Union member states need to ‘play a larger role in its own defense’. The French President hit back at suggestions that the EU pushing ahead with its defence plans was ‘incompatible’ with NATO. Mr Macron said that with the US changing its focus to the Pacific-Asia region, ‘we need Europe to deal with our neighbourhood’…

“Speaking to the Munich Security Conference, he said: ‘… I believe that the best possible involvement of Europe within NATO is to be much more in charge of its own security and more in charge of its strategic autonomy… He added that the EU should not be ‘dependent’ on the US for security, adding: ‘The EU and its key member states have to be part of the solution of their own security’ Mr Macron continued: ‘The US has become a Pacific power, which is mainly looking at China and Asia.”

In the past, Macron had stated that a European Army is a must in order to be able to defend against Europe’s enemies, including Russia, China and perhaps even the USA.

Most for a EU Army

Express wrote on February 23:

“An EU army has long been contemplated in the bloc… In a boost to the EU’s plans, two-thirds of those surveyed in a poll from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) think-tank, were supportive of a European-level defence force… This comes in response to many within the poll claiming they could not rely on Washington as a strategic ally. When asked on their opinion on the EU’s security partnership with the US, just 10 percent viewed the US as a viable partner67 percent across all countries believe their own country could not rely on the US….

“The countries polled were Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Great Britain.”

The prophesied establishment of a European Army is moving forward.

Reviving the Iran Deal?

Times of Israel wrote on February 19:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Friday to the United States’ announcement that it was willing to hold talks with Tehran on a return to the nuclear deal, saying Israel believes the old agreement will ‘pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.’ ‘Israel remains committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons and its position on the nuclear agreement has not changed,’ the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement…

“The Biden administration said Thursday it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the nuclear deal. It has also reversed the Trump administration’s assertion that all UN sanctions against Iran had been restored. Trump’s move had been ignored by the rest of the Security Council and the world, and the overwhelming majority of members in the 15-nation council had called the action illegal because the US was no longer a member of the nuclear deal. Washington also eased stringent restrictions on the domestic US travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations.

“The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, quickly denounced the steps. ‘It is concerning the Biden Administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to re-enter the flawed Iran deal,’ he said…”

Newsmax wrote on February 19:

“Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is blasting the Biden administration for saying it is ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal… Pompeo told the Free Beacon that European nations ‘wanted to appease the Iranian theocracy for my entire time as secretary of state. We refused. The ayatollah understands only strength. I led a response to the Iranian threat that protected the American people from its terror and supported the Jewish state of Israel.’ And he warned: ‘Adopting the European Union model of accommodation will guarantee Iran a path to a nuclear arsenal.’”

US Democrats vs. Netanyahu

Israel Today wrote on February 19:

“The serious deterioration between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and the Democratic Party really began when Donald J. Trump became President of the United States. The special personal relationship the two leaders developed and the subsequent measures Trump took against the Palestinian Authority was a thorn in the side of many Democrats, including Joe Biden… Judging Biden by his deeds one could doubt his ‘commitment to Israel’s security’… He already canceled most of the measures Trump took against the PA and resumed funding of the Palestinian regime… his administration says it wants the status of Jerusalem settled in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority…

The Obama years also contributed significantly to a rift in Israel-Democratic relations. Obama is seen in Israel as the most hostile US President in the history of the Jewish state. Netanyahu was under constant pressure from Obama to make concessions to the Palestinians, and at the end of his term, Obama had his UN ambassador vote for an anti-Israeli resolution in the UN Security Council. This had never happened and it caused a lot of bad blood, especially among the right-wing parties in Israel…

“Democratic politicians told Israeli media that they hope Netanyahu will be removed from office after the upcoming Israeli election on March 23… Democratic politicians have little understanding of the political situation in Israel

“An additional problem is that the ruling American party is slowly being taken over by radical left-wing elements that are fiercely anti-Israel, including former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish… Other examples are Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, two Muslim Congresswomen who were banned from entering Israel in August 2019. Both support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and have made no secret of their hate for the Jewish state.”

Newsmax added on February 18:

“Netanyahu and President Barack Obama had a highly contentious relationship, one that some Israeli experts have called the worst ever between a U.S. president and Israeli prime minister.”

Destroying Al Aqsa to Build the Temple?

