Update 445


Frame of Mind

On June 5, 2010, Robb Harris will give the sermon titled, respectively, “Frame of Mind.”

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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God’s Love in the Last Days

by Norbert Link

Many would agree that we are living in the last days. But how many comprehend the tremendous responsibility which accompanies such understanding?

Paul warns us in 2 Timothy 3:1-4: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money… unloving, unforgiving, slanderers… brutal… headstrong… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…”

Of course, many might say, this only describes the people in this evil world–it does not address conditions in the Church of God. And they even reason that they are true “Philadelphia” Christians, who have endured and overcome, and who are loved by God and will find protection from the great tribulation (Revelation 3:9-10). They are convinced that the biblical warnings to lukewarm “Laodicea” Christians or the world at large only apply to others.

Many who are claiming to be part of the body of Christ say that “they”–and “only they”–are Philadelphia Christians, perhaps without fully realizing that “Philadelphia” means “brotherly love.” They may feel and even proclaim that it is the other Christians who are the “poor, blind and naked” Laodiceans (Revelation 3:17). Christ warned of such self-deception–especially when we think that we are spiritually “wealthy, and have need of nothing” (same verse). Paul says that “he who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Those who uphold self-righteous positions of glorying in themselves, while despising and condemning others (Luke 18:9), lack what is tantamount to being a true and zealous Christian–brotherly or “Philadelphia” love and, what is even more important, godly love. The Bible calls this godly love “agape” love, which God has poured in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). We can only have godly love if Christ, through His Spirit, lives in us. Paul challenges us to examine ourselves whether Christ really LIVES in us (2 Corinthians 13:5). If He does, we will love our fellow man; otherwise, we are not even of God (1 John 3:10; compare John 5:42).

As we are living in the last days, we must be very careful that we are not being affected by the ungodly and unloving world around us (1 John 2:15). Christ tells self-righteous and spiritually blind Laodicean Christians to repent of their sins and to become zealous (Revelation 3:19). Otherwise, Christ will vomit them out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). They will cease to be His disciples, because of their lack of godly love (John 13:35).

Could this include you? Examine yourself! Do you love God and your fellow man, or just yourself and worldly pleasures which you want to enjoy? Are you diligent in excelling in technical aspects of God’s law, but neglecting to manifest the love of God in your life (Luke 11:42)? Are you willing to forgive, or are you unforgiving and unloving, quick to slander and to condemn others (Matthew 6:14-15; compare James 4:11-12)?

Could Christ be warning you, when He describes the spiritual condition of His Church in the end time? Notice: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Christ refers here to godly “agape” love. Since only those in whom God’s Spirit dwells have such godly love, Christ is addressing Church members–those who have received God’s Spirit and with it the love of God, but who allow the love of God to GROW cold! And unless they repent or change and become again zealous to renew and use God’s love in them, Christ will vomit them out of His mouth!

We are living in perilous and serious times–and it is high time to awake out of sleep (Romans 13:11). “Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Let us make every effort to use powerfully God’s love in us. “For this IS the love of God that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3)–and with God’s love in us, we are fulfilling His law (Romans 13:10) and do not sin (1 John 3:4). Paul is not giving us this warning for nothing: “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34).

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A deadly incident still under investigation has resulted in worldwide condemnation of Israeli conduct against international activists. Israel’s actions have been described by the German press as a “human tragedy and a political catastrophe for Israel.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 31: “Israeli commandos stormed the largest of the flotilla’s six ships in the early hours of Monday. The flotilla left Cyprus on Sunday and was carrying around 100 pro-Palestinian activists from the Free Gaza movement. The ships were heading for the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli blockade since the Islamist movement Hamas took control in 2007, and were carrying around 10,000 tons of relief supplies, including wheelchairs and medical supplies. Israel had repeatedly warned that it would not allow the boats to reach the Gaza Strip.”

According to Deutsche Welle of May 31, the “flotilla was organized by several groups, including a Turkish human rights organization… The ships were in international waters 124 kilometers off the coast of Israel when they were intercepted by the Israeli Navy and boarded by commandos. Demonstrators on the ships clashed with the soldiers. The Israeli army said the demonstrators were armed with knives and clubs and that commandos opened fire after one person on the boat grabbed a weapon from a commando…”

In other news, the German government was caught totally by surprise when in an unprecedented move, German President Horst Koehler announced his resignation. This could not have come at a more inopportune time for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

At the same time, we see Europe expanding and moving ahead in business deals with other countries, and military expenditures and arms exports are on the rise.

We conclude with a piece regarding best-selling author Joel Richardson and his false prophecies about an “Islamic Antichrist,” while he is dismissing the biblically correct concept of the end-time emergence of a unified Europe. The article illustrates the lack of biblical understanding, popularized by deceived “scholars” who are being tossed to and fro by every wind of “news” events.

It is interesting that the Bible prophesied in the book of Revelation that ancient Rome would receive a deadly wound, but that the wound would be healed, and that all the world would be astonished and begin to “worship” the Roman revival. In the same way, the world will be surprised when it finally realizes that and how the last and final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire–the EU and within it ten European core nations or groups of nations–will overcome the present financial and religious crises and become a most powerful economic, political, military and religious entity.

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Israel Provokes International Outrage

Reuters reported on May 31:

“Israel’s storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla set off a diplomatic furore, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which called off planned joint military exercises… Washington said it deeply regretted the loss of life and was examining the circumstances that led to the bloodshed while Turkey, Israel’s strongest Muslim friend in the region, summoned the Jewish state’s ambassador and said it would recall its own.

