Update 397


The Last Days…

by Norbert Link

It seems that men at all times believed that they were living in the “last days.”

The early apostles thought for a while that Christ would return during their lifetime. When the Vandals sacked Rome in the mid-fifth century, many believed the end of the world had arrived. In the late ninth century, the fall of the last Carolingians and of the Roman Empire that Charles the Great had restored brought confirmation for some of a looming end. When Otto III was crowned emperor in 996, many felt that the end would come during his reign, apparently in 1,000 A.D. Martin Luther believed he was living in the last days. One of his followers, Michael Stiefel, computed the Day of Judgment for 8:00 a.m. on October 9, 1533.

The belief in Christ’s imminent return was so strong under Oliver Cromwell, that the English government made it a criminal offense, after Cromwell was gone, to speculate publicly about the Second Coming. Isaac Newton believed that Christ’s return would occur by the end of the 17th century. William Miller predicted that Christ would return in 1844. Many Germans believed that the Last Judgment would occur in 1890, and Charles Russell claimed it would occur in 1914, then in 1918, and then in 1925. His followers and others predicted it would occur in 1975. Islamic numerologists calculated that the end of the world would come in 2001.

Why, then, would today be any different? Can we be sure that the “end time” has indeed come upon us? If so, what does this mean for us?

Of course, we are not to set dates or even SUGGEST dates for Christ’s return. The Bible tells us that only the Father knows the exact day and hour of the Second Coming (Matthew 24:36). Nevertheless, God gave us many prophecies which must be fulfilled just prior to Christ’s return, and which indicate that the time is near (compare Matthew 24:32-33).

Among many other criteria, Christ referred to events that would give rise to religious deception, national and international wars, terrorism, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves, famines, pestilences and pandemics. But one might respond: Man has witnessed these phenomena many times before. This is true, but Christ gave us additional end-time prophecies which must be understood in conjunction with those we just mentioned. And many of those prophecies were never fulfilled in prior generations, nor could they have been!

For instance, think of the tenth and LAST military, economic, political and religious revival of the ancient Roman Empire in Europe which is developing now–and recognize the fact that nine prior revivals have already occurred. This FINAL and LAST revival began its course in 1957, with the Treaty of Rome, which “explicitly linked the Common Market with the ancient Roman Empire” (Eugen Weber, Apocalypses, page 204, copyright 1999).

Consider the coming “Great Tribulation”–a time unparalleled in scope and magnitude in human history–a time when human annihilation would be made possible through the use of horrific weapons of mass destruction–weapons that did not even exist until recently.

Realize the likelihood of a coming war in the Middle East, involving and directed against the state of Israel, and the invasion of the Holy Land through EUROPEAN armies to suppress Jewish sacrifices; think of the downfall of the United States and other English-speaking nations, be it economically, politically and even militarily; and consider the important fact that the TRUE gospel of the KINGDOM of God is being preached in ALL THE WORLD as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14)–something which was hardly possible before the invention of the highly sophisticated technical means of our 20th and 21th centuries.

Add to this the rotten and ungodly societies which we are living in today. James 5:1-3 speaks of unscrupulous rich people, taking advantage of the poor, who “have heaped up treasure in the last day.” True, past generations lamented about the deterioration of the society in their times, but how much worse can it really get, today? We are told that the last days will be as the days of Noah, just before the Flood came and took them all away!

How accurate is Paul’s description of the people in our “perilous” times, as prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:1-5! Notice: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money… proud, blasphemers… unthankful… unloving, unforgiving, slanderers… headstrong… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power…” Headstrong and proud scientists and would-be “intellectuals” scream out their belief in the myth of the Theory of Evolution and become ANGRY and HATEFUL when someone dares to question their ungodly postulations.

What about Peter’s description of the prevailing attitude of Bible-defying people in the last days? Here is his prophecy, in 2 Peter 3:3: “… scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming…?'”

We are warned that even in the Church of God, these kinds of people would arise in the last days. Jude said in verses 18-19 that “there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” 1 John 2:18-19 added that many antichrists would come in the last hour who “went out from us, but they were not of us.” How many seemingly true Christians have left the Body of Christ in recent years, following idle tales and fables of human imaginations and philosophies!

