Update 440


To the Ephesians

On May 1, 2010, Norbert Link will give the sermon, titled, “To the Ephesians.”

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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Contending or Contentious?

by Dave Harris

We know what Jude so passionately urged those of his day to do: “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (verse 3).

Paul wrote to Timothy, a younger minister under his guidance, and he, too, warned of destructive variances in beliefs that would arise within the Church of God:

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

Those who contend for the faith must “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21; compare, also, 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Timothy 1:13). This kind of verification is exemplified by the Bereans, who “…were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

So far, so good.

However, there is another approach that arises, and that is one of being contentious. We are told to not engage in these kinds of controversies:

“But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11).

Furthermore, we are instructed: “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife” (2 Timothy 2:23). Paul identifies people who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).

Why–what is the basis for such a contentious approach to the Truth of God?

Very simply, it is the approach of an unconverted, ungovernable mind. It is the attitude and practice that caused the children of Israel to stumble time and again during the period of the judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25; compare, also, Deuteronomy 12:8; Judges 17:6; Proverbs 14:12).

We each must examine ourselves in these matters. Are we zealously striving to not only keep but to grow in the faith? Or have we become far too self-satisfied thinking that we know best and that we don’t need personal guidance in our calling? The answer will reveal whether we are contending or whether we are contentious!

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We begin with–what may at first sight appear to be–a rather strange article about aliens. But it’s none other than Stephen Hawking, allegedly the most intelligent man alive–who warns of the existence of hostile aliens. He proposes that aliens might attack this planet in the future. Even though no aliens exist, Satan and his demons do.

As The Telegraph reported on April 26, “Spooky sightings of ghouls, ghosts and evil spirits are higher than they have been in the past 25 years, according to a new report on haunted Britain. There have been nearly 1,000 reports of demonic activity in the past quarter of a century… Encounters with devils, demons and evil spirits are as widespread today as they were in medieval times.”

In addition, we read in Scripture that deceived men will fight the returning Jesus Christ and His angels. Will they do so, in part, because they believe that they are encountering an alien attack?

We continue with reports on Arizona’s controversial new Immigration law that is bound to increase foreign hostility towards the USA, and quote articles about increasing hostility towards the state of Israel. While President Obama is accused of adopting a policy shifting away from Israel and towards Arab nations, we are informed that allegedly “all” Muslims believe that there never was a First or a Second Temple; and another article reports about the well-known fact of Nazi propaganda in the Arab world during World War II. 

We also quote from a Canadian article, discussing the many unanswered and troublesome questions pertaining to Barack Obama’s “eligibility” as US President under the US Constitution.

Focusing on Europe, and Germany in particular, we report on Germany’s highly unpopular war in Afghanistan; Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s suffering image; the future of Greece and the Eurozone–and the fact that the EURO IS HERE TO STAY; the political and economic situation in Great Britain; the bumpy start of Germany’s newly appointed Muslim minister; and Austria’s pitiful presidential “election.”

We continue with a series of articles on the ongoing sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and on that Church’s high profile in Portugal, and conclude with an article claiming that Noah’s Ark has been found.

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Aliens a Threat to the Earth?

The Times wrote on April 25:

“The aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it… can to avoid any contact… The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved…

“Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity. He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: ‘… I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach’…

“Hawking’s belief in aliens places him in good scientific company. In his recent Wonders of the Solar System BBC series, Professor Brian Cox backed the idea, too… Similarly, Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a lecture earlier this year that aliens might prove to be beyond human understanding.”

Arizona’s New Immigration Law

The Associated Press reported on April 23:

“Gov. Jan Brewer ignored criticism from President Barack Obama on Friday and signed into law a bill supporters said would take handcuffs off police in dealing with illegal immigration in Arizona, the nation’s busiest gateway for human and drug smuggling from Mexico… Earlier Friday, Obama called the Arizona bill ‘misguided’ and instructed the Justice Department to examine it to see if it’s legal.

“He also said the federal government must enact immigration reform at the national level – or leave the door open to ‘irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe,’ Obama said.

“The legislation… makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It also requires local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants… and makes it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them…

“The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund said it plans a legal challenge to the law, arguing it ‘launches Arizona into a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions.’

“William Sanchez, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders Legal Defense Fund, said his group is preparing a federal lawsuit against Arizona to stop the law from being applied. The group represents 30,000 Evangelical churches nationwide, including 300 Latino pastors in Arizona…

“Mexico has warned the proposal could affect cross-border relations. On Thursday, Mexico’s Senate unanimously passed a resolution urging Brewer to veto the law… Guatemala’s Foreign Relations Department decried the measure in a statement saying ‘it threatens basic notions of justice.’

“The law will take effect in late July or early August… Anti-immigrant anger has swelled in the past month, after rancher Rob Krentz was found dead on his land north of Douglas, near the Mexico border. Authorities believe he was fatally shot by an illegal immigrant possibly connected to a drug smuggling cartel. Arizona has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants, and its harsh, remote desert serves as the corridor for the majority of illegal immigrants and drugs moving north into the U.S. from Mexico.”

Fox News added on April 26:

“Opponents who fear that Arizona’s tough new immigration law will lead to police harassment of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens who look Hispanic rallied against the measure at the state Capitol Sunday afternoon… Civil rights advocates have vowed to challenge the law in court, saying it would undoubtedly lead to racial profiling…

“Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s office said in a statement Saturday that ‘the Mexican government condemns the approval of the law’ and ‘the criminalization of migration, far from contributing to collaboration and cooperation between Mexico and the state of Arizona, represents an obstacle to solving the shared problems of the border region.'”

Supporters of the law claim Arizona had to act because the Federal government refused to do so. Opponents and critics–including Republican politicians in Arizona, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, many Evangelical churches and conservative newscasters such as Geraldo–fear that the state law will lead to racial and ethnical profiling–which will undoubtedly be the case. Several countries have already reacted with outrage. America’s reputation has not gained credibility with this most recent scenario.