“‘This attack is another sign of the reckless levels that the Israeli government’s violent policies have reached,’ Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in a televised speech. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled plans to meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday… in the wake of the raid…

“Israeli commandos intercepted the flotilla carrying 700 people and 10,000 tonnes of supplies for Gaza before dawn on Monday. Officials said they were met with knives when they boarded the ships, including a ferry flying the Turkish flag. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the killings as a massacre, and the United Nations and European Union both demanded an inquiry. Rights group Amnesty International said Israeli forces appeared to have used excessive force… ‘Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behaviour,’ Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement…

“France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the violence could not be justified… In the Arab world, the incident was viewed as an overreaction to an attempt to challenge Israel’s Gaza blockade that could put the brakes on any further efforts at normalisation and may derail the peace process… Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel, summoned the Israeli ambassador… Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said Israel’s move was a ‘crazy step’ that risked inflaming conflict in the region.”

The Associated Press added on May 31:

“The showdown came at a sensitive time for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking… The activists were headed to Gaza to draw attention to the blockade, which Israel and Egypt imposed… There were conflicting accounts of what happened early Monday, with activists claiming the Israelis fired first and Israel insisting its forces fired in self defense…

“Robin Churchill, a professor of international law at the University of Dundee in Scotland, said the Israeli commandos boarded the ship outside of Israel’s territorial waters. ‘As far as I can see, there is no legal basis for boarding these ships,’ Churchill said.

“Many of the activists were from Europe… The European Union deplored what it called excessive use of force and demanded an investigation by Israel. It called the Gaza blockade ‘politically unacceptable,’ and called for it to be lifted immediately… Thousands marched in protest in Istanbul, some setting Israeli flags on fire after unsuccessfully trying to storm the Israeli consulate. Israel quickly advised… its citizens to avoid travel to Turkey…”

Egypt in Tight Position

USA Today wrote on May 31:

“The Cairo-based Arab League called an emergency session for Tuesday to address the attack, as the [only two] Arab states with peace deals with Israel — Jordan and Egypt — sharply condemned the violence. Jordan’s information minister, Nabil al-Sharif, called it a ‘heinous crime’ and called for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

“The incident also put Egypt in a tight position. The only Arab country bordering the Gaza Strip, it has helped enforce the blockade by cracking down on smuggling tunnels that are a key source of goods to Gaza’s 1.5 million people and by rejecting pressure that it open its border crossing. The Egyptian government has said it cannot open the border since there is no agreement on restoring European monitors who left during the Hamas takeover.

“Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the violence underlines how Gaza ‘remains under total Israeli occupation,’ and it called ‘for the immediate lifting of the Israeli siege on Gaza.'”

EU Condemns Israel

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 31:

“The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has called on Israeli authorities to launch a ‘full inquiry’ into… the night raid on a convoy of aid ships destined for the Gaza Strip. Ashton… reiterate[d] the European Union’s position regarding Gaza – [that] the continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counterproductive. The incident has been met with widespread condemnation from across Europe.

“In an unusually strongly worded statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said Israel’s response to the ships was disproportionate. ‘Every German government has always recognized and supported the right of Israel to defend itself, but this right must of course be within the boundaries of proportionality,’ Merkel’s spokesman said. ‘At first glance it does not look like this basic rule was adhered to.’…

“Greek government officials announced that they would withdraw from planned joint military exercises with Israel in protest…

“Turkey’s foreign ministry warned of ‘irreparable consequences’ after the incident and announced at midday that they would be recalling their ambassador to Israel. Some of the ships were sailing under Turkish flags and media reports indicate that Turkish nationals are among the dead.

“‘By targeting civilians, Israel has once again shown its disregard for human life and peaceful initiatives. We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel,’ the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. ‘This deplorable incident, which took place in open [seas] and constitutes a flagrant breach of international law, may lead to irreparable consequences in our bilateral relations.’ Turkey has long been an important ally of Israel, one of only a few in the Muslim world. But relations have declined since Israel’s attack on Gaza a year and a half ago, in which some 1,400 Palestinians died and of which Turkey was very critical.”

Der Spiegel Online added on May 31:

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy… condemned the ‘disproportionate use of force’… British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he deplored the loss of life and called for the blockade on Gaza to be lifted…

“Dozens of European politicians were reported to be on board the flotilla, including two members of the German parliament… both of whom belong to the far-left Left Party… Other prominent members of the convoy are the Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire from Northern Ireland and the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor and activist Hedy Epstein.”

Israel Turns the World Against It…

Der Spiegel Online published the following commentary on May 31:

“Israel has sparked global outrage. At least 15 people were killed when the Israeli military stormed a flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists on Monday. In addition to being a human tragedy, it is also a political catastrophe for Israel. It has provided its critics around the world with fresh ammunition.

“The pro-Palestinian organizers had described the fleet with which they had hoped to break through the Israeli sea blockade of the Gaza Strip on Monday morning as a ‘humanitarian aid convoy.’ But as the Israeli army stormed the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, the activists they encountered were in no way exclusively docile peaceniks. Some of the ‘peace activists’ received the Israelis with crow bars and sling shots. Some of the self-professed ‘human rights activists’ reportedly even tore the weapons from soldiers and began to shoot…

“But the reaction from Israel, a state which proclaims to adhere to the rule of law, was far from appropriate. Regardless how prepared to engage in violence the organizers of the ship convoy might have been: With at least 15 dead, all on the side of the activists, and more than 30 injured, some seriously, one thing is certain: Israel carelessly threw one of the most important principles of the application of military violence overboard: the proportionality of military force…

“And a number of questions remain to be answered: Why did Israeli soldiers shoot at the passengers from helicopters flying overhead? [Why] did the Israeli navy board the ship when they could have simply blocked the ships’ paths? And why did Israel strike in international waters, long before the fleet had arrived in Israeli waters?…

“In Jerusalem, officials are claiming Israel only exercized self defense. They say the activists used ‘extreme violence,’ and that they alone are responsible for the high number of victims. But it is Israel which carries the primary responsibility. The military behaved impulsively. It overreacted and showed no compassion for the victims…

“Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once quipped that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity (for reaching peace). With Israel, precisely the opposite is true: In times of crisis, Israel seems to search for opportunities to turn the world against it.”

The Bible prophesies that the state of Israel will be hated by all nations. It will experience total animosity and isolation.

