Update 414


Letter to the Galatians, Part 4

On October 17, 2009, Norbert Link will give the sermon,titled, “Letter to the Galatians, Part 4.”

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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by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

Society often associates privilege with those who have more than the average. It may also associate privilege with advantages obtained through birth into a wealthy or aristocratic family. Finally, in describing privilege, it may focus on other advantages that the ordinary man in the street doesn’t have or enjoy.

Wikipedia states that “privilege” “can refer to special powers or ‘de facto’ immunities held as a consequence of political power or wealth. Privilege of this sort may be transmitted by birth into a privileged class or achieved through individual actions. Compare elite.”

There can be both deference to those so privileged or, very often, resentment from those who feel that life can be unfair and that they themselves may be disadvantaged. It usually depends on which side of the fence you’re on!

But let us apply the word “privilege” to our calling and the Feast of Tabernacles that we’ve just observed. What a privilege that has been and how privileged we are to have been given the knowledge of the truth at this time so that we have the opportunity to be in the first resurrection!

Is the world envious of our “privilege”? Pretty unanimously, the answer must be no as we can be viewed as odd or peculiar for keeping festivals that are considered outdated and irrelevant. What would be the point of resenting those who are looked at as “religious” and outmoded in a secular society? It is extremely doubtful that we are seen as being privileged by anyone outside the Church today.

But conversely, do we consider ourselves privileged to have been called at this time? We should. We must. If we don’t, we could easily miss out on the most stupendous and thrilling future that we could ever envisage. Out of nearly seven billion people on this earth, very few have had the marvelous calling that we have been privileged to have been given. Attitude is so important and God is reviewing and monitoring our approach to our calling.  

If anyone in the Church of God resents any worldly “privilege” that others may enjoy, that would be a hypocritical approach. It would be good to reflect on the fact that WE indeed are the people of privilege if you think about it! “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26).  And we understand that the first resurrection is the better resurrection (compare Hebrews 11:35 and Revelation 20:6). Now that’s real privilege!

The Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day provided us with a wonderful time to be with God at His Feast site and with other like-minded brethren. What a PRIVILEGE it was to have been there!

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Dramatic developments are occurring in Europe. While Ireland and Poland have adopted the Lisbon Treaty, all eyes are focused on the Czech Republic–the last European member state which still needs to sign the Treaty. But especially Ireland’s “Yes-vote” has observers worried about the willingness of Europe to give up democracy and instead resort to fear tactics, and some claim that Europe is steadily advancing towards its ultimate goal of world domination. Many seem to support Tony Blair as the first permanent European president–especially after his conversion to Roman Catholicism–while others advocate the notion that only Germany is predestined to continue to create and lead Europe.

For more information on the future of Europe, as explained in the Bible, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

In other European news, we report on Austria’s strong support of its right-winged parties one year after Joerg Haider’s mysterious death; the idle attempts of some in Germany to create nationwide “Jewish” (actually biblical) and Muslim holidays; and Poland’s reaction to Russian endeavors to make a hero out of a mass murderer–Josef Stalin.

Turning to the Middle East, no peace is in sight for Jerusalem and no real solutions seem to present themselves to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Focusing on the USA, the world reacted with shock, disbelief and even outright mockery when it was announced that President Obama was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. And while new U.S. legislation is being proposed for “hate crimes” and “universal healthcare,” the coined term, “Obamageddon,” summarizes fears of a coming great depression and the demise of the U.S. dollar and of the “Empire America.”

The biblically prophesied fate of the USA is described in our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

We conclude with an article of Time magazine, comparing President Obama with Moses, just to show how far the mass media is straying from biblical truth.