ADL Unhappy With Obama Over Israel

Newsmax.com reported on April 25:

“The Anti-Defamation League has taken issue with comments from President Barack Obama that the ADL says reflect a ‘significant shift’ in U.S. policy toward Israel and the peace process… ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued this statement… ‘The significant shift in U.S. policy toward Israel and the peace process, which has been evident in comments from various members of the Obama Administration and has now been confirmed by the president himself in his press conference at the Nuclear Security Summit, is deeply distressing…

“‘The net effect of this dangerous thinking is to shift responsibility for success of American foreign policy away from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and directly onto Israel. It is particularly disturbing in light of the blatantly disproportionate number and the nature of statements issued by this administration criticizing Israel as compared to what has been said about the Palestinians.”

America’s shift away from support of Israel and towards Arab countries is obvious. Israel is losing even its most trusted allies, while other countries become more bold in their outright hostilities towards Israel, as the next articles show.

Egypt vs. Israel

A-7 reported on April 23:

“Egyptian officials have been attempting to rally support in the United Nations for pressure on Israel over its alleged possession of nuclear arms. The attempt was revealed by the New York Sun, which obtained copies of a document circulated by Egypt among UN ambassadors… In the document, Egypt recalls the UN’s 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, which called to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

“Egypt wishes to see Israel relinquish any nuclear arms… Egypt also aims to bring pressure to bear by barring sales that could boost Israel’s nuclear facilities… The clause, if accepted, would bar the United States, Russia, China, and European states from selling equipment or materials to Israel that could be used in a nuclear facility.

“The document does not mention any other country by name. Pakistan is a nuclear power that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Iran is developing its nuclear capacity while ignoring international calls to allow oversight of its facilities.

“The IAEA, suggested by Egypt to oversee Israel’s nuclear facilities, was headed until recently by Mohammed ElBaradei, an Egyptian who is currently weighing the possibility of running for his country’s presidency. ElBaradei recently expressed support for terrorism against Israel, stating that Israel ‘only understands the language of violence.'”

Syria and Lebanon vs. Israel

The Jerusalem Post wrote on April 27:

“Egypt has issued a stark warning of a summer war between Israel and Lebanon. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit passed on messages to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives of the other permanent UN Security Council members, warning that the current Israel-Lebanon tensions could deteriorate into an armed conflict, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday… Aboul Gheit… said Lebanon… considered Israel an enemy state…

“The latest tensions between Israel and Lebanon arose after reports surfaced in Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper that Syria had transferred Scud ballistic missiles to Hizbullah. Israel subsequently issued a stern warning that it would consider attacking both Syrian and Lebanese targets in response to a Scud attack on its territory.

“Lebanon’s Western-backed Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri denied the allegations, comparing them to the American charges that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 US-led invasion. However, the chairwoman of the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee warned that there was a ‘high likelihood’ that Hizbullah had acquired Scuds. Clinton has said the Obama administration is still committed to improving ties with Syria, despite its ‘deeply troubling’ moves to aid Hizbullah.”

“All Muslims Question Existence of First and Second Temples”

Israel National News reported on April 25:

“Petra, the official news agency of the Jordanian government, recently published a report accusing Israel of ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem and casting doubt on Jewish history in the Land of Israel. The report also referred to Israelis working in the Old City as ‘Israeli occupation forces.’ The language was used in reporting excavations in the Old City. Previous excavations led to the restoration of the Western Wall tunnels, a series of tunnels under the Old City in which visitors can see the ruins of Jerusalem as it was thousands of years earlier.

“Petra wrote, ‘The Israeli occupation forces started a large scale judaization project…  related to the alleged temple.’ The agency also reported that a Jerusalem Muslim group ‘urged Islamic, Arab and Palestinian move to save Al Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem from the judaization plans’ [sic]. Calls to ‘save Al Aksa’ have previously led to days of violent riots in and around Jerusalem.

“The Petra report was noted by the Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA), which expressed concern over the harsh language and the denial of the Holy Temple, noting the possibility that it reflects the views of the Jordanian government. Israel and Jordan have signed a peace treaty, but relations between the countries have not always been warm.

“IMRA contacted Petra, which replied that it did not speak in the name of the government, but noted that Jordanian media have always used the term ‘alleged’ to refer to the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. ‘All followers of Islam’ question the existence of the Temples, a Petra worker stated.

“In addition to literary sources such as detailed descriptions of the First Temple found in the Bible (Kings…, Chronicles, and the Prophets) and the records of the Second Temple in Josephus Flavius, archaeological finds have made the questioning of the existence of the Temples a non starter.”

Nazi Propaganda in the Arab World

Israel National News reported on April 25:

“During World War II Nazi Germany tried to rally support in the Arab world, often trying to find common ground in anti-Semitism. The extent of the Nazi propaganda in Arabic has been revealed in a book titled Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. Historian Jeffrey Herf based his book on wartime broadcasts in Arabic that were transcribed by the American embassy in Cairo. Thousands of transmissions were sent from 1939 to 1945.

“Instead of spreading European anti-Semitism, the Nazi army focused on playing to existing anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world, Herf writes. While Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion had both been translated into Arabic by the 1930s, the Nazis quoted the Koran instead, working to convince their Muslim audience that Islam called on them to eliminate Jews… The Nazis attempted to turn Arab rage to the issue of British Mandatory Palestine, claiming that efforts to create a modern Jewish state were part of a widespread Jewish effort to ‘rule the whole world.’”

These well-known facts serve as a reminder that something very similar will occur in the future, when Germany and Arab nations will unite against Israel, as we reported in our last Update.

The Widening Scandal of Obama’s Eligibility–or the Lack Thereof

Canada Free Press wrote on April 24:

“The diversionary search for an authentic birth certificate is ongoing and Obama has now spent in excess of $2 million in legal fees to keep that search alive. Michelle Obama states that Kenya is Barack’s ‘home country’… The Ambassador of Kenya has confirmed the same…

“The US Supreme Court knows what the constitutional condition of ‘natural born citizen’ means. Even the most far left member of that court, Justice Ginsberg, is on record proclaiming that a ‘natural born citizen’ is a birth child of TWO legal US citizens.

“Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi… refused to certify the ‘normal’ language when certifying Obama as the DNC candidate for president in 2008. This is the normal language for certification of nomination for president and vice president, filed by the DNC only in the state of Hawaii…

“‘THIS IS TO CERTIFY that at the National Convention of the Democratic Party of the United States of America, held in Denver, Colorado on August 25 through 28, 2008, the following were duly nominated as candidates of said Party for President and Vice President of the United States respectively and that the following candidates for President and Vice President of the United states are legally qualified to serve under the provisions of the United States Constitution:’

“This is the language filed by the DNC in the other 49 states, however…

“THIS IS TO CERTIFY that at the National Convention of the Democratic Party of the United States of America, held in Denver, Colorado on August 25 through 28, 2008, the following were duly nominated as candidates of said Party for President and Vice President of the United States respectively:’

“Note that the language which certifies that Barack Hussein Obama meets all constitutional qualifications is missing in the DNC documents filed in 49 of the 50 states. The certification of constitutional qualification for the office of president was filed only in Hawaii… Whereas the RNC filed the exact same certification document, including the constitutional text for John McCain in all 50 states, Obama was technically certified in only one state, Hawaii…

“Although the [U.S.] congress passed a resolution proclaiming Senator John McCain a ‘natural born citizen’ as the son of two US citizens, no such congressional resolution exists for Barack Hussein Obama… Over four-hundred law suits have been filed across the country asking the courts to force Obama to become the ‘transparent president’ he promised to be, and… are being dismissed before discovery… on the basis that ‘no citizen has proper legal standing’…

“Numerous members of the US Military have refused deployment orders from Obama, on the basis that he refuses to evidence his constitutional qualifications to issue such orders. In most cases, the soldiers have simply been reassigned, so as to avoid any disciplinary action that could end in ‘defense discovery’ which might finally force Obama to open up his files once and for all…

“Nobody spends $2 million in legal fees to hide an authentic birth certificate… Obama is NOT a natural born citizen no matter where he might have been born. Obama’s birth father was at no time an American citizen and on this basis alone, Obama cannot be a constitutionally qualified resident of the White House.

“… sooner or later, one way or another, Obama will have to answer those questions… The longer it takes for that day to arrive, the more dangerous the situation will become. A man not even qualified to hold the office is using that office to destroy the greatest nation on earth…”

As we stated in our last Update, what an embarrassment for the United States that it cannot or will not establish the eligibility of its own President!

Germany’s Afghan War and the Suffering Image of Guttenberg

Der Spiegel Online wrote on April 23:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament on Thursday that the mission in Afghanistan is ‘indispensable’ for Germany’s security. The same day, her defense minister got a grilling in parliament over the Kunduz air attack in September that led to deaths of civilians… The deaths of seven German soldiers this month, coupled with disquiet about the Kunduz bombing last September have served to further disenchant the German public with its army’s mission in Afghanistan… The eight-year mission in Afghanistan has never been popular at home, despite being backed by all of the political parties apart from the far-left Left Party…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘For the first time Merkel has had to explain what it means for the Bundeswehr to be de facto at war… Afghanistan has changed her. She didn’t want it to be so, but the war and her political future can no longer be separated.’

“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘… The new American strategy… will not only cost many American lives, but also German ones. Politicians have to say all of this.’

“The business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘Experienced soldiers and commanders are complaining bitterly about the lack of training for the mostly young, completely inexperienced soldiers [and the] missing or inadequate equipment, the arms that are too light, the lack of air support… The public is not yet fully aware of the full explosive nature of the situation: that the area where the Germans are based is now extremely dangerous again… Insurgents like the Taliban are increasingly popular with the Afghans. Afghan soldiers and police officers, after being trained by the West, are switching sides… These developments, which are plain to see, are bewildering and demoralizing the German soldiers. They don’t believe in a happy outcome.’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… A democratic state can not go to war in perpetuity against the will of its people. … It is not only politicians who depend on fundamental approval, but also the soldiers who are sent to the front in the name of the people…’

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘The moment that Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg became Germany’s most popular politician was during that legendary all-night cabinet meeting about the future of Opel a year ago. While all the other ministers were in favor of a billion-euro rescue package, he preferred insolvency. The image was created of an unusually genuine politician, who would stand up for what he thought was right — regardless of how unpopular that might be. There was little left of this during Guttenberg’s appearance before the Kunduz parliamentary investigative committee…

“‘The public is now getting the impression, however, that for Guttenberg, his own performance is more important than the truth. No investigative committee can answer the question of whether this kind of opportunism tallies with Guttenberg’s claim to credibility. Only the voters can decide that.'”

The ongoing Afghan war might prove to be one of the nails in the coffin of the German government–not only of Angela Merkel, but also of the initially rising and now sinking star of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg–unless a drastic change in their course of action occurs very soon. But the anger of the German population will increase if it is felt that German soldiers are sacrificed on the chess board of the Afghan war in order to appease the United States.

Greece and the Eurozone

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 26:

“On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition of conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) said it would back aid for Greece — one of the 16 EU member states using the euro — if failing to do so could endanger the common currency… Meanwhile, the government in Berlin is seeking speedy parliamentary approval for the €8 billion that Germany would contribute to the loan… CSU parliamentary floor leader Hans-Peter Friedrich has said his party would prefer to see Greece leave the euro zone… However, Merkel has rejected a debate about ejecting Greece from the euro zone…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

“‘Greece is a relatively small economy… This crisis can be managed, but the situation could easily get out of control if there are doubts about the solvency of Portugal, Spain or even Italy. … The over-indebtedness of countries is the central problem at the end of the great recession… The EU and, in particular, Germany have their own interests in seeing Papandreou succeed. By helping him, they help themselves. If Greece were to become bankrupt, the interest on borrowing in Spain, Ireland and elsewhere would become inflated, and the cracks in the euro zone would widen. This would, in turn, affect Germany, whose banks have invested their money in these countries and 70 percent of whose exports go to the euro zone …

“‘Anyone who is serious about the future of the euro and Europe should desist from going on about Greece’s leaving the euro zone. Yes, Greece was not ready for the euro in 1999. But it is now a member, and all of the other members have to accept the consequences.”

