Update 402


How Real Is God to You?

On July 11, 2009, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “How Real Is God to You?”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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Politicians, Integrity and the People of God

by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

Just a few weeks ago, many politicians of all persuasions in the UK were caught up in the MPs’ expenses row. The Daily Telegraph’s investigation, “The Expenses Files,” went into how politicians–from Gordon Brown’s Cabinet to backbenchers of all parties–exploited the system of parliamentary allowances to subsidize their lifestyles and multiple homes. Many of these politicians who pass laws about various taxation issues were not so keen to have to pay those taxes themselves, although their constituents were obliged by law to do so. One law for them, it seems, and one law for the rest of society.
America’s first President, George Washington, wrote a letter in 1790 to his nephew. He said that “a good moral character was essential in a man.” But as one other commented about the 1990’s, “we have moved on.” That’s a telling phrase that means that now anything goes.

This matter of MPs’ expenses is all about integrity. God’s Word is full of admonition about integrity. And God’s people mustn’t be without that precious commodity.

But what is integrity? According to Wikipedia, “integrity is consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcome. It may be seen as the quality of having a sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one’s actions.”

Many politicians may have lacked this quality, but it is a quality that God’s people must have.

The book of Proverbs has this to say about this essential quality: “The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them” (Proverbs 11:3); and, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than the one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” (Proverbs 19:1).

There are those who know the importance of integrity. Years ago, a company in the pharmaceutical business in the US, named Squibb, released the following story on a poster board to be displayed in drugstores:

“In the city of Baghdad lived Hakeem. Many went to him for counsel which he gave freely, asking nothing in return. Then came a young man who had spent much time and got little. ‘Tell me, wise one,’ he said, “What can I do to receive the most for that which I spend?’ Hakeem answered, ‘A thing that is bought or sold has no value unless it contains that which cannot be bought or sold.   Look for the priceless ingredient.’ ‘But what is the priceless ingredient?’ asked the young man.   Spoke thus the wise one, ‘My son, the priceless ingredient of every product in the market place is the honour and integrity of him who makes it. Consider his name before you buy.'”

Another story backs up this approach. At the American Air Force Academy, formed in July 1993, a center for character development, Colonel Alexander stated the following in the “proposed character development outcomes,” issued January 21, 1993:

“Officers with forthright integrity voluntarily decide the right thing to do and do it in both their professional and private lives. They do not choose the right thing because of a calculation of what is most advantageous to themselves but because of a consistent and spontaneous inclination to do the right thing. Their inclination to do right is consistently followed by actually doing what they believe they should do and taking responsibility for their choices. In other words, persons of integrity ‘walk their talk.'”

Unfortunately, many UK politicians were shown to be deficient in the recent revelations about their expenses.   Integrity is a quality that doesn’t rate highly with many in the world today, but in the Kingdom of God integrity will be commonplace and will be taught and practiced worldwide. It will be the way of righteousness. A time to “consider his name before you buy,” as Hakeem was advised.

And it will be a time, unlike today, when integrity WILL truly matter!

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President Obama was visiting Russia this week in the hopes of improving U.S.-Russian relationships. Mr. Obama did not shy away from challenging Russia. His visit was overshadowed by grave concerns, including that Russia might be preparing for a new war in Georgia. Mr. Obama also announced that he will discuss with the Pope possibilities as to how to bring peace to the Middle East, while the Pope pleaded for the establishment of a world government.

At the same time, Vice President Biden and Saudi Arabia reportedly conceded that they won’t stand in the way if Israel attacks Iran–even though Saudi Arabia later denied that claim and Mr. Obama and State Department Spokesman Kelly were quick to “clarify” Mr. Biden’s statements. Of course, Mr. Biden is known to make undiplomatic and politically incorrect comments–but this does not mean that all of his statements have to be factually incorrect, even though some of them undoubtedly are, as we discuss in this issue. And Saudi Arabia’s “denial” was to be expected as well.

Saddam Hussein’s statements before his death that he was more afraid of Iran than of the USA are interesting in light of the fact that Iran has indeed evolved into the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East–perhaps much greater than Iraq under Saddam could have ever become. All of this shows again the highly questionable and ultimately unsuccessful and counter-productive endeavor of the Bush administration to invade Iraq.

Vice President Biden admitted the mistakes of his government in miscalculating the economic situation, but sadly, it does not appear that the Obama administration has been willing to learn from their mistakes. Instead, it seems that the same wrong course of action will be continued, while analysts warn that, as a result, an economic catastrophe will be inevitable. High debts are not limited to the USA, however. As the Netzeitung reports, Germany is facing the largest debt growth in its history.