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Only Germany Can Lead Europe

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 7:

“With the Lisbon Treaty approaching the final hurdles before it is adopted, it is time for the European Union to take a bold step forward. It  is up to Germany’s new government to lead the EU out of a decade of doldrums. A European Army would be a good place to start…Only Germany Can Lead…

“Germany at the moment is the only remaining motor of Europe. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has fallen too deeply in love with French grandeur to be a credible leader for Europe. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is politically crippled and his potential successor, David Cameron, is a vehement Euro-skeptic. Of the big three, only Germany can lead the EU into the future… A unified market and a common currency would have been unthinkable without German leadership… A clear commitment to a European army and a European civil reconstruction corps would not just reinvigorate EU integration, but it would also make the bloc a much bigger player on the international stage…

“The US, overstretched as it currently is, would welcome any attempt to increase Europe’s military capacity… The first European Union president, who will be named soon, will point the way to the future. Germany needs to begin building a broad coalition to install a candidate who will be able to wield power beyond Europe’s borders… We want a European Union that plays an active role in the world…”

Europe Lost Its Struggle For Democracy

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 5:

“In the end, it wasn’t even close. Instead of the predicted photo finish, the ‘yes’ vote galloped home to victory in Friday’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland, with the winds of the financial crisis at its back…

“In Ireland, the recession was plainly the deciding factor in the sharp turnaround. With the Irish economy in the doldrums, public debt soaring and unemployment on the brink of 20 percent, the voters chose to decisively back the treaty….

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘The fact that an overwhelming majority of Irish voters supported the Lisbon Treaty has a lot to do with the financial crisis… The strong ‘yes’ vote… was… clouded by the fact that it was the result of a fear campaign…’

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘… Everyone who eight years ago at the constitutional convention dreamed of a more democratic Europe have now lost… The new treaty will never get over the blemish of how it came about. The people who said ‘no’ the first time, were either not asked a second time or were blackmailed with the threat of being marginalized in economically tough times…'”

Europe’s Plot To Take Over the World

The Financial Times wrote on October 5:

“At last! Ireland has passed the Lisbon treaty and now the European Union can move forward with its plan for world domination… Jean Monnet, the founding father of the EU, believed that European unity was “not an end in itself, but only a stage on the way to the organised world of tomorrow”. His successors in Brussels make no secret of the fact that they regard the Union’s brand of supranational governance as a global model.”

Poland Approves Lisbon Treaty

Deutsche Welle reported on October 11:

“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was ‘delighted’ that the Polish had signed the EU’s reform treaty… Top European diplomats joined in the chorus of praising the Polish signing of the Lisbon Treaty.

“EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who attended Saturday’s signing ceremony in Warsaw, described the move as a ‘very important chapter for Poland and the European Union’…

“Poland’s signature leaves the Czech Republic as the sole remaining hold-out on the Lisbon Treaty, as its own euroskeptical President Vaclav Klaus awaits the outcome of a legal challenge of the treaty… Any further delay would be disappointing to Barroso who hoped to see the treaty take effect by January 1, 2010.”

Will the Czechs Sign?

The EUObserver wrote on October 13:

“The Czech constitutional court will hear a challenge to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty at the end of October. But the relief in Brussels at having a clear timetable is being undermined by the continued unpredictability of Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who holds the fate of the treaty in his hands.

“The court on Tuesday (13 October) said it would examine whether the treaty is compatible with the Czech constitution at a hearing on 27 October… In the past, Czech court has usually given its verdict a few days after such a hearing. But this is not a hard and fast rule.

“If the judges reject the challenge, the treaty still has to be signed by Mr Klaus, a eurosceptic and arch opponent of the document. Mr Klaus recently made those who believe he will not sign even after judicial approval more nervous by throwing out an eleventh-hour demand for Prague to get an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, a part of Lisbon…

“The Czech ratification saga is being viewed with some disbelief among EU officials, who point to the fact that both houses of the Czech parliament have already passed the treaty… Mr Barroso contented himself with pointing out that Mr Klaus himself signed the country’s EU accession treaty and himself originally asked for the Czech Republic to be a member of the 27-nation club.”

Tony Blair First Permanent EU President?

The EUObserver wrote in October 14:

“Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday (14 October) came out in favour of ‘Forza Blair’ as president of the European Council. ‘Tony Blair has all the credentials to become the first president of the European Council,’ Mr Berlusconi wrote in a letter that appeared in Il Foglio, a conservative daily…

“On Tuesday, the newspaper… said that Mr Blair’s candidacy was an opportunity both for Europe and for ‘Il Cavaliere.’ ‘If Silvio Berlusconi, after the furious and embarrassing controversies of recent months, wanted to revive the activities of his government’s international profile and give its political agenda a boost, he should exploit a tremendous opportunity: to fight for the nomination of former British prime minister Tony Blair as president of the European Council,’ the paper wrote.