“‘From its inception, the euro zone has suffered from an inherent contradiction. The members gave up their sovereignty when it comes to monetary policy but not when it comes to financial policy… An early end of the euro would be devastating for everyone concerned. And there is no reason to be nostalgic about the German mark. The euro performed magnificently during the financial crisis and spared the Europeans difficult and destructive shifts on the currency exchange markets…’

“The financial daily Handelsblatt writes:

“‘… Of course Greece pulled the wool over our eyes with its statistics. … But that doesn’t justify throwing it out of the monetary union. Even the thought is poisonous. If an out-of-proportion debt was enough for a parting of ways, then California would have to be thrown out of the United States, Saarland would have to leave the Federal Republic of Germany, and we would never have seen the reunification of Germany. The Greeks are our European brothers and sisters…’

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

“The Greek financial turbulence shows that monetary union — the boldest economic step in the 53-year history of the European Union — is far less solidly constructed than many politicians claimed when the euro was introduced in 1999.

“‘Furthermore, it is now doubtful how prepared euro-zone members are to sacrifice national sovereignty in favor of an integrated fiscal and economic policy — even if some politicians emphasize the importance of giving up national competencies to European institutions in order to deal with the upheavals of coming years.’

“The conservative Die Welt writes:

“‘In the end, Germany is going to transfer billions to Athens. There is no other choice in the face of pressure from its European partners and the financial markets. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to have any taboos. The suggestion from the CSU — that Greece may have to leave the euro zone — may have been described as “totally crazy” by Green floor leader Jürgen Trittin. But does he have a solution for the Greek dilemma?’…

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes:

“‘All of Europe paid for expansion of the bloc eastwards, and it was Germany that profited the most. It was able to extend its export market to the borders with Russia. It is similar when it comes to aid for Greece. All of Europe is contributing to the rescue plan — and, once again, this will serve the economic interest of Germany above all others.

“‘For a start, the two broke banks, Hypo Real Estate and Commerzbank, are among Greece’s biggest creditors. They would go bust immediately if Athens were to declare bankruptcy — and would have to once again be rescued with German taxpayers’ money. It is much better if all euro-zone states and the IMF organize Greece’s rescue.

“‘Greece is just an outpost. If it was allowed to become insolvent, then Portugal and Spain would be next — and other candidates would follow. In the case of a big crash … all the lovely export surpluses that Germany has accumulated over the decades would disappear. Every single saver would feel the affect of this gigantic destruction of wealth. So, everyone pays, so Germany can maintain its wealth. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that.'”

The Euro Is Here to Stay

Die Tageszeitung wrote on April 29:

“Despite their poor ratings, there is no doubt that the euro countries will rescue Athens from bankruptcy: For the currency, an insolvency would be much more dramatic and more costly than a short-term intervention…

“From the beginning, the United States bitterly opposed creation of the European common currency, which competes with the dollar’s role as a global reserve currency. An escalation of the euro crisis is in its interest. It would be politically naive to believe that US rating agencies, that have a market share of 80 percent, remain neutral in this power struggle. Instead of dithering, the euro-zone countries must immediately help Greece and send the financial markets a clear message that speculative attacks will have no chance against [the] largest single currency zone in the world.”

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on April 29:

“Anyone who believes that the Greek crisis is a monetary or technical financial problem is underestimating the situation — and risks falling into an abyss. It’s not just about a country that cheated its way into the economic and monetary union (something everyone knew), and is now unable to survive it. The risk of a market-driven chain reaction, hitting Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland in a way that might truly threaten the stability of the euro, is not the greatest danger on the horizon. Ultimately this is about the whole European project, of which the euro zone is an important foundation.”

The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote on April 29:

“If Greece becomes insolvent, then it will not only hurt the German banks who have some €45 billion ($60 billion), and possibly more, in Greece. It could also spark a chain reaction which begins with chaos in Greece and then spreads to Portugal and Spain — and ending up shattering the whole monetary union.”

“Germany, especially, cannot afford for that to happen. Politically, because the decades it took to build up the bloc would be lost. Economically, because resource-poor and export-strong Germany is dependent on open markets, international rules and the monetary union. The German economy could not withstand a new era of the nation-state. Conversely, Germany could even make money from Greece’s salvation if all goes well — after all, the money is being loaned at a good interest rate, not given away.”

Many of the articles quoted above show the compelling reasons why the euro is here to stay and why in all likelihood, Greece will not leave the eurozone, either. In addition, the need for Europe is expressed to totally unite and stand together, as the next article shows.

Greece–The Need for Europe to Stand Together

On April 28, Der Spiegel Online cited the following papers, which agree that the euro states must unite in their economic decisions and build Europe up:

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… the euro nations move quickly and decisively to quell this growing blaze [in Greece]… they must send the money set aside for Greece weeks ago to that country as quickly as possible. At the same time, the euro states must unite in declaring their decision to help Portugal, too, should that nation also fall into serious financial difficulties. A solidarity pact like this is really the only chance to stop the euro zone from falling apart — and it will cost Germany a lot less than if the euro project actually fails.’

“Former German Finance Minister Hans Eichel (1999-2005), of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), writes in the center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung: ‘… Germany is the second-biggest exporter in the world, and it will remain that way… Europe must stand together. In its entirety, the euro zone is still one of the largest economic powers in the world. If the member nations stood alone in the 21st century, they would have no chance against 1.3 billion Chinese, 1.1 billion Indians, the superpower that is the US and the developing Brazilian nation. The constitution makes it a German duty to build Europe up. We should move toward this goal!’

“The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘… the euro currency union needs economic administration…'”

Eurozone Needs Tougher Rules…

On April 29, Der Spiegel wrote:

“The current Greek crisis has shown all too starkly the limits of the euro zone’s sanction and support mechanisms. If the monetary union is to have a future, it needs new rules to keep members in line and bail them out if necessary. Europe is in the worst crisis of the postwar era. For months, the governments of the European Union member states have proven to be incapable of developing a convincing solution for the serious debt problems of individual countries…

“Today, the euro zone needs a common strategy that successfully combines sound public finances with solidarity between member states. On the one hand, the member states must be protected against the excesses of the financial markets. On the other hand, steps must be taken to ensure that the solidarity of member states doesn’t undermine efforts to achieve fiscal consolidation in individual countries…

“The future of the monetary union, however, depends on more than just solving the current debt crisis. An improved balance of growth is also needed, and Germany plays an important part in that respect…

“Anyone in Germany who still believes that losing the euro wouldn’t be such a bad thing fails to recognize how important the euro zone is as a market for our industry. But Europe’s future is also at stake. A failure of the monetary union would call the whole European project into question. European integration has made it possible to transform a continent devastated by wars into a place of peace and prosperity for over half a century. In other words, it’s not just money that is at stake today. It’s also a question of political stability in Europe.”

