Update 416


What Do You See?

by Dave Harris

Jesus called the people of His generation blind! He particularly criticized the Jewish religious leaders of that day for their hypocrisy. Quoting from Isaiah, Jesus said this: “‘‘…Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive”’” (Matthew 13:14).

This ringing indictment, itself, was not understood by almost all who came into contact with Jesus Christ!

Here we are in the closing years of this age—do we understand, do we perceive?

Or are we also fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah—and of Jesus?

Prophecies are now being fulfilled in ways that are simply unprecedented! The pace is so rapid, that I imagine we find it hard to even keep abreast of it all. This sudden acceleration was prophesied: “’”Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumor will be upon rumor”’” (Ezekiel 7:26). Also, “‘…It will be a terror just to understand the report’” (Isaiah 28:19). Continuing, “‘…For I have heard from the Lord God of hosts, A destruction determined even upon the whole earth’” (Isaiah 28:22).

Prophecy also tells us what we should be doing in this time!  In chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew, key events heralding the end of the age are written with a special emphasis given to those who will live in these times. What we are told is to watch and pray and to be ready (compare 24:42, 44; 25:10, 13).

Returning to Matthew 13, Jesus also spoke in reference to His followers:

“‘But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it’” (Verses 16-17).

If we are diligent to use our gift of understanding, then we will continue “to discern both good and evil” (compare Hebrews 5:14). Recognizing the events that are transpiring takes effort on our part, and we are warned to stay attentive to our responsibilities and not to become lazy in these matters (compare Hebrews 6:11-12).

When the Pharisees and Sadducees sought an impressive visible heavenly sign from Him, Jesus’ answer was pointed: “‘…When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red”; and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times’” (Matthew 16:2-3).

If we are among the elect who discern the signs of our times, then we must not ignore the accountability that comes with this knowledge: “‘…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more’” (Luke 12:48).

Have you been given much understanding of God’s Will, and has much responsibility been committed to you to have a part in the Work of God? In answering this question for ourselves, remember the underlying principle by which we are being judged—that is, to be “‘…faithful…'”, even if it is just  ‘”over a few things’” (compare Matthew 25:14-30).

You might just test yourself and honestly consider—what do you hear and what do you see?

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Our leading articles focus on the unification of Europe under possible German-French leadership, and the deteriorating relationship between France and the USA. We point out that Germany is at this point helping Israel militarily, while anger is being displayed over the recent riots at the Temple Mount and calls for international intervention are becoming louder. For information on the future of the state of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, please read our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today.”

We are introducing two new German politicians on the world scene and report on possible anti-German protests by the Muslim world.

According to some observers, “Anglicanism” is over, due to an anticipated mass exodus of Anglican clergy to the Catholic Church, and Germany’s Protestants are also interested in “improving” their relationship with the Catholic Church.

We are also reporting on Turkey and the prophesied unification of Asian powers, which will result in hostility between those powers and a united Europe. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord” and “Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation.”

While the freedom of the press is being threatened in the USA and more US banks are failing, evolutionists are appalled by a growing number of people around the world demanding the teaching of creationism in school. To learn more about the unscientific nature of the evolution theory, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults?”

We conclude with twisted rabbinical rulings pertaining to the Sabbath, showing the importance of not making the Sabbath a burden, but observing it as a joyful occasion. Jesus said that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). For more information, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”

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Sweeping Powers of EU’s New Foreign Minister

The EUObserver wrote on October 23:

“The EU’s new foreign minister will have sweeping powers to conduct foreign policy, propose his own budget and name his own staff independently of other EU institutions, according to the latest EU presidency blueprint… The new institution is to manage general foreign relations as well as EU security and defence projects, such as the police missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia and Afghanistan or any future peacekeeping operations in, for example, Africa…”

The First European President

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 28:

“For weeks, many have speculated that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in line to become the European Union’s first president. But now, Jean-Claude Juncker from tiny Luxembourg may have torpedoed the plan. EU logic indicates that a third candidate may emerge victorious… The duel between Juncker and Blair comes as the 27 EU heads of state and government prepare to gather in Brussels at the end of this week for the bloc’s fall summit. In addition to the post of president, the EU also must name 27 commissioners and choose a Foreign High Representative, often referred to as the EU foreign minister.

“Still, discussions about the EU’s two highest posts are not likely to be made public. The European Union will only get a president and a foreign minister once the Lisbon Treaty has been completely ratified — and Czech President Vaclav Klaus continues to withhold his signature. He says he is waiting for the results of a case pending before the Czech constitutional court; the court said on Tuesday it would reconvene on Nov. 3, at which time it will likely hand down its verdict…

“While climate change and the EU’s plan for the Baltic Sea region are at the top of the summit agenda, the main topic in the hallways is likely to be Blair and the presidency… The fact that Juncker has now entered the fray does not come as a surprise. It is well known that Juncker — the longest-serving head of government in the EU and a man who carries the nickname ‘Mr. Europe’ with pride — would love to be the first EU president in history. His chances, though, are seen as being close to zero. Both Great Britain and France, two of the EU’s largest member states, are opposed to his candidacy.