“Europe had hope for a future, the article continued, ‘only if a figure of great international calibre, able to warm hearts, to be respected outside Europe and perhaps even feared, but also able to identify the institutions with his leadership, is chosen’…

“If the Italian leader is hoping to win over resistance to Mr Blair’s coronation, he chose an unusual forum. Il Foglio is most known for its robust support of the Iraq war. It has often been said, even by his supporters, that if Mr Blair does not win the post, one of the biggest reasons will be the former prime minister’s backing of the invasion of Iraq.

“The paper also cheered Mr Blair’s conversion to Roman Catholicism… Mr Berlusconi’s backing strengthens Mr Blair’s chances, although it reinforces the perception that the battle over the ex-UK leader could shape up to be one between large and small EU states.”

One Year After Haider–Austria’s Far Right Enjoys Strong Support

Deutsche Welle reported on October 10:

“A year after his death in a car accident, Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider continues to captivate. Austrians have turned out in large numbers on Sunday to pay their respects to the divisive politician. Joerg Haider died in a car accident on October 11 last year. He was 58 at the time, married, a father of two daughters and governor of Carinthia.

“Investigators found that he had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood when he lost control of his vehicle on a road near Klagenfurt in the early hours of the morning. He had been returning from a party at a gay bar and was travelling at around 140 kilometres per hour, or roughly twice the local speed limit. Those circumstances did nothing to dent Haider’s popularity, and conspiracy theories of the crash abound in his home province.

“One year on from his death, his Alliance for the Future of Austria party enjoys unprecedented levels of support in Carinthia. Earlier this year it won regional elections with 45 percent of the vote…

“Austria’s two far-right parties won roughly 27 percent of the vote between them at last year’s legislative elections. Together, they now control 54 of the 183 seats in the country’s national parliament and form the biggest opposition to the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and the centre-right People’s Party. As well as campaigning against accepting immigrants, the far right parties oppose Turkey’s membership of the European Union and reject EU influence in Austrian affairs.”

May Russia’s Mass Murderer Stalin Stand Up…

The EUObserver wrote on October 14:

“The Polish head of the EU parliament on Wednesday… underlined some basic facts about Joseph Stalin at an event held in the context of mounting historical revisionism in Russia. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 23 August 1939, an agreement between Stalin and Hitler, carved up ownership of Poland, Finland, Romania and the Baltic states, saw millions deported and led to the deaths of 760,000 Poles, ‘many of them children,’ he said in his speech…

“The speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, Irena Degutiene, equated Stalinist crimes with Nazi crimes and noted that ‘the Soviet occupation and Stalinist terror totaled the loss of every third resident of Lithuania’…

“The EU parliament seminar comes amid a new Russian campaign to rehabilitate the image of Stalin, who oversaw the deaths of millions of Russians but who also helped defeat Nazi Germany. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a World War II commemoration ceremony in Poland last month defended the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact on the basis that Western countries also made deals with Hitler.

“In September, a new Russian handbook for schoolteachers called History of Russia from 1945 to 2008 described Stalin as an ‘efficient manager’ and his occupation of the Baltic states as ‘entirely rational.’ Moscow authorities in August also opened a newly-restored 1950s metro station in the city, complete with Soviet insignia and a plaque saying: ‘Stalin reared us on loyalty to the people. He inspired us to labour and heroism.’

“The pro-Stalin campaign has fueled eastern European fears of a new wave of Russian imperialism, following Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and its recent attempts to influence the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine. A US decision to scrap plans for military bases in Poland and the Czech Republic has also raised concerns that Washington is no longer serious about its security promises to former Communist states.”

Nationwide Muslim and “Jewish” Holidays in Germany?–Not a Chance!

Deutsche Welle reported on October 14:

“German politicians and religious organizations broadly shot down a proposal by Germany’s Turkish Community (TGD) for schools to close one day out of the year to observe a Muslim holiday. Head of the TGD, Kenan Kolat prompted the debate when he suggested that the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, could become a school holiday for all students… The Central Council of Jews supported Kolat’s proposal, and suggested that the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur be observed by schools as well. However, many politicians and church representatives, as well as the Central Council of Muslims, came out against the idea.