One point of extreme importance is Christ’s warning and admonition, as recorded in Matthew 10:22 and 24:13: “But he who endures to the END shall be saved.” Whether you apply this to the end of this evil world or age, or whether you look at this as the end of your personal life–you must endure until that end comes. Many did not endure. They gave up. They did not “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:6; compare Hebrews 3:14; 6:11). They returned to the world and the worldly ways of life from which God had delivered them.

We are not called to change the WORLD now–but rather, to COME OUT of this world and allow God to change US. But the time will come when we WILL BE given opportunity to help bring about real and true change in the world TOMORROW–to show mankind a better way of life. Christ tells us in Revelation 2:26: “But he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.” 

When you understand that “the end of all things is at hand,” you need to “be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins'” (1 Peter 4:7-8).

We must endure to the end–never giving up–never returning to this world which awaits its soon-coming destruction. The realization that we ARE living today in the last days–the days of the end–must be of tremendous meaning and importance for us. It must motivate us to change and purify ourselves (1 John 3:1-3). It must motivate us to continue and persevere (Luke 21:28)–knowing that the Lord is “at hand” (Philippians 4:5), and that He is “coming quickly… to give everyone according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

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General Motor’s long-expected, government-induced filing for bankruptcy dominated much of this week’s news. The horrendous additional costs for American taxpayers and the more-than-doubtful success of the measure has many critics in arms. The German press in particular blasted Mr. Obama for his ill-advised and “alarming” action and pointed at America’s “weakened industrial clout,” which “poses considerable risks for the entire US economy and for international competitors.”

German papers overwhelmingly agreed that “America’s economy is losing power and influence in the world,” and if Mr. Obama’s restructuring of GM fails (as many commentators fear that it will), “his economic policy will lie in ruins.”

The U.S. economy is indeed in shambles, mirroring the fact that California is already “bankrupt.” As USA Today reported, the government took on $6.8 trillion in new obligations in 2008, pushing the total owed to a record $63.8 trillion. When US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at Beijing University that “Chinese financial assets are very safe” in the USA, the audience laughed him to scorn.

On the political front, President Obama gave his highly anticipated speech in Cairo, but what did it accomplish? So far, as a Financial Times’ article points out, Mr. Obama’s approach on the world scene has been unsuccessful. However, it is interesting that the White House has begun to emphasize more and more President Obama’s Muslim roots. And while Israel is preparing for war and European elections for the EU Parliament are under way, Germany and France are pleading for a “strong Europe,” stating that it must have “strong institutions” to “play a leading role in the world.”

President Obama’s America and Chancellor Merkel’s Germany do not see eye to eye at all. Even though Germans are still today less than enthusiastic about German military advancements in other countries, the Bible prophesied thousands of years ago that a European army, under German leadership, will invade the Middle East, and, even more surprisingly, perhaps, that an all-encompassing war will ensue between continental Europe and Great Britain and the USA. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy,” “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.” Further information on this topic can also be found in our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”

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GM Files for Bankruptcy, Costing Taxpayers $100 Billion

The Wall Street Journal wrote on June 2:

“General Motors Corp. became the second-largest industrial bankruptcy in history Monday as it filed its landmark case… The government-orchestrated shrinkage will cost taxpayers $30 billion, on top of $20 billion in U.S. funds already put into the company. In exchange, the U.S. will own 60% of the new GM. In all, the rescue of the car industry could cost taxpayers close to $100 billion.”

GM Bankruptcy Plans Would Extinguish Certain Auto Accident Claims

The Hill wrote on June 3:

“Consumer groups and trial lawyers are crying foul over the Obama administration’s bankruptcy plans for General Motors and Chrysler. Those plans would extinguish all ongoing auto accident claims that blame a death or serious injury on a defective GM or Chrysler vehicle… those claims must be made against the old GM company after bankruptcy, meaning people with the claims will need to stand in line with other unsecured creditors to seek compensation from the old company’s remains… The new GM that arises out of bankruptcy will not be liable for those claims.”

German Reactions to GM Bankruptcy–“Not Much Hope” for Obama’s America

Der Spiegel Online reported on June 2:

“The insolvency of General Motors shows America’s weakening industrial clout and poses major risks not just for the economy but for Barack Obama, write German media commentators. If the planned restructuring of the automaker fails, his economic policy will lie in ruins, they say…

“German media commentators say GM’s insolvency marks further proof of American’s waning economic influence in the world, and they express concern that Obama’s administration, despite its assurances that it won’t interfere in GM’s business, will distort competition by running the firm according to political rather than market principles.