“Juncker is almost surely aware of that, which is why many speculate that his motive is a different one — that of preventing Blair from getting the office. It is a classic move on the Brussels chessboard: one creates a dichotomy of extremes — in this case a prominent politician from the country of euro-skeptics versus a European-by-conviction from a small member state — and immediately, the EU culture of consensus almost demands a compromise candidate. In this scenario, neither Blair nor Juncker would be appointed president, but a third candidate. German government sources see this scenario as being the most likely.

“Juncker’s motivation is not hard to guess at… The idea of a Briton speaking for the European Union is difficult for him to accept. Furthermore, Blair’s alliance with former US President George W. Bush during the invasion of Iraq has not been forgotten. Both points are often underestimated in London… At the moment, it looks as though Juncker’s strategy will pay off. Few in Brussels are still betting on Blair, with most guessing that a third candidate will pop up… There are many in Great Britain who would likewise breathe a sigh of relief were Blair to fall short…

“Should it become clear at this week’s summit that backing is lacking for Blair, then the deck will be reshuffled — and German Chancellor Angela Merkel could find herself in the role of kingmaker. So far she has been waiting to see which direction the wind is blowing, as the chancellor has a tendency to do. On Wednesday evening, she is expected in Paris for a working dinner with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the subject of EU top slots is almost sure to be a topic of discussion. But in contrast to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Sarkozy and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Merkel has made no indication as to who she might prefer. Once she does make up her mind, her word is likely to carry all the more weight.”

It is very interesting that it is again Germany which seems to be playing a major role in deciding who the first European President will be.

Will France-German Axis Rule Europe?

The Economist reported on October 22:

“… the French have been laying the ground for their next big idea: a deepening of the Franco-German axis to entrench their dual leadership and make Europe ‘one of the principal players of the 21st century.’

“In a speech to his ambassadors in August, President Nicolas Sarkozy declared that he wanted ‘Europe once again to make history instead of enduring it’. His model was ‘Franco-German understanding’ built on his friendship with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. His Europe minister, Pierre Lellouche, is zealously spreading the message. ‘More than ever, the relationship between France and Germany will form the heart of what I would call the third phase of post-war European history,’ he recently wrote in Le Monde…

“The French realise that the British are likely to be unhelpful friends if the Eurosceptical Conservatives win the election next spring… Another factor is the view that, when the French and the Germans agree, Europe makes its voice heard.

“… the French are not blind to the need for other ties in Europe. They still hope to draw the British into a common European defence policy, even under a Conservative government. It is far harder for two countries to steer an EU of 27 members than one of 12. Yet the French expect the most from Germany—and it is not clear they will get much.”

Ultimately, Europe will be ruled by ten core nations or groups of nations, and it appears certain that France and Germany will be powerful players within that group.

France vs. USA

Reuters reported on October 23:

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy, initially dubbed Sarko the American for his pro-U.S. stance, is finding it much tougher to deal with Washington than he had anticipated and is recalibrating his policies accordingly. Stung by perceived snubs from U.S. President Barack Obama and encouraged by the growing importance of the G20, Sarkozy is increasingly reaching out to non-aligned states in an effort to extend France’s international influence.

“He has forged especially close ties with Brazil, is seeking alliances in central Asia and is intensifying his activities in the Middle East, using multi-billion dollar military and civilian nuclear trade deals as his calling card. These initiatives are being played out against a discordant tone in Franco-American relations…

“Analysts say Obama clearly prefers dealing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sarkozy is visibly frustrated by the situation… Officials say the disconnect is centred on real issues, such as Obama’s attitude to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which has been less hardline than Sarkozy’s hawkish stance… There are also real differences of opinion over how to deal with the lingering financial crisis, with a close Sarkozy aide accusing Washington this week of risking global inflation by printing money and ‘flooding the world with liquidity’.

“The French government spokesman said on Wednesday that Sarkozy would propose ‘a new international monetary organisation which better reflects today’s world’ when France holds the presidency of the Group of 20 wealthy nations in 2011. Roughly translated, this means France wants to challenge the supremacy of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.”

The Bible reveals that ultimately, the relationship between the USA and Europe–including France–will become extremely hostile.

Germany to Provide Israel with Warships and Submarines

Deutsche Welle reported on October 23:

“Israel would like… two [German] warships, worth an estimated 400-500 million euros ($600-750 million), free of charge… The ships’ weapons would be supplied by the United States. The two state of the art corvettes, which are hard to detect by radar, are said to be larger than Israel’s current flagship Hanit.

“The Israeli navy wants to install a ‘Barak 8’ missile defence system on the two vessels along with sophisticated radar so as ‘to be prepared for potential wars’, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Ma’ariv. The move would allow Israel to shift a part of its missile defense system to the sea, rendering it less vulnerable to potential rocket attacks.”

The Local added on October 23:

“The [Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung] reported that the government has not yet reacted to Israel’s request. But ‘influential politicians from northern Germany,’ where the shipbuilding industry is suffering from the global economic downturn, are apparently supportive in the interest of keeping German shipyards in business. The shipbuilding contract would go to Hamburg company Blohm + Voss… But the internal weapons system would come from the United States, with the end result being a missile defence system on water.