German Press Reacts to Israel’s “State Terrorism”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 1:

“Some of the Germans on board the aid ships attacked by Israel on Monday morning have now returned, but many others have yet to be released. One of those released, a Left Party parliamentarian, has called Israel ‘barbaric.’ The German press is none-too-complimentary either… 11 Germans were on board the several ships involved in the incident, but it is uncertain of the fate of six German citizens… Officials in other European countries said that nationals involved in the flotilla had also returned home. However, many still remain detained in Israel, including author Mankell. According to news reports, hundreds of activists are still being detained by Israeli authorities in the city of Ashdod in southern Israel. Forty-five activists injured on Monday are being treated in Israeli hospitals — mostly Turkish nationals…

“On German editorial pages on Tuesday, criticism of the deadly action by the Israeli armed forces is universal. Even the country’s most pro-Israeli daily, Die Welt, argues that the government should have known that the outcome of the attack would be deeply damaging to its international image.

“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘… the expected international storm of anger against Israel has already begun. … The Israeli government and army will have to answer uncomfortable questions — from their own citizens, too. Everyone knew that Israel could only look bad if it followed a course of confrontation with these haters of Israel disguised as peace activists. That’s why it is even less understandable that no effective precautions were made to prevent such a catastrophe.’

“The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘The current Israeli government appears to have lost any sense of proportion in the implementation of its Gaza blockade. And it has already shown that it doesn’t care one iota about public opinion. Nevertheless, the boarding and seizure of the ships in an international flotilla — in which many people died — represents a new level of escalation. Israel’s international standing will be further diminished…’

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Israel views itself as a nation at war. Even in absence of current fighting, the threat is omnipresent…. In the 62 years of its existence, Israel has never been at peace and continues to be surrounded by enemies even today… But Israeli politicians have failed entirely in this regard… Israel believes it cannot afford to suffer any defeats in this regard — no matter what the expense. But with this tunnel vision, Israeli forces have now caused the worst possible damage to its standing in the world.’

“Business daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘The fact that this was the seizure of a humanitarian deployment will be devastating for Israel… It has also isolated Israel in the world…’

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… Among those on board were leading radical Muslims with ties to Hamas … which makes it even less understandable that German parliamentarians from the Left Party were on board. None of that changes the fact that Israel’s actions were disproportionate …. But it definitely shows how hard it is, in this conflict, to differentiate between good and evil.’

“The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘… What happened at dawn on Monday in the Mediterranean Sea was a targeted attack on a civilian ship in international waters. The term for that is state terrorism.'”

Britain Condemns Israel

BBC News reported on June 2:

“Israel has released and is in the process of deporting the remaining British activists arrested in its raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy. Foreign Secretary William Hague has said 37 British nationals, including 11 with dual nationality, were involved. Five have already been deported. He said he was concerned at the raid taking place in international waters.

“Prime Minister David Cameron condemned it as ‘completely unacceptable’, saying he deplored the loss of life. In his first Commons question time, he said everything should be done to prevent it happening again. Israel is in the process of deporting nearly all of the 682 detainees… None of the Britons was currently believed to have been involved in any violence against Israeli servicemen who boarded the ships, Mr Hague told MPs.”

American Killed by Israelis

ABC News reported on June 3:

“A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency. Dogan was a high school student studying social sciences in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey. He was born in the United States and moved to Turkey at the age of 2…

“The ship was sponsored by a Turkish charity, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) and was carrying aid to Gaza in defiance of the Israeli blockade. The charity released the names of all nine dead. All are male and the ages range from 32 to 61…

“Meanwhile, Israel is preparing for a new ship to run the blockade, the Irish ship MV Rachel Corrie, due to arrive in the area Friday… Former U.N. assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, who is on board the Rachel Corrie, told ABC News that they do not intend to stop their mission or head to the Israeli port of Ashdod instead. ‘It’s a totally unacceptable embargo. There’s no justification for it, there’s no legality for it, it’s not endorsed by the U.N., it’s not endorsed by anybody else. It’s an Israeli military zone which is without legal status,’ he said in a phone interview from the ship today. The Rachel Corrie expects to be boarded by the Israelis Friday when they are approximately 80 miles off coast.”

“Israel Has Played Into Hamas’ Hands”

The Israeli paper, Haaretz, published the following commentary and analysis on May 31:

“Despite having its eyes wide open, Israel fell into a trap. Israel knew that the organizers of the flotilla wanted to present the Israel Defense Forces to the world as an army that does not hesitate to use force. The flotilla organizers wanted deaths, casualties, blood and billows of smoke. And this is exactly what Israel gave them.

“Every child knows that the conflict here is one of consciousness, images, emotion and gut-feelings; not one of justice or logic. Therefore, Israel should have acted differently… Without getting into the question of the justification or logic of the blockade imposed by Gaza and its residents, it was indeed clear that it was only natural that Hamas would try to break the blockade by force. They have been doing this by means of the smuggling tunnels and via the sea…

“Apparently Israel, which prides itself as having the best intelligence in the world, should have known better that there were violent elements aboard one of the boats, equipped iron bars, knifes and slingshots. Had Israel known this, it would have probably used more appropriate ways to storm [the] boat, to avoid death and injuries…

“Israel has played into Hamas’ hands. It’s not the fault of the young soldiers who obeyed the orders of their commanders. The responsibility lies with the cabinet and the military planners.

“No matter how one looks at the conduct of the Israeli government and the IDF, it is hard to understand how stupid and tragic it was. Time and again, Israel tries to prove that what can’t be solved by force can be solved by more force. Over and over, the policies of force fail. The problem is that with each failure, the part of the world in which we would like to belong is losing patience with us.”