“Business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘America’s economy is losing power and influence in the world. It’s a creeping process… which began with the relocation of textile production to Asia and then pushed steel producers, tire plants and many other industries out of the country… [It] has plunged the country’s political leaders into increasing despair. How else can one interpret the gigantic rescue operation for GM that will end in the nationalization of the biggest auto company in a country that has always hailed itself as the paragon of capitalism?…’

“Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘The restructuring of the group will turn into a political drama. That creates considerable risks for the entire US economy, but also for international competitors operating in the American auto market. The restructuring of GM will be extremely expensive for the American taxpayer, $50 billion could disappear into a black hole…’

“Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘If Obama fails in his attempt to save America’s automobile industry, his economic policy will lie in ruins… In the nationalized General Motors, serious conflicts of interest are unavoidable…’

“Conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘The insolvency of General Motors is a historic moment for America. June 1 also marks the day on which Barack Obama rewrote the rules of American capitalism. It’s an alarming development. The government’s insistence that it’s a reluctant shareholder which will play a largely passive role in General Motors doesn’t seem very credible. That’s already clear from the list of principles it has compiled for its handling of future stakes in private companies. The government says it will give companies leeway but at the same time cited a number of cases in which it would intervene in corporate management.

“‘In fact Barack Obama has shown in the case of General Motors and Chrysler that he’s prepared to play a very active role. He dictated very unattractive debt reduction terms for creditors and then labelled them as speculators. Who is going to lend a government-owned company money in the future if they’re treated like that?… General Motors mustn’t become a pawn of American political forces. Barack Obama’s actions so far don’t inspire much hope.'”

U.S. Nationalizations of Companies and Industries

The Associated Press reported on June 2:

“The U.S. assumption of a controlling interest in General Motors Corp. isn’t the first time the government has nationalized a company or an industry. It has taken shares in banks, railways, steel mills, coal mines and foreclosed homes. Most nationalizations were during wartime. But the current financial crisis has generated more than a few.

“Last year, the government took effective control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It stopped short of nationalizing insurance giant American International Group, but forced a major restructuring and leadership change with a $180 billion taxpayer bailout.

“… nearly 600 banks nationwide have received a total of $199.2 billion under the government’s $700 billion bailout fund… In 2001, the airport security industry was nationalized under the Transportation Security Administration as a response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“Under terms of a proposed bankruptcy agreement, the U.S. and Canadian governments will own nearly 75 percent of General Motors, with the U.S. holding a 60 percent controlling stake and Canada with 12.5 percent… Existing stockholders would be wiped out…”

Unprecedented U.S. Debt

USA Today reported on May 29:

“Taxpayers are on the hook for an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year for retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises… That’s the biggest leap in the long-term burden on taxpayers since a Medicare prescription drug benefit was added in 2003.

“The latest increase raises federal obligations to a record $546,668 per household in 2008… That’s quadruple what the average U.S. household owes for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt combined… Bottom line: The government took on $6.8 trillion in new obligations in 2008, pushing the total owed to a record $63.8 trillion.”

Chinese Laugh at Geithner

BBC News reported on June 1:

“US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner… is on his first official visit to China, the biggest foreign investor in US treasury bonds… he said the US and China must work together to fix the global economic system [and]… that the US would move swiftly to get its debt under control.

“In a speech at Beijing University… Mr Geithner reassured his Chinese hosts that they need not worry about the estimated $770bn (£475bn) they have invested in US treasuries… ‘Chinese financial assets are very safe,’ he said, drawing laughter from the audience…”

California Bankrupt

The Chronicle Sacramento Bureau reported on May 22:

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s finance officials, faced with a growing budget gap, Thursday unveiled more ways to cut spending by doing away with a popular health care program for children, welfare payments to poor families and grants to university students. Funding for state parks also could end up on the chopping block, the officials said.