The internal turmoil in Honduras continues, while the Wall Street Journal suggests that the USA and the entire world are supporting the wrong side in this struggle. We also observed the outbreak of ethnic violence in Egypt (directed against Germany) and China, showing how fragile “peace” is around the world. Christ’s words come to mind, when addressing events in the end time: “… and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6). And even though we hear much about attempts to bring about peace, Paul warns us in 1 Thessalonians 5:3: “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman…”

The WHO announced that the swine flu virus is unstoppable, stating that very soon, up to 2 billion people will have contracted that virus. Again, Christ’s words should ring loud and clear: “… and there will be … epidemics…” (Luke 21:11, Living Bible). And finally, a thought-provoking article by the Financial Times pointing out the abuse of copyright law by big business in violation of its original intent. Rather than free dissemination of opinions and information, the law is used far too often to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). And, the danger of a Big Brother society is lurking around the corner…

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President Obama in Russia

The Wall Street Journal reported on July 6:

“Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev reached a framework agreement to reduce their nuclear arsenals but left open a host of vexing issues in US-Russian relations… the widely anticipated agreements reached Monday are not likely to give [Obama] a big boost…

“The Russians are continuing to say they cannot reach a final agreement on a new treaty if the U.S. insists on deploying missile defense systems on Poland and the Czech Republic…”

Obama Challenges Russia

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 8:

“President Barack Obama challenged Russians to bolster the rule of law, recognize the sovereignty and borders of its neighbors and rejuvenate its flagging democracy, even as he reassured the former Cold War adversary that the U.S. is committed to a ‘strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia’… But he demanded that Russia accept the rights of former Soviet clients Georgia and Ukraine to sovereignty, secure borders and independent foreign policies. He reiterated that Russia’s neighbors may join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization if they meet membership criteria…

“There is little evidence of Obamamania in Russia. Although the audience was considered liberal by Russian standards, its reaction was subdued. The half-hour speech went uninterrupted by applause. The ovation at its conclusion was subdued… A poll last week found that… [three] quarters say the U.S. abuses its power to make Russia do what it wants…

“[Obama said:] ‘In 2009, a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries.'”

Is Russia Preparing for War?

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 3:

“… the Russian media are now abuzz with speculation about a new war in Georgia, and some Western analysts are voicing similar concerns. The idea seems insane. Nonetheless, the risk is real. One danger sign is persistent talk of so-called Georgian aggression against the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia recognized as independent states after the war last August… Independent Russian commentators… note that this has the feel of a propaganda campaign to prepare the public for a second war… The expulsion of neutral observers [by Russia] seems odd if Russia is worried about Georgian aggression. But it makes sense if Russia is planning an attack.

“What would the Kremlin gain? A crushing victory in Georgia would depose the hated Mr. Saakashvili, give Russia control of vital transit routes for additional energy resources that could weaken its hold on the European oil and gas markets, humiliate the U.S., and distract Russians from their economic woes…

“Moscow’s actions are not always rational… That is why it’s essential for the United States and the EU to respond now — by increasing their non-military presence in Georgia, expressing a strong commitment to Georgian sovereignty, and reminding Russia of the consequences of aggression.”

Pope Asks for World Authority

Der Stern Online reported on July 8 that Pope Benedict XVI, in his third encyclical letter–the highest form of papal teachings–pleaded for “a real world authority,” which would need to go far beyond the present UN, in order to tackle the economic world crisis and to secure world peace.

Its publication comes on the eve of Wednesday’s G8 meeting of world leaders at L’Aquila.

Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had already called for such a world authority. Benedict stated that it is now absolutely necessary to establish it.

The Associated Press reported on July 7:

“Pope Benedict XVI called Tuesday for a new world financial order guided by ethics, dignity and the search for the common good in the third encyclical of his pontificate… Benedict stressed he wasn’t opposed to a globalized economy, saying that if done correctly it has an unprecedented potential to redistribute wealth around the globe. But he warned that if badly directed and if the problems aren’t fixed, globalization can increase poverty and inequality and trigger the type of crisis under way.”

Mr. Obama Turns to the Pope

Israel National News wrote on July 5:

“U.S. President Barack Obama is turning to the Pope to back his vision of a new Arab state on all of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. The president told the Catholic Italian newspaper Avvenire, one week before a scheduled meeting with the Pope in Italy, ‘It [the Middle East] is a subject I am keen to discuss with the pope. I think he will share my approach.’

“President Obama has dug in his heels in insisting that Israel stop all building for Jews in Judea and Samaria, and the State Department has indicated that the ban should include all of Jerusalem that was restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967… President Obama faces stiff opposition from Arabs to make any concessions before Israel completely surrenders all of Judea and Samaria.”

