Update 311


Israel Today

On September 15, 2007, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Israel Today.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Don't Quit!!!

by Norbert Link

In less than ten days, we will keep the Day of Atonement, and a few days later, the Feast of Tabernacles 2007! Where did the year go since last Feast? How fast everything is passing us by! And, at the same time, how familiar might everything have become to us–especially if we have been “in the Church” for twenty, thirty or forty years, or even longer. As the old saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt!” In Old Testament times, people would refer to their prescribed service to God as “weariness” (Malachi 1:13).

In recent years, many who seemed to have understood and embraced the truth, “jumped” off the “peace train” of righteousness and climbed instead on the deceptive “bandwagon” of “the easy ride.” And what an “easy ride” it seemed to be: No more requirement to keep the Sabbath; no more need to observe the Holy Days; no more tithing and giving offerings; no more abstention from unclean foods. A sigh of “relief” was heard around the land and around the world, and the new-found “freedom” was quickly embraced by so many. It was as if they were saying the words of kings and rulers, as recorded in Psalm 2, who took council against the Lord and His Anointed, and exclaimed: “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us” (verse 3). In other words, let’s get rid of His laws and statutes, and adopt the “freedom” of licentiousness–after all, Christ loves us as we are, and He would not want us to follow the legalism of obeying Him, would He?

My dear brethren, all of this DID happen. It happened so quickly to terribly deceived people who would have NEVER thought earlier that they would end up where they did! Some of them had condemned others in the past for not following their rigid self-invented Pharisaical rules of “obeying” their concepts and perceptions of God’s instructions. They were unbalanced then, and they are unbalanced now–to put it mildly–just having exchanged the mantle of right-winged extremism for that of left-winged extremism.

God’s Spirit is a Spirit of a “sound” mind (2 Timothy 1:7), but God told us thousands of years ago, that there is no “soundness” in the people of Israel (Isaiah 1:5)–and this would include those who THOUGHT they had been converted. God gave us this warning: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Even “teachers of the Law” began to proclaim that it was EVIL to keep God’s Ten Commandments, and that it was GOOD to break them! They taught others that walking in darkness–trampling God’s Sabbath under foot (Isaiah 58:13-14)–had suddenly become a way of “light” in the eyes of God.

This should serve as a warning for all of us, not to become over-confident. We are told to beware, as many who THINK they stand MIGHT VERY WELL still fall (compare 1 Corinthians 10:12)! NOW is the time to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)– to get ready for the return of Christ (Revelation 19:7). Now is the time to prove to God out of what metal we are made. NOW is the time to look with zeal, enthusiasm and anticipation toward weekly and annual Sabbath services–expecting to be filled to the brim with God’s gracious gifts of spiritual and physical blessings. NOW is the time to do everything we can, to make this coming Feast of Tabernacles the BEST FEAST EVER–for us AND for our brethren.

Now is NOT the time to let down, to become lackadaisical, to begin to forsake assembling with our brethren on the Sabbath or the Holy Days–finding more thrilling things to do on the Sabbath–at home, or in “God’s free nature,” or with friends or relatives (Hebrews 10:25). Now is NOT the time to find excuses for not attending the Feast–excuses like, it’s too far, it’s too expensive, it’s just too much of an inconvenience, or, “I have heard it all before, anyway!”

Does anyone who knows the truth really think that ANY of those or other excuses will impress God who has ordered us to assemble before Him at the place that He has chosen, for eight days?

God says, “If anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). And even if we attend God’s commanded assemblies, unless we do so with gladness of heart, God will have no pleasure in us, either (compare Deuteronomy 28:47; 12:7).

Our salvation has drawn much nearer than when we came to the faith (Romans 13:11). And Christ will not tarry–He will come quickly–and SOON (Revelation 22:12). How foolish if we were to give up before entering just the last round–as it were–of the boxing match! As one well-known poem puts it: “Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–You may succeed with another blow… And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far, So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!”

Things in this world will get worse–which is just proof that Christ’s return is NEAR. And so, God warns us not to quit–rather, He tells us: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown!” (Revelation 3:11).

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USA–The Fading Superpower

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 9 about the United States of America as the “fading superpower.” The article explained:

“… all [U.S. politicians] seem convinced that the world works best with the United States at the helm, and that without American leadership, the world would soon become more dangerous and anarchic and less prosperous… But what if the Americans who hold these beliefs are not, in fact, clear-eyed observers of the world scene stripped of its anti-imperial mystifications? Instead, what if they are people who have fallen for the same self-delusion that the British ruling class entertained before World War I, which was that their empire was so essential to world stability and, at least when compared with the alternatives and with empires past, so just that its hegemony could and would weather all challenges?