“‘I see no reason to turn this day (Eid al-Fitr) into a general school holiday or bank holiday for everybody,’ Aiman Mazyek, general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims told German Press Agency dpa, saying it was good enough that Muslim students were excused from attending school on their religious holidays.

“The Chairman of the Evangelical Church, Bishop Wolfgang Huber, told Wednesday’s edition of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that there was a ‘priority for Christian holidays in the culture of our country’ based on millennia of Christian influence in Germany…”

The Fight for Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Post wrote on October 7:

“Since the deadly 1929 riots, the struggle over Jerusalem has been at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and, as recent events show, nothing has changed. For the Palestinians and their supporters, any Jewish presence in Jerusalem that is not under Arab control is not only unacceptable, but seen as threatening… Thus, for the Arabs, recognition of the history and legitimacy of Jewish claims is a threat to their own narrative and legitimacy, particularly for the Muslims…

“As long as the Arab and Muslim position slams the door to block Jewish history, Jerusalem will remain a battleground in which the Jewish nation will have no choice but to use force when necessary to defends these rights. “

Is the US Preparing to Bomb Iran?

ABC News reported on October 6:

“Is the U.S. stepping up preparations for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities? The Pentagon is always making plans, but based on a little-noticed funding request recently sent to Congress, the answer to that question appears to be yes…

“The request was quietly approved. On Friday, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a $51.9 million contract to provide ‘Massive Penetrator Ordnance Integration’ on B-2 aircraft. This is not the kind of weapon that would be particularly useful in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it is ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran.”

The Gain from an Attack

Newsweek reported on October 3:

“The United States or Israel could attack Iran from the air. To be effective, such an attack would have to be large-scale and sustained, probably involving dozens and dozens of sorties over several days. The campaign would need to strike at all known Iranian facilities as well as suspected ones. Such an attack would probably not get at everything. Iran’s sites are buried in mountains, and there are surely some facilities that we do not know about. But it would deal a massive blow to the Iranian nuclear program.

“The first thing that would happen the day after such an offensive begins would be a massive outpouring of support for the Iranian regime. This happens routinely when a country is attacked by foreign forces, no matter how unpopular the government. Germany invaded Russia at the height of Stalin’s worst repression—and the country rallied behind Stalin… The Iranians would respond in the wake of such an attack… an American or Israeli military attack would clearly put pro-American forces on the defensive in the Islamic world… The gain from an attack… as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates points out, would be to delay, not end, the Iranian program, perhaps by a few years but no more.”

In an accompanying interview with Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Michael Oren, the question was posed whether Israel is going to strike. Oren responded: “Israel supports President Obama’s position of [keeping] all options on the table.” When asked, “That means military options, right?”, Oren answered, “All options means all options.”

Russia Disapproves of Sanctions Against Iran

Reuters reported on October 14:

“Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned major powers against intimidating Iran and said that talk of sanctions against the Islamic Republic was ‘premature.'”

No Joke–Obama Wins Peace Prize “For What?”

The Times On Line wrote on October 9:

“The award of this year’s Nobel peace prize to President Obama will be met with widespread incredulity, consternation in many capitals and probably deep embarrassment by the President himself. Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America’s first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.

“Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.

“The pretext for the prize was Mr Obama’s decision to ‘strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples’. Many people will point out that, while the President has indeed promised to ‘reset’ relations with Russia and offer a fresh start to relations with the Muslim world, there is little so far to show for his fine words.

“East-West relations are little better than they were six months ago, and any change is probably due largely to the global economic downturn; and America’s vaunted determination to re-engage with the Muslim world has failed to make any concrete progress towards ending the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“There is a further irony in offering a peace prize to a president whose principal preoccupation at the moment is when and how to expand the war in Afghanistan. The spectacle of Mr Obama mounting the podium in Oslo to accept a prize… would be all the more absurd if it follows a White House decision to send up to 40,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. However just such a war may be deemed in Western eyes, Muslims would not be the only group to complain that peace is hardly compatible with an escalation in hostilities…

“Mr Obama becomes the third sitting US President to receive the prize. The committee said today that he had ‘captured the world’s attention’. It is certainly true that his energy and aspirations have dazzled many of his supporters. Sadly, it seems they have so bedazzled the Norwegians that they can no longer separate hopes from achievement. The achievements of all previous winners have been diminished.”