Saudi Arabia Will Allow Israel to Use Airspace in Attack on Iran…

The Sunday Times wrote on July 5:

“The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu… that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites…

“Recent developments have underscored concerns among moderate Sunni Arab states about the stability of the repressive Shi’ite regime in Tehran and have increased fears that it may emerge as a belligerent nuclear power… The Israeli air force has been training for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear site at Natanz in the centre of the country and other locations for four years.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on July 7 that Saudi Arabia vehemently denied the report of the Sunday Times.

America Won’t Stand in the Way, Either…

The Associated Press reported on July 5:

“Vice President Joe Biden signaled that the Obama administration would not stand in the way if Israel chose to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, even as the top U.S. military officer said any attack on Iran would be destabilizing.”

Haaretz reported on July 6:

“Iran is ready to take real and decisive action if Israel attacks its nuclear facilities, a senior Iranian parliamentary official said Monday. The remarks… came after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden signaled that Washington would not try to prevent any such Israeli assault.”

… Even Though It’s Denied…

AFP wrote on July 6:

“State Department spokesman Ian Kelly rebuffed suggestions from reporters that Biden could be seen as giving the Jewish state a green light to attack Iran…”

The Jerusalem Post added on July 7:

“US President Barack Obama on Tuesday strongly denied that the United States had given Israel an approval to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Asked by CNN whether Washington had given Israel a green light for such an attack, Obama answered: ‘Absolutely not.'”

Israel and the USA

The Washington Times wrote on July 7:

“One senior Israeli official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, told The Washington Times that Mr. Netanyahu determined that ‘it made no sense’ to press the matter after the negative response President Bush gave Mr. Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, when he asked early last year for U.S. aid for possible military strikes on Iran.

“Israel is increasingly nervous that Iran is developing the capability to build a nuclear weapon, an intention Iran denies. However, Israel is unlikely to attack Iran without at least tacit U.S. approval, in part because that would require cooperation from the United States. At the very least, Israel likely would have to fly over Iraqi airspace, which is still effectively controlled by the U.S. Air Force.”

G-8 Leaders Set Deadline for Iran Resolution

Deutsche Welle reported on July 9:

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters at the summit in the central Italian city of L’Aquila that September’s meeting of the G-20 – the world’s 20 leading economies – would be the deadline for Iran to resolve its nuclear dispute with the West.

“‘We made an effort to accept that we will not reinforce sanctions immediately in order to bring everyone on board,’ Sarkozy said, in reference to Russia’s call for more time to consider fresh sanctions. ‘[The G-20 meeting in] Pittsburgh is the rendezvous. If there is no progress by then we will have to take decisions,’ he added. The G-20 combines major developing powerhouses like China with the G-8…

“The United States and Canada said the world’s main industrialized nations were growing increasingly impatient with Iran’s tactics. ‘All G-8 nations are united. There is a strong consensus at the table that unless things change soon, there will be further action,’ said Canadian spokesman Dimitri Soudas… The United States has had comprehensive sanctions in place for decades against Iran, but its European allies have been reluctant to impose sanctions, preferring to pursue diplomatic efforts…

“G-8 leaders also criticized the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and the “unjustified” detention of journalists in Iran… Ahmadinejad himself was also the focus of G-8 concern over his frequent denials that the mass murder of Jews under Germany’s regime ever happened. ‘We condemn the declarations of President Ahmadinejad denying the Holocaust,’ the eight leaders said in another joint statement.”

Saddam Feared Iran More Than USA

The Times wrote on July 3:

“Saddam Hussein allowed the world to believe that he had weapons of mass destruction because he feared the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran more than an American strike, according to declassified documents records of his interrogation. Saddam said that the dramatic increase in Iran’s weapons capabilities had left him feeling so vulnerable to the ‘fanatic’ mullahs next door that he would have been prepared to forge a security agreement with the United States to protect Iraq from regional threats. He warned that the effects of Iran’s unchecked rise ‘will be seen and felt in the future’.

“The revelation… supports the view of many regional experts that Saddam’s weapons bluff was aimed not at the West but at his old enemy Iran. Many analysts believe that the removal of Iraq as a bulwark against Iran has merely fuelled Tehran’s rise to its current hegemony in the Middle East. Iran and Iraq fought a devastating eight-year war from 1980 to 1988, in which Saddam was supported and armed by the United States.”

Mr. Biden Admits Mistakes…

ABC News reported on July 5:

“Big admission from Vice President Joe Biden today. ‘The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy,’ Biden [said during an ABC] exclusive ‘This Week’ interview in Iraq.

“Biden acknowledged administration officials were too optimistic earlier this year when they predicted the unemployment rate would peak at 8 percent as part of their effort to sell the stimulus package. The national unemployment rate has ballooned to 9.5 percent in June — the worst in 26 years…

“‘We misread how bad the economy was, but we are now only about 120 days into the recovery package,’ he said. ‘The truth of the matter was, no one anticipated, no one expected that that recovery package would in fact be in a position at this point of having to distribute the bulk of money.'”