“It is hardly farfetched to scan the historical record and conclude that self-love and imperialism go together, whether it was the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes insisting that British colonialism in Africa had been ‘philanthropy plus 5%’ or President Bush insisting that it was America’s special mission to spread democracy throughout the world. But what the historical record also shows is that imperial moments are, in fact, fleeting, and that hegemony has a shorter and shorter shelf life. The Roman Empire lasted more than 700 years (more than a millennium if you count the Byzantines); the British Empire lasted a little more than 300 years in India and less than a century in much of Africa. The economic challenges facing the U.S. at least suggest that America’s time as sole superpower could be shorter still…

“The war in Iraq has demonstrated the limits of even America’s vaunted military strength… None of this is to say that the U.S. will not continue to be one of the most important powers — only that its days of first dictating and then guaranteeing the rules are numbered in an era in which it has become a debtor nation. In any case, the post-World War II structures of international governance are crumbling…

“For the moment, the U.S. is the sole superpower. But instead of deluding ourselves that we will go on that way into the indeterminate future, an intelligently self-interested foreign policy would have us do everything in our power to shape, according to our most urgent priorities, the international rules that will govern relations between states after the American moment has passed — as it inevitably will… The real choice that confronts us is not between a second American century and anarchy but between a multipolar world in which we will play an important role and an anti-American century.”

U.S. Dollar at All-Time Low

AFP reported on September 12:

“The dollar sank to an all-time low against the euro Wednesday… The 13-nation euro rose as high as $1.3889 in afternoon European trading — breaking through its previous record of $1.3852, reached on July 24. That compared with the $1.3832 it bought in New York late Tuesday…
“The strong euro ‘is weighing on growth,’ French Budget Minister Eric Woerth said after a Cabinet meeting in Paris on Wednesday… the weaker dollar… diminishes the spending power of American tourists in Europe.

“The dollar, which has hovered within a few cents of its record low in recent weeks amid a crisis over U.S. mortgage lending, has come under new pressure since the U.S. Labor Department issued unexpectedly poor August jobs data Friday…

“The U.S. currency was lower against the Japanese yen, even as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he would resign, putting an end to his troubled year-old government. The dollar slid to 113.85 yen from 114.30 yen.”

USA Ready to Attack Iran?

FoxNews.com reported on September 11:

“Germany — a pivotal player among three European nations to rein in Iran’s nuclear program over the last two-and-a-half years through a mixture of diplomacy and sanctions supported by the United States — notified its allies last week that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to support the imposition of any further sanctions against Iran that could be imposed by the U.N. Security Council… The Germans voiced concern about the damaging effects any further sanctions on Iran would have on the German economy…”

“Political and military officers, as well as weapons of mass destruction specialists at the State Department, are now advising Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that…  the administration must actively prepare for military intervention of some kind…

“Consequently, according to a well-placed Bush administration source, ‘everyone in town’ is now participating in a broad discussion about the costs and benefits of military action against Iran, with the likely timeframe for any such course of action being over the next eight to 10 months, after the presidential primaries have probably been decided, but well before the November 2008 elections.

“The discussions are now focused on two basic options: less invasive scenarios under which the U.S. might blockade Iranian imports of gasoline or exports of oil, actions generally thought to exact too high a cost on the Iranian people but not enough on the regime in Tehran; and full-scale aerial bombardment.

“On the latter course, active consideration is being given as to how long it would take to degrade Iranian air defenses before American air superiority could be established and U.S. fighter jets could then begin a systematic attack on Iran’s known nuclear targets. Most relevant parties have concluded such a comprehensive attack plan would require at least a week of sustained bombing runs, and would at best set the Iranian nuclear program back a number of years — but not destroy it forever.”

British Forces Move to Iran Border

The Independent reported on September 12:

“British forces have been sent from Basra to the volatile border with Iran amid warnings from the senior US commander in Iraq that Tehran is fomenting a ‘proxy war’. In signs of a fast-developing confrontation, the Iranians have threatened military action in response to attacks launched from Iraqi territory while the Pentagon has announced the building of a US base and fortified checkpoints at the frontier.