“Israeli naval forces have already received help from the German government. Between 1999 and 2000, three submarines completed by Kiel shipyard Howaldtswerken Deutsche Werft were delivered. Meanwhile the government is reportedly paying for two-thirds of two more submarines with fuel-cell power plants priced at €500 million. They are currently under construction in Kiel with plans to deliver them to Israel in 2012.”

Even though Germany entertains at this point friendly relationships with the state of Israel, this will dramatically change in the not-too-distant future.

Clashes at Temple Mount

AFP wrote on October 25:

“Clashes erupted on Sunday between Israeli police and Palestinians in and around the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the latest violence to shake Jerusalem’s flashpoint site holy to Muslims and Jews… Police twice entered the compound itself after Palestinian demonstrators threw stones at visitors to the holy site, known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount…

“Kamal Khatib, a spokesman for the Israeli Arab Islamic Movement, which has been at the forefront of recent demonstrations at the compound, blamed [Israeli] police for the violence… The office of Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas warned of ‘dangerous consequences’ and called on Israel to ‘halt all provocative acts’… and called on the international community to intervene to ‘put pressure on the Israeli government’…

“The Palestinian calls for protests came amid rumours that right wing Jewish activists were planning to gather at the … mosque compound and the adjacent Western Wall…”

Haaretz wrote on October 26:

“After two weeks of relative quiet in the Jerusalem area, disturbances again broke out in the city and its periphery yesterday morning. Shortly after the Temple Mount was opened up to tourists and other non-Muslim visitors, several dozen Palestinians began throwing stones at both police and tourists. The police attempted to disperse the stone throwers and the Temple Mount was closed to visitors…

“Yesterday’s disturbances appear to have been sparked, as in the past, by printed announcements by Jewish groups seeking to gain access to the Temple Mount to pray. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement and other parties, including Abdel Kader, called on the Palestinian public to come to the Temple Mount to defend it…

“Over the weekend, the Jerusalem police raised their level of alert following calls by Muslim leaders to “defend the Temple Mount from conquest by Jews” alongside calls from right-wing Jewish activists for Jews to come to the Temple Mount in large numbers… Police Commissioner David Cohen said the Islamic Movement was directing and fomenting large numbers of East Jerusalem residents and Israeli Arabs on the Temple Mount… Jerusalem police also pointed a finger at Hamas as a source for the unrest…

“MK Talab al-Sana (United Arab List-Ta’al) warned that “Israel was provoking a billion Muslims who would not hesitate to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque with their bodies.” A leading Sunni Muslim religious figure, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, called on the Arab League and the kings of Saudi Arabia and Morocco to intervene immediately over the situation on the Temple Mount.”

“Syria: Israel Wants to Destroy al-Aqsa Mosque”

YNetNews.com wrote on October 26:

“The Syrian Foreign Ministry has denounced Israel’s ‘blatant violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque,’ following the recent wave of riots in Jerusalem. In an official statement released Monday, the ministry said that ‘(Damascus) believes the Israeli security forces’ invasion of al-Aqsa was part of Israel’s scheme to Judaize Jerusalem and destroy the mosque.’ A Syrian news agency further quoted the official as saying Israel’s actions were ‘a crime against Arab history and heritage and against Muslims’ holy places.’ The official expressed his support and gratitude to the ‘brave men’ who rallied to the compound’s defense, and urged the international community to denounce Israel’s actions.

“Syria’s censure joins that of Jordan: On Sunday, Amman urged Israel to prevent both security forces and extreme rightists from entering the Temple Mount compound. The Hashemite Kingdom’s State-run news agency warned Jerusalem that such ‘provocations’ were hazardous to the peace process.”

It is interesting to see an increased call for “international” intervention regarding problems surrounding the Temple Mount.

Westerwelle–Germany’s New Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister

Deutsche Welle wrote on October 24:

“… with only out-of-government experience, and a political career that has barely, if ever, involved foreign relations, what can Westerwelle bring to the table for Germany? The 47-year-old has little direct experience of foreign policy… His party is pro-American… On Saturday, Oct. 24, Westerwelle said nuclear non-proliferation and the removal of US atomic warheads from German soil would be a priority for his ministry…

“But that won’t necessarily mean that Germany will give in to US wishes to commit more troops to Afghanistan. While Westerwelle has been vague on many foreign policy points, he has stated clearly his aversion to any expansion in German army operations under NATO…

“But Westerwelle will be bound to make waves for being Europe’s first openly gay foreign minister, having publicly ‘come out’ at Merkel’s 50th birthday bash. The trained lawyer dismissed any notion that this could pose problems in his role as foreign minister. ‘Some other countries may have had a problem with the fact that Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor of Germany. Of course she does not wear a veil on the red carpet when she visits certain Arab states,’ he has been quoted as saying. ‘The decision as to whom we send as a government representative rests solely with us Germans, based on our political and moral standards’…

“Westerwelle’s seeming inability to speak English well [has] raised some questions about his suitability for the post of Germany’s top diplomat. Westerwelle declined to answer a question in English that had been put to him by a BBC reporter during his first news conference after last month’s elections. ‘In Great Britain it is expected that people speak English, and it is the same in Germany – people are expected to speak German,’ Westerwelle said at the time, prompting heated debate on the Internet.”