These statements by Vice President Biden are ridiculous. Even though Mr. Biden and the entire Obama Administration might have misread the economy and the signs of the times, there were voices warning about the inappropriate measures of the US government and the overly optimistic assessment of the economy. The truth is, however, that those voices were ignored or even demonized.

Big Banks Won’t Accept California’s IOUs

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 7:

“A group of the biggest U.S. banks said they would stop accepting California’s IOUs on Friday, adding pressure on the state to close its $26.3 billion annual budget gap… After state leaders failed to agree on budget solutions last week, California began issuing IOUs — or ‘individual registered warrants’ — to hundreds of thousands of creditors. State Controller John Chiang said that without IOUs, California would run out of cash by July’s end.

“But now, if California continues to issue the IOUs, creditors will be forced to hold on to them until they mature on Oct. 2… When the IOUs mature, holders will be paid back directly by the state at an annual 3.75% interest rate…

“The group of banks included Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., among others. The banks had previously committed to accepting state IOUs as payment. California plans to issue more than $3 billion of IOUs in July.”

Irresponsibility of Obama Administration in Light of California Debacle

Bloomberg wrote on July 6:

“With California mired in a budget crisis… Controller John Chiang said the state planned to issue $3.3 billion in IOU’s in July alone… The California morass has Democrats in Washington trembling. The reason is simple. If Obama’s health-care plan passes, then we may well end up paying for it with federal slips of paper worth less than California’s. Obama has bet everything on passing health care this year. The publicity surrounding the California debt fiasco almost assures his resounding defeat…

“California has engaged in an orgy of spending, but, compared with our federal government, its legislators should feel chaste. The California deficit this year is now [about]… $26 billion. The U.S. federal deficit will be… almost 70 times larger. The federal picture is so bleak because the Obama administration is the most fiscally irresponsible in the history of the U.S…

“The Obama administration… is willing to abandon reason altogether to achieve its short-term political goals… Nobody believes that his unprecedented expansion of the welfare state will lead to enough economic growth. Nobody believes that it will pay for itself. Everyone understands that higher spending today begets higher spending tomorrow. That means that his economic strategy simply doesn’t add up…

“Back in the 1980s, Reagan’s own economist, Martin Feldstein, spoke up when he felt that the Reagan administration was pushing the deficit too far. Where are the economists with such character today?…”

Another US Economic Crisis Looming…

The Telegraph wrote on July 6:

“The US economy is lurching towards crisis with long-term interest rates on course to double, crippling the country’s ability to pay its debts and potentially plunging it into another recession, according to a study by the US’s own central bank… Tim Congdon, founder of Lombard Street Research, called [it] a ‘debt explosion’…

“A US crisis would have implications for the rest of the world, in any case… Mr Congdon said the study illustrated the ‘horrifying’ consequences for leading western economies of bailing out their banks and attempting to stimulate markets by cutting taxes and boosting public spending… Should the cost of raising or refinancing public debt in the markets double, ‘the debt could just explode’, he said…”

Germany Faces Largest Debt Growth in Its History

The Netzeitung reported on July 2:

“Germany is threatened with the largest debt growth in its history due to a fall in tax revenue because of the recession… The German state must borrow EUR 507 billion more before 2013… It will affect public spending on a federal, state and local authority level, and could raise the national debt to EUR 2 trillion. The new debts will be spread over the next few years, beginning with EUR 112 billion this year and EUR 132 billion in 2010.

“The debt increase means that Germany will be violating the EU’s Maastricht Treaty for the entire coming legislation period… If Germany’s national debt rose to EUR 2 trillion, the state would end up paying EUR 80 billion a year in interest alone – around one sixth of the current tax revenue.”

Honduras At the Brink…

The Associated Press reported on July 6:

“Already volatile Honduras slid toward greater instability after soldiers blocked an airport runway to keep ousted President Manuel Zelaya from returning, and protests that had remained largely peaceful yielded their first death…  Zelaya’s plane, on loan from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, arrived to find the runway blocked by military vehicles and soldiers… Zelaya instead headed for El Salvador…

“Honduras’ new government has vowed to arrest Zelaya for 18 alleged criminal acts including treason and failing to implement more than 80 laws approved by Congress since taking office in 2006. Zelaya also refused to comply with a Supreme Court ruling against his planned referendum on whether to hold an assembly to consider changing the constitution.

“Critics feared Zelaya might try to extend his rule and cement presidential power in ways similar to what his ally Chavez has done in Venezuela – though Zelaya denied that. But instead of prosecuting him or trying to defeat him at the ballot box, masked soldiers flew the president out of the country at gunpoint, and Congress installed Micheletti in his place.