“The UK operation, in which up to 350 troops are involved, has come at the request of the Americans, who say that elements close to the Iranian regime have stepped up supplies of weapons to Shia militias in recent weeks in preparation for attacks inside Iraq…

“The operation is regarded as a high-risk strategy which could lead to clashes with Iranian-backed Shia militias or even Iranian forces and also leaves open the possibility of Iranian retaliation in the form of attacks against British forces at the Basra air base or inciting violence to draw them back into Basra city. Relations between the two countries are already fraught after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized a British naval party in the Gulf earlier this year…”

Iraq–None of American Options Are Good

Der Spiegel Online wrote on September 11:

“Gen. David Petraeus delivered his hotly anticipated progress report on Iraq to Congress on Monday and provided President George W. Bush with sorely-needed backing by saying the troop surge in the country is bearing fruit… He said a rapid withdrawal of US troops from the country would produce ‘a number of dangerous results.’

“German media commentators writing on Tuesday — the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — say that despite some evidence of progress with the troop surge, the overall US policy in Iraq has failed, and there’s no hope for any true improvement until Bush leaves office…

“Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘The bitter truth is that the US has only very few options, none of them good… Measured in terms of the original plan, the offensive has clearly failed: With additional troops and a changed military strategy, the Americans have managed to significantly reduce the number of attacks in Baghdad; but the expectation that this would pave the way for the big peace settlement among all important Iraqi players hasn’t been fulfilled. The government of national unity has collapsed, and central issues such as the distribution of oil profits remain unsolved. The fighting between Sunnis and Shiites, but also between rival Shiite groups, continues…’

“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘The 9/11 attacks changed the world. But even a changed world finds its own normality. Osama bin Laden is still at large, apparently with a new beard, sending new video messages to mark the anniversary. Al-Qaida still carries out attacks, if not in the United States then in Europe and North Africa.

“‘From President Bush’s point of view, establishing a real democracy in Iraq — and letting the reformed nation serve as a beacon for the rest of the Arab world — is no longer a topic for discussion. The debate is now about how American soldiers might prevent a murderous civil war in the unhappy new nation, and whether they should go on fighting tribal militias and terrorists, or pull out and let the Iraqis fend for themselves…'”

“The US Will Lose the Iraq War Regardless What It Does”

On September 10, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with American military historian Gabriel Kolko. Kolko argues that the situation in Iraq is worse than ever and that the artificial nation, created after World War I, is breaking up. The “surge,” he says, is also failing. He was quoted, as follows:

“The civilian death toll last August was higher than in February. Geopolitically, as Bush senior feared after the first Gulf war in 1990-91, Iran is emerging more powerful than ever, increasingly dominant in the region. The many official Israeli warnings before the war that this would be the outcome of war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power have come true… The Bush Administration suffers from a fatal dilemma. Its Iraq adventure is getting steadily worse, the American people very likely will vote the Republicans out of office because of it, and the war is extremely expensive at a time that the economy is beginning to present it with a major problem. The president’s poll ratings are now the worst since 2001.

“Only 33 percent of the American public approve of his leadership and 58 percent want to decrease the number of American troops immediately or quickly. Fifty-five percent want legislation to set a withdrawal deadline. In Afghanistan, as well, the war against the Taliban is going badly, and the Bush Administration’s dismal effort to use massive American military power to remake the world in a vague, inconsistent way is failing. The US has managed to increasingly alienate its former friends, who now fear its confusion and unpredictability. Above all, the American public is less ready than ever to tolerate Bush’s idiosyncrasies…

“The US is losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the very same reasons it lost… its earlier conflicts. It has the manpower and firepower advantage, as always, but these are ultimately irrelevant in the medium- and long-run… Political conflicts are not solved by military interventions, and that they are often incapable of being resolved by political or peaceful means does not alter the fact that force is dysfunctional. This is truer today than ever with the spread of weapons technology. Washington refuses to heed this lesson of modern history…

“The Army, especially, does not have the manpower for a protracted war and if the US maintains its troop levels after spring 2008, it will face a crisis. It will have to break its pledge not to leave soldiers in Iraq longer than 15 months, accelerate the use of National Guard units, and the like — and it will lose the war regardless of what it does… The Iraqi army and police that are to replace the Americans is heavily infiltrated by Shiites loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr and others — estimates vary, but at least a quarter is wholly unreliable…

“There is utter confusion in Washington about how to end this morass. Goals are similar but the means to attain them are increasingly changing, confused, and as victory becomes more elusive so too does this administration look pathetic… In fact, it is disastrous.”

President Bush to Cut Troops in Iraq

AFP reported on September 12:

 “US President George W. Bush is to announce Thursday a cut of 30,000 soldiers from Iraq by next July and a top Iraqi official said another 30,000 may have gone by the end of 2008. Bush is expected to announce the cut in a televised address to the nation on the unpopular Iraq war…

“The US gradual withdrawal plan did little to appease the powerful Shiite movement led by fiery anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. His movement demanded a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq… Iran, Iraq’s neighbor and a US foe, also dismissed Washington’s strategy…

“More than four years after the US-led invasion, Americans see an Iraq gripped by violence, sectarian strife and political corruption — far from the model of democracy in the Middle East that Bush had touted. Anger is also rising over the cost of the war, with more than 3,700 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis killed since March 2003 and half a trillion dollars spent.”