Controversial Decisions of Nobel Committee

The Wall Street Journal wrote on October 9:

“The deadline for nominations for the prize was Feb. 1 — two weeks after Mr. Obama was inaugurated. ‘So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far,’ former Polish President Lech Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, said Friday…

“The Nobel committee has courted controversy from time-to-time ever since its founding in 1901. In 1906, it awarded the peace prize to President Theodore Roosevelt for his role in bringing an end to the Russo-Japanese war. But for many Americans and others around the world, Roosevelt was better known for his willingness to project U.S. military force, including a global tour of an expanded U.S. Navy, not to mention his pre-Presidential exploits as a cavalry officer during the Spanish-American war of 1898.

“The Norwegians also earned big brickbats in 1973 for awarding the prize to Henry Kissinger, vilified by many on the left as a pushing for the expansion of the Vietnam War into neighboring countries. His co-laureate, the Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho, was the only person ever to decline the award. The committee has also been criticized for political bias, especially after it awarded the Nobel to Jimmy Carter in 2002 and Al Gore in 2007 — moves that were both seen as rebukes to the then U.S. president, George W. Bush. They’ve also been slammed for their omissions. Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic leader of the Indian independence movement and a symbol of nonviolence, never won the Nobel, though he was nominated five times.”

US Senate Finance Committee Adopts HealthCare Bill

The Financial Times wrote on October 14:

“President Barack Obama said Tuesday’s Senate committee vote for a centrist $829bn healthcare bill brought the US closer to his goal of achieving universal healthcare reform but warned Democrats ‘not to pat ourselves on the back’ given the long road ahead.

“The 14-9 margin on the Senate finance committee, which included the sole Republican vote of Olympia Snowe of Maine, paves the way for Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, to craft a new bill for the Senate floor that will be designed to overcome a probable Republican filibuster… Tuesday’s vote will also be taken as a rebuke to the health insurance industry, which published a last-minute report on Monday claiming that premiums would rise much faster under the proposed reforms than they would otherwise… Republicans continued to attack the plan on Tuesday. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the committee, said it would put the US on a ‘slippery slope to more and more government control of healthcare.'”

The Associated Press reported on October 14:

“Health care talks slip back behind closed doors Wednesday as Senate leaders start trying to merge two very different bills into a new version that can get the 60 votes needed to guarantee its passage… The Finance Committee bill that was approved Tuesday has no government-sponsored insurance plan and no requirement on employers that they must offer coverage. It relies instead on a requirement that all Americans obtain insurance.”

On the other hand, both proposed bills provide for individual penalties for not acquiring insurance–a measurement which, as we explained before in the Current Events section of our previous Update, is possibly unconstitutional. USA Today reported on October 14 that the bill of the Finance Committee provides that “With few exceptions, everyone would be required to buy health insurance. Each adult without it would pay an annual penalty, set at $200 in 2014; $400 in 2015; $600 in 2016; and $750 in 2017.” The [bill of the] Help Committee “has a mandate and a tax penalty of $750 per individual — up to $3,000 per family. It is not phased in.”

Newsmax.com reported on October 13:

“U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Tuesday regarding the Finance Committee vote on partisan healthcare reform… ‘The fact is, this proposal [adopted by the Finance Committee] will never come before the Senate. But what we do know is that the bill written behind closed doors here in the Capitol will be another 1,000-page, trillion-dollar Washington takeover. We know it will slash a half-trillion dollars from seniors’ Medicare, add new taxes, and raise premiums. That’s not reform.’”