“The military solution drew international condemnation… no nation has recognized the new government. President Barack Obama has united with Chavez and conservative Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in insisting on Zelaya’s return.”

Venezuela Blackmails Honduras

The New York Times reported on July 8, 2009:

“Venezuela’ s oil minister, Rafael Ramírez, confirmed Wednesday that his country had halted oil exports to Honduras. Mr. Ramírez said shipments of oil, which Venezuela has sold to Honduras at preferential prices, would not resume until that country’s ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, was reinstated. Mr. Zelaya is an ally of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Venezuela sends about 20,000 barrels of oil a day to Honduras…”

Is the World Supporting the Wrong Side in Honduras?

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 6:

“Mr. Zelaya’s violations of the rule of law in recent months were numerous. But the tipping point came 10 days ago, when he led a violent mob that stormed a military base to seize and distribute Venezuelan-printed ballots for an illegal referendum…

“Hondurans have good cause for calling on divine intervention: Reason has gone AWOL in places like Turtle Bay and Foggy Bottom. Ruling the debate on Mr. Zelaya’s behavior is Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez, who is now the reigning international authority on ‘democracy.’ Mr. Chávez is demanding that Mr. Zelaya be reinstated and is even threatening to overthrow the new Honduran president, Roberto Micheletti. He’s leading the charge from the Organization of American States (OAS). The United Nations and the Obama administration are falling in line.

“Is this insane? You bet… Hondurans had the courage to push back. Now Chávez-supported agitators are trying to stir up violence… This is a moment when the U.S. ought to be on the side of the rule of law, which the Honduran court and Congress upheld. If Washington does not reverse course, it will be one more act of appeasement toward an ambitious and increasingly dangerous dictator.”

Egypt Furious with Germany

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 7:

“A brutal murder in Germany last week has caused shockwaves in far-off Egypt. Thousands of mourners took to the streets of Alexandria on Monday to protest at the funeral of a pregnant Egyptian woman who was stabbed to death inside a German court in a crime that has provoked fury in her home country.

“Egyptian newspapers have given strong coverage to the death of Marwa al-Sherbini (32), describing the veiled woman as a ‘martyr in a headscarf’ and suggesting the killer was motivated by a hatred of Islam. Mourners chanted ‘Down with Germany’ and scuffled with police after prayers in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria for al-Sherbini, who was murdered on July 1 in a courtroom in Dresden, eastern Germany, by a German man of Russian origin…

“Al-Sherbini, mother to a three-year-old child and three months pregnant, was stabbed 18 times by the man she was testifying against during an appeal hearing, German prosecutors said… Her killer also stabbed her husband, who German police then mistook for the attacker and shot in the leg, prosecutors added. The husband is in hospital and has awoken from a coma…

“The killer… was appealing against a conviction for insulting Sherbini by calling her an ‘Islamist,’ ‘terrorist’ and a ‘slut’ when she asked him to make space for her son to go on the swings on a playground in Dresden, prosecutors said. He had been fined €780 and last Wednesday’s court session had been called to hear his appeal against the ruling…

“The Egyptian Pharmaceutical Association has called for a boycott of German-made drugs… Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, Egypt’s most senior cleric, called the attacker a murderer and said al-Sherbiny was a martyr. But he appealed for calm and said he hoped the murder wouldn’t harm the dialogue between the West and Islam. ‘It was an isolated case,’ he said.”

Ethnic Violence in China–Why?

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 7:

“It is still not clear exactly what sparked the worst ethnic violence China has seen in years… Rioting and violence in the Chinese province of Xinjiang has left over 150 people dead, hundreds more injured and thousands under arrest… Whatever the cause, the result was extreme inter-ethnic violence, with angry Uighurs beating Han Chinese in the streets, vehicles and businesses being burned. This led to an aggressive response by Chinese authorities…

“Germany may have more of a vested interest than most in the events as Munich is home to the largest population of Uighurs outside China…

“Business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘Almost a year ago the tanks rolled into Lhasa; last Sunday cars and businesses were burning in Urumqi. The basic problem is that Beijing has never accepted its issues with its ethnic minorities as a political problem. Peking has not tried nearly hard enough to find a mutually acceptable solution… And this terrible situation in Urumqi only shows — once again — how fragile this Chinese super power really is… there are deep rifts right across this country. And how quickly the violence can escalate…’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… It is only too clear that ethnic integration in China is experienced differently, by different races. What is also clear is that when those differences are ignored they make for the sort of situation that can explode into violence at any provocation’…

“The conservative daily Die Welt [states]: ‘… China is notorious for not being understanding of other cultures. Ethnic minorities have equal rights here but only on paper. Many Han Chinese treat their Uighur brethren with thinly disguised contempt and racist arrogance… The proverbial spark that set this violent fire had to do with the unexplained deaths of two Uighur factory workers. The fact that such a spark could set such a blaze in Urumqi, a historically multi-ethnic city in which Chinese, Uighurs, Kazakhs, Russians and Tartars have all lived peacefully together, does not bode well.'”