Europeans Down On America

On September 7, Der Spiegel Online reported the following:

“A new poll released Thursday by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows that Europeans are down on America right now and not seeing light over the horizon. The poll is part of the report ‘Trans-Atlantic Trends 2007’ that surveys 12 European countries in an attempt to gauge feelings about relations between the US and Europe.

“When it comes to Europeans’ views of US President George W. Bush, his war in Iraq, and his foreign policies, 77 percent disapprove of him and his policies, while 17 percent voiced approval. This compares with American views, which show an approval rate of 32 percent and disapproval rate of 63 percent, according to an August survey released by the Gallup Poll…

“To the question of whether relations will improve after the 2008 election, 42 percent of Americans said yes, while only 35 percent of Europeans shared that faith. Almost half of Europeans and more than a third of Americans thought things would stay the same.

“Another poll, released by the BBC on Friday, finds that almost two thirds of the world would like the US-led coalition troops to leave Iraq…”

Stalin No Innocent Victim?–Of Course Not!

On August 31, the Israeli news agency, haaretz.com, wrote the following:

“Mischa Shauli sat at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., completely beside himself. It had been years since the first time he heard about the existence of a document said to prove that Stalin, not Hitler, bore the main responsibility for World War II, and for years he had searched for it with all his skills as a professional detective. Shauli’s last position was as Commander Shauli, Representative of the Israel Police in Russia. Previous to that he had been head of the police fraud investigation unit for the Southern District.

“A few years ago Shauli read ‘Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War,’ by Bogdan Rozen. Rozen, who now lives in England, wrote it under the pseudonym of Viktor Suvorov. Shauli, impressed by the book, translated it into Hebrew and saw to its publication here.

“From out of the sea of details, a coherent thesis emerges: Stalin dragged Hitler into war to force Europe into chaos and facilitate a communist revolution on the continent. According to Shauli, there is evidence to back up this theory, including a speech by Stalin himself as well as a report obtained by the U.S. Consulate in Prague. The report has been mentioned here and there over the years, but it has never been published, because no one knows where it is today.

“Shauli, 59, believed that the definitive evidence was out there, hiding somewhere. He believed, and did not give up, repeatedly setting out to find it, going as far as Washington. No one is happier than he is today: The document is in his possession, and now the history of World War II may have to be rewritten: It was Stalin’s fault.”

The article continued to state that the authenticity of the document must still be verified. However, as “big” of a news item as this might be presented, it isn’t really “news” at all for many who have studied the history of World War II. It has been long known that BOTH STALIN AND HITLER prepared for war and an attack against each other. It was just a question of timing–who would first be ready to attack? Even though they entered into a “non-aggression pact,” both leaders felt that the treaty was not worth the paper it was written on.

We should also understand that the events leading to and occurring during World War II serve as a prelude to what we can expect to happen in the near future, at the time of the tenth and last resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire, which became known–due to its alliance with the Roman Catholic Church– as the “Holy Roman Empire.” We read in Daniel 11:40-43 that the final military leader of the future United States of Europe–called the “king of the north” or the “beast”–will invade many countries in the Middle East–as Hitler and Mussolini did in World War II. He will also occupy Jerusalem–something which Hitler and Mussolini WANTED to do, but were unable to. We also read, in Daniel 11:44, that “news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.”

That is exactly what Hitler did, when he received reports from Russia that Stalin was building a great army with the goal to attack Poland and ultimately Austria and Germany. These FACTS are well known by historians. The Bible says that something very similar will happen again regarding a United States of Europe and a Far Eastern power bloc under Russian and Chinese leadership. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Ex-German Chancellor Warns EU on Russia Summit

The EUObserver wrote on September 10:

“German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has urged EU powers to stop backing Poland on trade and to counter US missile shield plans, or risk another unfriendly summit with Russia next month. Speaking to press at a book-launch in Moscow on Saturday (8 September), he described Poland’s outstanding veto on a new EU-Russia treaty as ‘narrow-minded nationalism’ and called the US missile scheme ‘politically dangerous.’… ‘It is Germany’s responsibility…to persuade the United States to abandon these plans,’ he added…

“Russian first deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev – also attending the book-launch – echoed the statement, saying it addresses ‘real worries’ that Germany is no longer a ‘bridge’ in east-west relations.