Israeli Senior Ministers Sharply Critical of Israel’s “Illegal” Raid

Haaretz reported on June 1:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his political-security cabinet on Tuesday that international condemnation would not stop Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip… Netanyahu added that Israel regretted that nine lives were lost in the operation on Monday, but defended the Israel Defense Forces soldiers as having been justified in the actions of their mission…

“Senior ministers have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale… Senior ministers have noted that, in contrast to the handling of similar incidents in the past, the inner cabinet did not discuss issues related to the flotilla, receive operational briefings or approve the operation. The forum of seven, which did consider and approve the plan, is a consultative body only and does not have the legal authority to pass resolutions.

“The forum – Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Intelligence and Atomic Affairs Minister Dan Meridor, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Minster without Portfolio Benny Begin – held just two meetings on the flotilla, the latest on Wednesday. They approved the operation and the continuation of the Israeli policy of barring ships from docking in Gaza.

“Much of the session was devoted not to the military operation but rather to media and public relations issues surrounding the issue. ‘The ministers who attended the meeting didn’t get the impression from the defense establishment that a violent confrontation of this scope was likely,’ one senior Jerusalem official said. ‘The sense during the discussion was that the navy would come and the organizers would take fright, do an about-face and flee,’ he said.

“According to senior officials who attended the session, a few ministers expressed differing views but in the end a consensus was reached and there was not even a vote…”

Another Point of View

Israel’s “A7-News” reported the following on June 1:

“One of the Naval Special Forces commandos who sustained a broken arm while under attack by the S.S. Mavi Marmaris’ passengers, reports, ‘Each soldier who descended was grabbed by three or four men and they simply exploded, beating him up. They lynched us. They had metal clubs, knives, slingshots, glass bottles…At one point there was also live fire. I was among the last to descend, and I saw that the group was dispersed, everyone in his own corner surrounded by three or four men. I saw a soldier on the floor with two men beating him. I peeled them off of him and they came at me and began beating me with the clubs. That’s how I broke my arm. At that moment I had no weapon in my hands, like everyone else who descended on the cables empty-handed…’

“IDF photos of two dozen knives, including a machete, plus clubs, chains and metal rods used against Israeli Navy commandoes in the flotilla clash Monday contradict Turkish claims that the passengers did not carry weapons on board… The IDF confiscated and photographed the weapons, which were used to brutally attack Navy commandoes as they descended to one of the ships via ropes from hovering helicopters, intending to take over the ships peacefully. Greta Berlin, spokeswoman for the Free Gaza movement, claimed to Israel National News that the IDF edited the video showing the commandoes landing on board and added the violence…

“IDF video documentation and United States diplomats have stemmed the anti-Israel tide in the United Nations – for the time being – a day after the flotilla clash on the high seas. The U.N. Security Council met in closed session until late Monday night after U.S. diplomats watered down a Turkish attempt to censure Israel. Most of the 15 countries sitting on the Council expressed harsh criticism of Israel, but no joint statement was issued. Turkey is trying to use the universal anti-Israel mood to force an end to Israel’s partial blockade on Gaza, imposed since Hamas gained control of the area [in] a military coup three years ago…

“Foreign media and diplomats have begun to note the IDF videos of a brutal attack on Israeli Navy commandos as they descended on one of the ships after the crew and passengers refused requests to change course and sail to Ashdod instead of Hamas…

“Lebanon, currently the rotating president of the U.N. Security Council, and Turkey both led the condemnation of Israel at the Council session with such terms as ‘piracy,’ ‘crime’ and ‘a black day in the history of humanity.'”

Nuclear Submarines for Israel

Times On Line wrote on May 30:

“Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline. The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah… could hit sites in Israel… The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels…

“The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week. Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal… The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. ‘The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,’ said a navy officer.”

In light of the most recent events pertaining to Israel’s actions and European condemnation, one wonders how long Germany will continue to (be able to) provide Israel with such dangerous weapons. At the same time, once Israel possesses these additional nuclear weapons, they WILL use them, when they feel threatened and compelled to do so.

German President Koehler Resigns

Deutsche Welle reported on May 31:

“In a move that took just about everybody by surprise, German President Horst Koehler stepped down on Monday, citing comments he made about Afghanistan, which he said had been misconstrued…

“German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he ‘deeply regretted’ Mr. Koehler’s decision and had tried to change his mind… Bavarias’s State Premier, Horst Seehofer, said Mr. Koehler ‘had won the sympathies of the German people and was widely respected abroad.’

“The president’s resignation caught Germany’s political parties completely off guard. Chancellor Angela Merkel was reportedly only informed of the decision shortly before the public announcement… the chancellor said [she] was stunned and surprised by Mr. Koehler’s decision and had ‘unsuccessfully tried to get him to change his mind’…

“In the past few days, Koehler had been under fire for saying that a country like Germany, which was heavily reliant on foreign trade must know that military interventions could be necessary to uphold German interests. Koehler said his comments were ‘misunderstood’ and that his remarks were not meant to refer to the mission in Afghanistan… Polls show that a majority of Germans are opposed to the mission in Afghanistan…

“A former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Koehler was elected to the post of president in 2004 and re-elected in 2009…”

Another Blow to Merkel…

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 31:

“German President Horst Köhler, under fire for controversial comments he made about Germany’s mission in Afghanistan, resigned with immediate effect on Monday in a shock announcement that comes as the latest in a series of blows to Chancellor Angela Merkel…

“The mayor of the northern city state of Bremen, Jens Böhrnsen, will take over from Köhler as interim head of state until a new president is elected. Under the constitution, Böhrnsen assumes the position in his capacity as president of the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament…

“Finding a successor to Köhler will pose a headache for Merkel, whose popularity has slumped in recent months. She has been hit by criticism of her handling of the euro crisis and by the loss of a center-right majority in the upper house following sharp declines for her CDU in a state election in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, on May 9.

“A further blow came last week with the resignation of CDU heavyweight Roland Koch, the governor of Hesse, a conservative hardliner whose departure has left a big gap in the right wing of her party.”