Ethnic Violence Continuing in China…

The Associated Press reported on July 8:

“Thousands of Chinese troops flooded into this city Wednesday to separate feuding ethnic groups after three days of communal violence left 156 people dead, and a senior Communist Party official vowed to execute those guilty of murder in the rioting in western China.

“Long convoys of armored cars and green troop trucks with riot police rumbled through Urumqi, a city of 2.3 million people. Other security forces carrying automatic rifles with bayonets formed cordons to defend Muslim neighborhoods from marauding groups of vigilantes with sticks.

“The crisis was so severe that President Hu Jintao cut short a trip to Italy, where he was to participate in a Group of Eight summit. It was an embarrassing move for a leader who wants to show that China has a harmonious society as it prepares to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Communist rule.

“The heightened security came amid the worst spasm of ethnic violence in decades in Xinjiang… The region is home to the Uighur ethnic minority, who rioted Sunday and attacked the Han Chinese—the nation’s biggest ethnic group—after holding a protest that was ended by police.

“Officials have said 156 people were killed as the Turkic-speaking Uighurs ran amok in the city, beating and stabbing the Han Chinese. The Uighurs allege that trigger-happy security forces gunned down many of the protesters, and officials have yet to give an ethnic breakdown of those killed.

“More than 1,100 people were wounded in the violence… The ethnic hatred in Xinjiang appears to run so deep that many Uighurs won’t express sorrow for the Han Chinese who were attacked Sunday.”

Welt On Line added on July 8:

“Urumqi, Xinjiang’s regional capital, imposed an overnight curfew after thousands of Han Chinese stormed through its streets demanding redress and sometimes extracting bloody vengeance for Sunday’s violence…

“Along with Tibet, Xinjiang is one of the most politically sensitive regions in China. It is strategically located at the borders of Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China’s largest natural gas-producing region.

“Xinjiang has long been a tightly controlled hotbed of ethnic tensions, fostered by an economic gap between many Uighurs and Han Chinese, government controls on religion and culture and an influx of Han migrants who now are the majority in most key cities, including Urumqi. There were attacks in the region before and during last year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing.

“But controlling the anger on both sides of the ethnic divide will now make controlling Xinjiang, with its gas reserves and trade and energy ties to central Asia, all the more testing for the ruling Communist Party.”


India to Launch First Nuclear Submarine

The Financial Times wrote on July 8:

“India is expected to launch a locally built nuclear-powered submarine later this month, making it one of only a handful of countries with the technology to produce such a vessel… The deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine would be a major step for the Indian navy, which is anxious to maintain its authority in the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. The submarine could allow New Delhi to develop a nuclear weapon strike capability from the sea.

“The submarine, the INS Chakra, has been produced at a cost of $2.9bn… and is expected to go into full service in two years’ time…

“India has plans to lease an Akula-class nuclear submarine from Moscow. It is also awaiting the delivery of a 30-year-old refitted Russian aircraft carrier, the Admiral Gorshkov. Additionally, India is building six French-designed Scorpene diesel submarines.

“The country lags behind China’s naval might in the region… Beijing [has] a fleet of eight nuclear submarines, some with ballistic missile capability, although it [lacks] an aircraft carrier. The Chinese navy has three times the number of combat vessels (about 630) as India and a personnel strength of 225,000 — five times that of the Indian navy.”

Swine Flu Pandemic Unstoppable

Bild On Line wrote on July 6:

“The head of the WHO has issued a grim warning about the swine flu pandemic gripping the world – the killer virus can’t be stopped! The UN body has revealed that the spread of the disease cannot be halted, but insisted that the majority of cases were mild and not life-threatening. Most sufferers would recover within a week without the need for any treatment, the BBC reported. But there is still a high risk, especially for pregnant women and people with existing health problems.

“World Health Organisation head Margaret Chan… paint[ed] a dark picture about the fight against the virus: ‘As we see today, with well over 100 countries reporting cases, once a fully fit pandemic virus emerges, its further international spread is unstoppable.’

“About 80,000 people have been infected so far in 100 countries, with more than 330 deaths recorded. And the future prognosis is bad – the WHO forecasts that up to two billion people will contract the H1N1 swine flu virus. In the UK alone, it is thought up to 100,000 new cases could be recorded a day by the end of the summer.”

Abuse of Copyright Law by Big Brother Society?