“Mr Schroeder led Germany from 1998 to 2005, becoming a personal friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin and later taking a job in the Kremlin’s giant energy corporation, Gazprom. At the last EU-Russia summit in May, current German chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Commission voiced solidarity with Poland and criticised Russia on human rights.

“The next summit, to be held in Mafra, Portugal on 26 October, comes amid other complications such as Moscow’s opposition to Kosovo independence, the Litvinenko spy row and aggressive posturing by the Russian air force… Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt hinted at deeper problems, saying ‘Everybody agrees that at the moment we don’t have a strategic relationship with Russia.'”

Putin Dismisses His Prime Minister and Government

AFP reported on September 12:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed his prime minister and government Wednesday, paving the way for the Kremlin leader to handpick a successor when he steps down next year. The resignation of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and the entire cabinet came three months before parliamentary elections and less than six months ahead of a presidential poll to replace Putin… Not one big beast of Russian politics has thrown his hat in the ring for the March 2, 2008 election, making it difficult to predict who will head the world’s leading energy producer and nuclear-weapons superpower — a process that can resemble Soviet-era ‘Kremlinology’… For many, Kremlinology remains as murky as the days when the line-up of leaders at Red Square parades was scrutinised for clues to politburo policy.”

The Associated Press added on September 12:

“After dismissing Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov — triggering the government’s automatic dissolution — Putin explained the shakeup was required to ‘prepare the country’ for forthcoming elections… Putin is wildly popular among Russians, having brought stability and relative prosperity after the often chaotic presidency of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. As a result, whoever is nominated for the presidency by Putin is expected to win easily.”

Militant Islamic Group Claims Responsibility for Attempted Terror Attacks in Germany

Der Spiegel Online reported on September 12:

“The German government is taking seriously claims by a militant Islamic group that it was behind a foiled terror plot. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday that an Internet announcement by the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) that it had plotted to bomb US and Uzbek targets in Germany was being treated as genuine. Three men were arrested on Sept. 4 in Germany on suspicion of planning to attack US and other facilities.

“Now the authorities know that the specific targets were the US military air base at Ramstein and US and Uzbek consular facilities in Germany, and that the attacks were to have been carried out at the end of 2007. The aim of the planned bombings was to put pressure on Germany to close its air base at Termez, Uzbekistan, near the Afghan border. The base provides logistical support to the 3,000 German soldiers serving with NATO forces in… Afghanistan.

“The IJU message was published at around 5 p.m. C.E.T. on Tuesday on a Web site that has been used by the group before. German intelligence agents quickly translated the announcement, which was in Turkish… The IJU is listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department and is described as an off-shoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It is thought to have been behind the 2004 bombings directed at the US and Israeli embassies in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. Uzbek militants have been establishing a presence in northern Pakistan in recent years.

“The three suspects arrested last week — Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider, both German converts to Islam, and Adem Yilmaz, a Turkish man living in Germany — are all thought to have trained in camps in Pakistan and to have formed an IJU cell in Germany.

“Anti-terror investigators had been monitoring the men for months after the CIA alerted the German authorities in autumn 2006 to a possible plot after intercepting emails between Pakistan and Germany. Hundreds of police officers were involved in one of the biggest surveillance operations in post-war German history.

“The authorities knew that the men were living in a rented vacation house in the village of Oberschledorn and had obtained 730 kilograms of 35-percent hydrogen peroxide, enough to make massive bombs. But when local village police stopped the suspects for a traffic violation, they became jittery. The authorities decided it was time to move in and arrest the three men…

“The fact that two of the terror suspects were German has raised fears of home-grown terrorism and led for calls for increased monitoring of converts to Islam. Deputy CDU floor leader Wolfgang Bosbach has even called for a register of all converts to Islam. He told the Bayerische Rundfunk radio station on Tuesday that this would make sense ‘as we know that some who convert become radicalized. That does not mean a general suspicion, just a defense against danger.’

“The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Ayyub Axel Köhler — a convert himself — warned against overreacting. ‘Where would the country drift towards if there were a converts register?’ he said, adding that Muslims were ‘reliable partners in word and deed in the fight against terrorism.'”

German Hypocrisy and Short-Sightedness

A recent example of hypocrisy and short-sightedness in German politics and the German media serves to illustrate what the utterance of “politically incorrect” opinions can do to prominent celebrities in a “free” country. However, the German people are getting sick and tired of such occurrences, and it stands to reason that they will soon show their frustrations in different ways.