Israel 365 wrote on February 24:

“A so-called Israeli affairs ‘expert’ explained to viewers of official PA TV that the ‘true and serious Zionist threat’ is Israel’s ‘plan’ to empty Jerusalem of Christian and Muslim holy sites. Nawaf Al-Zaru went as far as accusing Israel of planning to ‘burn monasteries and churches,’  ‘destroy’ Islamic holy sites, and ‘bomb’ the Al-Aqsa Mosque…

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of similar libelous statements have been made by PA officials… for decades. The PA claims that Israel seeks to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem and erase all traces of Christianity and Islam in the city. The PA also alleges that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger because Israel is plotting to destroy it to rebuild Solomon’s ‘alleged Temple.’ In accordance, official PA TV teaches its viewers that there is no Jewish history in Jerusalem… ‘This is the city of Allah and of his early promise. Everything in Jerusalem is Arab and Islamic.’ …

“Likewise, Jerusalem District Deputy Governor Abdallah Siyam recently stated that Israel… [is] striving to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the so-called “Temple” in its place.’”

China’s Concentration Camps of Horror

The New York Post wrote on February 20:

“To hear the Chinese Communist Party tell it, the network of concentration camps in China’s far west are ‘vocational schools.’ But former women inmates, largely Uighurs and Kazakhs, tell a different story. They describe the camps as houses of horrors where Chinese camp guards systemically use gang rape and torture to violate their bodies and break their will to resist.

“The new testimony… has aroused worldwide condemnation. It also confirms the State Department’s recent finding that China is committing genocide against its Uighur minority…”

The detailed description of what happens in these camps is too gruesome to repeat here. The lack of condemnation by Western leaders is appalling.

Destroying Biblical Values

LifeSiteNews (which has been permanently banned on YouTube) wrote on February 24:

“Following the announcement that the radical pro-abortion and pro-LGBT Equality Act will be brought before the U.S. House of Representatives… pro-life and pro-family leaders have described the proposed legislation as ‘the most comprehensive assault on Christianity ever written into law.’

“Dr. Bill Donohue, Ph.D., president of the Catholic advocacy group Catholic League, said that, contrary to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the Equality Act is ‘about ending discrimination,’ … in fact the opposite is true, with Christians set to experience severe discrimination should the act be passed into law… Donohue said that the act’s broad scope would force healthcare providers to supply hormone therapies and even surgeries in accordance with ‘sex change’ procedures. Women’s sports, too, will become unfairly altered by the inclusion of boys and men who purport to be female. ‘These biological males can use the locker rooms, restrooms and shower facilities that have always been reserved for females,’ he added…

“Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins described the Equality Act as ‘a catastrophic loss of religious freedom in America.’

“… Lila Rose, Founder & President of Live Action, described the Equality Act as ‘deceptively named and corrupt in its vision… There is nothing empowering or “equalizing” about killing innocent preborn children nor confusing what it means to be male and female. This deceptively named piece of legislation hides within it policies that override conscience rights, require employers to cover abortions in their healthcare plans, and nullifies pro-life laws and protections on a massive scale…’

“Experts from the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) agree. President Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., a specialist in bioethics, religious liberty, and political philosophy, said: ‘The so-called Equality Act is legislative malpractice that turns equality on its head… It isn’t drafted as a shield to protect vulnerable minorities from unjust discrimination, but as a sword to persecute those who do not embrace new sexual and gender ideologies.’”

Are Coronavirus Vaccines Safe?

The Ron Paul Institute wrote on February 23:

“Via a Monday Twitter post, President Joe Biden made an unqualified assertion that the experimental coronavirus vaccines… the United States government is encouraging Americans to take are ‘safe’ for everyone. However, taking a look through the fact sheets for recipients and caregivers regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna experimental coronavirus vaccines, available at the website of the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you find a very different representation.

“These fact sheets warn that there are many known health risks of taking either vaccine and that there are also other potential health risks that remain unknown because the experimental vaccines went through rushed and incomplete testing

“The first warning sign in the fact sheets for the two experimental vaccines is in the fact sheets’ titles. Both titles refer to the ‘emergency use authorization’ of the vaccines.., it is made clear that the emergency use authorization does not mean the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined the vaccines are safe… the fact sheets explicitly say that some people should not receive the injections: people under a certain age (16 for Pfizer-BioNTech and 18 for Moderna), as well as people who have ‘had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine’ (both vaccines have a two shot regimen) or ‘had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient’ of the respective vaccines…

“So, are the experimental coronavirus vaccines safe? The answer is ‘no’ according to the fact sheets provided at the FDA website. There are significant known dangers from taking the vaccines. Also, especially given the rushed and abbreviated testing of the experimental vaccines, there may be numerous unlisted health problems that arise in people who receive the shots.”

The article concludes by saying that a wise “course is for people to consider the potential risks carefully and make their own informed decisions regarding taking the experimental coronavirus vaccines.”

This is true. People should make an informed decision… either way.

Spahn Fighting for Survival?