Due to his “sexual preference” and his insistence in German authority to make decisions and uphold German “values,” Westerwelle is indeed a unique figure in post-war Germany.

Guttenberg–Germany’s New Defense Minister

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 24:

“The cabinet’s rising star Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is to move from the Economics Ministry to Defense. At only 37 the young Bavarian conservative’s huge popularity may now be put to the test as he faces the task of overseeing the country’s unpopular mission in Afghanistan. However, his smooth communication skills and fluent English should help him in his dealings with Germany’s allies.”

It will remain to be seen what political role Guttenberg will play on the world scene.

Possibility of Anti-German Protests in the Muslim World

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 26:

“The man who killed Marwa al-Sherbini, a pregnant Egyptian woman, in a German courtroom on July 1 went on trial on Monday in a case that authorities fear could trigger violent anti-German protests in the Muslim world…

“The killing on July 1 of Marwa al-Sherbini, the 31-year-old mother of a three-year-old, during a court hearing triggered anti-German protests in the Muslim world and led to criticism from Muslim immigrants and commentators that Islamophobia is widespread in Germany. German authorities are concerned that the trial could lead to a fresh wave of demonstrations abroad and have turned the court in Dresden into a fortress after Internet threats against her attacker, named only as Alex. W, who moved to Germany from Russia in 2003…

“The German government, which was accused by Muslim groups in Germany of being too slow to express its sorrow over the attack, is now at pains to prevent the trial from stoking demonstrations of the kind that followed the publications of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers in 2005…

“The Egyptian government is closely monitoring the case and has sent its ambassador and a delegation to attend it. The president of the Egyptian bar association and the public prosecutor of Alexandria are also watching the trial. Rarely has a German justice authority been under such scrutiny…

“The German government has been aware of the explosive potential of the Dresden case for weeks, and an analysis by the foreign ministry has warned of violent protests in front of German embassies abroad… Berlin diplomats have taken unusual steps to cater for the Arab media… The court building has been cordoned off with fences and hundreds of armed police are patrolling the area. Snipers are on hand and a bullet-proof glass screen separates the court from the public gallery…”

“The Anglican Experiment Is Over…”

The Telegraph wrote on October 24:

“John Hind, the Bishop of Chichester, has announced he is considering becoming a Roman Catholic in a move that could spark an exodus of clergy. Bishop Hind said he would be ‘happy’ to be reordained as a Catholic priest and said that divisions in Anglicanism could make it impossible to stay in the church. He is the most senior Anglican to admit that he is prepared to accept the offer from the Pope, who shocked the Church of England last week when he paved the way for clergy to convert to Catholicism in large numbers.

“In a further blow to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s hopes of preventing the Anglican Communion from disintegrating, other bishops have cast doubt over its survival… John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, even claimed that ‘the Anglican experiment is over’. He said it has been shown to be powerless to cope with the crises over gays and women bishops.

“In one of the most significant developments since the Reformation, the Pope last week announced that a new structure would be set up to allow disaffected Anglicans to enter full communion with Rome, while maintaining parts of their Protestant heritage. The move comes after secret talks between the Vatican and a group of senior Anglican bishops.

“Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was not informed of the meetings and his advisers even denied that they had taken place when the Sunday Telegraph broke the story last year… the planning behind last week’s announcement began in 2006, when the Pope asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to consider how they could invite Anglicans into the Roman Catholic fold. He had reached out to disillusioned Anglicans three years earlier, when as head of the Congregation, the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments and successor to the medieval Inquisition, he wrote a personal letter to Anglicans in America. He reassured them of the Catholic Church’s support of their stand against the liberal tide.”

The Bible predicts that the Protestant “daughter churches” will ultimately return to the “motherly” fold of the Roman Catholic Church. In this context, please note the next article.

Woman Will Lead Germany’s Protestants

The Local reported on October 28, 2009:

“Hannover Bishop Margot Käßmann became the first woman to lead the Protestant church in Germany on Wednesday after the majority of the synod voted in her favour… Käßmann… will lead all of Germany’s 25 million Protestants for the next six years.

“Käßmann has proposed a radical course of reform for the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (EKD), which suffers from shrinking congregations and revenues. In addition to streamlining the clergy, she plans to increase the church’s profile and improve strained relations with the Catholic Church.”

Bild Online quoted Käßmann on October 29, 2009, as follows: “The Catholics know what they got with me. [Bishop Fürst, a high-ranking Catholic bishop] was one of the first who congratulated me in the name of the Catholic Conference of Bishops. We both know: We are much more unified than divided.”

However, the Bible makes it very clear that women are not to serve in, and/or be in charge of the ministry (compare 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35). For more information, read our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families.”

Turkey Looks Eastward…

The Financial Times wrote on October 22:

“Mr Sarkozy has put himself in the vanguard of European leaders – they include Germany’s Angela Merkel – who are viscerally opposed to Turkish accession to the European Union.