German Press Condemns Koehler’s Resignation

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 1:

“Germany’s president Horst Köhler threw in the towel to escape criticism. It hasn’t worked. Commentators on Tuesday slammed the departing head of state for damaging his country’s highest office…

“The Financial Times Deutschland… writes: ‘If Horst Köhler hoped that his resignation would protect the office of president from further damage, he failed miserably… by leaving office without facing any notable pressure to do so, he has acted with extreme negligence’…

“The conservative daily Die Welt writes: ‘The resignation of (Horst Köhler) was imprudent… He should have known that he was doing no favors to a government that has not exactly comported itself with brilliance.’

“The center-left paper Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Never has anyone done such great damage to the office of German president as Horst Köhler did… he threw in the towel because he feels offended…’

“The center-right daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘Never before has a German president stepped down due to criticism…’

“The mass-circulation tabloid Bild writes: ‘That wasn’t a resignation. That was someone leaving in a huff. Just as the European Union is wobbling, the euro threatens to collapse and Germany is in a deep crisis, the German president flees his office. An employee would be considered highly irresponsible for displaying such behavior. Now, Horst Köhler is gone and the shards, once again, lie at the feet of the chancellor. Angela Merkel will now need great strength to prevent Köhler’s resignation from turning into a state crisis.'”

The Role of the German President

Deutsche Welle reported on May 31:

“The president represents Germany in matters of international law, and represents the country at official gatherings. The president signs laws because without that signature they cannot take effect… German President Horst Koehler [refused] to sign a law on flight security that foresaw a privatization of flight-security agencies. He also refused to sign a consumer information law.

“Part of the president’s job is to propose a chancellor to the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. He appoints and fires the chancellor based on suggestions made by the Bundestag. Likewise, he can appoint and fire cabinet ministers based on the chancellor’s recommendation. The president can also pardon criminals…

“Unlike in the US, France or Austria, the German president is not elected directly by the people. He is elected by a committee consisting of members of the Bundestag and the same number of delegates sent from the state parliaments. The president has a term of five years, and can only be re-elected once. Any German who is older than 40 can become president.

“Why does the German president play a mainly ceremonial role? The reason is that in the Weimar Republic, the president at the time had wide-reaching powers. He could annul basic laws and rule with emergency law. These factors played a large role in the Nazis’ rise to power and post-war Germany wanted to avoid potential for abusing power.”

German Press on Merkel’s Struggles

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 3:

“Ursula von der Leyen, for less than a day, looked set to become Germany’s new president. Now another candidate [Lower Saxony Governor Christian Wulff] has nosed his way forward and Chancellor Merkel appears increasingly isolated. The internal struggle speaks volumes about the German presidency, and about Merkel herself…”

Guttenberg vs. Merkel

Deutsche Welle reported on June 3:

“German Defense Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg has reopened a long-simmering debate about the draft in Germany, saying he wouldn’t shy away from ‘radical and controversial measures’ in his efforts to cut back on military expenditure… Guttenberg was planning to ‘suspend the draft for an unspecified period of time’, a Defense Ministry official said on Wednesday, adding ‘its complete abolition could save up to 400 million euros per year’…

“However, there has been strong resistance to the proposal from the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU. ‘The end of military conscription cannot be explained with the need for savings, let alone be pushed through in just three days’, Chancellor Angela Merkel is quoted as saying by the ‘Financial Times Germany’ newspaper in its Thursday edition.

“The newspaper cited a source who had taken part in a meeting of CDU/CSU leaders on Wednesday. ‘Nobody knew about Guttenberg’s plans, and every participant in the meeting was up in arms,’ the source was quoted as saying.”

EU-Russian Summit

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 31:

“European Union and Russian leaders began a two-day summit Monday in southern Russia… The EU… is Russia’s biggest trade partner… This year expectations are high for productive talks at the summit, following Medvedev’s statement in April that Russia must show a ‘smiling’ face to the world.

“The twenty-fifth EU-Russia summit is the first to be held between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and EU President Herman Van Rompuy whose position came into force last year under the Lisbon Treaty. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, [who] currently holds EU’s rotating presidency, will be joined in Russia by European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.”

Historically, European nations and Russia have had a strange hate-love relationship. In many cases, it ended in war, and the Bible predicts that after some economic and political cooperation, another war will break out between these power blocs.

Record Unemployment Rate in Europe–Germany the Exception…

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on June 1:

“Debt-laden Europe posted a record unemployment rate on Tuesday and its core currency and shares plummeted amid a worrying industrial slowdown. The unemployment rate hit 10.1 per cent in April, its highest since the euro came into being in 1999 and just one of a series of blows on Tuesday to the eurozone economy after a brief lull last week in market pressure. Almost 16 million people were out of work across the 16 countries that share the euro… The numbers reached more than 23 million in the 27-nation EU as a whole, including non-euro giants Britain and Poland, 2.4 million more than one year earlier. The euro sank to a new four-year low of 1.2115 dollars on concerns about the European financial sector’s ability to weather the region’s debt and deficit crisis. European stock markets also fell sharply…

“Leading economy Germany recorded a ‘significant slowdown’ in its growth rate… German unemployment fell sharply in May… while retail sales picked up as Europe’s biggest economy pushed on despite the eurozone financial crisis. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 per cent of the workforce, the lowest rate since December 2008, from 8.1 per cent in April…

“The latest figures show US unemployment running at 9.9 per cent, and Japan’s just 5.0 per cent. Throughout the EU, only Germany recorded a fall in unemployment over the full year, from 7.6 per cent to 7.1 per cent. Deficit-plagued Spain, with a 19.7 per cent rate beaten only by Latvia, saw unemployment among under-25s reach a dizzying 40.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2010.”

Europe Continues to Enlarge

Reuters reported on June 2:

“European Union ministers said on Wednesday they remained committed to the integration of the Western Balkans into the bloc, dismissing fears of ‘enlargement fatigue’ in the wake of the Greek financial crisis…

“Of the nations that emerged from the violent collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Slovenia has already joined the EU, Croatia is close to membership and Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia have applied. To the south, Albania has also applied. Bosnia… and Kosovo… are lagging behind.