New Hate Crime Bill

The Associated Press reported on October 8:

“The House voted Thursday to make it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation, significantly expanding the hate crimes law enacted in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968. With expected passage by the Senate, federal prosecutors will for the first time be able to intervene in cases of violence perpetrated against gays… The measure is attached to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill and President Barack Obama – unlike President George W. Bush – is a strong supporter. The House passed the defense bill 281-146, with 15 Democrats and 131 Republicans in opposition…

“Many Republicans, normally stalwart supporters of defense bills, voted against it because of the addition of what they referred to as ‘thought crimes’ legislation. ‘This is radical social policy that is being put on the defense authorization bill, on the backs of our soldiers, because they probably can’t pass it on its own,’ House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said.

“GOP opponents were not assuaged by late changes in the bill to strengthen protections for religious speech and association – critics argued that pastors expressing beliefs about homosexuality could be prosecuted if their sermons were connected to later acts of violence against gays. Supporters countered that prosecutions could occur only when bodily injury is involved, and no minister or protester could be targeted for expressing opposition to homosexuality…

“Tom McClusky, vice president of the conservative Family Research Council’s legislative arm said the next step likely would be contesting the legislation in court. ‘The religious protections are pretty flimsy,’ he said. He contended that Democrats were trying to move their ‘homosexual agenda’ this year because it would prove unpopular with voters next year.”

“Obamageddon”–The Coming Great Depression and Decline of Empire America

WorldNetDaily wrote on October 10:

“A trends forecaster says the current economic ‘rebound’ from last winter’s Wall Street collapse of banks, insurance companies and automobile manufacturers is an artificial blip created by ‘phantom money printed out of thin air backed by nothing’… Gerald Celente of TrendsResearch.com, says people right now should be bracing for ‘the greatest recession’ which will hit worldwide and will mark the ‘decline of empire America’…

“‘There’s no recovery. This is merely a cover-up,’ he said. ‘The market crashed in March of 2009 and around the world they papered over the damage from the collapse with phantom money printed out of thin air backed by nothing,’ he said. This is ‘much bigger’ than an economic collapse, he said. ‘This is the decline of empire America… This is the beginning of the greatest depression’…

“USA Today says Celente ‘has a knack for getting the zeitgeist right,’ and CNBC says, ‘The man knows what he’s talking about’… He said… that retail sales this coming Christmas season will be the ‘real nail in the economic coffin’… Tim Barello in the Examiner noted that since 1980 Celente has made at least 40 accurate predictions about major world events, such as the 1987 stock market crash… Now comes his forecast for a global depression and for the United States, ‘Obamageddon.’

“‘We want to make it very clear that the policies leading to the decline of “Empire America” have been long in the making,’ Celente told Barello. ‘What has happened in the Obama administration is that they have taken policies far beyond even what Bush took with the TARP program; for example, with his stimulus package, with the buyouts, with the bailouts, the rescue packages, these are unprecedented in American history.'”

The Demise of the Dollar

The Telegraph reported on October 6:

“In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

“In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar…

“Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China’s former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East…

“This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region’s conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient…

“The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar…

“Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.”

“Dollar Loses Reserve Status to Yen and Euro”

The New York Post wrote on October 13:

“Ben Bernanke’s dollar crisis went into a wider mode yesterday as the greenback was shockingly upstaged by the euro and yen, both of which can lay claim to the world title as the currency favored by central banks as their reserve currency. Over the last three months, banks put 63 percent of their new cash into euros and yen — not the greenbacks — a nearly complete reversal of the dollar’s onetime dominance for reserves…

“Bernanke could go down in economic history as the man who killed the greenback on the operating table. After printing up trillions of new dollars and new bonds to stimulate the US economy, the Federal Reserve chief is now boxed into a corner battling two separate monsters that could devour the economy — ravenous inflation on one hand, and a perilous recession on the other.

“‘He’s in a crisis worse than the meltdown ever was,’ said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. ‘I fear that he could be the Fed chairman who brought down the whole thing… The stimulus is what’s toxic — we’re poisoning ourselves and the global economy with it.'”

Obama–the New Moses?