“Europe’s Next Bankruptcy Candidates?”

Deutsche Welle reported on April 28:

“As the situation in Greece continues to intensify, fears are increasing that the debt crisis will spread throughout [European countries inside the eurozone]… In financial circles, they are referred to as PIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain – and sometimes even PIIGS, if you include Italy as one of the European countries at risk of going bankrupt in the near future. The common denominator for these eurozone countries is mounting budget deficit coupled with weak economic growth. In Ireland and Spain, the financial crisis has led to the collapse of the construction and real estate industries.”

The article continued that regarding countries outside the eurozone, “Hungary, Latvia and Romania have already received financial aid from the EU and the International Monetary Fund in order to avert state bankruptcy.”

Addressing countries outside the EU, the article mentioned as endangered candidates for bankruptcy “Ukraine… Belarus… Serbia… Bosnia-Herzegovina and Moldova… Iceland… [and] Great Britain.”

Regarding Great Britain, the article writes: “The solvency of Britain’s banks fell in February according to rating agencies. The nation is having trouble working its way out of the recession. Last year its new debt was at about 13 percent – as much as Greece’s.  Britain’s total debt was around 840 billion pounds (967 billion euros), about 68 percent of GDP. The government intends to wait until the next fiscal year to pass a resolution on new austerity packages, after next week’s parliamentary elections. If Britain doesn’t hit the brakes soon, though, it could see a dramatic aggravation of its debt crisis.”

The article concluded: “And what does all this mean for the EU’s largest national economy? Germany’s budget deficit is relatively small, at three to four percent of GDP. Still, the total of Germany’s new borrowing is enormous. By the end of 2013, Germany and its states must obtain 500 billion euros on the financial markets. The entire national debt has risen to two trillion euros…”

Great Britain in Great Trouble

The Daily Mail wrote on April 28:

“Secret tax bombshell: Top think-tank attacks ALL parties for failing to ‘come clean’ over massive scale of spending cuts… Voters are being deceived over huge tax rises and spending cuts needed after the election, economists have warned. None of the main parties has come clean about how they would tackle the record £163billion state deficit, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. But, in a devastating verdict, it said all three parties were downplaying massive planned cuts in public spending.

“The danger of Britain not tackling its deficit became clear yesterday when a downgrade of Greek debt to junk status caused havoc in financial markets and risked sending the nation tumbling out of the single currency. Athens may now even default on its debts, dragging down other eurozone countries such as Portugal, Italy and Spain.”

Britain’s Upcoming Elections

Deutsche Welle reported on April 29:

“… the country looks set for a hung parliament. The Conservatives lead in polls, closely followed by the Liberal Democrats. And the ruling Labour Party is not far behind. This year’s British elections are clearly a three-horse-race… Trailing in third position in the opinion polls, Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is the neediest. He’s putting out feelers to the Liberal Democrats, covertly suggesting a post-election pact…

“But although Brown sees common ground, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg sees ‘something, frankly, desperate about a Labour Party and their leader Gordon Brown who now try and present themselves as agents of reform.’ Clegg went on to call the idea of an alliance between the two parties ‘preposterous’… That sounds like an offer of an alliance with the conservatives, but conservative leader David Cameron is having none of it…

“British opinion polls suggest that a hung parliament is what a majority of voters want. They seem tired of the same old adversarial politics… They want the parties to cooperate in getting Britain out of the mess it’s in. And the mess is considerable, says John Phillpott of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He sees painful budget cuts ahead. ‘I think the realistic scale of job losses in the public sector over the next five years is in the order of half a million,’ Phillpott told Deutsche Welle.”

On April 29, The Daily Mail warned against a hung parliament. They said:

“A hung parliament could lead to a Greek-style financial crisis, business leaders and economists have warned. They said of a run on the pound and loss of faith in Britain’s ability to tackle its deficit, which is on a par with that of Greece. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the crisis was spreading ‘like ebola’ across Europe…

“Stock markets and the euro were hit badly yesterday after Spain and Portugal followed Greece in having their debts downgraded. In a poll, 70 per cent of members of the Institute of Directors said they feared a hung parliament could have a negative impact on the economy… Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan are also warning of economic uncertainty if the election fails to produce an outright winner…

“Peter Hargreaves, of financial advisers Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘A hung parliament will be the worst possible result for our economy. The pound will suffer the most and could depreciate 10 per cent or 15 per cent.’… Savills, an upmarket estate agency, weighed in with a statement saying: ‘The worst outcome for the housing market would be a hung parliament…'”

Greece’s Fiscal Woes Threaten the USA

The Los Angeles Times wrote on April 28:

“A widening financial crisis in Europe is threatening to put a damper on the economic recovery here and abroad… A credit contagion that began in heavily indebted Greece spread Wednesday to Spain, whose economy is much larger than Greece’s, as Standard & Poor’s cut the Madrid government’s credit rating, just one day after slashing Athens’ bonds to ‘junk’ status and downgrading Portugal’s debt as well…

“Even under the rosiest scenario in which a rescue package comes through and the problem is contained, analysts say, European economic growth will slow as more countries feel pressure to raise taxes and take other tough measures to get their fiscal affairs in order… That’s not good news for American businesses, which count on Europe as a major market for a broad array of goods but already have felt the winds of an economic slowdown…”

German Muslim Minister Backs School Crucifix Ban

Deutsche Welle reported on April 25:

“Ayguel Oezkan has created waves before even taking office as social minister in the north-western German state of Lower Saxony. [Subsequently, she was sworn in as social minister.] The 38-year-old, who is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said in an interview on Saturday that crucifixes have as little place in state schools as do headscarves… Oezkan’s comments have ruffled feathers in her own conservative party.