The Financial Times wrote on July 7:

“If you search for Elvis Presley in Wikipedia, you will find a lot of text and a few pictures that have been cleared for distribution. But you will find no music and no film clips, due to copyright restrictions. What we think of as our common cultural heritage is not ‘ours’ at all. On MySpace and YouTube, creative people post audio and video remixes for others to enjoy, until they are replaced by take-down notices handed out by big film and record companies. Technology opens up possibilities; copyright law shuts them down.

“This was never the intent. Copyright was meant to encourage culture, not restrict it. This is reason enough for reform. But the current regime has even more damaging effects. In order to uphold copyright laws, governments are beginning to restrict our right to communicate with each other in private, without being monitored.

“File-sharing occurs whenever one individual sends a file to another. The only way to even try to limit this process is to monitor all communication between ordinary people. Despite the crackdown on Napster, Kazaa and other peer-to-peer services over the past decade, the volume of file-sharing has grown exponentially. Even if the authorities closed down all other possibilities, people could still send copyrighted files as attachments to e-mails or through private networks. If people start doing that, should we give the government the right to monitor all mail and all encrypted networks? Whenever there are ways of communicating in private, they will be used to share copyrighted material. If you want to stop people doing this, you must remove the right to communicate in private…

“The world is at a crossroads. The internet and new information technologies are so powerful that no matter what we do, society will change… The technology could be used to create a Big Brother society beyond our nightmares, where governments and corporations monitor every detail of our lives. In the former East Germany, the government needed tens of thousands of employees to keep track of the citizens using typewriters, pencils and index cards. Today a computer can do the same thing a million times faster, at the push of a button. There are many politicians who want to push that button.

“… where technology opens up new possibilities, our intellectual property laws do their best to restrict them. Linux is held back by patents, the rest of the examples by copyright… Will we let our fears lead us towards a dystopian Big Brother state, or will we have the courage and wisdom to choose an exciting future in a free and open society?”

Cyber Attack on US Government

The Associated Press reported on July 8:

“A widespread computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of the Treasury Department, the Secret Service and other U.S. government agencies… Sites in South Korea were also affected, and South Korean intelligence officials believe the attack was carried out by North Korean… forces. The U.S. government Web sites, which also included those of the Federal Trade Commission and the Transportation Department, were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week… the fact that the government Web sites were still being affected three days after it began signaled an unusually lengthy and sophisticated attack.”

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Why will Satan attempt a second coup to try to overthrow God?

The Bible does not say specifically why Satan will attempt a second coup, but it does give us several hints and indications which we might want to consider.

Prior to the physical creation, God brought into being the spirit world of angels. After God had created the physical universe and the earth, an archangel named Lucifer was placed over one third of the angels here on earth to beautify it. This was long before man was created with the ultimate potential to become a full-fledged member of the God Family. Nothing is said in the Bible that Lucifer or any of the angels had that same potential which would later be given to man.

According to Ezekiel 28:12-16 and Isaiah 14:12-15, Lucifer was perfect as far as his creation was concerned. However, Lucifer made wrong choices–he allowed pride to enter his mind. This pride corrupted his thinking, just like a virus can corrupt a computer. This corruption led him to believe that his abilities were greater than God’s; that he was not rewarded properly by God in accordance with his talents and achievements; and that the way of competition and get was superior to God’s way of give and love and concern for others. He managed to influence the angels under his control to participate in his first rebellion (Revelation 12:4). In resenting God’s government, he did the unthinkable and attempted to overthrow God and take over the rule over the entire universe. Of course, Lucifer, whose name was changed to Satan (meaning enemy or adversary), lost this battle, and he and his angels (now known as demons) were thrown back to this earth where they still rule today.

When God created Adam and Eve, Satan was there to deceive Eve, and he has been deceiving mankind ever since. In fact, Satan has deceived the whole world. He tried to deceive and tempt Christ, but failed. Christ, in defeating Satan, qualified to rule this earth in the near future.

Evidence for the fact that Satan was and is ruling this earth is given at the temptation of Christ, when Satan offered the kingdoms of this world to Him, if He would fall down and worship Satan. All these kingdoms were in and under Satan’s power, and he was able to give them away. Christ never corrected him on that claim, but Christ never fell for Satan’s offer and remained sinless (Matthew 4:8-10). Today, Satan and his demons are still ruling this earth, and they will continue to do so until Jesus Christ–the second Adam–returns to take over all rule. Those whom God has called out of this world must reject Satan’s offer–exactly as Christ did–so they can also qualify to rule under Christ at His return.

It does not seem to make a lot of sense, then, at first sight, as to why Satan would attempt for the second time to overthrow God and to become the supreme ruler of the universe, seeing that his first attempt failed so miserably. Still, the Bible says that he will try again (Revelation 12: 7-9).