“The cuts were proposed as additional ways to save money after the governor said he is reconsidering his plan to borrow $5.5 billion in short-term loans from Wall Street to close what he estimates will be a $21.3 billion deficit through June 2010…

“Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, an advocacy group, called Schwarzenegger’s additional spending cuts ‘insanity’… Wright said eliminating programs such as Healthy Families, which provides health care to nearly 1 million children of poor families, would also result in California turning away billions of dollars in federal matching funds…”

British Catholic Adoption Societies Under Fire

Mail-On-Line wrote on June 3:

“Catholic adoption societies which refuse to offer children to gay couples face closure following a tribunal yesterday. Judges ruled in a test case that the charities, which find homes for hundreds of children each year, will be breaking the law if they refuse to accept same-sex couples as adoptive parents.

“The ruling means some Catholic agencies face a choice between abandoning their adoption services or their religious principles… In its appeal, the Catholic Care charity… said that the right to discriminate against homosexual couples was ‘a principle of a Catholic organisation.'”

Merkel and Obama Not Close Friends…

Der Spiegel wrote on June 3:

“Barack Obama is only passing through Germany on his trip to Europe later this week and does not plan to hold substantial talks with Angela Merkel. The White House views the chancellor as difficult and Germany is increasingly being left out of the loop…

“Even before his inauguration, Merkel made clear that Obama shouldn’t expect much by way of additional military aid from Germany for his theaters of war. Now the US is largely taking care of the deployment of troops in Afghanistan itself, and it is currently dispatching 21,000 additional soldiers… Berlin has categorically rejected missions in the dangerous south, where many British, Canadian and American soldiers are dying.

“… all the major German parties in Berlin want little to do with Pakistan, currently the hottest front in the battle against terror… In America’s view, Germany is opening up its pocketbooks in an attempt to buy its way out of the responsibilities it should be sharing with other Western countries… Nor can Obama hope for much help from Merkel in closing the controversial Guantanamo prison camp… Germany’s interior minister… is so far refusing to accept Guantanamo prisoners in Germany…

“In the eyes of the Americans, though, Merkel’s worst failure was during the early days of the financial crisis… Washington has not forgotten how [Merkel] thwarted the US Treasury’s attempts to solve the crisis within the forum of the G-20. The Chancellery instead used diplomatic channels to push for a meeting of G-8 states. The thinking in Berlin was that Germany would have had more influence over G-8 decisions. And that would have meant that China, the world’s third largest economy and the US’s biggest creditor, would not have been involved. However, the US regarded Germany’s stance as unacceptable both economically and politically. In the end Berlin had to back down.”

Germans Rediscover Sense of Patriotism–With Limits…

Welt On Line wrote on May 18:

“As Germany celebrates 60 years as a democracy and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germans are rediscovering a sense of patriotism and are no longer ashamed to wave their flag and sing the national anthem. They are even daring to discuss bringing back a bravery medal, unthinkable a decade ago in a country which rejected militarism and turned fiercely pacifist. This year, after six decades atoning for the crimes of the Nazis, a non-aggressive self confidence, also evident in a more assertive foreign policy, is increasingly manifesting itself as Germany…

“The nation startled itself during the 2006 soccer World Cup tournament, when millions of people painted flags on their faces, wearing red, gold and black hats and chanting the national anthem. Younger generations seem to be particularly relaxed…

“However, there are limits to the newfound pride. While Germans feel close to the fatherland, they lack a sense of duty towards it… only 14 percent of Germans are prepared to die for their country, far fewer than in such countries as the United States and Britain. And while Germans want their politicians to be more assertive, they are still nervous about flexing military muscle.”

Merkel and Sarkozy Want Strong Europe

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 1:

“The German and French leaders issued a joint plea to voters to turn out this week for the European parliamentary elections. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy said they wanted a ‘strong Europe’ in order to weather the difficult times… The two conservative leaders emphasized the role the EU can play in regulating the financial sector…

“The pair also gave strong backing to the Lisbon Treaty… ‘Europe must play a leading role in the world,’ they wrote. ‘For that, it must have efficient institutions.’ The treaty aims to streamline Europe’s institutions and decision-making processes and could be ratified later this year if Ireland supports it in a second referendum expected to be held in the autumn.