On September 10, Der Spiegel Online reported the following:

“Eva Herman, a prominent talk show host and author, has been courting controversy over the last year by saying women should stay at home and bear children. Now she has been FIRED by the country’s premier TV network” over comments she made regarding the Third Reich.

This is what Herman said:

“‘It was a gruesome time with a totally crazy and highly dangerous leader who led the Germans into ruin as we all know. But there was at the time also something good, and that is the values, that is the children, that is the families, that is a togetherness — it was all abolished [in the 1960’s], there was nothing left.'”

Der Spiegel Online mentioned that “Herman told Bild newspaper… that she couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. ‘I expressly distanced myself from the “Third Reich” at several points. One has to put my statement into its overall context. This isn’t about Hitler’s values, but about basic human values… Those who know me and read the book know that I fundamentally reject far-left and far-right parties.'”

Herman’s stance against right-winged parties and Hitler in general is very well known in Germany. However, just to suggest that anything good might have happened during the Hitler era was already too much to accept for the German press and German politicians. In addition, feminists attacked Herman, and so did Jewish leaders and representatives who were also board members of the TV station which fired Herman.

What a foolish and short-sighted reaction–even from an historical perspective. If EVERYTHING had been bad, then Hitler would have not been elected by the Germans. And so we will see that another charismatic political and military leader will emerge in Europe–and people will actually WORSHIP him. However, he will arise because of the power of Satan (Revelation 13:4; 2 Corinthians 11:14)! Satan is transforming himself into an “angel of light”–thereby DECEIVING the masses (Revelation 12:9).

Britain’s Coming Credit Crisis

Der Spiegel Online wrote on September 7:

“Could any country be more exposed to the current credit crunch than the U.S.? You bet, and that place is Britain. Unlike most of its European neighbors, Britain shares many of America’s financial traits–and problems. Access to cheap credit has fueled a decade of unprecedented growth, with home prices tripling over the past decade, a faster rise than in the U.S. Consumer spending has skyrocketed, now making up roughly two-thirds of the country’s total outlays. And the overall economy in Britain is more dependent on financial services than it is in the States.

“Add it all up, and ‘Britain is likely to suffer more severely than the U.S.’ if the current market turmoil continues, says Danny Gabay, director of Fathom Financial Consulting in London. How severely? Gabay and many other economists think annual growth in Britain could drop to about half the 3% or so it has clocked in recent years.

“Roughly half of Britain’s growth in the last 18 months has come from financial and business services–everything from accounting and legal advice to real estate. Together these sectors bring in 30% of Britain’s national income, far more than in the U.S., says Peter Spencer, an economics professor at the University of York. If a fall-off in financial services were to put the brakes on leveraged buyouts, mergers, acquisitions, and offerings of credit derivatives, thousands of jobs could be lost, primarily at banks, brokerages, and other financial outfits, the Centre for Economics & Business Research Ltd. estimates.

“… British consumers owe $2.7 trillion on credit cards, mortgages, and other consumer loans–or more than the country’s entire economic output. Household debt as a percentage of gross disposable income is 166%, compared with 127% in the U.S. So it’s hardly surprising that in the past year, British banks have had to write off $18 billion in bad debts, mostly consumer borrowing. Such write-offs could be just the beginning if housing prices start to fall. Despite little growth in incomes, consumer spending has remained strong as Britons have borrowed against the rising value of their homes… With the average home now costing $370,000–roughly 11 times the average salary–housing is less affordable than at any time in the past 15 years… Foreclosures and personal bankruptcies are up by 30% in the first half of 2007, compared with the same period last year. Says Jamie Dannhauser, an economist at Lombard Street Research in London: ‘The pain is only going to get worse.'”

Britain in Moral Decline

The Daily Mail wrote on September 8:

“Four out of five Britons think the nation is in moral decline, according to a poll published yesterday… The findings from the survey, which was carried out for the BBC, highlight growing worries over social breakdown and rising levels of crime… Most of those questioned thought the retreat of religious belief was a factor in moral decline… This week Church of England leaders expressed alarm over the moral direction of the Government, complaining that proposed equality laws will suppress religious belief and stop Christians from expressing their views.”

Ethiopia Celebrates Third Millennium

AFP reported on September 12:

“Ethiopia entered the third millennium seven years after the rest of the world Wednesday, amid lavish celebrations, religious fervor and messages of hope from the troubled country’s leaders. As the giant countdown board in central Addis Ababa flashed the year 2000 at midnight (2100 GMT), thousands of faithful from all over Ethiopia — which follows a unique, slightly modified Julian calendar — gathered in churches… Several heads of state also attended the ceremony, including Sudan’s Omar al-Beshir, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki…

“Ethiopia is the ONLY AFRICAN NATION NEVER TO HAVE BEEN COLONISED and is fiercely nationalistic, but the celebrations could not completely conceal the country’s divisions. Ethiopia was one of the first Christian kingdoms in history but around half of its current population of 81 million is Muslim and the millennium buzz was lost on many.”