“‘Today in Sarajevo the European Union and the Western Balkans decided to have a new deal on the future, a future of hope, a future of peace, a future of full integration into the European Union,’ said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country initiated the meeting.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on June 3:

“No European country has been more adept than the former Soviet republic of Estonia in dealing with the global economic crisis. Tallinn implemented some of the toughest austerity measures seen in Europe and, in one year’s time, has qualified to become the next country to introduce the euro… The European Commission in Brussels, the EU executive, has already spoken out in favor of accepting the Estonians, and now the decision is up to the euro-zone countries. Bizarrely enough, three highly indebted countries, Italy, Spain and Portugal, will be among those deciding whether model pupil Estonia should be permitted to introduce the euro by as early as next year.”

Europe in the Lead

The Hindu wrote on June 1:

“The European Union on Tuesday sent 3 million euros ($3.7 million) in aid to the victims of tropical storm Agatha, which has killed at least 135 people in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The storm, the first of the Pacific hurricane season, has caused widespread flooding and devastation, forcing at least 150,000 people to flee their homes.”

Africa — France’s Future?

AFP wrote on June 1:

“France on Tuesday moved to shore up its businesses in Africa that have fallen far behind China’s massive investment drive on the continent, at a summit hosted by President Nicolas Sarkozy. The two-day gathering in the Riviera city of Nice saw France shift its focus away from its traditional west African allies and engage with the continent as a whole, reaching out to economic powerhouses South Africa and Nigeria… The push on the economic front comes as France has taken a back seat to China, Africa’s biggest trade partner, which has injected billions over the past decade to tap into raw materials needed to fuel its hungry economy. No figures were released on new French investments but Sarkozy made clear that France was back in force on the trade and business front…

“Declaring that ‘Africa is our future,’ Sarkozy has backed a permanent seat for Africa at the United Nations Security Council among other changes needed to give the continent a greater say in global affairs… While business ties topped the agenda at the Nice summit, Sarkozy made clear France would support Africa in its struggle against piracy, terrorism and drug trafficking. ‘There are crises on the continent,’ Sarkozy said, and Africa ‘cannot cope on its own.'”

Ten European Nations vs. European Court of Human Rights

Catholic Culture wrote on June 2:

“Ten of Europe’s 47 states have joined Italy in petitioning the European Court of Human Rights to overturn its decision in the Lautsi case, in which the court ruled that the display of a crucifix in a classroom is ‘contrary to parents’ right to educate their children in line with their convictions and to children’s right to freedom of religion.’ No European state intends to file an amicus curiae brief in support of the decision.

“In addition to Italy, the ten nations that oppose the court’s decision are Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Romania, the Russian Federation, and San Marino.”

Zenit added on June 1:

“The third party status allows the States to submit to the court their written and oral observations as official parties to the case. The court’s Grand Chamber will hold a public hearing on June 30, and the final judgment on the case is expected by the end of the year. The director of the European Centre for Law and Justice, Gregor Puppinck, stated in a communiqué today that this is ‘an important precedent in the practice of the court, because usually member States abstain from intervening, or intervene only when the case affects a national of their State’…

“The communiqué also noted the ‘tremendous importance’ of the fact that this is ‘an unprecedented alliance between Catholics and Orthodox countries in the face of the liberal and secularist ideology. Those countries are uniting their forces to protect their religious heritage and freedom to reaffirm that the Christian symbols have a natural right to be displayed in public within Christian countries,’ it added. The center pointed out that the court’s role is to apply the European Convention on Human Rights, which says nothing about ‘duties to secularize education in Europe’ nor about ‘the nature of the relationship between the State and the church.'”

Defective Software Dangerous for U.S. Military

The Associated Press reported on June 1:

“A problem that rendered as many as 10,000 U.S. military GPS [Global Positioning System] receivers useless for days is a warning to safeguard a system that enemies would love to disrupt, a defense expert says. The Air Force has not said how many weapons, planes or other systems were affected or whether any were in use in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the problem, blamed on incompatible software, highlights the military’s reliance on the Global Positioning System and the need to protect technology that has become essential for protecting troops, tracking vehicles and targeting weapons…

“The problem occurred when new software was installed in ground control systems for GPS satellites on Jan. 11, the Air Force said. Officials said between 8,000 at 10,000 receivers could have been affected, out of more than 800,000 in use across the military. In a series of e-mails to The Associated Press, the Air Force initially blamed a contractor for defective software in the affected receivers but later said it was a compatibility issue rather than a defect…

“At least 100 U.S. defense systems rely on GPS, including aircraft, ships, armored vehicles, bombs and artillery shells… But a leaner, GPS-dependent military becomes dangerously vulnerable if the technology is knocked out…”

Global Military Expenditure Keeps Going Up

Deutsche Welle reported on June 3:

“Every year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) issues a report surveying international military expenditure… A SIPRI report released on Wednesday estimates expenditure in 2009 amounted globally to 1.5 trillion dollars, 5.9 percent more than in the previous year…

“Once more, it’s the United States which is at the top of the list, with 53 percent of the world’s expenditure – an increase of 47 billion dollars… But the US was not alone: Almost every region of the world, apart from some small countries in Eastern Europe, has increased military expenditure. Countries with significant natural resources have been particularly energetic. Algeria and Nigeria have doubled their expenditure, Kazakhstan has increased spending by 360 percent, Azerbaijan by nearly 500 percent, the Democratic Republic of Congo by as much 663 percent…

“SIPRI does see some progress towards a serious reduction in the 8,000 nuclear warheads in the world, thanks to Obama’s efforts to reach a wide-ranging disarmament and non-proliferation treaty. But even there, the increasing isolation of North Korea and Iran’s questionable nuclear program give grounds for pessimism.