“It is half a century since Turkey first knocked on Europe’s door with a bid to join the Common Market. There were plenty of detours on the way to the start of formal accession talks in 2004. Often, it must be said, the fault lay with Turkey. Military coups and political repression did not help make the case for membership of Europe’s democratic club… Turkey is still a long way from meeting the democratic terms of EU membership… Admitting Turkey, Mr Sarkozy says, would ‘dilute’ the Union. What he really means is that Europe does not want 70-odd million Muslims.

“The government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, has decided to look eastwards… Ignoring anxieties in western capitals, Turkey has engaged with the Palestinian Hamas and with the Iranian-sponsored Hizbollah in Lebanon… On the other side of the ledger, the Israeli invasion of Gaza has led to a rupture in the long-standing relationship with Israel. Mr Erdogan sees an Israeli-Palestinian settlement as the sine qua non of strategic stability in Turkey’s back yard. But he has concluded that the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has no interest in a deal.

“Not everyone is happy with the eastwards turn… But the west is losing its leverage. US power is being challenged across the Middle East; and Europe seems intent on irrelevance. Mr Erdogan’s Turkey still wants to be part of Europe…”

Deutsche Welle reported on October 28:

“Turkey makes no bones about its aspirations to act as a bridge between East and West, but a string of recent events have left the West wondering how stable any such construction might be.

“The problems began earlier this year when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a panel discussion in Davos over the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Since then Israeli-Turkish relations, traditionally very strong, have been on a steady downward curve which culminated in Ankara excluding Israel from a recent NATO exercise. Then this week, ahead of a two-day visit to Iran, Erdogan dismissed Western worries over Teheran’s controversial nuclear program as ‘gossip’ and accused the perpetrators of hypocrisy…

“The question many commentators are asking is whether, in light of recent gestures to the East, Turkey still wants a place in Brussels… As it stands, the earliest they could join is 2015, but in terms of politics that is a long way off, and it is conceivable that by then, interest will have waned altogether… So although Turkey will continue with its accession negotiations, it is realistic enough not to put all its eggs in the European basket. It is actively pursuing other options… And that might ultimately see it drawn deeper into the Middle East fold or holding hands with fuel-rich Russia.”

Although it does not appear that Turkey will become a member of the EU–at least not in the final configuration of a united Europe led by ten nations or groups of nations–Turkey will assist in Europe’s military action against Israel, as the book of Obadiah clearly reveals.

The Kings of the East…

The BBC wrote on October 24:

“Asian leaders meeting in Thailand are discussing plans to ‘lead the world’ by forming an EU-style community by 2015… The community would involve the 10-members of Asian [Association of Southeast Asian nations] with regional partners China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, Japanese officials have said… there was debate at the summit over whether the community would also include the United States. Increased integration has been a recurring theme of the meetings in Thailand, as the region seeks to capitalise on its recovery from financial turmoil.”

The 10-members of Asian are: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The Bible predicts, there will form a powerful alliance in that part of the world in the near future. It is referred to in Scripture as the “kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). This alliance will be able to muster an army of “two hundred million horsemen” (Revelation 9:16). However, Australia and New Zealand–as modern descendants of the ancient house of Israel–won’t be part of that alliance, but many of the other nations mentioned in the article undoubtedly will be. Also, Russia will clearly be a part of this alliance.

USA and China vs. Europe?

Deutsche Welle reported on October 25:

“In a move that wasn’t widely reported, but probably didn’t go unnoticed in Beijing, President Barack Obama last month turned the authority to monitor and approve missile and technology sales to China from the White House to the Commerce Department… to promote US business interests instead of the Pentagon or the State Department.
“Earlier, Obama’s decision not to meet the Dalai Lama before the president’s upcoming trip to China – the first presidential snub for Tibet’s spiritual leader since 1991 – had made international news and triggered a debate about a possible shift of US-China policy. Another indicator of a new US approach was a statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that human rights issues were still part of US-China policy, but couldn’t ultimately damage the relationship…

“That shift in focus by the new administration – less emphasis on human rights issues, more emphasis on trade and security issues – is reminiscent of a China approach favored by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. During his tenure from 1998 to 2005 he repeatedly argued for overturning a EU weapons embargo against China, but his move was rejected at home by the Green party, his coalition partner, and abroad by other EU member states. President Obama may prove to be more successful in altering US human rights policy toward China than Chancellor Schroeder was in his efforts to reframe the EU’s China policy…

“Josef Braml, a US expert with the German Council on Foreign Relations… [noted that] both the US and China are basically forced to get along, because they simply are dependent on each other… ‘China could destroy America if it pulled the trigger in terms of financing US debt, but it would also hurt itself.’ With Beijing holding approximately two billion dollars, mostly in government bonds, it is a major financier of US debt. However, a quick disposal of those funds would seriously undermine the value of the US dollar and by extension the ability of American consumers to buy Chinese products. Therefore both China and the US have an avid interest in good economic and political relations…

“Despite the slow pace of improving military ties – something that the Bush administration had also worked on – relations between two of the world’s major players have improved so much under Obama that there have been concerns about the so-called G2, the US and China, determining international policy with others left to follow…

‘[Andrew Small, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, points out:] ‘And if you look on the Chinese side, there is a lot of what they would describe as Euro-skepticism where the China-European relationship has got to and a sense that US-China relations are continuing to move in a very good direction and if anything are being upgraded with the new administration which has led them to become even more US-centric than they were before… And that’s meant that countries like China in particular and Russia are seeing quite a different environment and in some cases that is taking place at the expense of ties with Europe… The standing of Europe for the new administration you would have to say in the grand scheme of things is probably not as high as it was under Bush.'”