What one has to bear in mind is that Satan does not think straight. We might want to consider some humans who keep making the same foolish mistakes and who do not seem to learn from the errors they make. Satan is unwilling and therefore incapable of learning from his mistakes. His mind has been corrupted beyond any hope of change. He does not want to repent and submit to the government of God; therefore, he cannot repent.

This is very similar to “the dog in the manger” syndrome. A vicious dog which does not, of course, eat the straw in the manger, will prevent other animals from eating it. We may have experienced or seen a similar phenomenon in an uncooperative and selfish child who has a toy and doesn’t want to share it with a friend. Rather than following our insistence to share it, he might rather want to destroy it, so the other child cannot play with it. Satan is of the same mindset. He would rather see humankind destroyed completely than turning over his rule to Jesus Christ and those who will rule with and under Him (Revelation 5:10; 20:4, 6).

It is also interesting to consider the behavior of some rats. If a strong animal chases rats into a corner and there is no escape route for them, they will actually turn on each other or on the animal which is chasing them.

The same can be said regarding Satan. Although it is clearly prophesied in Revelation 12 that his second attempt to overthrow God will fail, that fact doesn’t seem to register in his corrupted and twisted mind. Even though Satan knows the Bible, perhaps he does not believe the Bible, thinking he is more powerful than God and what God says, so he can try that second coup and still win. We could see a parallel in certain people today, who know what the Bible says but think they don’t need to obey God and can go about life in a different way.

It is also possible that Satan will launch his second coup because he just does not care. Even though he understands that the Bible predicts that he will lose, he is the destroyer and murderer, and his whole goal in life is to destroy and to kill and to bring pain and suffering to others. The Bible reveals that his demons behave that way too–on one occasion at the time of Christ, a demon tried to kill his human “host”–which would lead to his having to lose the body he possessed and looking in despair for another body–but he just did not care, as he was set on destroying his “host” (Mark 9:17-22). His urge to destroy was too powerful and could not allow him to make a “reasonable” decision–even for himself. There is also another example when Christ allowed demons whom He cast out of men to possess a herd of swine–with the result that the swine threw themselves over the cliff and were killed (Mark 5:11-13).

Satan, the prince of the rulers of darkness, cannot control his urge to destroy and fight God all the way–and so he is trying again to knock God off His throne–even though he knows that God’s Word says that he will fail–rather than wanting to voluntarily transfer to Christ and man his rule over this earth.

We know that the whole world will soon enter the terrible and unprecedented time of the Great Tribulation. That time is also referred to as “Satan’s wrath.” This world will come to the brink of total annihilation, which will be caused by Satan and his demons. If God would not intervene by sending Jesus Christ just at the right time, no flesh would be saved alive (Matthew 24:22). No human or animal flesh would survive. So we see the mindset of Satan exposed here: He would rather see all mankind perish than turn his office and position over to Christ at His return. His demons will participate in that last coup, as they know that their positions will be given to Christ’s disciples who have qualified in this life to rule in the coming Kingdom of God.

Satan and his demons hate God’s Church. They will persecute it in the future (compare Revelation 12:13). Satan is described as a roaring wild lion walking around to see whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). Being compared to a vicious animal–like a poisonous untamable snake–he cannot control himself. He and his demons will try, whenever they can, to destroy God’s people. Paul warns us not to be indifferent about this fact, and he tells us in Ephesians 6:11-12: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the RULERS of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

To summarize, Satan and his demons will attempt another coup against God because they know or at least consider the possibility that their reign of terror will end in the near future. Filled with wrath and a desire to destroy, and thinking perhaps that they still can avert the certainty of their fate and not having learned anything from their previous failed attempt, they will try again and be defeated once more.

Lead Writers: Rene Messier and Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Please have a look at the new design of our website, www.standingwatch.org.

A new StandingWatch program was posted on StandingWatch and YouTube. It is titled, “The Bones of the Apostle Paul–Found?” In the program, Norbert Link discussed the announcement of the Catholic Church that the bones of the Apostle Paul were found in Rome. Der Stern wrote that there is NO EVIDENCE that these were the bones of the Apostle Paul. Die Welt added that there can be no certainty that the bones are those of the Apostle Paul, and that experts DOUBT the accuracy of the Pope’s claim. Zenit admitted that over the centuries the original tomb of Paul “disappeared from view and eventually could no longer be identified.” Why is this? Could it be that the remains of Paul are not to be found in Rome?

The German version of the same program (“Die Gebeine des Apostels Paulus–Gefunden?”) was also posted on YouTube and on our German website (www.AufPostenStehen.de).

A new member letter has been written and will be sent out next week, together with our new booklet, “The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today.

A new German sermon was recorded this week and will be posted shortly. It is the final part in the series on the Nature of God and the Potential of Man and is titled, “Die Zukunft des Menschen” (“Man’s Future.”)

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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

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