“Lower Saxony state premier, Christian Wulff, distanced himself from the… minister’s remarks. ‘Christian symbols, above all the crucifix in schools, are welcomed by the state government in Lower Saxony in keeping with the practice of tolerant education on the basis of Christian values,’ Wulff told news agency dpa. He added that students wearing headscarves too were tolerated on grounds of religious freedom but not teachers…

“Stefan Mueller, CDU commissioner for integration, was openly critical. ‘[Oezkan’s remarks] are as absurd as they are appalling,’ Mueller said in a statement. ‘Politicians who want to ban the cross in state schools should think twice about whether representing a Christian party is the right choice. The crucifix is the foundation of our identity, culture, and values,’ he added…

“The 38-year-old Oezkan is the first Muslim woman in Germany to be elected to a ministerial post on the state level. She was born in Hamburg to Turkish immigrants… Her appointment is widely seen as a coup for Merkel’s conservative party who are keen to attract voters from Germany’s large immigrant population.”

A Muslim minister will not be liked in Germany if she tries to do away with the crucifix in state schools. The absurd statement by one politician that the “crucifix is the foundation” of Germany’s “identity, culture, and values,” shows the extent to which people have been deceived–believing that adoring and worshipping an idol would be pleasing in God’s sight.

In a typical political fashion, Oezkan subsequently back-pedaled. Der Spiegel Online reported on April 26: “On Monday… Özkan tried to combat the fire by distancing herself from her own comments and apologizing to her party colleagues for any irritation she might have caused. Lower Saxony Governor Wulff stepped in to help smooth things over, too, stating that: ‘Özkan accepts that crucifixes are welcomed and desired in the schools of Lower Saxony. She is with us on this point. So the matter has been settled.'”

The Presidential “Election” in Austria

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 26:

“In Sunday’s presidential elections in Austria, right-wing populists lost ground while Social Democrats garnered almost 80 percent of votes. Though [Austrian President] Heinz Fischer might call his re-election ‘magnificent,’ the real victors were non-voters — and Jörg Haider’s successors are already busy coming up with their next plan of attack…

“In fact, people aren’t even talking about the politicians who ran in the election. Instead, they’re talking about the group that made up the real majority in the election — non-voters and those who cast blank ballots.

“If you look at the percentages of the vote from Sunday, things look pretty good for the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the incumbent president. Heinz Fischer, who ran in the election as an independent candidate with broad support from the Social Democrats, was re-elected with 78.9 percent of the vote, pushing aside his right-wing populist challenger, Barbara Rosenkranz, of the anti-foreigner and anti-European Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), who only took 15.6 percent of the vote. And Rudolf Gehring, the Christian fundamentalist with somewhat antiquated notions about the role of women in society, came in at a distant third, with only 5.4 percent.

“But the picture isn’t so rosy when you look at voter turnout: According to preliminary results, only 49.2 percent of Austrians cast ballots…

“Rosenkranz and Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the FPÖ, had already penned an explanation for their failure, which they would recite at every opportunity for the duration of the night. As they saw it, Rosenkranz had been the victim of a media ‘witch hunt’… Rosenkranz apparently failed to mobilize the protest voters who were once an important support for the FPÖ and its splinter party, the Alliance for Austria’s Future (BZÖ) formerly led by Jörg Haider…

“Strache would ultimately like to assume a position on the national political stage. But, before then, he has his sights set on becoming Vienna’s mayor after the elections coming this fall. As his party colleague Graf sees it, Strache’s ambitions are justified. ‘FPÖ supporters don’t want Strache as their federal president,’ he says. ‘They want him to be head of government.'”

Austria is lacking strong leadership, and the Austrian public is becoming more and more disillusioned with their politicians. Although Heinz-Christian Strache would like to walk in the footsteps of the late Joerg Haider, he clearly lacks what some would describe as Haider’s charisma and talents to stir up the masses.

Catholic Church Scandal Continuing

Der Spiegel Online wrote on April 23:

“Bishop Walter Mixa, who submitted his resignation Thursday amid accusations of violence and financial irregularities, had to go. But the Catholic Church is mistaken if it believes that it has earned itself some breathing space. The abuse debate will not be silenced.

“For 12 weeks now, the Catholic Church in Germany has been rocked by an abuse scandal. Now a German bishop has quit his office. But Bishop Walter Mixa’s exit was not because of sexually abusing minors, but rather because of a few slaps in the face and the sloppy use of Church funds.

“Sources in the Catholic Church talked of ‘relief’ at Mixa’s departure, while Alois Glück, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, also described Mixa’s resignation as a ‘great relief.’ But this raises the question: Relief from what, exactly? Is it a relief to have finally gotten rid of someone who has long been seen as a burden, given his loose tongue and his conservative attitudes? Or is it a relief to make a reconciliatory gesture to an enraged public which is demanding concrete action on the abuse crisis?… But anyone who knows the course that these kinds of scandals normally take, can only advise the bishops that their hopes of calming the situation are in vain: Things have simply gone too far.

“The abuse debate has now reached a level in which anyone asking questions about the scale of the abuse is seen as playing down the scandal. Those monitoring the subject have long lost count of how many victims there really are. Does the figure run into the thousands or the tens of thousands? And where is the line between unpleasant but minor losses of control, on the one hand, and scandalous crimes, on the other? It’s a line that has been constantly blurred during the recent debate.

“The victim discourse is too tempting — both for the victims and also for their audience. The event that makes someone into a ‘victim’ is often used to explain everything which happens afterwards. One can absolve oneself of responsibility for unavoidable defeats and setbacks — even an entire life which maybe did not work out quite as one had hoped… This inflation of victimhood leads to a creeping devaluation of real abuse cases, which doubtless do exist in shameful numbers. Where everything is given equal importance, individual cases lose their significance.”

When even the left-liberal magazine Der Spiegel begins to come to the defense of the Catholic Church–at least to an extent–then it is high time to wake up and realize what is REALLY happening. However, as the next article shows, many Germans, including Catholics, are not willing at this point to show great sympathy for the juvenile attempts of the Pope and the Vatican to “deal” with their ongoing scandal.

Nearly a Quarter of German Catholics Consider Leaving the Church

The Local reported on April 23:

“Nearly a quarter of Germany’s 25 million Catholics are considering turning their backs on their Church in the wake of the child abuse scandals, a survey published Friday found. The poll of more than 1,000 Catholics by the Forsa Institute published by daily Bild, found 23 percent of Church members said they were thinking of leaving. Even among those who described themselves as devout, 19 percent were considering walking away, the poll found.