These are interesting developments in the light of biblical prophecy, showing that ultimately, there will be a military confrontation between a united Europe and a confederation of Asian nations, including China. This war will take place AFTER Europe’s attack against and defeat of the USA. The article above might give us some hints as to why, to an extent, a European-Asian war will ensue as a consequence of the previous European-American war.

The Fox News-Obama War

On October 23, Fox News published the following article by Lloyd Green, who served in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush presidency:

“The Obama White House looks like it is has taken a page out of the playbook of the late Nixon Press Secretary Ron Ziegler… during the 1972 presidential campaign, Ziegler barred Rolling Stone reporter and Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson from flying on the lead campaign press plane, notwithstanding that Thompson had been covering the race, that there was space on the plane, and that Thompson was an accredited reporter. Thompson’s problem was that he did not report things the way the Committee to Reelect the President would have liked things to have been reported…

“Robert Gibbs, the Obama press secretary, is doing all he can to follow in Ziegler’s footsteps. Gibbs is trying to get the news organizations that cover the White House to drop Fox from the White House press pool. Pressed on his efforts to get the press to dump Fox from the pool, Gibbs demurred. Despite repeated questioning by ABC’s Jake Tapper, Gibbs would not give a straight answer on where the White House stood on Fox and pool coverage.

“It does not look like Gibbs and the White House are meeting with the success they had hoped for. On the Atlantic Monthly’s Web site, Matt Cooper was critical of the White House’s approach. According to Cooper, if the White House could talk to Iran it could surely talk to Fox. Jay Leno has also weighed in. Leno quipped that the administration was raising another 40,000 troops — to fight Fox. In the Senate, Minority Whip Lamar Alexander chided Obama for Nixon-like tactics. This is not where Obama thought he would be.

“Now today’s New York Times reports that Fox’s competitors in the press pool refused to comply with a government effort ‘to exclude Fox from a round of interviews with the executive-pay czar Kenneth R. Feinberg.’ According to The Times, a ‘pool’ camera was to tape the interviews. Guess what? The administration blinked. Fox stayed in the mix.

“Perhaps it is time for Gibbs and this administration to act like grown ups… If Obama can get the prof and the cop together for a beer, he should be adult enough to call a truce…”

When in a democracy, freedom of the press is being attacked and abolished, such a democracy is destined to fall.

More U.S. Banks Fail…

The Associated Press reported on October 24:

“It’s a big number that only tells part of the story. The number of banks that have failed so far this year topped 100 on Friday – hitting 106 by the end of the day – the most in nearly two decades. But the trouble in the banking system from bad loans and the recession goes even deeper. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other banks remain open even though they are as weak as many that have been shuttered. Regulators are seizing banks slowly and selectively – partly to avoid inciting panic and partly because buyers for bad banks are hard to find…

“When a bank fails, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. swoops in, usually on a Friday afternoon. It tries to sell off the bank’s assets to buyers and cover its liabilities, primarily customer deposits. It taps the insurance fund to cover the rest… The FDIC won’t say how deep a hole its deposit insurance fund is in. It can tap a credit line from the Treasury of up to a half-trillion dollars to cover the gap.

“… recovery is expected to be slow. Americans remain hesitant to spend money because of job losses, flat wages, tight credit and high debt. Their cutbacks have triggered tens of thousands of business failures. Abandoned retail space in downtowns and suburban malls means no rental income for property owners. As landlords default on real estate loans, they weaken the banks that hold the loans. The situation now is especially grave in Southern California, Georgia and Illinois, which have some of the highest home foreclosure rates…”

The economic situation in the USA is bound to decrease further. According to some financial experts, a great depression is still coming.

Evolutionists “Appalled” Over Public “Ignorance”

Mail-On-Line wrote on October 26:

“More than half the population believes children should be told about creationism – the belief that God created the world – in school science lessons, a poll reveals today. Some 54 per cent of Britons want biology teachers to discuss ‘alternative perspectives’ on human origins alongside traditional explanations of evolution. They also want children to be told about intelligent design, the idea that aspects of the universe are too complex to be explained by science and natural selection. Critics say this is just creationism under another name. The findings, in a survey commissioned by the British Council, come amid growing pressure from religious groups for schools to teach creationism… Some 21 per cent of Britons said only evolutionary theory should be taught, while 54 per cent said children should hear rival explanations.

“Britain’s support for teaching other theories alongside evolution was higher than in any of the other countries apart from Argentina and Mexico – but had the lowest proportion – at six per cent – believing that other theories should be taught in preference to evolution. National curriculum guidelines say creationism has no place in science lessons.