“The two leaders, both known opponents to Turkey’s membership of the bloc, reaffirmed that stance, albeit without naming the country…”

European Elections Under Way

On June 4, Deutsche Welle reported the following:

“Voters in Britain and the Netherlands are heading to the polls on Thursday to kick off elections for the European Parliament. In four days of voting, about 375 million people will [be] eligible to cast their ballots across the 27 member states in what will be the world’s second-largest election after India’s… There are concerns however in Brussels over voters tending to focus on the performances of their national governments rather than on European issues…

“In the case of Britain this is likely to mean that the ruling Labour Party will suffer a serious setback. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is struggling to assert his authority amid a scandal over MPs’ expense claims and Labour is expected to bear the brunt of public outrage. Brown himself is under mounting pressure to step down. Several government ministers have already resigned over the issue… public outrage over the expenses scandal is also expected to boost the performance of fringe and extremist parties due to protest votes. The anti-EU UK Independence Party is expected to do well and the far-right British National Party could win its first seat in the European Parliament.

“In the Netherlands, the far right Freedom Party under Geert Wilders is also expected to increase its support. There are 736 seats up for grabs and each of the 27 EU member states sends a different number of MEPs to the parliament in Strasbourg. Germany, with the biggest population, gets the most – 99 – while Malta will have just 5. Each country is to hold its own elections for the parliament and near-complete results won’t be known until late on Sunday when the last polling stations close.

“Voter turnout has dropped steadily since the first European elections in 1979 and opinion polls suggest that this year will follow that trend with a new record low despite the increasing importance of EU legislation for the member states… Today approximately 75 percent of European Union legislation is decided by the European Parliament together with the council of ministers.”

Israel Prepares for War

CNN wrote on May 31:

“Israel started its biggest emergency drill in the nation’s history Sunday to prepare civilians, soldiers and rescue crews for the possibility of war… The five-day drill… comes amid the nation’s rising tensions with Iran…

“The Israeli government considers Iran’s nuclear program as the dominant threat facing the country… An Israeli poll released this month found that 74 percent believe that the U.S. policy of engagement with Iran will fail and 81 percent think Iran will develop a nuclear weapon capability.”

Obama’s Approach Unproductive

The Financial Times wrote on June 1:

“From North Korea to Guantánamo Bay, from Iran to Afghanistan, Mr Obama is confronting a range of vexing issues that cannot be charmed out of existence…

“In particular, there is chatter in official Washington that the Israelis may be gearing up to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of the year. The Obama administration is against any such move and it is normally assumed that Israel would not dare to pull the trigger without the go-ahead from Washington – not least because the Israelis would have to fly across US-controlled airspace to get to their targets. But the Americans do not have a complete veto over Israel’s actions. One senior US official asks rhetorically: ‘What are we going to do? Shoot down their planes?’

“A conflict between Israel and Iran would scatter the Obama administration’s carefully laid plans for Middle East peace to the winds. It would also make talk of improving American soft power around the world seem beside the point. The immediate task would be to prevent a wider regional war…

“Mr Obama’s preferred tools of diplomacy, engagement and charm do not seem to be of much use with Kim Jong-il of North Korea, either. The North Koreans have just tested a nuclear weapon – leaving the Obama administration scratching its head about what to do.”

Obama’s Muslim Roots

ABC reported on June 2:

“Given widespread unease and prejudice against Muslims among Americans, especially in the wake of 9/11, the Obama campaign was perhaps understandably very sensitive during the primaries and general election to downplay the candidate’s Muslim roots. The candidate was even offended when referred to by his initials ‘BHO,’ because he considered the use of his middle name, ‘Hussein,’ an attempt to frighten voters.

“… then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and his campaign did everything they could to emphasize his Christianity and de-emphasize the fact that his father, Barack Obama Sr., was born Muslim. The candidate’s comment at a Boca Raton, Florida, town hall meeting on May 22, 2008, was typical: ‘My father was basically agnostic, as far as I can tell, and I didn’t know him,’ he said…

“Back then, [Obama’s] campaign’s ‘Fight the Smears’ website addressed the candidate’s faith without mentioning his father’s religion… Since the election, however, with the threat of the rumors at least somewhat abated, the White House has been increasingly forthcoming about the president’s roots. Especially when reaching out to the Muslim world. In his April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament, President Obama referenced how many ‘Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know, because I am one of them.'”

“Obama’s Unfinished Speech in Cairo”

Der Spiegel wrote on June 4:

“With his address, US President Barack Obama offered an olive branch to the Islamic world. Whether his speech will go down in history will be determined by the mullahs in Tehran and the hardliners in Israel…

“He offered the prospect of a Palestinian state. But will he be able to convince Israel to take that step? He called for a dialogue with Islamic youth. But can the recruiting successes of the Taliban be stopped? He called on Iran to abandon its efforts to produce a nuclear bomb. But will the ayatollahs in Tehran even listen?