“The findings come as the Church faces its gravest crisis of modern times, with decades-old claims of child sexual abuse by priests surfacing in Germany and around the world…

“At the heart of the anger is the belief that the Church is not handling the child abuse affair openly. Just 16 percent of Catholics polled said they believed Church leaders were dealing with the abuse crisis transparently, compared with 77 percent who said it was not transparent.

“Just under a quarter (24 percent) of people thought child abuse was more common in the Church than it was elsewhere in the community… Exactly half believed there was a link between celibacy and child abuse… Yet a massive 81 percent believed celibacy for priests should be abolished…

“The disillusionment was felt most deeply by younger Catholics. Among those aged 18 to 29, just over a third (34 percent) were thinking of quitting. Some 28 percent of those aged 30 to 44 were considering walking away, as were 32 percent of 45 to 59-year-olds and 6 percent of those aged 60 or older.”

Even though many German Catholics are fed up with their Church, the same cannot be said for believers in Portugal, as the following article shows.

The Catholic Church in Portugal

VIS reported on April 22:

“For the occasion of Benedict XVI’s forthcoming apostolic trip to Portugal, due to take place from 11 to 14 May, statistics concerning the Catholic Church in that country have been published. The information, updated to 31 December 2008, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church. Portugal, the capital of which is Lisbon, has a population of 10,610,000 of whom 9,368,000 (88.3 percent) are Catholic. There are 21 ecclesiastical circumscriptions and 4,830 parishes. Currently there are 52 bishops, 3,797 priests, 6,007 religious, 594 lay members of secular institutes and 63,906 catechists. Minor seminarians number 279, and major seminarians 444. A total of 129,230 children and young people attend 900 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church, or run by priests or religious in Portugal include 34 hospitals, 155 clinics, 799 homes for the elderly or disabled, 663 orphanages and nurseries, 55 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 462 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 168 institutions of other kinds.”

These statistics are staggering. While currently, about 50% of Germans are Catholic, almost 90% of the Portuguese are Catholic. And Portugal is not alone with having an overwhelmingly Catholic population. The overpowering influence of the Catholic Church in virtually all walks of life in many countries around the world should never be under-estimated.

Noah’s Ark–Found?

Adelaidenow.com, the Sunday Mail, AFP and Bild Online reported on April 27:

“Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers believe they may have found Noah’s Ark – 4000m up a mountain in Turkey. The team said it had recovered wooden specimens from a structure on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey that carbon dating proved was 4800 years old, around the same time the ark is said to have been afloat.

“‘It’s not 100 per cent that it is Noah’s Ark but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it,’ said Yeung Wing-cheung, a Hong Kong documentary filmmaker and member of the 15-strong team from Noah’s Ark Ministries International. The structure had several compartments, some with wooden beams, which were believed to house animals, he said.

“The group of evangelical archaeologists ruled out an established human settlement on the grounds that one had never been found above 3500m in the vicinity, Mr Yeung said. Local Turkish officials would ask the central government in Ankara to apply for UNESCO World Heritage status so the site could be protected while a major archaeological dig was conducted, he added.

“The biblical story says God decided to flood the earth after seeing how corrupt it had become, and told Noah to build an ark and fill it with two of every animal species. After the flood waters receded, the Bible says, the ark came to rest on a mountain. Many believe that Mount Ararat, the highest point in the region, is where the ark and her inhabitants came aground.”

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Would you please discuss the Scripture in Zechariah 12:10?

According to most Christian commentaries, this passage addresses the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior of mankind. However, most Jewish commentaries reject this conclusion and give the passage a different meaning.

Zechariah 12:10-11 reads as follows:

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem…”

The phrase “in that day” gives us the time setting–it is a reference to the time of the end, the coming of the LORD and His reign over this world (note Zechariah 12:4, 6, 8-9; 13:1-2, 4; 14:4, 6, 8-9, 20).

At the time when the LORD appears to defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:8), they will begin to recognize Him as their Savior. They will understand that it was they–as this is true for all of mankind–who pierced and killed Him, when He came in the flesh (John 1:1, 11, 14; Luke 19:14; 20:13-15). They will recognize Him as the Son of God–the FIRSTBORN among many brethren. They will realize that it is the potential of man to become a member of the very Family of God. They will mourn because of their sins, realizing that they were responsible for Christ’s death; they will believe in Christ and the gospel message and become baptized; and it is then that God will pour His Spirit on them (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38).

All of this should be understood as the clear and unambiguous meaning of the above quoted passage. As we explain in our free booklet, “The Book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today,” on page 72:

“Zechariah 12:10 refers to the fact that the Messiah would be pierced. We are told in the New Testament that a soldier pierced Christ’s side with a spear, causing His death on the cross (John 19:34–37). (For the exact manner of Christ’s death, please read our free booklet, “Jesus Christ—a Great Mystery”). The passage in Zechariah 12:10 is quoted in Revelation 1:7, referring to Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 1:7 states: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him…”

We might note that we read in Zechariah 12:10 that God (the Father) says that the inhabitants of Jerusalem will look on “Me” (the Father) whom they have pierced, and that they will mourn for “Him” (Jesus Christ) as one mourns for his only son and his firstborn son.

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary gives the following (unconvincing) explanation as to the change of the pronouns “Me” and “Him”:
“The change of person is due to Jehovah-Messiah speaking in His own person first, then the prophet speaking of Him.”

However, reading the context, there is really no justification for the conclusion that Zechariah would first repeat the words of God, then interject his own thoughts, and then return to a quotation of the words of God in the subsequent verses.

Rather, we need to understand that the Father suffered when Christ suffered. Even though Jesus Christ was pierced, it was God the Father who GAVE His only begotten Son to DIE for the world (John 3:16). We read that the Father was IN the Son (2 Corinthians 5:19). He experienced the Son’s suffering as well. When the Son was pierced, the Father was pierced too in that sense–God the Father who loved the Son felt the pain and suffering of His Son; He suffered WITH Christ; He felt the piercing as Christ did. Today, in the same way, both the Father and the Son feel also our pain and suffering when we go through severe trials (compare 2 Corinthians 1:5).