“Worldwide, the survey reveals just over four in 10 (43 per cent) of people believe that evolution should be taught alongside other theories in science lessons, while a fifth (20 per cent) said only evolution should be taught. In the US, almost a quarter of those questioned (23 per cent) said either other theories but not evolution should be taught, or that no theories should be taught. This figure was 28 per cent in China and 21 per cent in South Africa.

“Lewis Wolpert, emeritus professor of biology at University College London and vice-president of the British Humanist Association, told The Guardian: ‘I am appalled. It shows how ignorant the public is. Intelligent design and creationism have no connection with science and are purely religious concepts. There is no evidence for them at all. They must be kept out of science lessons.’

“Steve Jones, professor of genetics at UCL, said: ‘This shows the danger of religions being allowed to buy schools, hijack lessons and pretend that they have anything useful to say about science – which, by definition, they do not….'”

WE are appalled over the ignorance or willful mispresentations of evolutionists who claim that the evolution theory has been scientifically proven. It has not been, nor can it be.

Twisted Sabbath Rulings…

ABC News reported on October 26:

“Rabbinical ruling causes havoc as Orthodox Jews debate fate of Sabbath elevators… The Jewish day of rest has become a bit more labor-intensive for Yosef Ball. The Orthodox Jew and his wife are no longer using elevators custom-built for the Jewish Sabbath, ever since a rabbinical ruling last month outlawed them. Instead, they have been hiking up seven flights of stairs to get home each Saturday, lugging with them their five young children and a double stroller…

“Jewish law, or halacha, forbids the use of electrical items on the Sabbath. But for decades rabbis have allowed special elevators that automatically stop at every floor without the riders pushing any buttons, permitting Orthodox Jews to ride them and live in high-rise buildings. The ruling last month by one of Israel’s leading rabbis, calling the elevators a no-go, has reignited a vigorous debate over the lifts, forcing Orthodox Jews living on top floors to decide if they’re up for the steep hike home from synagogue on Saturdays.

“The Orthodox community has long been divided over the elevators. Opponents say that while the riders push no button, the weight of the passengers still increases the amount of electricity required to power the lift, thus violating Jewish law…

“The ruling, decreed last month, is the latest in a series by Israeli rabbis on the minutiae of applying Jewish law to daily life. Top rabbis can count tens of thousands of followers who abide by their rulings. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the revered 99-year-old scholar who signed the elevator ruling, has been behind other controversial decisions before. In September, he proclaimed Jews could not wear Crocs shoes on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, because they were deemed too comfortable for the somber fasting holiday…

“The elevators are just one of several electric devices that rabbis have found loopholes for, allowing their use. Religious families can use timers for their lights and special hot plates to warm food as long as those hot plates were not switched on or off during the Sabbath.”

No wonder that Jesus chastised the religious rabbinical leadership of His time for having made the Sabbath a burden through their pharisaical rulings. What would He say today? Obviously, He would not approve of such modern twisted unbiblical Sabbath decrees either.

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What does Paul mean when he says in Romans 13:8 that we must "owe no one anything except to love one another"?

Let us read the passage in context, beginning in Romans 13:8:

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does not harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment [better: fulfilling] of the law.”

The Amplified Bible gives the following rendering, with the brackets in the original:

“Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor–who practices loving others–has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen], meeting all its requirements…”

(1) Concentrating first on Paul’s statement that we are indebted to loving our neighbor, let’s notice the following comments:

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible states:

“Love is a debt. The law of God and the interest of mankind make it so… [Paul] specifies the last five [actually, last six] of the ten commandments, which he observes to be all summed up in this royal law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself…

“… it is a sin not only to devise evil against thy neighbour, but to withhold good from those to whom it is due; both are forbidden together… This proves that love is the fulfilling of the law… for what else is that but to restrain us from evil-doing, and to constrain us to well-doing? Love is a living active principle of OBEDIENCE to the whole law.”

The New Bible Commentary:Revised, agrees, stating: “This conclusion does not invalidate the Ten Commandments in the interest of a nebulous, existential ‘Love, and do as you please’… Love… is the spirit in which we are to keep the law; but we need the law’s particulars and prescriptions to give body and definition…”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible writes:

“… to love one another… is the only debt never to be wholly discharged; for though it should be always paying, yet ought always to be looked upon as owing… For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law… of the decalogue; that part of it particularly which relates to the neighbour; the second table of the law… for fulfilling the law means DOING it, or acting according to it; and so far as a man loves, so far he fulfils, that is, DOES it…”

When we love our neighbor, we fulfill the law of the last six of the Ten Commandments, which deal with our relationship with our neighbor. The last six of the Ten Commandments define for us HOW to love our neighbor, and how NOT to do him any harm. Far from teaching that the Ten Commandments are no longer in effect, Paul teaches the exact opposite. As the commentaries quoted above point out, when we love our neighbor by keeping the last six of the Ten Commandments, then we fulfill or DO the law. And when we break just one of these commandments, as the apostle James says, then we have broken them all (James 2:8-11).

(2) Paul prefaced his statement that we owe it to our neighbor to love him by saying that we must not otherwise be indebted.