Der Spiegel Online added on September 12:

“According to their unique Coptic calendar, which lags seven years behind the more common Gregorian calendar, Wednesday marks the first day of 2000… Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said… ‘A thousand years from now, when Ethiopians gather to welcome the fourth millennium… [they] will say that the eve of the third millennium was the beginning of the end of the dark ages in Ethiopia.'”

Christian Confusion Galore!!!

Zenit wrote on September 9:

“Going to Sunday Mass is not just a rule to follow, but rather an ‘inner necessity,’ [said] Benedict XVI… during the Mass he celebrated at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, on the last day of his three-day apostolic trip to Austria… The [Pope’s] homily centered on the mantra of the early Christian martyrs of Abitene: ‘Without Sunday we cannot live.’… Sunday, said the Pontiff, also calls to mind the day of the dawning of creation. He said: ‘Therefore Sunday is also the Church’s weekly feast of creation — the feast of thanksgiving and joy over God’s creation.’

In what way, may we ask, does Sunday picture a feast of creation? God made man and created the SABBATH for man (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath is to be kept from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. And we are commanded in the Ten Commandments to keep the SABBATH holy–no word about Sunday!

The Denver Journal, Vol. 10, August 2007 edition, only added to the confusion, when it reported, with approval, about the new book by Pope Benedict XVI, formerly known as Cardinal Ratzinger, as follows:

“In this context, Ratzinger interacts in detail with Jacob Neusner’s excellent little work, A Rabbi Talks with Jesus. Neusner has hit the nail on the head. Jesus’ program is more than a reformation or restoration of Judaism; it involves the recurring claim that all meaningful rituals and Laws of the Hebrew Scriptures are fulfilled in him. Christ is the true Sabbath offering eternal rest. Jesus’ community of disciples forms the new Israel and his true family. One obeys the Law by following Jesus, free from the responsibility to literally perform the 613 commandments of Torah. Neusner correctly recognizes that only one who is God has the right to make such claims of people, but he cannot accept Jesus’ deity. Ratzinger insists on it.”

This is incredible! Jesus became the “true Sabbath”–therefore, the Fourth Commandment does not need to be obeyed anymore??? What kind of a rationale is that? And WHERE does the Bible say that Jesus became the “true Sabbath?” Nowhere! Rather, we are told that Jesus is the LORD of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). Therefore, the Sabbath–not Sunday–is His day and MUST be kept today by His true followers. The allegation that we don’t need to keep anymore the “613 commandments of the Torah”–the LAW or the five books of Moses–is ludicrous. It would reject ALL of the Ten Commandments, as they are all found among the “613 commandments of the Torah” (compare Genesis 20; Deuteronomy 5). So, are we being taught now that NONE of the Ten Commandments are to be kept today? Are we now free to kill, steal, commit adultery, dishonor our parents, or lust after other people or things?

For a TRUE understanding of God’s requirements for us today, please read our free booklets, “And Lawlessness Will Abound,” and “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”

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I understand that you teach that Christians, serving on a jury, can only convict an accused if at least two eye witnesses testify against him. But doesn't modern science, such as evidence based on DNA or fingerprints, render that ancient Biblical command obsolete, which was given at a time when people had no concepts of modern scientific advancements?

First of all, our stance against serving on a jury is based on many Biblical passages, not just on the requirement of two eye witnesses. Even if two honest eye witnesses were available to testify against an accused, a true Christian should still not participate in the jury system of this world. For a further in-depth discussion of this vital question, please read our Q&A’s in Updates #289 and #66.

In Update #66, we state, indeed, the following, after having discussed numerous additional principles prohibiting true Christians to serve on a jury:

“In following the biblical injunctions, one could not convict a person, in any event, unless the accusation is supported by the testimony of at least two witnesses (John 8:16; Deuteronomy 17:6-7). Since the witnesses would have to ‘cast the first stones,’ circumstantial evidence would not be sufficient, under God’s law, for the requirement of two witnesses.
“Since we may be required, as a juror, to apply man’s laws in conflict with the law of God, we could not take the oath as a juror, as we would, in principle, agree to obeying man rather than God (Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19).”