“Germany has the world’s seventh largest expenditure on arms, at $46 billion (which is less than the US increase). Even within Europe, it’s not as big a spender as France or Britain. But what Germany and most western European countries have in common is an overall drop in military spending…”

Catholic Crisis Continues…

Deutsche Welle reported on June 2:

“German prosecutors said Wednesday they are investigating claims that the head of the German Catholic Church, Robert Zollitsch, aided and abetted a known sex offender in the church. It is claimed that while Zollitsch was in charge of a diocese in southern Germany in 1987, he appointed a priest who was known to have abused children. The archdiocese of Freiburg has released a statement denying that Zollitsch was responsible for the appointment, saying the decision was taken independently…

“Sexual abuse scandals have rocked the church in Germany since January, when dozens of cases emerged involving sexual molestation of minors by priests and other clergy over a period of 50 years at church-run schools. As Germany’s highest ranking bishop, Zollitsch has been at the frontline responding to the ongoing reports of abuse within the Catholic Church. He has often stated that the church needs to reform and ‘heal the wounds of victims.’ And in his Easter messages to his Freiburg parishoners, he said the Catholic Church must examine its ‘dark aspects as well as our own shadowy sides.'”

More Religious Ignorance and Confusion

On May 30, WorldNetDaily reported about short-sighted and biblically unsupportable claims by best-selling author Joel Richardson, arguing that the “Antichrist” will be Islamic, not European. Assuming Richardson means “the beast,” mentioned in the book of Revelation (even though he incorrectly refers to the beast as the “Antichrist”), his predictions are blatantly false. But to show our readers the confusion and false teachings propagated by so-called “experts” in the field of religion, we are bringing you excerpts from the WND article. But let it be known that Richardson is wrong, and that the beast will arise in Europe. Those who preach something different are ignorant of biblical prophecy.

WND wrote:

“With Europe on the verge of economic collapse, what about all those popular predictions that the European Union would become the world’s political powerhouse, giving rise to the endtimes prophecies of a world dictator known to Bible students as the Antichrist? Joel Richardson, author of a best-selling book on Bible prophecy, says atheists will have a field day mocking Christians for the incorrect interpretations about the last days.

“‘Nearly twenty years ago, I intently watched as a very popular Christian television prophecy teacher declared, ‘the present formation of the European Union is literally the fulfillment of Bible prophecy right before our eyes!'” he writes in a commentary today in WND. ‘According to this teacher, the creation of the European Union represented a biblically prophesied revived Roman Empire…’

“Richardson said the formation of the EU in 1993 spurred even more prophecy teachers to set their sights on Europe. ‘But the present harsh realities in Europe may soon cause all of this Euro-centric, restored Roman Empire prognosticating to come crashing down,’ writes Richardson. He also expects many Christians to become disillusioned as the EU fights for its very survival, rather than for the global dominance that was predicted…

“His book [“The Islamic Antichrist”] makes the case that the biblical Antichrist is one and the same as the Quran’s Muslim Mahdi. ‘The Bible abounds with proofs that the Antichrist’s empire will consist only of nations that are, today, Islamic,’ says Richardson. ‘Despite the numerous prevailing arguments for the emergence of a revived European Roman empire as the Antichrist’s power base, the specific nations the Bible identifies as comprising his empire are today all Muslim.'”

This is utter nonsense. In fact, we read the absolute opposite; namely that the “beast” or the “king of the North” will fight AGAINST and even occupy Islamic and Muslim nations. And that the beast will be working hand-in-hand with the biblical “false prophet”–a religious “Christian” personality.

If you want to know what the BIBLE prophesies–rather than what ignorant and misinformed biblical “scholars” may predict–please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy,” “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” “Is That in the Bible–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” and “The book of Zechariah–Prophecies for Today!”

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Would you please explain the concept of the "Jubilee Year"?

In Old Testament times, God established a system whereby the poor would not be in perpetual poverty. God did this in His great mercy, knowing what human nature is like, and that there are those who accumulate and those who squander. He did not want a few extremely wealthy individuals ruling over the masses who were just getting by, or who became and were poor. In reflecting on the situation of this world, Christ said in Matthew 26:11: “For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.” He knew that as long as Satan rules this world; as long as human carnality exists; and as long as societies work in the way they do; the poor would always be among us.

Of course, this was not what God had intended. He told the ancient Israelites in Deuteronomy 15:4 that if God would richly bless the people, “there may be no poor among you.” But anticipating that ancient Israel would not be obedient enough so that God could bless them beyond measure, He said in Deuteronomy 15:11: “For the poor will never cease from the land…”

Those who were too poor to pay their debts could sell their property and even “sell” themselves to their creditors to work for them. But God saw to it that there would be the possibility of being “freed” from such indebtedness, including by means of the “Jubilee Year.”

When did the Jubilee Year begin and what did it entail?

We read in Leviticus 25:8-14:

“And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field. In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession. And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another.”

Notice that the Jubilee Year began on the Day of Atonement. This annual Holy Day points at a future time when mankind will be released from the captivity of Satan and from the oppression of this present evil world. At the time of ancient Israel, the Jubilee Year designated a release from all debts and a repossession of the land which had been initially allocated to the debtor.

Somebody could “buy” or better lease a person’s farmland, and the price was always in relationship to how many years were left before the Jubilee Year. Obviously, if there were only a few years remaining, one would not pay a large sum to use the person’s land. Leviticus 25:15-16 says:

“According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crop he shall sell to you. According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops.”

The return to a person’s farmland or his rural or suburban residence was a guarantee. Such land returned to the prior owner every fifty years.

Notice what God says about the land, in Leviticus 25:23: “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.”

It is interesting that a person or a family member could redeem his sold farmland prior to the Jubilee Year (compare Leviticus 25:24-28). On the other hand, if a man owned a house in a walled city and sold it, he or his family had a year to redeem it. After that, it was gone for good. Leviticus 25:29-30 says: “If a man sells a house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year he may redeem it. But if it is not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house in the walled city shall belong permanently to him who bought it, throughout his generations. It shall not be released in the Jubilee.”

If the house and the land on which the house was built were in the country, it was released in the Jubilee Year, as Leviticus 25:31 says: “However the houses of villages which have no wall around them shall be counted as the fields of the country. They may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the Jubilee.”