The Daily Mail wrote on February 24:

“German health minister Jens Spahn is said to be ‘fighting for his career’ after overseeing a shambolic vaccine roll-out, clashing with Angela Merkel and failing to deliver on a promised rapid-testing scheme. Spahn, who only months ago was being feted by those marvelling at Germany’s early success against the pandemic, has seen his approval rating slide five points in a month amid the vaccination chaos and a grinding two-month lockdown.

“Merkel’s decision to postpone a major rapid testing roll-out which Spahn had promised to bring in on March 1 has prompted talk of ‘revenge’ in German media – after the chancellor accused him of trying to shift blame for the vaccine fiasco to Brussels. With Bild [Germany’s mass tabloid] now describing Spahn as a ‘ministerial flop’, the 40-year-old – who was seen as an outside contender in the race to succeed Merkel as chancellor later this year – is said to be ‘frustrated’ and ‘bewildered’ by the setbacks to his career.”

No End to Travel Restrictions… Vaccination Passports?

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 25:

“Leaders from across the 27-nation bloc [of the EU] convened via videoconference on Thursday to thrash out joint approaches to the COVID-19 crisis… Tourist-reliant southern European nations such as Greece and Spain urged the rapid adoption of an EU-wide vaccination certificate for travelers. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz backed the idea in an appearance on the online television channel of Germany’s Bild newspaper. He said it would enable a restart to free travel in Europe and could help ‘secure and protect’ struggling sectors like the arts, sports and gastronomy.

“Manfred Weber, the head of the conservative bloc in the European Parliament, has called for a speedy rollout of a vaccine passport in order to allow freedom of movement in the EU… Other countries, such as France and Germany, have shown more reluctance, with officials saying it would create de facto vaccination obligation and could prove discriminatory…”

CNBC wrote on February 25:

“Given the health crisis, European leaders are not yet inclined to ease travel restrictions… Some heads of state believe it is too early to consider a vaccination passport as the deployment of vaccines is still at such an early phase.

“Rickard Gustafson, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines,… said that it needs to be applied to ‘all other transportation means… because if you cross a border, it doesn’t really matter if you cross it by air, by train, by car, by bus’…” 

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.

Current Events

by Norbert Link

We begin with examples of the mass media’s falsification of facts or of the suppression of alternate views; address issues pertaining to allegations of voter fraud or voter irregularities and the US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear any of those cases; and we point out the “civil war” in the GOP.

We report on President Biden’s speech at the Munich Security Conference and the mixed reaction of America’s European allies. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, Will the Relationship between the USA and Europe Improve?”

We also address Europe’s dream of a European army which is shared by most Europeans, and Israel‘s concern regarding the willingness of America and other powers to revive the Iran deal, as well as the bad relationship between Israel and America’s Democrats.

We speak on the concern of Palestinians regarding Israel’s alleged goal pertaining to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Third Temple.

We conclude with an article on China’s terrible concentration camps and a discussion as to whether the coronavirus vaccines are safe; as well as an attempt to destroy biblical values; Jens Spahn’s fight for survival; and ongoing travel restrictions and the concept of a vaccination passport for all travel. 

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

Is Satan Still in Our Life?

Do we really understand how much and to what degree this world is being held captive by Satan and his demons? Could this also apply to any of us? (cp. 2 Timothy 2:24-26). Of course, Satan cannot do what God does not allow, but still, this is NOT God’s world. It is Satan’s world, and he has deceived and is deceiving the whole world (Revelation 12:9). We are asked to come out of this sinful Babylon of confusion (Revelation 18:4). While living in this world (John 17:18), we are not to be part of this world (John 17:14, 16). Satan is the ruler of mankind, and he gives power and authority to human leaders. In Luke 4:5-7, we read how Satan tried to tempt Christ, saying: “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’”

Christ did not dispute Satan’s claim. He knew it was true. He knew that Satan rules on his throne here on earth (Revelation 2:13). He also knew, of course, that Satan would be behind the ten revivals of the Roman Empire in Europe (Revelation 13:2, 4), and that he would give power and authority to the coming beast and the false prophet. But do we understand that this is not limited to those past, present and future developments and rulers in Europe? Satan has power over ALL the kingdoms of the world, and he gives his authority to WHOMEVER he wishes.

People are deceived, because Satan is pretending to be an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)… not of darkness. They may believe that rulers under his guidance and direction want to do the best for the people… and some in authority might very well think that they do, but they don’t understand what is good and what is bad (Isaiah 5:20). While they say they want peace, their actions lead to war and misery; rather than saving lives, they help to destroy lives (Romans 3:10-18).

Satan wants all mankind to be eradicated and wiped off this planet. And he would be successful if it were not for Jesus Christ who will come back to this earth to make an end to this madness of human misrule at His return.