Let us consider the following remarks by non-Jewish commentaries regarding Zechariah 12:10:

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible states:

“‘I will pour upon the house of David’ – This is the way in which the Jews themselves shall be brought into the Christian Church. 1. ‘They shall have the spirit of grace,’ God will show them that he yet bears favor to them. 2. They shall be excited to fervent and continual prayer for the restoration of the Divine favor. 3. Christ shall be preached unto them; and they shall look upon and believe in him whom they pierced, whom they crucified at Jerusalem. 4. This shall produce deep and sincere repentance; they shall mourn, and be in bitterness of soul, to think that they had crucified the Lord of life and glory, and so long continued to contradict… since that time.”

The “Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge” adds:

“That this relates to the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and to his being pierced by the soldier’s spear, we have the authority of the inspired apostle John for affirming; and this application agrees with the opinion of some of the ancient Jews, who interpret it of Messiah the son of David…”

However, as we will see, even most of those ancient Jews who have realized that Zechariah 12:10 speaks about the Messiah, did not understand the true meaning of that passage. In addition, Jewish interpreters are divided as to whom this passage is addressing.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible gives a lengthy narrative of Jewish interpretation, as follows:

“… the Jews themselves, some of them, acknowledge it is to be understood of the Messiah. In the Talmud… mention being made of the mourning after spoken of, it is asked, what this mourning was made for?… one says, for Messiah ben Joseph, who shall be slain… Jarchi and Kimchi… say, our Rabbins interpret this of Messiah the son of Joseph, who shall be slain… Hadarsan… understands it of Messiah the son of David. The Jews observing some prophecies speaking of the Messiah in a state of humiliation, and others of him in an exalted state, have coined this notion of two Messiahs…”

Did you catch that? Some preach that the Messiah would be slain at His (future) coming–and that allegedly in battle, as we will see. Others preach two different “Messiahs.”

The confusion abounds. The “New Bible Commentary: Revised” explains:

“… various suggestions of historical personages have been made in an attempt to identify the pierced one–the brother of Johanan, Onias III, c. 170 BC, or Simon the Maccabee, c. 134 BBC, or the Teacher of Righteousness mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, or even Zerubbabel, or others. But the traditional identification with the suffering Messiah remains the best understanding.”

The Nelson Study Bible mentions these Jewish “interpretations”:

“Jewish commentators often regard this as a corporate reference to the Jews killed in the defense of Jerusalem… The Jewish Talmud views the text as referring to the Messiah who will be pierced in battle. The messianic view is favored by the fact that Jesus was pierced with a spear…”

The concept that the coming Messiah would die in battle is nowhere supported in Scripture. In fact, the opposite is revealed in both the Old and the New Testament (compare Zechariah 14:3, 9, 12-13; Daniel 2:44; Matthew 24:30-31; and Revelation 19:11-15). Jesus Christ, the Messiah, told the Apostle John in Revelation 1:8, 18: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty… I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive FOREVERMORE. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death.'”

The Jewish Soncino commentary gives the following additional (incorrect) explanation:

“The mourning is over those Jews who fell in defiance of their city as martyrs for their faith and country; the slain in battle are those whom the heathens have ‘thrust through’ (“pierced”). This is substantially the view of most Jewish commentators. In the Talmud the passage is interpreted with reference to the Messianic era, and the martyr who was ‘thrust through’ is the Messiah the son of Joseph who will fall in battle.

“The verse has received Christological application by the Church; but as Driver observes: ‘The context points plainly to some historical event in the prophet’s own time, for which people would eventually feel the sorrow here described.’ Modern commentators see in the verse an allusion to an unknown martyr who suffered death at the hands of the people. They will be stricken with remorse and penitence over their guilt. Probably he was one whom God gave to the restored Jewish community, a good shepherd, but they rejected him and put him to death. Could it have been Zerubbabel whose fate, otherwise unknown, is here referred to?”

As stated before, the phrase “in that day” points at future events–the passage in Zechariah 12:10 is clearly prophetic and does not address an historical event at the time of the prophet Zechariah.

Now note how the English rendering of the Hebrew Text in “The Jewish Bible”–the “Tanakh”–completely alters the original Scripture, obviously in an attempt to hide the intended meaning:

“But I will fill the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem with a spirit of pity and compassion; and they shall lament to Me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born…”

That the original Hebrew passage of Zechariah 12:10 relates to Jesus Christ–referring to His (past) First Coming AND His (still future) Second Coming–is the clear and intended meaning of the passage, and as stated before, this understanding is confirmed in the New Testament by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation.

The misunderstanding and confusion of many Jewish commentators in regard to a passage like Zechariah 12:10 amply prove the accuracy of the following inspired comments, made by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:12-16:

“Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech–unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

The veil of spiritual blindness remains today on the children of Israel (Acts 28:25-27; Romans 11:25), as well as on all nations (Isaiah 43:8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 4:17-18; Revelation 12:9). It can only be removed or “taken away in Christ” for those whom God gives spiritual understanding in this day and age. When the Messiah and Savior of the world returns, then that veil will be removed from all peoples (Isaiah 25:7; Revelation 20:3).

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new StandingWatch program was posted on the Web, titled, “Soon–All Nations Against Jerusalem?” In the program, Norbert Link asks and answers the following questions: Will the Jews begin soon to offer sacrifices and build a third temple on the Temple Mount? Is former New York mayor and Democrat Ed Koch correct when he warns that it is President Obama’s policy to create an alliance with Arab states against Israel? And what is behind Muammar al Gaddafi’s concept of a new bi-national state, called “Isratine,” and Egypt’s attempts to rally U.N. support against Israel?

A new German sermon was posted on the Web. It discusses the love of the Father and of Jesus Christ towards us, and the injunction to  us to manifest that some love towards others, even and especially during times of trials and suffering. It is titled, “Gottes Liebe im Leid” (“God’s Love in Trials.”)

We received an offer from YouTube regarding our “very popular [German] video” on the swine flu, Die Schweinegrippe–was man uns nicht sagt! giving us the opportunity to sign up for their partnership program and receive money with every viewing. Of course, we are not accepting the offer, but are happy about the attention we are receiving.

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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