As mentioned, slaves and those who “sold” themselves to their creditors for incurred debts were also released in the Jubilee Year. Leviticus 25:50 says: “Thus he shall reckon with him who bought him: The price of his release shall be according to the number of years, from the year that he was sold to him until the Year of Jubilee; it shall be according to the time of a hired servant for him.”

The Jubilee Year was instituted so that a person who sold himself or his land could obtain release, liberty and freedom from debt and servitude, and return to the land. This institution prevented the few from accumulating all the wealth and the poor from being perpetually poor or in never-ending slavery, due to mismanagement or bad circumstances in their lives. Out of love and mercy, and in recognition of man’s human nature and Satan’s rulership over this world, God provided a way to equalize the playing field to give every one a fresh start and hopefully, to allow those who might have acted foolishly, to become somewhat wiser and not make again the same financial mistakes.

We should also note that every seventh year was a land Sabbath, during which no crops were to be sown and harvested, and that the land was also to rest from cultivation on the Jubilee Year (Leviticus 25:11).

In a Plain Truth article from February, 1986, titled, “The Debt Bomb–When Will It Explode?”, the following was stated about the Jubilee Year:

“[In ancient Israel, God had provided for] the canceling of short-term debts at the end of every seven years (Deut. 15:1-11) and the return of forfeited real estate every 50 years (Lev. 25:8-17). For example, if through hard times one had to borrow a small sum of money and, through unforeseen circumstances, was unable to repay the sum within the time frame of a seven-year cycle, his debt was to be forgiven him by his creditor. Or if an Israelite mismanaged his family property (farmland and rural or suburban residence), on the jubilee year his property was to be returned to him or his family (Lev. 25:8-10) if relatives had not already been able to redeem the land (see verse 25)…

“God’s jubilee offers humans what they have needed–and what no man-devised system of economics has ever been able to give us–a financial clean slate: the chance men have only dreamed of, to begin anew and learn from past mistakes. The jubilee year will be a cornerstone in the reestablishment of God’s government on earth (Luke 4:16-19). The ‘acceptable year of the Lord’ that Jesus quoted out of Isaiah 61 is the restoration of the jubilee year.”

We find an interesting prophecy, pertaining to the Millennium, when Jesus Christ rules on this earth, in Ezekiel 46:16-18: “Thus says the Lord God: ‘If the prince gives a gift of some of his inheritance to any of his sons, it shall belong to his sons; it is their possession by inheritance. But if he gives a gift of some of his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall be his until the year of liberty (compare Leviticus 25:10), after which it shall return to the prince. But his inheritance shall belong to his sons; it shall become theirs. Moreover the prince shall not take any of the people’s inheritance by evicting them from their property; he shall provide an inheritance for his sons from his own property, so that none of My people may be scattered from his property.'”

This Scripture addresses issues that will arise in the future and does seem to be an application of the Jubilee Year. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary explains:

“The prince’s possession is to be inalienable, and any portion given to a servant is to revert to his sons at the year of jubilee, that he may have no temptation to spoil his people of their inheritance… The mention of the year of jubilee implies that there is something literal meant, besides the spiritual sense. The jubilee year was restored after the captivity [Josephus, Antiquities, 14.10, 6; 1 Maccabees 6:49]. Perhaps it will be restored under Messiah’s coming reign.”

As stated above, we also read that Christ quoted in Luke 4:17-19 from a passage in the book of Isaiah, dealing with the proclamation of liberty and the “acceptable year of the LORD.” Many feel that this is also a reference to the Jubilee Year. For instance, the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary states that the phrase “acceptable year” is “an allusion to the jubilee year… a year of universal release for person and property.” Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible agrees, stating: “There is, perhaps, here, an allusion to the year of jubilee – the fiftieth year, when the trumpet was blown, and through the whole land proclamation was made of the liberty of Hebrew slaves, of the remission of debts, and of the restoration of possessions to their original families.”

When Christ came and proclaimed the “acceptable year of the LORD,” He made it clear that it was now possible for His disciples to obtain spiritual freedom from Satan’s slavery and release from the captivity of their debts, which they incurred because of sin; i.e., death (Romans 6:23).

At the same time, based on the foregoing, it appears that the Jubilee Year will be enforced quite literally at the beginning of the Millennium. It appears that at that time, release from physical debt and slavery will be proclaimed in all the land, and the individual nations will be restored to their God-ordained lands (compare Acts 17:26). However, it appears unlikely that the aspect of the Jubilee Year will be upheld in the Millennium, which would refer to [renewed] slavery, including slavery because of debt. (However, as expressed in Ezekiel 46:16-18 (quoted above), other aspects of the Jubilee Year will apparently be in force.) Notice what we wrote in a related Q&A on slavery:

“As to the primary reason for slavery–capture in war–this concept won’t exist anymore in the Millennium as there will be no more wars in the Millennium (Isaiah 2:1-4). Also, since all will live in prosperity and there will be no more poverty, that reason for slavery won’t exist anymore, either (Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 3:10). Finally, ‘slavery’ for punishment of crime or debt in the Millennium might likewise be non-existent, as people might not be allowed to actually carry out crimes or go into debt, necessitating that kind of punishment or treatment (compare Isaiah 30:20-21). We should also mention that it was never God’s original intent that men should be poor in the first place (Deuteronomy 15:1-6). Nor was it God’s original intent that men should go to war… God had never intended that slavery should exist at all… Paul also prohibited Christians from becoming voluntarily slaves of men… Based on the foregoing, we feel that it is highly unlikely that there will exist any slavery in the Millennium… it was never God’s intent that there should be any kind of slavery in the first place–had mankind chosen to OBEY God. It is highly unlikely that God will use men to enslave others in the Millennium.”

Man will be taught how to live responsibly, and God will bless man with prosperity and peace. What a tremendous time that will be!

Lead Writers: Rene Messier and Norbert Link

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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.

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