“The historic magnitude of a speech isn’t primarily determined by what is said. What is important is what happens after, that the words have an effect… In the Arab world… [some] want to negotiate, others want to build bombs. Some understand Obama’s speech as a prelude to peace, the others see it as a declaration of war — because they realize this peace won’t be achieved in full accordance with the word of the Prophet Muhammad.

“Obama has defined his mission but not accomplished it. The speech must now be followed up by policy proposals and everything that goes along with them — promises, deals and threats. And one can only hope that the day never comes when human lives must be lost in order to execute those threats. The road to peace has already led, many times, to war.”

Reuters added on June 4:

“U.S. President Barack Obama sought a ‘new beginning’ between the United States and Muslims in a speech on Thursday but offered no new initiative to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, an omission likely to disappoint many.”

Excerpts from President Obama’s Speech

“America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings…

“I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims…

“It was Islam… that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed…

“Islam has always been a part of America’s story… In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, ‘The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.’… American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library… So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America…

“America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

“On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own… the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security…

“Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist. At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop…

“Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

“… No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…

“It is easier to start wars than to end them… We have the power to make the world we seek…

“The Holy Koran tells us, ‘O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.’ The Talmud tells us: ‘The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.’ The Holy Bible tells us, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.’ The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you.”

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Is there any validity to the claim that we can only be saved if we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior?

Although the biblical answer to this question is highly controversial, the Bible teaches very clearly that there is no other way to eternal salvation than through Jesus Christ. Non-christian religions reject this claim outright, and even many Christian organizations and denominations feel uncomfortable about this and think that they must apologize for the Scriptures and offer “alternatives,” such as, “as long as we follow our conscience,” or, “as long as we believe in someone or something,” we are or will be saved.

Since we are not interested in humanly devised fables and interpretations, let us focus strictly on the clear teaching of the Bible.

First of all, we are taught that salvation belongs to the God of the BIBLE, and that we can only receive salvation FROM HIM (Revelation 7:9-10; 19:1). It is God the Father who is the “SAVIOR of ALL MEN, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).

The biblical teaching is equally clear that God the Father saves us THROUGH HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, and that no one can come to Christ unless the Father calls and draws such a person to Jesus (compare John 6:44, 65).

We read Christ’s own words in John 3:16-17–including the famous golden verse of the Bible: “For God [the Father] so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes IN HIM should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world THROUGH HIM might be SAVED.”

Notice, too, this passage in 1 John 4:14: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son AS SAVIOR of the world.” Titus 2:13 confirms that Jesus Christ is “our great God and Savior.”

But don’t all of these passages only mean that Jesus is just ONE OF SEVERAL Saviors? Couldn’t there be additional “saviors” as well, such as Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, or any of the other human beings who are considered as “saviors” by millions of people all over the world?

The biblical answer is that Jesus is the ONLY (potential) Savior for ALL of mankind. However, if and as long as we don’t accept Him as our Savior, we CANNOT be saved!

Notice the inspired words of Peter, as recorded in Acts 4:12: “NOR IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER, for there is NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED.” Peter is clearly referring in this context to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who was crucified and whom God the Father raised from the dead (compare Acts 4:10).

Jesus Himself confirmed that salvation can only be obtained through Him ALONE. He said in John 10:1, 9: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber… I am the door. If anyone enters BY ME, HE WILL BE SAVED, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

He reiterated the same teaching in John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME.'”

According to the Bible, there is only ONE Mediator between God and men. This Mediator is not Moses, nor the “Virgin Mary,” nor Mohammed nor any other human being (whether still alive or dead and in the grave), but this Mediator is Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY Personage who has died and was resurrected to eternal life; who went to heaven; and who functions now as our LIVING and merciful High Priest.

1 Timothy 2:5 explains: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 7:24-25 adds: “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to SAVE to the uttermost those who come to God THROUGH HIM, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

It is therefore absolutely necessary to believe in Jesus as our ONLY Savior, in order to be saved. Notice Acts 16:30-31: “And he brought them out [the Philippian jailer brought Paul and Silas out of prison] and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.'”