Satan’s main target, however, is the people of God. He knows that Christ’s true disciples will replace him and his rule when Christ returns, and so he has great wrath against God’s Church, knowing that his time is short (Revelation 12:12).

Satan’s modus operandi  is not just to destroy and kill literally, but also, and perhaps even more importantly at this time, to destroy us spiritually. He uses teachers in all the world who are teaching our children the wrong things in school—from the godless evolution concept to the abominable ideas of abortion and war to the false concepts of sexual immorality, just to name a few. He will try to use his human rulers to prohibit the preaching of the gospel and to malign, accuse and persecute those who do. We are already seeing the beginning of these endeavors. Satan is a liar and a murderer, and we must not be ignorant of his evil devices.

Very importantly, Satan is the accuser of the brethren, accusing them day and night before God (Revelation 12:10). Some of his accusations might be their sinful conduct for which he was directly responsible. Satan influenced Peter to speak Satan’s words (Mark 8:31-33); and he influenced Judas to betray Christ (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). It is therefore critical that we repent of our sins when we become aware of them and confess them to God so that we can be cleansed (1 John 1:9), and so that Satan does not succeed (Revelation 12:11; Zechariah 3:1-5).

It is Satan’s goal to devour us (1. Peter 5:8). In order to accomplish this, he is using fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16); evil devices or schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11); craftiness or unscrupulous conduct (2 Corinthians 11:3); and wiles or thought-out tricks (Ephesians 6:11).

God warns us that we can easily fall for Satan, if we are not careful. He describes Satan in very descriptive ways:

Satan is identified as our adversary (1 Peter 5:8); the god of this age or of this present evil world (2 Corinthians 4:4) who is worshipped (Matthew 4:9; Revelation 13:4); the prince and ruler of the darkness of this world and age (John 12:31; 14:30; Ephesians 6:12); the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2); a murderer and a liar (John 8:44) who blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4); and Apollyon, meaning “the destroyer” (Revelation 9:11).

But we don’t have to be or become Satan’s victims, falling for his evil devices and becoming inadvertently his instruments (1 Timothy 5:15). It is very comforting to know that we can protect ourselves against Satan, when we are sober or self-controlled (1 Peter 5:8); when we are vigilant or watchful and on the alert (1 Peter 5:8); when we resist him (1 Peter 5:9; James 4:7) while submitting to and drawing near to God (James 4:7-8); when we put on God’s whole spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:11); accept and apply the “blood of the Lamb” or Christ’s Sacrifice to and for our sins (Revelation 12:11); when we believe God and His Word and live by it, while rejecting all lies (Revelation 12:11, 17); and when we give our lives to God (Revelation 12:11).

The good news is, God will crush Satan under our feet shortly (Romans 16:20), but in the meantime, as we have read, we must resist him now and draw near to God; and Satan will flee from us. Then, we can say victoriously with Jesus: “Satan has no power over me” (compare John 14:30, Revised Standard Version).

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Will the Relationship between the USA and Europe Improve?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary: 

Some are hopeful that the relationship between the USA and the EU, which has not been that good, will get better substantially because of the new US Administration. Others are not so sure, or they even doubt it very much. Listen to many articles from national and international liberal and conservative sources to note what their take is on the matter.

“Christi Erklärung der vier Reiter der Offenbarung,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “Christ’s Explanation of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

“Erziehung im Sinne Gottes,” is the title of last Sabbath’s split sermon, presented by Thilo Hanstein. Title in English: “Training According to God’s Will.”

“Eine gute Verbindung haben,” is the title of last Sabbath’s split sermon, presented by Christoph Sperzel. Title in English: “Have a Good Connection.”

“Dead Center,” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermonette, presented by Frank Bruno. Here is a summary:

The world today likes to deceive itself that it prefers life in the center—a world of compromise. Politicians who do not espouse this sentiment, this focus on false healing and unity are condemned. The world is of course hostile to any truth associated with being obedient to God’s laws. Worldly negotiation demands driving to the center—accepting pain for all! Humans cannot succeed in this world if they are true to God’s commandments, yet, conversely, they cannot find the narrow pathway to the Kingdom of God if they seek to please two masters. In this Sermonette we will cover several scriptures that make this perfectly clear. Participating in the politics of this world by definition means choosing between the lesser of two evils—not the ways of the Lord. This is not acceptable for followers of Jesus Christ.

“The Open Door,” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermon, presented by Eric Rank. Here is a summary:

The Bible describes an amazing opportunity for mankind, and an even greater opportunity to those who are fortunate to be called out of the world in this age. What do we need to do to take advantage of the great opportunities we have sitting right in front of us?

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