In a somewhat preposterous article, Time wrote on October 13:

“Obama cast his run for the White House as a fulfillment of the Moses tradition of leading people out of bondage into freedom… Eight months into his presidency, Obama might want to give Moses a second look. On issues from health care to Afghanistan, the President faces doubts and rebellions, from an entrenched pharaonic establishment on one hand and restless, stiff-necked followers on the other…

“The plight of the Israelites resonated with the earliest American settlers. For centuries, the Catholic Church had banned the direct reading of Scripture. But the Protestant Reformation, combined with the printing press, brought vernacular Bibles to everyday readers… The Pilgrims stressed this aspect of Moses. When the band of Protestant breakaways left England in 1620, they described themselves as the chosen people fleeing their pharaoh, King James…

“The Moses image was so pervasive that on July 4, after signing the Declaration of Independence, the Congress asked Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to propose a seal for the United States. Their recommendation: Moses, leading the Israelites through the Red Sea as the water overwhelms the pharaoh. In their eyes, Moses was America’s true Founding Father…

“So what lessons can the current occupant of the White House learn from a figure that nearly every one of his predecessors has invoked?

“… The Bible outlines at least a dozen rebellions in which the people attempt to overthrow Moses. In a striking parallel to Obama, the Israelites even question Moses’ birthright: ‘Who made you leader over us?’ God offers to destroy the people, but Moses brokers a compromise. The strongest leaders face the harshest criticism and hold fast against their naysayers.”

The Israelites never questioned the birthplace of Moses. If President Obama is a natural-born American citizen, let him produce the proof. Despite repeated inadequate left-liberal allegations, the American people are still waiting for evidence that Barack Obama is legally qualified to serve as their President.  

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What are the biblical proofs for your teaching that members of the Church of God will be protected at a particular "place of safety," here on earth, during the Great Tribulation?

Jesus Christ warned His end-time disciples of the Great Tribulation, which will be so terrible that nothing like it ever happened before and will ever happen again (Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1). At the same time, Christ challenged us to watch and pray always to be counted worthy to escape or be protected from the Great Tribulation. Even though God is certainly capable of protecting us wherever we might be, HE HAS DECREED that He will protect His very elect at a particular place here on earth.

We would like to quote the following excerpts from chapter 8 of our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” pages 54-55:

“Christ promises His people—who are worthy—a way to ‘escape all these things that will come to pass’ (Luke 21:34–36; compare Revelation 3:10; Zephaniah 2:3; Psalm 31:19–20). That ‘place of refuge’ (Proverbs 14:26) will be on this earth—not in heaven (Revelation 12:14; Isaiah 33:16; Isaiah 26:20–21).

“Even though God CAN protect us anywhere He wants, He has decreed that His people will be protected at a certain place here on earth—the place of safety and ‘shelter’ (Joel 3:14–16). Christ compares the time preceding His coming with the time of Noah (Matthew 24:37–39), and as God protected Noah and his family in the ark—here on earth—so He will protect His people on this earth in the way that HE has chosen. He will definitely NOT protect them by ‘rapturing’ them to heaven!”

Our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” contains the following comments, on pages 58-60:

“God has promised us protection from the terrible times to come, if we are faithful to Him. Christ tells us in Revelation 3:10: ‘Because you have kept My command to persevere (to have patience), I also will keep you from the hour of trial [tribulation] which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.’

“Notice Christ’s additional admonition and promise in Luke 21:34–36: ‘But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

“Recall that the name of Zephaniah means, ‘Whom the LORD has hidden.’ We are told in Zephaniah’s message, as well, that WE can be hidden, or protected, in the day of the LORD’S anger. Yes, there is a way! Notice this remarkable promise in Zephaniah 2:3: ‘Seek the LORD, all you meek [humble] of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’S anger.’

“King David, himself a prophet, also understood that God would hide and protect those who faithfully trust in Him. Listen to these encouraging words: ‘Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of your wings…’ (Psalm 17:8). ‘For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in his pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock’ (Psalm 27:5).

“’Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which you have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues’ (Psalm 31:19–20).

“King Solomon confirms, in Proverbs 14:26, that God’s people will be protected in the coming times of trial: ‘In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.’

“This place of refuge is more clearly described in Revelation 12:14, promising the end-time Church of God her place in the wilderness—on this earth—prepared by God, a place where she will be nourished for 3 ½ years and protected from Satan the devil. Compare this with Isaiah 33:16, describing the righteous person (verse 15) as dwelling ‘on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure.’

“God gives us the same promise in Isaiah 26:20–21: ‘Come, My people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.’