But just theoretically and intellectually “believing” on or in Christ is not enough. We cannot expect to inherit salvation if we “believe” in Christ, but continue to disobey Him. What is required is obedient or living faith, not dead faith (compare James 2:14-17).

We read in Hebrews 5:9: “And having been perfected, He became the AUTHOR of eternal salvation to all who OBEY HIM.”

We also read in John 3:36, in the Revised Standard Version: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not OBEY the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.”

But what about those who died, without ever having heard of Jesus Christ, let alone having embraced the Christian faith and Jesus as their only Savior? Are they lost? Absolutely not! The surprising answer, giving real hope and meaning to the plan of God for ALL of mankind, is discussed in chapter 22 (“The Resurrections”) of our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!”

The Bible is clear on the issue of how to obtain salvation. However unpopular, controversial, explosive and “offensive” that teaching may be to some, we must not apologize for it or be ashamed of it, by choosing not to speak of it, when asked, or by trying to alter it in any way.

Luke 9:26 quotes Christ’s words, as follows: “For whoever is ashamed of ME AND MY WORDS, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. He knew that part and parcel of the good news, which Jesus Christ brought and taught, was the truth that it is ONLY through Christ that man can have salvation and eternal life. Paul wrote in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God TO SALVATION for everyone who believes…”

If the true biblical teaching offends others –including those who teach that “their” particular god is a way or even the only way to salvation–and if it prompts them to persecute true Christians for what they believe, then so be it. It is better to suffer for righteousness’ sake than to be ashamed of God’s words and to deny the Father and Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:22-23; Jude 4; Revelation 3:8)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

John Dunn, a member of the Global Church of God in Derby, England, died very early Monday morning, June 1, 2009. He was 71 years old. John suffered from sarcoidosis. This is a disease of unknown cause that leads to inflammation and affects the immune system. In John’s case, it affected his kidneys. At one stage he had been so ill that he had to learn to walk again.  

John was the eldest of four children, with one sister and two brothers. He was born in Scotland. After national service, his early career was in clerical work. He obtained a qualification in accountancy. Around the age of 30 he went into stockbroking and worked there until he took early retirement.

John first heard Herbert W. Armstrong [late Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God] on Radio Luxembourg in 1960, but it wasn’t until about 20 years ago that he was baptized, ironically after Mr. Armstrong died. When all the changes came in the Worldwide Church of God in the mid 1990’s, John stood firm with all the truth he had learned, and kept his faith until the end of his life. 

John was featured in a Standing Watch program, “Comfort in Terminal Sickness”, with his late friend Terry McQuire in October last year when they were both interviewed by the program’s presenter, Evangelist Norbert Link. John’s funeral, conducted by Brian Gale, took place on Thursday, June 4, at High Wood Cemetery in Nottingham.

Our new Internet campaign in the US, which was started on May 15, has so far resulted in about 45 requests for our booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.” In addition, 40 people requested our booklet, “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” which is also offered in the Internet ad.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on StandingWatch and YouTube. It is titled, “The Lie of ‘Economic Recovery.'”

In the program, Norbert Link pointed out that President Obama has admitted that the USA is out of money and that our current short-term problem is dwarfed by our long-term problem. The government is pushing the amount of total obligations to a record $63.8 trillion; 36 US banks have failed already this year, and many more are expected to fail; and many countries are ditching the dollar in favor of the euro and national currencies. Still, we are being told that the worst is over and that we are on the road to financial recovery. But ignorance and lies don’t help us to prepare properly for the future.

The number of regular YouTube subscribers to our weekly StandingWatch programs has topped 180.

Our StandingWatch program, “Coming–The Great Depression,” which was posted over a year ago, has been viewed so far on YouTube about 30,000 times.

Our StandingWatch program, “Food Shortage in the USA,” which was posted about a year ago, has been viewed so far on YouTube in excess of 11,000 times.

A new German sermon was recorded and will be posted soon on the Internet. It is titled, “Der Welt Entfliehen!” and discusses the need for God’s people to come out of this world.

Our German version of the StandingWatch program (“AufPostenStehen”), titled, “Kommt Krieg mit Iran,” which was posted about 10 months ago, has been viewed about 1,500 times, followed by the 9-months-old program, titled, “Russland’s Krieg mit Georgien,” with about 1,200 views.

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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

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God