Please notice the following comments explaining the meaning of Paul’s statement in this regard:

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible writes:

“From the payment of dues to magistrates [compare Romans 13:6-7], the apostle proceeds to a general exhortation to discharge all sorts of debts; as not to owe the civil magistrate any thing, but render to him his dues, so to owe nothing to any other man, but make good all obligations whatever, as of a civil, so of a natural kind. There are debts arising from the natural and civil relations subsisting among men, which should be discharged; as of the husband to the wife, the wife to the husband; parents to their children, children to their parents; masters to their servants, servants to their masters; one brother, friend, and neighbour, to another.

“Moreover, pecuniary debts may be here intended, such as are come into by borrowing, buying, commerce, and contracts; which though they cannot be avoided in carrying on worldly business, yet men ought to make conscience of paying them as soon as they are able: many an honest man may be in debt… but for men industriously to run into debt, and take no care to pay, but live upon the property and substance of others, is scandalous to them…”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes:

“In the previous verse the apostle had been discoursing of the duty which we owe to magistrates. He had particularly enjoined on Christians to pay to ‘them’ their just dues. From this command to discharge fully this obligation, the transition was natural to the subject of debts ‘in general,’ and to an injunction not to be indebted to ‘any one’… The interpretation of this command is to be taken with this limitation, that we are not to be indebted to him so as to ‘injure’ him, or to work ‘ill’ to him [compare Romans 13:10].

“This rule, together with the other rules of Christianity, would propose a remedy for all the evils of bad debts in the following manner… it would teach people to be ‘industrious,’ and this would commonly prevent the ‘necessity’ of contracting debts… it would make them ‘frugal, economical,’ and ‘humble’ in their views and manner of life… it would take off the affections from the splendor, gaiety, and extravagances which lead often to the contraction of debts… it would put a period to the ‘vices’ and unlawful desires which now prompt people to contract debts… it would make them ‘honest’ in paying them. It would make them conscientious, prompt, friends of truth, and disposed to keep their promises.”

The Nelson Study Bible states: “In the present context, owe no one anything primarily means respect and honor (see verse 7). No doubt money is also included, but this passage does not prohibit borrowing (see Psalm 37:21; Matthew 5:42).”

It is true that the Bible does not prohibit borrowing, especially for the purposes of business investments, mortgaging a house or financing certain necessities. However, Psalm 37:21 reminds us that “The wicked borrows and does not repay…” Focusing on the righteous, Psalm 37:21 continues that he can and should LEND to others who are in need (compare Matthew 5:42), but this does not mean that the righteous should just indiscriminately BORROW.

Even when speaking of investments and other business transactions, we must be careful that we don’t overextend ourselves, but that we count the costs first to make sure that we have enough to finish what we want to start (see the principle in Luke 14:28-32).

Regarding not being indebted or owing something to our neighbor, please also note the following passages:

Leviticus 19:13 reads, pertaining to the employer’s duty to pay his employees promptly and timely, in accordance with the employment agreement: “You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.” Compare also Deuteronomy 24:15.

Regarding our general duties toward one another, we read in Proverbs 3:27-28: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,’ When you have it with you.” Compare Galatians 6:10 and James 2:15-16.

In light of this, true servants of God should have the attitude, that loving conduct towards others is their duty, obligation and debt. Christ said in Luke 17:9-10: “Does he [the master] thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'”

In conclusion, we are always indebted to others to love them and show our love to them. We do this by keeping God’s law from the heart. It is His Law which defines for us what is and what is not true godly love. At the same time, we must not neglect to pay our debts, if at all possible, or work out an arrangement with our creditors (Matthew 5:25-26). In addition, we should be extremely careful before going into debt, especially for physical things which we don’t really need. God will provide for us all our need (Philippians 4:19), when we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:30-33), and He will do so without us becoming indebted to others. Remember, the borrower is servant or slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). And in this materialistic world, lenders can be ruthless and merciless (Matthew 18:28-30).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Our next Church Conference in Colorado has been set for Friday, March 5, to Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Any suggestions for discussion or clarification would be appreciated.

A new member letter by the ministry, together with an Editorial by Norbert Link, was sent out this week. Both documents are posted on the Web. The letter and the Editorial report about the Feast of Tabernacles and what we are facing now, in the times ahead.

In Canada, our ongoing Internet ad campaign has resulted so far in about, respectively, requests for 90 and 80 copies of our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”

In Great Britain, our ongoing Internet ad campaign has resulted so far in excess of 710 requests for our free booklet, Europe in Prophecy.

A new StandingWatch program, titled, “Should You Observe Halloween?,” was posted on StandingWatch and YouTube. In the program, we ask the questions, Do you know the origins of Halloween and its customs and practices? Is it harmless fun or more sinister and dangerous? Please get the facts before you decide to observe Halloween this year.

A new German StandingWatch program on Halloween Halloween–Grusel-Fest der bösen Geister [“Halloween–Spooky Festival of Evil Spirits”]has been posted on the Web and on our German website (www.aufpostenstehen.de).

A new German sermon, entitled, “Europa in the Prophezeiung” [“Europe in Prophecy”], was posted on the Web.

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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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