“Through all this, we can take great comfort from God’s promise for His people, as recorded by the prophet, Joel. We can be protected, if God looks at us as His people and counts us worthy to escape the terrible times ahead of us. Joel 3:14–16 reads: ‘Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter his voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel.'”

Let us focus once again on God’s specific promise to protect His very elect on this earth–at a particular place “in the wilderness.”

We read in Jeremiah 4:6 that God’s people are to “Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction.”

As mentioned, Revelation 3:10 contains Christ’s promise to His people [those who have a Philadelphia spirit] in these end times to protect them from the Great Tribulation. The Moffat translation renders this passage as follows: “I will keep you safe through the hour of trial.” The Living Bible interprets: “I will protect you from the time of Great Tribulation and temptation.”

As pointed out above, one of the key passages, promising God’s end-time Church protection on this earth, at a particular place, can be found in Revelation 12:13-17. The passage reads:

“(13) Now when the dragon (Satan the devil, Revelation 12:9) saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child (Jesus Christ). (14) But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness TO HER PLACE [New International Version: “to the place prepared for her in the desert”], where she is nourished [Living Bible: “cared for and protected”; Amplified Bible: “where she is to be kept safe and fed”] FOR A TIME AND TIMES AND HALF A TIME [Living Bible: “for three and a half years”], from the presence of the serpent. (15) So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. (16) But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon spewed out of his mouth. (17) And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

We explain this passage as follows in chapter 13 of our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!”, pages 78-79:

“We understand that the woman is, first of all, symbolic for Eve (Genesis 3:15); then for the Old Testament Church which would evolve from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Jacob’s TWELVE sons, and which would become known as the Church of Israel in the wilderness; then for Mary, the mother of Christ; and—subsequent to Christ’s ascension—for the New Testament Church of God (compare Matthew 25:1; Ephesians 5:22–32; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Galatians 4: 26)…

“While the woman has flown to her place of safety, here on earth, with two wings of a great eagle (compare Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 1:31; 32:11; Isaiah 63:9), to be nourished there for 3-½ years (Revelation 12:14), Satan will spew water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman. This might perhaps allude to an army or to a military force (compare Daniel 11:10; Jeremiah 47:2–3). The earth will open its mouth to help the woman (compare Numbers 16:31–32). All of this will happen on earth—not in heaven, as some who believe in the false concept of a secret rapture erroneously teach. Satan will proceed to persecute others within the Church who will not be at the place of safety here on earth.”

Revelation 12:14-16 pictures the flight of a particular group of people. Exactly how all of this will come about is yet to be revealed. However, the biblical parallels as shown in past examples of God’s deliverance are recorded as lessons of encouragement and instruction for us.

2 Peter 2:4-9 tells us that God knows how to deliver the godly from temptation and trials, including the Great Tribulation. He saved Noah by letting him find protection in an ark, and He delivered Lot by leading him out of Sodom and providing a place of refuge for him at a particular location. Early Christians escaped from Jerusalem and fled to the city of Pella, just before the Romans invaded and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (compare Eusebius in his Church History; and Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, Book VI, chapter 3, section 3). God has revealed to us, in His Word, that He will protect His very elect end-time people at a particular place “in the wilderness.” Will you be among those who are counted worthy to escape the Great Tribulation?

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

From all reports received, the Feast of Tabernacles 2009 in England and California was a great success. From what we can tell, all attendees arrived back home safely. We will discuss the Feast in more detail in an upcoming member letter. For now, here are a few excerpts from comments received:

Our Feast was very fulfilling. There wasn’t enough time for close visits with everyone, but, then again, perhaps next year!

The Feast was excellent! It was so good seeing everyone and all the messages were fantastic. One of our best Feasts ever!

It was a great Feast for sure.

Everyone seemed pleased with our Feast at Chatsworth. It was good to meet, finally, the Zehrung family.

We are back home safe and miss you all!! It’s amazing how fast the Feast went by

Thanks again for a GREAT Feast…

The Feast was over all too soon and time to return home.

Awesome Feast. We — linking into the internet FOT services — thank and appreciate the Tech-Team who provide us with the opportunity to be with you all.

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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