Far from being obsolete in this advanced scientific age, the Godly requirement of two eye witnesses is still very much applicable–as distinguished from witnesses giving “hearsay” testimony or just convicting someone based on circumstantial evidence. Let us note the exact Biblical instructions:

Deuteronomy 17:6-7 reads:

“Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall NOT be put to death on the testimony of one witness. The hands of the witnesses shall be THE FIRST AGAINST HIM to put him to death; and afterward the hand of the people. So shall you put away the evil from among you.”

Numbers 35:30 confirms that one witness was not enough to convict a person. The requirement of two or three witnesses was not limited to capital criminal cases. Deuteronomy 19:15 says: “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning ANY sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”

This Old Testament law, which is based on a sound Godly principle, has been reconfirmed in many New Testament passages, including Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19; and Hebrews 10:28.

The accusing witnesses had to cast the first stones on the convicted offender. This was for the purpose of protecting the innocent–so that a witness had to be very careful in his testimony, lest an innocent person be convicted. In addition, if the innocence of a person accused by false witnesses should come to light, the accusing witnesses had to be stoned themselves (Deuteronomy 19:16-21).

None of these safeguard provisions are in any way applicable to “scientific evidence.” We need to understand that the idea that a jury may reach a conviction based on “scientific evidence,” is a misconception. Rather, a jury may decide to convict someone based on the testimony of so-called scientific experts who explain to the judge and the jury how they evaluate and interpret the “scientific evidence.” But more often than not, the testimony of several scientific experts does not harmonize. Depending on whether the scientific experts have been provided and paid by the prosecution or the defense, their testimony may differ greatly.

In a much popularized case in San Diego, California, scientific experts for the prosecution and the defense were asked to testify about the time when the murder of a young child had taken place. Their testimony, based on scientific evidence, differed greatly. The expert paid for by the prosecution prevailed with his opinion–but who is to say that his opinion was correct, and that the evaluation of the defense’s scientific expert was incorrect? And what legal mechanism exists to hold the scientific expert liable and accountable in the unlikely event that it should ever be clearly established that his testimony was incorrect? Basically, none whatsoever.

For many years, fingerprints were considered the “non-plus-ultra” scientific evidence. But then it happened that an innocent attorney was accused of a crime, due to fingerprints allegedly identifying him as the perpetrator, until it was proven beyond any doubt that he could not have been involved. But the wrong evaluation of the evidence, based on the “scientific evidence” of “his” incriminating fingerprints, was never clarified or detracted.

Also, for many years, evidence is being derived at from the evaluation of guns and bullets, to ascertain, whether a particular bullet was fired from a particular gun. Again, this is being looked upon by many as iron-clad scientific evidence — but recently, serious doubts have been raised in the judicial and legal community about the fool-proof “accuracy” of such evidence.

Today, many think that DNA-evidence has replaced the need for eye witnesses! But has it? Who is to say? And who is to be held accountable for false scientific testimony of “scientific experts”? Several years ago, a prominent and well-known person was acquitted in a criminal case because the DNA evidence was allegedly not sufficient. Later, he was found liable in a civil wrongful death action, based on the same evidence, but based on different legal standards.

God knew, in His wisdom, why He required the testimony of two EYE WITNESSES to guarantee righteous judgments. We must also not forget that at the time of Old Testament Israel, the nation was a theocracy. It was ruled directly by God, and God saw to it that no injustice would be carried out. He even instituted certain procedures, involving accusations of adultery, that required His direct intervention to make manifest the innocence or guilt of a person (Numbers 5:11-31).

But when there was insufficient evidence, the accused had to be acquitted. When there were no witnesses, a person could not even be accused and brought before a judge. Today, it seems that many times, even if there is much doubt, the accused is still convicted and condemned–and if it is a case involving a celebrity, he is, quite often, “tried” and “convicted” and “condemned” in the court of public opinion, before he has ever seen an “impartial” jury.

This is not God’s world, which, far too often, condemns the innocent and acquits the guilty. We are ambassadors of a better world to come, when true justice, fairness and equity will prevail for all.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our Festival Brochure for the Feast of Tabernacles 2007 in Oregon has been completed and will be distributed to Feast attendees upon their arrival at the Feast site. It has also been posted on the Web.

A new StandingWatch program (#137) has been posted on Google Video and on our Website. It is titled, “Are Ghosts for Real?” In the program, Norbert Link addresses the question whether apparitions and ghost sightings are proof for the existence of ghosts of departed ones, or whether other explanations are possible.

Our Internet ad campaign for our booklet, “Mysteries of the Bible,” which we are running in Canada, has produced so far 28 requests from Nigeria, 1 request from Malaysia, 5 requests from Ghana, and 59 requests from Canada.

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

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